Monday, January 04, 2010

Parenting with Astrology: Stubbornness and Battles of Will

Amy Herring has been a professional astrologer for 15 years and a proud mother for 4 of those years. She has joyfully accepted Mlle. Kiddie’s gracious offer to share her thoughts once a month here at Kiddie Star Signs. To find out more about Amy and her personal readings for parents and children, visit her website at

Money and fame don’t solve every problem. Celebrity moms have their hopes and worries for their children too. However, I’d like to offer ‘everyday’ moms a chance to see astrology put into action to answer their parenting questions. After all, famous or not, you’re the world to your kids! If you’ve got a question about your child that you’d like Amy to answer, send your questions to 

Liz writes:
My daughter Zoe is generally a sweet child but she is incredibly stubborn. Once she plants her feet, no amount of bribing, cajoling, or threatening can easily change her mind, and we end up getting into some tough standoffs sometimes where she'll be angry enough to just scream. Not only that, but she seems to be rather focused on contrariness. She's wise to us now, but for a long time, the classic  'reverse psychology' worked like magic on her. (and occasionally still does even when it's obvious what we're doing). I'm all for her being a strong individual but how can I manage this in a way that's best for both of us?

Always when looking at any chart, I will look over the entire thing at a glance, seeing what stands out, looking at the always important positions of the sun, moon, and rising, planetary groupings, etc. Since this is a question about a strong will and how to manage conflict, I would also look specifically for anything concerning Mars.

A number of things stand out when looking at this chart, but to keep organized, let's start with Mars first. Mars is in the sign of Aries, which means Zoe's here with the intent of expressing her will in a direct way, and learning to defend her boundaries in a style that leaves no confusion about what she will and won't put up with. Aries is about the development of strength of will specifically, as well as courage and passion. So it looks like she's expressing it in a natural way for her (as kids tend to do!). Further, Mars is in a trine with Pluto and Mercury, all in fire signs. Both Mars and Pluto can have a lot to do with how we express and feel a sense of our own power, which Zoe is likely to express through her voice (Mercury), or it can recycle back into the matrix. A grand trine can operate as a sort of closed system; each planet represents a part of us that is in a continual loop, so while there are benefits, such as the fact that Zoe is learning to test the strength of her will which is something her soul needs (more on that in a minute), it's not an easy cycle to break when it needs to be rounded out.

As for the contrariness, Uranus is a stronger symbol than Mars. Uranus represents how we develop individuality, so it's where we (necessarily) need to step back from what's expected of us, or whatever the 'norm' is, to see what our authentic selves have to say. In its evolved expression, we can brave stepping away from what others would have us do if it compromises our essential selves even if we have to go into uncharted territory. In its more basic expression, it's where we are likely to respond with rebellious indignation when experiencing the pressure of expectation. Zoe's Uranus is tightly conjunct her Descendant, the cusp of the 7th house, which is a house that deals with learning to build healthy relationships. Now, anything that's conjunct the Descendant, is opposed the Ascendant. The Ascendant represents the way we greet the world, one could almost say one's 'persona'. We receive the world, including the people in it, through the filter of our Ascendant's style.

The Uranian expression, especially in a 4 year old, is likely to reveal itself in exactly the contrary behavior you describe, because with Uranus contacting both her Ascendant and Descendant, it's crucial that she learn how to be an individual so that she can have healthy relationships, so she's got Uranus there, teaching her how to withstand the pressure of the will of others (sensing a theme here?). This can work against healthy compromise and of course ultimately work against her, of course, so she'll need to be taught the difference between individuality and just simply rebellion just because she can. As she grows and experiences more of a range of the nuances in relationship, you may have to do deal with this contrary issue. A suggestion I might make would be to let her experience the consequences of her 'no' choice as directly as often as you can, and when you can't, approach it from a choice centered place: would you like to do this or this? If you can do that authentically, you might have less of a butting heads effect. Good advice for any child, really, but here it can be the difference between cooperative choice-making and impenetrable bull-headedness!

One important overall theme of Zoe's entire chart that stands out is how important it is for her to be loved for and be able to express what she truly is, not just the nice or easy going parts. Her south node in Libra, in the 2nd house, conjunct Jupiter, shows that she's come into this life with the vulnerability to subconsciously assuming that her worth will be based on her positivity, congeniality, and cooperativeness. These are great qualities in general, but every positive quality comes with a side effect, and Zoe's chart in particular shows a vulnerability to the negative effects on her self-esteem. So you'll want to show her, in every way that you can, that you love her, even when she's mad, and that you'll hear her and receive her, even when she's raging, but at the same time helping her understand that others are not her punching bag. She's got several protections in this life to guard against being a doormat, like Mars in Aries, and Uranus on the 7th house cusp, but she'll benefit from your guidance in the difference between compromise and surrender. Any time you can show her that what she wants matters, and compromises can be made, as opposed to one or the other getting their way exclusively, will be of great benefit to her.

Obviously some situations cannot be compromised, such as when her safety is at stake. In those cases, you can attempt to side step the standoffs by explaining where you're coming from, rather than just enforcing the rule for the sake of the rule. While she may not always be able to hear that, her Virgo Rising shows she's developing a way of seeing the world that is based on practicality and logic, so as she gets older, you may be able to appeal to her through that route, and it has the added benefit of not becoming a competition, but more like a cooperation. She is empathetic, so sharing the logic as well as the feeling behind your requests may be more productive rather than having her feel she has to defend her desires, which she will do vehemently, as you know!

Would you like some input on how to understand and nurture your child in the most effective way for their unique needs? Amy offers readings for parents and children; find out more at her website.
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