How to Determine Your Child’s Secondary Energy Type

Here's what's helpful—and what's not necessary to worry about

The word to take from this episode: Filling! (Listen to find out)

Discovering your child’s Energy Type can transform your relationship. But have you ever felt stressed about determining their secondary Type, too?
In this episode, Carol and Anne help you see how to be an effective Child Whispering parent—even if you don’t know their secondary yet! Their tips will help you simplify how you see your child for a happier relationship.

This episode’s Parenting Practice

Have fun considering your child’s secondary Energy Type (rather than seeing it as something essential to know). Listen to the tips in this episode and then pay attention to what your child is showing you in their actions this week. What is your child’s secondary Type? Consider how that information may be useful to you in any challenges that have come up in your parenting lately.

Transcript of podcast episode

Carol: This is the old go-to phrase, “Life isn’t fair.” So, but in their eyes, they’re like, “Well, it can be.” I would ask them, “Well, how would you make it more fair?”

Anne: Yeah. It’s a good phrase.

Carol: Share your opinion with me, please. Welcome to The Child Whisperer Podcast. I’m your host, Carol Tuttle, author of the best-selling parenting book, The Child Whisperer. I’m with my co-host Anne Tuttle Brown. In the Energy Profiling world, we teach that everyone leads with the dominant Energy Type, that that is like the true life-long expression of who we are. You’re born with it; you die with it. Whether you’re living true to it is the consideration. We love The Child Whisperer content because it supports you in raising a child so they can live true to it as they enter their adult life and really trust who they are. The consideration comes up that how important is it to know my child’s secondary Type because within the 4 Types, you do express all four. And in the Dressing Your Truth world, we actually make it more of an emphasis that knowing your secondary is of great value. But that’s more about personal style for a woman, that you can really create personal expression in your style when you know your secondary and how to bring it in.

Since we have so many of our Dressing Your Truth members in the Child Whispering world, I think there was a conclusion that we need to know a child’s secondary. And more recently, I’ve been sharing in The Child Whisperer Facebook group that it’s not necessary in order to raise your child true to who they are. The secondary is something that…It’s almost like it’s nice to know and you can then see it, but you’ll never go to that section of the book and say, “What do I need to know about…?” Let’s say you’re in Anne’s case; her daughter is a Type 3, Secondary 4. Have you ever referred to the Type 4 section, Anne, in your strategy and approach in raising Katie?

Anne: No. I think if I did, it would have been like maybe some of the keywords to be like, oh, those Type 4 keywords are adding a little flavor to her overall Type 3 movement. But yeah. I’m not looking to the Type 4 section for how to approach her, how to parent her at all. It’s all Type 3 because she’s Type 3.

Carol: You’ll see certain character traits she expresses, and your more often to say, “Oh, that’s her secondary.” More than anything, that’s how it plays out is just a reference point in there.

Anne: It’s like an added flavor. So, Kalista, our Type 4 expert, gave this example. If you think of a chocolate cake, it can have a lemon filling, a raspberry filling, a cream filling. So, it’s still chocolate cake, but you’re going to have a little bit different flavor when you eat it.

Carol: A little different filling. I like that. That would be a really nice infographic.

Anne: So, Type 1 can be a confetti cake.

Carol: What filling does your Type 1 child have? I will say if you really are interested in developing that knowledge of secondary energies, how to identify it, the place to be is Lifestyle. It is in our Lifestyle content; that’s our premium content. That’s the deep dive, broad look at Energy Profiling. Any of our free content is basic information. It’s just what you need to be guided through that process so you don’t give it more value than it needs to have. So, I’ve been saying more often than not of late in The Child Whisperer Facebook group; you don’t need to know they’re secondary to be successful at this. I’ve encouraged parents to not include that, just say what your child’s dominant Type is.

Anne: It can get really…

Carol: We don’t need to know their whole…”My Type 3/4, 1/2 child…” And I’m like, “That’s not necessary for what you’re seeking here.”

Anne: That’s interesting that you bring that up because I often do drop the secondary when I’m reading questions from parents because first of all, they’re like, “My nine-year-old 3/4 child…” and now you’ve got three numbers in your mind to keep straight.

Carol: I know. Because you’ve got the age of the child and then…

Anne: And then the dominant and secondary. So, yeah. Definitely, I have just approached it like, “What’s the dominant Type?” Because when there’s an issue I think it has more to do probably with the dominant Type. And so let’s focus there.

Carol: One quick tip. What it impresses upon new people is that somehow, you need to know both, and suddenly, they’re profiling the dominant and the secondary at the same time. Do you want to confuse yourself completely? Go there. Let that go. This is advanced.

Anne: We recommend that process in the beginning.

Carol: If you’re not 100% sure on your child’s dominant, this is a come-back-to-later podcast, really, this episode because that’s what I saw became the new practice was trying to figure out both at the same time. And that’s just confusion because your child is clearly showing you their dominant Energy Type every day of their lives. And those are the point of reference that you want to be tuning into rather than confusing it. “Is this their dominant or their secondary?”

Anne: Yeah. That was the process with my children when my Type 3 daughter was born. It was probably four or five months before I settled on her secondary. And then my Type 2, I thought he was a 2/3, and I was like, “I don’t think so.” I just focused on the Type 2, and then after about six…it was a little bit longer for him…eight months it was like, “Okay, he’s a 2/1.” But yeah, I always went back to that dominant.

Carol: Your youngest we knew pretty quick.

Anne: He’s the reincarnation of his father-in-law. Same name, same Energy Type. My father-in-law, his granddad.

Carol: He is. He has his name, and I’m like, “Oh, there he is again.”

Anne: That one was easy.

Carol: He has the spirit of…

Anne: I will say that with some children, it will be easy like, “Oh, I just see both of that.”

Carol: Certainly. A 3/1 or a 1/3, you’re going to know, “I have a high movement child.”

Anne: I will also say too, if you have two children of the same Energy Type, two or more children of the same Energy Type, this can be really valuable to notice the differences and why.

Carol: I do have some videos. There are two videos I can refer you to if your child, you know their dominant secondary is both high movement, which leads. Which are they, Type 1 or Type 3? Or if they’re both at lower movement, inward quality of expression, are they 2, are they 4? And I do have…Those are on YouTube. Just Google “The Child Whisperer Type 2, Type 4.” Or go on YouTube, you’ll find those. Those are helpful because I can see that dilemma. But, today we’re talking about, now that we’ve established how important is this, so this is sort of a nice-to-know right now. How do you know your child’s secondary? How do you identify it? We’re going to review some tips on how to do that.

Anne: It’s going to be a flavor to their movement and their approach to life.

Carol: Their filling.

Anne: Yes. So, secondary Type 1, again, the keywords for a Type 1 is a fun-loving child, light, bright, playful. So, you’ll notice a cuteness or a sparkle or a playfulness about them at times when they’re feeling most comfortable and familiar. Especially, for a Type 2 and a Type 4 dominant, that will come out when they’re at home, when they’re with their friends that they’re more familiar or comfortable with, where they feel secure. For those introvert energies, the Type 1 will come out in those moments.

Carol: I would say it’s like a cuteness that bubbles up in certain settings. And a quality, like I think of Sam who’s a 2/1, there’s a little bit of lightness about him, his laugh is very delightful when he’s presenting that. My mother was a 2/1 as well, and I would use the word that identified her Secondary 1 was this touch of whimsy that was always just sort of…Almost in a way, she apologized for it because it wasn’t who she…

Anne: Getting away with something.

Carol: Yeah. Oh, you know. She’d always say to me, “I love a little bit of sparkle, is that okay?” Yeah. She was seeking reassurance in her secondary. So, that quality is just occasional. It’s an occasional presentation of that lightness.

Anne: Yeah. They’ll have it.

Carol: Upward light movement.

Anne: A liking for social activities and, depending on their dominant though, that will take the charge with a Type 3 with a Secondary 1. That’s just going to amp up the Type 3/1 movement, make it lighter, a little bit bigger, like a burst.

Carol: I would say this is how it looks for you. This will help you, 2/1, just occasionally it’s going to stir it up, it’ll bubble up.

Anne: That silliness.

Carol: …that cuteness. A 3/1, is like you’re fanning the fire, and the fire is getting bigger. So, it’s like blowing air on the fire that makes them a bigger presentation of their dominant Type 3 because they’re both high movement. So, there’s not this separate party.

Anne: With a light lightness though. Like a big…

Carol: Yes. Quite often I’ll see adults get confused. They’re 3/1s because they do have that animation, but they think they’re a Type 1 because there’s this quality of animation, but they push, they push first. They don’t have a lightness about them, and they have a drivenness. So, that child is going to be still very much just…think of a child that puts…or a bull that puts its head down, and it goes like it’s going to bulldoze it. Then the 4/1, you’re going to see this extreme of seriousness that will shift to playfulness, but it’s like they’re on a track. They’re in their serious track then they’ll switch to their lightness track.

Anne: Or a playful side.

Carol: Now, for every one of these, I want to insert here your facial profile is going to be the best assessment tool to determine which your child leads with always.

Anne: For the dominant Type.

Carol: Oh, yes. A 4/1 is going to have very distinct facial features that are Type 4. So, it should be no confusion which they lead with.

Anne: And then just the flavor that you would want to add that I would say the keyword would be just light.

Carol: Yeah. There’s a little lightness.

Anne: Add that little comfortable lightness, a determined lightness, a serious lightness. That’s something that you can add to your approach a little bit.

Carol: 4/1s can really present as…but they have a calculated…they know they’re being funny, they know they’re getting a response, they’re more thought out. Where a Type 1, more than a secondary, they’re not trying to be funny or cute, they just are. And so it’s not like they’re even thinking about it, it’s just who they are.

Anne: Let’s move to secondary Type 2. The Type 2 energy is sensitive, emotional…

Carol: It’s relaxed.

Anne: …connected, and relaxed.

Carol: Subdued, more blended in its quality. It just brings the energy down. If we see it in the expression of nature, it’s that willow tree, the cascading water, the long, lazy river.

Anne: So, let’s go to…

Carol: Lazy has nothing to do with some of the ambition. So…

Anne: Let’s start with the Type 1, Secondary 2. What flavor would that add to the Type 1 expression?

Carol: They’re quiet. That just subdues that animation. It brings it down a bit, softens it, it softens that. So, I like the word perky. They’re perky children, but they’re not necessarily overly animated. And there’s this quality of being sweet because that Type 2 adds a sweetness, but they’re definitely bouncy and buoyant…

Anne: Bright.

Carol: They love whimsy, and they love animation, and they’re bright, bright-eyed, their faces are going to express it, but it’s just softened a bit. So, that soft is a great word to add there.

Anne: And I think there’s especially, the sensitivity where that Type 1, you already wear your emotions on your sleeve.

Carol: Yes.

Anne: Adding that Type 2, I think that’s a…the Type 2/1, and 1/2 are the most emotionally sensitive combinations.

Carol: You look at Addi, my granddaughter, your niece, she’s a 2/1. There are so many times you think she’s behaving like a Type 1, but her face is so Type 2.

Anne: And her overall movement and her preferences are Type 2. And her play is where her Type 1 comes out a lot.

Carol: Yes. You see it come out in her play. But she’s not someone that moves into things quickly. You know, she’s not highly social in a lot of settings until she’s familiar. And yeah, you see that Type 2. So, you just know that…Because I think that 2/1, 1/2 become…they can mimic each other in your eyes but you have to remember, upward light versus soft, relaxed, subdued. Then we moved to 3/2. And again, the softening is part of that. It softens the intensity. Again, that sensitivity comes forward that they have a lot of. They get passionate about things, they really care, really care and they express that care. They’ll worry about things like animals or people or they just have a passion that comes forward from their heart, but they’re still very results-oriented, they still have that quality of being not as pushed forward as you might see…

Anne: But driven…

Carol: …but driven very much.

Anne: …from an inside movement. Yeah. I think the thing I’ve seen with 3/2s is they can be a little bit more cuddly, snuggly. They like that connection.

Carol: Yeah.

Anne: For a 4/2, that is a very methodical combination.

Carol: Yeah. That easily becomes the quietest member of your family. The least expressive verbally.

Anne: Unless you have a 2/4. So, you’ve got both, 4/2 and 2/4.

Carol: Right. But they will live in a very…their inner world is incredibly busy, but they’re very private about it. So, 4/2 is like your silent observer of life and they’re going to take in everything and go, “I know exactly what’s going down here and I know how I feel about it.” But they may not be willing to share because they’re not easily going to exert themselves. So, understand that they’re going to be the less… This is the child you want to be super mindful of to not lose touch with them and connection with them because of their inability to be outwardly expressive as other family members.

So, you want to keep enrolling them in the conversation, in the family experience, and make sure they have a voice. They’re able to share their opinion, they’re able to really give their authority to things and to invite that and support them and get to know what’s going on internally, like really. If you have access to your Type 4, Secondary 2’s inner world, you’re held in high respect because that’s a private space in a big way. The Secondary 2 affects a Type 4, and you wouldn’t see a softening in their manner or character traits.

Anne: A quieting.

Carol: It’s a quieting effect and yet a caring quality, deeply caring. Because anything that’s Type 2 is more about emotion and the heart. So they’re going to have deep feelings, they’re going to care deeply about things, and fairness is going to be a big deal because they want things to be fair.

Anne: Because they’re observing and analyzing.

Carol: Well, they notice when it’s not. They’re that aware of it, and you’re going to hear about that. You’re going to hear, “That’s not fair.” So, you may be saying to this child, well, this is the old go-to phrase, “Life isn’t fear.” But in their eyes, they’re like, “Well, it can be.” I would ask them, “Well, how would you make it fairer?

Anne: Yeah. It’s a good phrase.

Carol: Share your opinions with me, please.

Anne: I’m going to use that. I think that works for any Type of child. That’s a good tip. Time to take a short break, but don’t worry; we’ll be right back after this.

Woman: Knowing your Type and your child’s Type changes everything, doesn’t it? It helps you to understand one another better. It can help your outside too. When you wear clothes that express your Type, you feel better, you look better, and people understand you more easily, including your kids. Carol Tuttle created the “Dressing Your Truth” program to help you dress true to your Type and create a personal style that expresses who you really are. The best part, you can learn all the basics for free. Start loving how you look and feel at

Anne: All right. Let’s move to Secondary Type 3. This is the determined movement, result-oriented, got a push, a drive, a passion, likes to take on challenges. So, what does that look like when we add it to the dominant type? Let’s start with Type 1, Secondary 3.

Carol: That’s going to add that kind of punch to the Type 1 energy again. So, it can get really louder, a little bit louder, bigger play, going after bigger stuff in life that’s fun. So, it adds that boombox in a way to that Type 1.

Anne: I think of like a bubbly movement.

Carol: A good friend’s son is a Type 1, Secondary 3 and I was asking her today, she’s my pilates instructor, I said, “What are you guys doing today?” And she goes, “Well, Brock wants to go to the park and have a sports day.” Basketball, volleyball, all these games. So, that just expresses in a more physical they’re Type 1.

Anne: But the social is what’s leading, the social, the fun, the play, that hands-on.

Carol: Definitely. He’s not asking to go lift weights or something, he wants to play with his family in a physical way. So, social with the physical.

Anne: I think too with the idea, it could be like, “Get an idea. Okay. Now, I’m moving forward on the idea.”

Carol: Yeah.

Anne: So, just yeah. Adds a little bit of a punch. What about Type 2, Secondary 3?

Carol: That’s going to put that…those are the energies that you’ll find these combos are like the opposites of each other. So, there’s that opportunity to… you should say, “You are that.” Because as a child, I don’t think you let that Type 3 take over. You were very methodical in your early years and you were the child that brought your diaper to me when you needed a diaper change. You were planned out. The Type 3 kind of tried to take over when you had to start making your life strategies with high school.

Anne: I ran for student body. I wanted to be involved.

Carol: You did put yourself out there more.

Anne: Yeah. I felt comfortable taking a lead. I felt like I was very methodical in my approach to it.

Carol: So, I’d say it adds a sense of a confidence to a Type 2.

Anne: Or even just a push or an excitement to get out and get involved in things. That’s where I see it the most in me taking things on.

Carol: But now that’s led by that wanting to be connected and those connections.

Anne: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Type 2 is definitely leading movement of how I get involved in things, but that desire, that push.

Carol: I’d also add that it adds this interest in physical activities. You’ve always been snowboarding, you like getting out, you do active things with your kids.

Anne: Yeah.

Carol: So, there is that quality of interest in things that are of a physical quality. Then our Type 4/3, I raised this child, that’s a big energy. It’s both bold and determined and so it just actually creates a more determined Type 4…

Anne: Yeah.

Carol: …in being themselves. It never looks like Type 3.

Anne: It’s very straightforward.

Carol: My son always looked like Type 4.

Anne: Very straightforward.

Carol: But it was like the added push to be Type 4 and to be strong in that. And again, he’s very physical.

Anne: Yeah.

Carol: So, that physical thing and this wanting to express yourself with more physical experiences.

Anne: I think with him, he had an added level of independence like, “I know what I want, I’m going to go do it. I’m going to figure this out.”

Carol: Yes. I call it the slice-and-dice energy and you’re like, “I know what I want and I’m going to make it happen.” So, that’s a thought-out strategy. It’s thought out first and then there’s that determination to carry it through. A Type 3 wouldn’t have that much of a thought out process. I think of our good friend, Kara. It’s like when Kara puts her mind to something, you know she’s going to see it through on the action side. But they’re putting their mind to it first in a thought-out way.

Anne: Let’s move to Secondary Type 4 now. This is the more serious movement, straightforward, big picture, keenness, perfecting. What does that look like when we apply that flavor to each dominant Energy Type? Starting with Type 1, Secondary 4.

Carol: There is that sort of a need for structure and solitude, but not in a real thought out…It’s like…

Anne: Consistent manner. Yeah.

Carol: Yeah. They don’t lead with consistency and innate ability to create structure. So, as a parent, you really need to tune into that to say if they’re just getting frazzled, their energy is getting what I would call scrambled or erratic, they need some downtime, some time by themselves, or they’re just going too much. They need maybe…10-year-olds can take a nap once in a while. They need a break. They need to create a sense of solitude so they can release that.

Anne: Yeah. I think you can see this in your Type 1, Secondary 4 if they like engaging socially and then also alone solitary play.

Carol: Yeah. And they’ll be able to…

Anne: Connect, disconnect that way it’s like…

Carol: The things that they’re enjoying that are experiences. If the experience is light and fun, even if it’s work or if it’s homework or whatever, they will have an ability to stay, follow-through, and create some order with it if it is drawing them in through being a light experience.

Anne: You mean with a Type 1.

Carol: So, again, it doesn’t mean everything has to be fun, but don’t make it serious, make it and support them in making it enjoyable. And then they take it seriously.

Anne: What about the Type 2, Secondary 4 combination?

Carol: You know, I raised this child as well and what’s interesting to me is I see a lot of that Type 4 expressing but never is it as…

Anne: Bold?

Carol: Yes. Chris is much softer in all that he does but don’t bend his hat, that he really…He’s very consistent with things, he has a lot of order to things. But everything leads with this heart-centered approach to things. He’s more gentle.

Anne: It’s more muted, it’s more subtle approach.

Carol: And that Secondary 4 just adds a flavor of almost taking the methodical into…It’s a tricky combination because these kids can get overwhelmed easily in their inner process of just being aware of so much. And it’s the details of everything in the big picture and they can go so far out that it will overwhelm them. And he’s aware of that and has to manage it. It’s like how many tabs do you have open on your computer? It’s like how many tabs do you have open in your mind? How far out are they going? You need to pull in on that and bring it back. So, that 4 just adds that quality of being able to go bigger with your Type 2 tendencies and the big picture of life like you’re thinking about how many years ahead?

Anne: Analyze, definitely.

Carol: Their fairness thing plays out for them as well. The 2/4, 4/2 is their…Chris will bring up things that happened in his childhood that I had no idea he was aware of. But him being so keen about details, I’m like, “You remember that?” Or, “You were even aware of that?” He says, “Mom, you have no idea,” but now I get it. I’m like, “Oh, you didn’t let on how much you were…

Anne: Taking in?

Carol: …taking in your world.”

Anne: What about Type 3, Secondary 4? This is you.

Carol: This would be me and…

Anne: My daughter.

Carol: …your daughter. And my childhood is not a good example of being true to who I was, but Katie’s life is, which I really appreciate that because I really take…It’s very healing for me to see someone of my same nature being raised true to herself. And as you know, that 3, again, is a very…

Anne: Push forward, intense…

Carol: That punch, that push, but there’s a sense of authority behind it that she’ll push bigger.

Anne: Bigger and bolder.

Carol: Because she figures she’s right. Every time she comes to my house she’s convinced she has to take something home. And she doesn’t let down, man.

Anne: Very persistent.

Carol: And she will just push and be persistent with a sense of, “I have a right.” There’s a sense of authority behind it.

Anne: That’s a good way to put it. Like, “I know I’m right.”

Carol: So, her authority gets enrolled. And so you see this just…And most parents you’ll fight because they’re going to try and outplay you on staying more determined and you’ll finally just give in because you’re tired of hearing about it. So, you just have to know how to beat that game and go…

Anne: Oh, yeah. I’m doing a good job, I guess, because yesterday she was like, “Why do you say no all the time?” And I was like, “I don’t think I do say no all the time. I think you ask a lot.” And so I went through and explained to her the last…She had three things she wanted to know why I said why and I explained to her each reason why and that actually worked really well for her, I think, too. That Secondary 4 getting out a little bit of that like, “Just paint the bigger picture for me. Okay. That makes sense.”

Carol: Yeah. You can also, she’s old enough…kids that are five, six, seven are old enough now to be taught about their tendencies.

Anne: Of their secondary or…?

Carol: No, their dominant. For her, she’s old enough for you to say, “You know what, Katie, I know your strategy here. You have a lot of determination. That’s a great thing. But in this scenario, I’m not going to let you outplay me because you’re going to keep going because you can. You have the energy to keep up this to get what you want. And a lot of times, I’ll finally agree with you because you’re wearing me down. I’m not going to do that.” And her Type 3 father, it’s like, “I will meet you there and I will last longer than you.” But that forages as again that, “I’m going to stand my ground and keep at this.”

Anne: It definitely makes it a bigger force…

Carol: Yes.

Anne: …Type 3, Secondary 4. These have been great tips, great insights into what that flavor of each dominant energy Type can look like. Remember, stay focused on their dominant energy Type and let the secondary organically reveal itself to you. That’s what we’ve taught since the beginning. That is meant to be a support, not a burden or a confusion. Most importantly, get your dominant started and then your children will reveal to you simply what their secondary is and how that can be a support.

Carol: Very much so. In fact, I think the greatest application of knowing this is if you have children of the same dominant type that will most likely have different secondaries. So, you will see that you’ll tweak a few things in your approach with them based on that secondary. I think of my youngest son Mark, who is a Type 4, Secondary 3, his oldest son is a Type 4, Secondary 1, their newest baby who is also a Type 4, Secondary 2. Now, they’re like the Type 4 trifecta and you can see it in them. Even in these young ages, you can tell those variables to say, “I see the Type 4 in all of them, but I see the influence of the secondary in each of them.” Even in the baby. He’s a very grounded, just still presence. And that Type…

Anne: But he has a sensitivity to comfort.

Carol: There’s a case where this is going to present itself so much more obvious because you have family members all presenting it and you can see, well, yeah, they are. So, don’t think your child is not a certain type because of a sibling because they very well could be, it’s just the secondary is different. The parenting practice this week is to have some fun with this rather than a need-to-know. What is your child’s secondary? What’s coming to mind? And how might that be useful to you in some things you’re feeling challenged with right now with your child to just tweak your approach a little bit based on that secondary? Could be the answer to a dilemma you’ve not gotten clear on and how to support a child, maybe there’s an issue there, maybe the child is giving you some push, just some stress. Things aren’t working well where this could be insightful for you to be a better parent for them.

Thanks for listening. For more support, go to where you can purchase the book, subscribe to our weekly parenting practice email, and find a transcription and audio of “The Child Whisperer Podcast.”

Anne: If you’re listening on iTunes, thank you for leaving a review. If you have a parenting question, please send it to [email protected].

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