Lighthouse Parenting

I’ve written multiple blog posts on helicopter parenting and how harmful it can be. Read them here: 

Helicopter Parenting
Helicopter Mom Part One
Helicopter Mom Part Two

But I can’t give you these blog posts about how much you shouldn’t be a helicopter parent without giving you an alternative. In fact, I needed an alternative way to parent myself! This is when my research led me to lighthouse parenting. 

The whole concept of lighthouse parenting is that of a lighthouse- constant and always there. Keeping watch and being aware of your surroundings, but also respect the fact that kids can stumble and fall and learn lessons on their own. 

“I like to think of myself as a lighthouse parent, you know reliably there, totally trustworthy, making sure he doesn’t crash against the rocks, but committed to letting him learn to ride the waves,” – Ginsburg

The whole idea of lighthouse parenting is that is it adaptable as your child grows and develops, your parenting grows and develops as well into what they need at that moment.

So for our children, our students, our future: Be a lighthouse parent. Let kids explore, let them learn and grow, but find a balance with keeping them safe. 

Why Is Helicopter Parenting Bad?

I’ve written a few posts now on helicopter parenting and how I have been trying to avoid being one. You can read them here:

Helicopter Mom Part 1

Helicopter Mom Part 2

But maybe we need to clarify the why behind these helicopter mom posts. Why is this a parenting style I am avoiding and trying to lean more toward independent kids? 

A helicopter parent is someone who stands over their children making every decision for them and directing their lives. A lot of the motive behind a helicopter parent is to prevent their children from experiencing failure or getting hurt. However, doing so can actually do the opposite. 

The side effects of being parented by a helicopter parent are depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, high stress, fear of failure, low self-confidence, and more. By never letting your child fail, you are sending the message that failure is not okay, therefore, bringing on all of the depression, stress, and anxiety that comes with the inevitable failure in life. This only grows more and more into adulthood. 

To see more about the side effects of a helicopter parent, check out this video. 

What does a helicopter parent look like in each stage of life? 

As a toddler, it’s a parent standing right behind your child as they climb a ladder, even putting their hands and feet in the exact places they need to go to find success. 

As a child, it looks like a parent changing their child’s teacher because they don’t seem to learn well with their current teacher. 

As a teenager, it’s a parent that chooses which friends their children can spend time with. 

As an adult, it looks like a parent that pushes certain colleges to attend (typically based on the closest location to home) and tells the child what the best area of study for them will be. 

How can you change your parenting style to be less helicopter parent? 

Step back and watch your child climb the ladder. Observe their method of movement and don’t step in unless absolutely necessary. Remember that a short tumble may be exactly what they need to learn the correct method for using the rungs. 

Let your child stay in the classroom of this teacher, and give them ways to learn with the style the teacher is using. Teach them how to work with different personality types, then pull them out of the classroom if matters seem to be worsening and you have tried multiple approaches. 

Have conversations with your child about the value of good friendships and what a lasting effect they can have in life. Teach them to identify good vs. bad friends and let them decipher their friend choices on their own. 

Ask your child what their goals for their adult life look like, see what their ambitions and dreams are. Have conversations about what college looks like and means to them, and help guide them to whichever school seems to be the best fit for them. 

By changing the way we interact and teach our children, it will lead to more independent and efficient leaders of tomorrow. 

Featured Photo: Kayla Wright

Enneagram In Education: Conclusion

I recently wrote about each enneagram type in education and how each type learns. You can read more about your own enneagram type and tips for how to learn best. It can also be beneficial to read more about each type and turn that around to use it to your student’s best interest if you know their enneagram types. 

You can read about every enneagram type on this page! 

Learning about all nine enneagram types has opened my eyes to educating nine different personality types. It reminded me that not all kids work and think the same way. Teaching beyond the test is so important to our students, they thrive on personal relationships just like we do, and will retain more information when we are teaching to humans that we’ve built these personal relationships with. 

From the other side, it’s helped me to understand my enneagram type and how I learn. Learning is constant in everyone’s lives and taking these points into consideration has improved my learning and research tenfold! 

Check out this video on students at Baylor University who enjoyed learning about enneagram for their education. 

What enneagram type are you? How has it helped you in your education? 

Enneagram In Education: Type Nine

This is part of a series using enneagram in education. For more information on why enneagram in education, refer to this post. To read about other enneagram types in education, you can see those here.

Enneagram type 9, the mediator, or the accommodating companion.

A few words to describe this type: 

Accepting.

Trusting.

Laid back.

Friendly.

Cooperative.

Optimistic. 

Let’s pull this into a classroom setting. If you’re an enneagram type nine, you are a big-picture learner. Every little topic you learn about, you like to pull into a bigger setting to see how all of the pieces fit together and relate. You also have a hard time planning and prioritizing school work. Homework, essays, due dates, and more often get pushed to the side and done last minute. Group work is good for type nines, under the condition that everyone works together and harmoniously, contention and confrontation are type nine’s biggest turn aways and stressors. 

How to get the most out of your education as a type nine. 

  • Work on keeping good notes of when assignments are due so that you’re not working at the last minute to get them in. 
  • Give yourself time to study away from friends, peers, and family. Quiet, alone time study will give you the best results. 
  • Immerse yourself in your studies in a hands-on way, even when your professors don’t give you the opportunity to. 
  • Use your deeply connected relationships to help you with your schoolwork, ask for help with studying or on assignments from friends. 
  • Build good, lasting relationships with teachers and professors. 

Mediators believe that to be loved and valued, you must blend in and go with the flow. Consequently, Mediators seek harmony and are inclusive, amiable, easygoing, comfortable and steady; they also can be self-forgetting, conflict-avoidant and stubborn.

Enneagram Worldwide

Type 9’s go to type 3 in growth and type 6 in stress. 

Are you a type 9? What is important for you to have a successful learning environment? 

Enneagram In Education Type Eight

This is part of a series using enneagram in education. For more information on why enneagram in education, refer to this post. To read about other enneagram types in education, you can see those here.

Enneagram type 8, the challenger, or the protector. 

A few words to describe this type: 

Honest. 

Controlling.

Direct. 

Strong.

Independent.

Practical.

Intense.

Let’s pull this into a classroom setting. If you’re an enneagram type eight, you’re always up for a good debate. A well-involved classroom with students actively participating is where they thrive. Collaboration and bouncing ideas around ignites their typically extroverted personalities. Being challenged in your schoolwork is the best motivation for you. You’re also always up for challenging the rules as well, finding a way around a boundary is your craft you are set out to perfect. 

How to get the most out of your education as a type eight. 

  • When working in groups, try not to take over and control the group. Be a leader, not a boss.
  • Always be involved in the big discussions and projects, it’s where you learn best. 
  • Remember the difference between opinions vs facts and not to confuse the two.
  • When protecting others, remember to think of yourself. 

“Eights are the true “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram. More than any other type, they stand alone. They want to be independent, and resist being indebted to anyone. They often refuse to “give in” to social convention, and they can defy fear, shame, and concern about the consequences of their actions. Although they are usually aware of what people think of them, they do not let the opinions of others sway them. They go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe-inspiring, even intimidating to others.”

– Enneagram Institute

Type 8’s go to type 2 in growth and type 5 in stress. 

Are you a type 8? What is important for you to have a successful learning environment? 

Enneagram In Education: Type Seven

This is part of a series using enneagram in education. For more information on why enneagram in education, refer to this post. To read about other enneagram types in education, you can see those here.

Enneagram type 7, the enthusiast, or the epicure. 

A few words to describe this type: 

Upbeat.

Adventurous.

Uncommitted. 

Future Thinker. 

Fun Seeker.

Scattered.

Let’s pull this into a classroom setting. If you’re an enneagram type seven, you’re constantly bouncing ideas off of your peers, seeing how you can make connections with multiple subjects of study. Sitting still isn’t an option, especially when it comes to a subject you are passionate about. You are constantly pumping up your classmates and teachers to have positive energy, for you genuinely believe it’s the best and only way to learn. When a lesson or lecture slows down in pace it’s easy for you to become distracted and especially daydream of bigger, better plans for the future. 

How to get the most out of your education as a type seven. 

  • Find ways to stay focused during those slower, less engaging lectures. 
  • Continue sharing your positive energy and light! 
  • Be mindful of those that are learning differently than you, others need to sit in silence and take in information (hello, type five!) and can react in a negative way to your bubbly, excited personality, even causing them not to take in the needed information. 
  • Embrace your scatter-brained thinking. Your form of organization may not be “ideal” to the eyes of society, but it typically works for you, so keep it. 
  • Remember to say no when too much is too much. 
  • Find a project to work on that will help you achieve your forward-thinking, community building tendencies. 

“Sevens are exuberant, fast-paced, spontaneous, analytical and idea-oriented. Others may perceive Sevens as quickly shifting topics, making excuses, self-absorbed and indifferent to others’ input.”

– Enneagram Worldwide 

Type 7’s go to type 5 in growth and type 1 in stress. 

Are you a type 7? What is important for you to have a successful learning environment? 

Featured Photo: The Enneagram Institute

Enneagram In Education: Type Six

This is part of a series using enneagram in education. For more information on why enneagram in education, refer to this post. To read about other enneagram types in education, you can see those here.

Enneagram type 6, the loyalist, or the questioning friend. 

A few words to describe this type: 

Controlling.

Doubtful. 

Safety Conscious. 

Perceptive.

Questioning. 

Loyal. 

Let’s pull this into a classroom setting. If you’re an enneagram type six, you may walk into a new classroom with a new teacher or professor and be skeptical of what they are teaching or what their qualifications are. You may feel the same about peers. Anxiety can fill your thoughts as you wonder if your ideas and questions will be accepted or dismissed in this environment, being open about these are important to you. The more structured and organized the classroom and classwork is, the better you do. 

How to get the most out of your education as a type six. 

  • Build relationships with your teachers and peers so you can excel in your studies. Relationships are important to you. 
  • Ask questions! Speak your mind. Utilize office hours or study hall time if you feel your needs are not being met and your questions are not being answered. 
  • Give yourself time to observe different situations. 
  • Find safety in yourself and your environment so that you can be confident in your school work. 

“[Sixes] Start investing their time and energy into whatever they believe will be safe and stable. Organizing and structuring, they look to alliances and authorities for security and continuity. Constantly vigilant, anticipating problems.

– Enneagram Institute

Type 6’s go to type 9 in growth and type 3 in stress. 

Are you a type 6? What is important for you to have a successful learning environment?

Feature Photo: Enneagram Institute