The Astrology of Parenting: What Our Children Need

by Lady Deane

As parents, we all want to do the very best job that we possibly can when it comes to parenting our children.  I mean, no one has a child and then thinks to him or herself: “Gee, I wonder how I can mess this kid up.”  But children do not come with operating manuals (wouldn’t that be awesome?!), and although parenting is probably the toughest job many of us will have, no one really prepares us for it.  I think the real problem is that while there are some basic rules for consistent parenting (feed and water them, keep them alive and out of trouble until they can rent their own apartments, etc.), the real problem is that no two kids are alike and they all need different things.  If you doubt this, just ask your siblings what they thought of their own childhoods.  Even though you were both raised by the same exact people, I’d be willing to bet you had extremely different childhoods.  That is because every child is unique and has his or her own separate and distinct experience of their parents (who, let’s not forget, are also unique individuals). So what’s a parent to do?

As an astrologer with over 33 years experience counseling parents and their children through their natal charts, I believe that astrology can provide some guidance.  Every child born is born into one of twelve specific signs of the zodiac.  Here I have grouped these signs into their four basic elements, because each element offers a clue to your child’s true nature.  None of our children can change their basic natures.  And if we expect them to, we are just setting ourselves (and them) up for failure.  But by educating ourselves as parents and honoring what our children will need on a very fundamental level, we can help them grow and flourish.  Now granted, these descriptions are generalizations, and knowing your child’s entire natal chart (as opposed to a single factor like which element their sun sign happens to fall into) will go even further in helping you understand what they need.  But you have to begin somewhere, and this is an excellent place to start.  Use the following chart to identify which element your child’s sign belongs to, and then read the description of that element to understand their basic nature.

Zodiac Sign                  Date of Birth                                  Element

Aries                     born March 21--April 19                              Fire

Taurus                   born April 20--May 20                               Earth

Gemini                  born May 21--June 20                                Air

Cancer                   born June 21--July 22                               Water

Leo                         born July 23--August 22                           Fire

Virgo                      born August 23--September 22               Earth

Libra                      born September 23--October 22               Air

Scorpio                  born October 23--November 21                Water

Sagittarius              born November 22--December 21             Fire

Capricorn               born December 22--January 19                 Earth

Aquarius                 born January 20--February 18                   Air

Pisces                     born February 19--March 20                      Water

F I R E   S I G N S

Fire children are born into the signs of Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius.  All fire signs will “act like fire” to some extent.  Think of the nature of fire.  Some fires burn hot and spread quickly, while others smolder and simmer.  But they all glow…some red, some white hot—yet all fire burns.  And without fire, and the light of our own Sun, there would be no life on Earth.  Fire gives us warmth and allows us to cook our food and burn fuel to operate our cars.  We use this element every single day.  Children born into fire signs are some of the most energetic and playful children of all.  Vibrant and full of life, your fire child is on the move right from the start.  They like to “go, go, go!”  These are the children who appear spontaneous—they fear nothing—and they need to experience life first-hand.

When parenting your fire child, don’t tell them about things, show them.  In other words, if they are studying dinosaurs in school, don’t buy them a dinosaur book.  Take them to the museum where they can experience dinosaurs for themselves.  Because for fire sign children, it’s always going to be their own personal experiences in life that will teach them the most.

Want your fire sign’s undivided attention?  Talk about them.  Their talents, their interests, their future goals and dreams.  One of the reasons for being born a fire sign to begin with is to learn how to develop and appreciate the self.  So they are often their own favorite topic.  Use their naturally dramatic nature to their benefit.  Get them involved in school plays and the like, to provide them with a creative outlet for self expression.  Some will excel at sports and it will teach them teamwork and allow them to use some of their excess energy productively.

The most effective strategy for disciplining a rambunctious fire sign child is to temporarily ignore them completely.  They love the spotlight and need your attention in order to be able to “shine” the way they were meant to.  Following is a list of natural gifts and natural challenges for fire sign children.  Use this list to enhance natural abilities and to help them overcome the challenges.

FIRE SIGN GIFTS: friendly and outgoing, generous, leaders not followers, seeing the big picture, having a vision for the future, high energy, physically active, enthusiasm, spontaneity, courage, initiative, outdoorsy, sometimes leadership or acting/performing talents

FIRE SIGN CHALLENGES: a lack of patience, not thinking things all the way through, missing the details, not being able to compromise, “my way or the highway” mentality, a “me-first” approach to life, difficulty sharing, developing self control, drama queens (and kings)

E A R T H   S I G N S

Earth children are born into the signs of Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn. All earth signs will “act like earth” to some extent.  Ponder the weighty nature of earth.  It is our foundation, what we stand upon.  Usually solid and stable; yet at the same time changing and renewing itself deep in its core through liquid magma.  Without the earth we have no home, no place to hang our hats or rest our heads.  Without the dirt to grow food in we have no sustenance.  Children born to earth signs are “planted” --  like their feet have roots.  More than any other element perhaps, these kids need a stable and predictable place to grow up in.

When parenting your earth sign child, provide routines they can count on. It will make them feel grounded.  And give them lots of warning or “prep” time before switching gears.  Earth sign children can seem older than they really are.  Because they are naturally responsible we, as parents, need to remind ourselves that they are still children and still do need the guidance all children need.  One of the reasons for being born an earth sign to begin with is to learn how to develop stability.  Your earth child wants to serve and to build something of lasting value in life.  And you can count on your earth sign child to stand and deliver.  But actually moving them might be a problem!  Earth signs have some of the most fixed energy of the zodiac.  Also, your earth child may seem somewhat more somber or serious than other signs, but don’t let that fool you.  They really do have a sense of humor.  However, their delivery may be so “deadpan” that only those who know them well will know when they’re joking!

Want your earth sign’s undivided attention?  Talk about their things.  All earth signs are acquisitive to some degree and they need to acquire things.  Talk to them about what they most want and why.  Usually it’s something that makes them feel safe or secure in some way.  Or talk about what they hope to achieve one day.  The hardest thing to get an earth sign child to do is to switch gears.  These are not generally spontaneous children.  And, once made up, it can take an act of Congress to persuade them to change their minds.

The most effective strategy for disciplining a stubborn earth sign child is to temporarily take away some of their possessions. Although, to be sure, these are usually the children who least need discipline.  They love routines they can count on, and they actually want order in their lives.  Rules and regulations are mother’s milk to them and help them make sense of their world.  As long as they understand what the rules actually are (they need details), they are almost self-governing.  But be aware that earth sign children will notice any hypocrisy in the adults in their world.  Don’t try to hold them accountable to rules that you yourself don’t follow.  With the earth sign child you cannot say “do as I say, not as I do.”  If you try, they will lose faith in you.  With them you must teach by example and rest assured they will notice all you do!  Following is a list of natural gifts and natural challenges for earth sign children.  Use this list to enhance natural abilities and to help them overcome the challenges.

EARTH SIGN GIFTS: stick-to-it-iveness, practical, determined, solid, stable, responsible, straightforward, follow the rules, achievement-oriented, detail-oriented, sometimes organizational skill or managerial talents

EARTH SIGN CHALLENGES: stubbornness, getting “stuck in the mud,” sure they are always right (because they secretly fear that one day they might be wrong!), missing the forest for the trees, fretting, worrying, looking on the dark side of everything

A I R   S I G N S

Air children are born into the signs of Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius. All air signs will “act like air” to some extent.  What is the nature of air?  It is constantly moving, sometimes gentle like a summer’s breeze, sometimes deadly like a tornado.  Without air in our lungs we would all soon expire. Air is everywhere and is necessary every minute of every day.  It feeds life-giving oxygen to all the cells in our body.  Children born to air signs are some of the most interesting and original people you’ll ever meet.  With their minds always engaged they are completely at ease communicating with people from all walks of life.

When parenting your air sign child, be prepared to answer endless questions and when you want them to do something give them lots of choices. They need to understand not only what you need them to do but why you need them to do it.  Remember, their primary process is intellectual and they are always thinking.  One of the reasons for being born an air sign to begin with is to learn how to communicate effectively with others.  Get them involved in school clubs (book clubs, debate clubs, the school paper or yearbook).  Any activities that highlight their individual interests and where they can socialize to their heart's content will work.  And make sure they have lots to read to keep their busy minds occupied.

Want your air sign’s undivided attention?  Ask them what they think (about whatever topic you or they wish to discuss).  Get their opinions.  Once you get their intellectual juices flowing, the problem won’t be getting them to talk, it will be getting them to stop!  Or, perhaps more to the point, getting them to actually stop talking long enough to listen to you.

The most effective strategy for disciplining an argumentative air sign is to temporarily cut them off from others.  Air signs need to communicate and sending them (alone) to time out to think things over is often all that is needed.  Of course, if you are the proud parents of twin air signs, you’ll have to make sure to send them to separate corners or they will find a way to communicate with one another!  Following is a list of natural gifts and natural challenges for air sign children.  Use this list to enhance natural abilities and to help them overcome the challenges.

AIR SIGN GIFTS: sociable, talkative, conversant, original, diverse, jack of all trades, interesting, intellectual, mentally engaging, witty, quick thinking, full of ideas, able to multi-task, sometimes technical talents, or writing and speaking talents

AIR SIGN CHALLENGES: to listen as well as they talk, easily distracted, preoccupied, a “head-in-the-clouds” demeanor, nervous energy, argumentative

W A T E R   S I G N S

Water children are born into the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces. All water signs will “act like water” to some extent.  We are quite literally made of water.  Our bodies are 98 percent water and without it we would desiccate like the desert.  And water has a very changeable nature.  Lake water is calm, while ocean water is constantly rolling and moving.  And even when water appears calm, it can be bubbling and churning deep beneath its surface.  Like the waxing and waning of the Moon, your water sign’s moods will change and move in and out with the tide.  They are ruled by their feelings and some days it will be hard to keep up with them!  Children born to water signs are some of the most intuitive, sensitive, and psychic people you’ll ever meet.

When parenting your water sign child, remember how very sensitive they are.  Often moody and insecure, they need tangible and ongoing proof of your love.  Of course all kids need affection, but these are the kids that really need actual hugs every day. One of the reasons for being born a water sign to begin with is to learn how to express their emotions.  Get them involved in music lessons or art classes.  Take them to movies that engage the imagination.

Want your water sign’s undivided attention?  Care about their feelings and also share with them how you feel. For negative feelings, just being able to express how they feel about something seems to take the weight off their shoulders—even when those feelings can’t change the actual situation for them, it still helps them to get the feelings out of their physical bodies by talking about them.  And for positive feelings, it’s just healthy for them to be able to share.  Remember, they are ultimately motivated by how they feel about any given situation.  They follow their “gut” instincts, not their heads.  Reasoning with them will do no good if you don’t first acknowledge and understand how they feel.

The most effective strategy for disciplining a moody water sign is to talk to them about how what they did made you (or others) feel.  Once they can identify with the feelings involved in any wrongdoing, they usually don’t repeat it.  Of all the signs, this one is most sensitive to name-calling, yelling, or feeling that others are poking fun (even well-intentioned ribbing is sometimes too much).  Their sensitive natures often can’t handle it.  If they become emotionally overwhelmed they will withdraw into themselves until they feel it’s safe to come out again.  When their moods take them over, oftentimes all you need do is wait it out.  Give them time alone and then let them know you understand them.  Soon enough the clouds will clear and the Sun will come out again.  Following is a list of natural gifts and natural challenges for water sign children.  Use this list to enhance natural abilities and to help them overcome the challenges. 

WATER SIGN GIFTS: empathetic, compassionate, understanding, thoughtful, kind, gentle, home-loving, nurturing, intuitive, psychic, deep, intense, dreamy, imaginative, sometimes musical, artistic, or psychic talents

WATER SIGN CHALLENGES: emotionally needy, moody, clings, cries easily, overly sensitive, “can’t take a joke”, fearful

Now, having given you some specific tools for each sign, let’s also never forget that there are some very important things that every child needs.  All children, in one way or another, will live what they are taught.  Love, kindness, compassion, and tolerance are needed by children of every sign.  Sensible boundaries set in a loving manner will work wonders for all signs.  And let’s not forget the ultimate goal of parenthood in the first place: to raise responsible, loving adults—some of whom will even leave home one day, marry, and raise children of their own.  Then you get to sit back, smile to yourself, and watch the “cosmic dance” unfold all over again!  Aren’t grandparents wonderful though?

 Along the way, remember: it’s only a dance.  We all benefit from learning a few new steps every now and again.  One day (all too soon) your children will be grown and your job will be done.  But until then parents, just look up and thank your lucky stars!