Someone recently came to me with a parenting scenario. He wanted to know what I thought. His son is extremely impulsive. For example at a kiddush on shabbos this week, he came late after pekalach (little treat bags) were thrown at the Bar Mitzvah boys. And he missed out on the candy. He came too late. He has a brother that came late as well and also missed out on the treats.
Here's the story:
His brother was smart. He went over to the Bar Mitzvah boy and asked for a pekalah. The Bar Mitzvah boy played him a little but ultimately gave it to him.
But the story doesn't end here.
His older brother caught eye of his little brother's accomplishments - and you can imagine the feelings that overcame him. He was RAGING.
So how did he react?
He first asked him who he got the pekalach from. His younger brother didn't want to give him the answer.
Then the younger boy went to a different friend who had a bunch and asked him for one, the boy gave him 3.
So he comes back and flaunts it to his older brother.
Now the older boy gets MAD.
Not only does his younger brother have one but now he has four! And his younger brother will just taunt him by flaunting it in his face? He is 8 years old. And he is going to do what every 8 year old will do in this situation.
He's going to show his younger brother who is boss.
So with anger spewing out of his nostrils he tried forcing his younger brother to share by pointing to the pekalach and telling him to give him one. His younger brother very arrogantly said "no" and walked off.
The older boy felt defeated but didn't know what to do. So he just followed his younger brother around the shul (literally, like breathing in his face) to get him to give him one. The younger boy is getting annoyed. I mean, who wants someone breathing down their back and following them around? He starts whining and crying and then it gets physical.... (If you have any boys, you know EXACTLY what I mean!) Now, his father wasn't next to him, so the older boy just grabbed a few that he had.
How do we address these kids?
After hearing this story, I immediately thought of the enneagram. I decided to apply The instinctive Triad to the scenario. Through understanding these boys thought process, we will be able to help them work through their emotions.
The instinctive Triad is the knowledge we need to know even before we begin to understand all the enneagram types. There are 9 personality types. These 9 are then divided into 3 groups. The Heart type, the head type, and the gut type. As you can see from the charts, each type has an instinct that comes naturally to them.
I realized how each these boys were reacting according to their instincts. The older boy is a Head type and the younger one is a Gut type. The older boy was so quick to assess the information in his head and yet he had a very hard time figuring out what to do as a result. The younger boy who is the gut type very quickly knew exactly how to maneuver the situation. Yet he did not use his head. (What was he thinking? Flaunting the candy in front of his brother. Doesn't he know that he's going to make his brother run after him even more for the candy? Does he want this? This is not the first time it happened. Why hasn't he realized that till now....?) Also, why wasn't he thinking about why his brother was upset. He was just using his gut to defend himself, yet there was a reason why his brother upset. Maybe he was supposed to be a kinder brother by being willing to share...
Below is a chart to describe the order in which each type uses their triad expression. It's really interesting to see that if we break down the whole process, it really pans out like this chart.
So the person that asked me this question got his answer. And even more than that, he learned to understand and be patient with the child that thinks differently than him.
Don't we all want to be that perfect parent?