Raising Kids Now by Planet Waves Readers
Edited by Joni Mitchell, Astrology by Michele Perrin
Introduction by Eric Francis. Planet Waves readers are some of the most thoughtful, insightful people I know, and I am grateful to publish your ideas and observations on raising children. I've made the choice to publish all of the comments in full rather than cut them down to fit in reality what is an infinite space. So this is a rather long post, which is printable, and which will he posted on the www.PlanetWavesParenting.net web page shortly. I feel that the writers who took the time to put the work on paper deserve to have the full text of their comments read by whoever wants to, and I trust that some important messages will come through to those who need them.
I view this article as a document of the times in which we are living, spontaneous journalism written in its moment of relevance. In this document, you'll read what parents are afraid of; what their hopes and dreams for their children are; how they perceive their children; you'll learn about their dealing with ex's and with their partner's ex's; how they see the world; what they think about God, religion, education and other institutions; how they feel about drugs such as Ritalin; and how they see themselves. We've included some astrological information about each of the writers, which was cast and compiled by Michele Perrin here in Paris. Thank you to everyone else who participated in this project, particularly to Joni, who took 28 emails and turned them into an article, and to Lorin Vincent for additional editing support.
Note, we did not search our database for people named Linda and send special invitations to submit comments. It just happened that there are a lot of Lindas buzzing around this project! More Lindas responded than did Libra children last time.
For our next project, we are looking for some unbelievable or at least noteworthy quotes from your children -- the things they just come out with. We will identify them only by first name, home town and a description of their chart, just like in this article. Please be sure to include their birth data, which we will keep confidential, and remember that responding with content means you're granting us permission to use it here and elsewhere.
Carrie & David
My husband and I have four children. The oldest two are fraternal twin girls, who are twelve. Then we have a singleton girl who is nine and a singleton boy who is almost three. All of them are sweet, bright, different kids. We tried for five years to conceive, and finally with the help of fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination with my husband's sperm, we conceived the twins and again the singleton girl, almost two years later. Our son was a spontaneous pregnancy when I was 41 and on the pill. All of them are miracles, wonderful to behold and very wanted and loved. My daughters witnessed me giving birth to their brother. They bonded with him instantly. We are a close family, loving and happy most of the time. Our kids are the priority in our lives because they are not grown yet.
Raising my kids today is both wonderful and challenging. I get enormous pleasure in watching them learn, grow and deal with the things in their lives. The most fulfilling thing about raising them is knowing they are each different individuals with completely unique ways of thinking and feeling. It is fascinating how they can look at things so differently than we adults do. They are my passion, much like others have a passion for medicine or art or writing. Words cannot express the complete joy and sense of fulfillment my husband and I get from having them in our lives.
The responsibilities of raising kids today are enormous. My husband and I feel things are far harder for us as parents than they were for our parents, mostly because our society has shifted to a more self-centered, less child-centered one. We are trying to not only give our kids the ability to think and reason for themselves, we are struggling to allow them time to BE kids in a society that seems to prefer pushing them to grow up faster and faster. We are definitely on a different life path than most of our peers, our kids are not watching or doing or participating in much of what is served up these days in society. This is not due to any religious belief we have, but due to our knowledge that kids get messed up when consumption, violence, enjoying human indignities, trivializing relationships/life are taught to them as though these are real life or as though these are to be valued. They are not.
Raising kids these days is also harder because so many other parents don't seem to parent their kids anymore, making other kids more difficult. Our kids have problems making friends with their peers because those peers are doing things that are inappropriate or even bad. Our kids are emotionally intelligent, they are years ahead of their peers in their ability to delay gratification, reason things out, feel compassion and tolerance etc. It was a difficult decision we had to make, we knew teaching them to be and think for themselves would alienate them from most mainstream kids. It was a painful choice: we knew they would sometimes suffer emotional isolation from this choice. Yet we could not keep this gift of self-realization from them.
Parenting is a lot more intensive these days. No longer can we allow our kids to just go outside and play in the neighborhood. The neighborhood homes are for the most part empty, people think of adult concerns, not kids. The wonderful freedom my husband and I enjoyed as kids is gone. We cannot even allow them to go alone to another aisle in the local department store because twice in our small town, young girls were molested during regular hours, in the daytime in that store when they went to a different aisle to get something. The culprit is still uncaught.
It's as if our society has stopped valuing kids. There's a lot of talk about how important our kids are to us, but the actions don't back that talk up. Being a vigilant parent is harder because we have less back up from extended family or neighbors. It falls primarily on parents now.
Yet I love raising my kids and choose to do nothing else while they are children. Knowing I am making a difference in at least four lives, giving four people the tools and the love and foundation to allow them to be clear thinking, informed individuals is worth every moment of hard work. My husband feels the same, hence his support for our arrangement that he work outside our home and I stay home with the kids. They are the treasures in my life and my husband's life. We invest in them, not with words only but in actual deeds. We value them more than the typical American dream of owning a house or SUV's or vacation property. Truly, they are priceless treasures that enrich our lives in ways no object purchased or made can ever do.
This is how we feel about them and why we chose to share the love we have by having children and loving them. It may be harder to parent now, but aren't these children worth it? We know they are."
Carrie is 45 and lives in Flagstaff. She has Virgo rising and Her Sun in early Pisces is conjunct her Chiron in late Aquarius in the 6th house, both opposing Pluto in Virgo in the 12th. Her Moon in Capricorn is part of a grouping of planets in the 4th including, Juno, Vesta, Jupiter, Pallas and Saturn. David is 52 and also lives in Flagstaff, but is originally from Chicago. David has Chiron in the 12th conjunct his Capricorn rising opposing his Moon/Uranus conjunction in Pisces in the 7th. His Moon is in exact conjunction with the 7th house cusp. His Sun is in Scorpio in the 10th.
My perspective in raising my kids (and my boyfriend's) is new. My perspective has changed. My habits are changing. My world HAS changed because of what we set in motion back in March of 2004. We have our ups and our definite downs of raising a "blended" family. Leave it to me... Libra with Virgo Rising to think it would be "fair" and "easy"... and all "love" and "peace". It's been that... but, it has been at a price. But, then again, if it were "easy"... I suppose it wouldn't be worth doing!
My kids, Avery and Aidan are doing well. Their dad has left them (me)...and shows up about every two months or so, rarely calling to check in with them. He is very unwell. He has lost his perspective to life ... and has left all behind, including a multi-million dollar business, his family and he is on the drugs of choice... this time, prescribed for what he calls Post Traumatic Syndrome from his four year stint in the Navy, Risperdal, Clonazepam, and a whopping 250mg of Zoloft. He makes no monetary contribution to the kids and me. It has been a hard lesson for the boys and I to not be able to do what we need to do just to live and we have had to rely on others. Something I find hard to do or accept. It is best he is not here through this... and the children sense it. They know instinctively that it will change in the future. But, right now... it is what it is. We try and support him as best we can when he calls or shows up. Can I say that I am proud of them when my heart breaks for theirs? They are troopers in every sense of the word.
They are angry at times...loving at times and most of all... still wanting to be a part of my life. They are well-educated boys on the whole. I talk frankly to them, and know no other way to navigate this new road with them. I get grief from the new man in my life, who lives with us (broke his back on May 31...and moved in with us to recover and to stay for good on June 4)...but, alas, he is learning as well, to be honest, caring and learning to let people in enough to trust them to love him no matter what his feelings are. We are teaching his kids the same thing when we are together. We have just spent a hectic week with all 4 boys and sometimes 5. I'll list everyone at the end. We have boys that are similar in age but yet, have been raised completely differently. My kids are learning astrology and what it can do for them to help them cope and to help them learn about themselves. Right now, I can't say a lot to his kids about it as there is a custody battle going on. I want to teach them about themselves.
I find it amazing that I could share with his kids, who have "lost" their father as well, out of their home, even though we are only 3 blocks from each other, but yet, can't say anything to them for fear it will send the wrong message to the "ex" right now. I am promised this will change ... and in the future, let go a bit and not be so guarded, something I think a Libra has a hard time doing. It is hard to love and not have the love wholeheartedly returned.
(My partner's ex is so angry and bitter that she actually feels we have no right to pray...or see the boys...and that she is owed everything with no responsibility to contribute herself to the children's welfare. She has even chosen her own college over her 18 year old son's...making it even more difficult for us to support them all).
I find it frustrating that we are not teaching our kids enough about world peace, hunger, making a difference on a home level...on a community level, and I am hoping to find a way soon to help them know that life isn't all video games and what they are going to "get" today. I wish for them to find the simple pleasures in life…like frog hunting...or bug catching... instead of the instant gratification that we so lavishly toss about and then wonder where our work ethic and caring went with the younger generation. We have to live and lead by example.
I hope that in 2005 I can make a big, positive impact on these 5 boys that mean the world to us and that we so desperately want to include as a family that excludes no one, even when we aren't together all the time. I want to learn about them... and to teach them compassion and love. I also want to teach them about relationship. Not staying in the wrong relationship at a cost to your health and your self-respect. I want to teach them responsibility to each other and respect for each other.
One of the challenges with this whole picture is battling the evil on the other side... the dogmatic thinking and the rigidness of it all. As well as making sure my kids know that they are loved by their father, even when he isn't well. How do we do this without losing faith in mankind? Is it worth it? Is it my battle? What legacy am I dealing with - my own or another man's marriage and the chaos that still exists there? My heart is heavy at times. I WANT to make a difference!
We do some of this by having a family meeting and family nights with games and homemade pizza. We also have a bible study for kids, holding the attention at about 20 minutes per every other week.
Sorry it's so long and scattered! I spent from 2AM - 5AM discussing this with my partner... it wasn't pretty, and it was scary... but, we made it through it in the wee hours and are more committed to this family than ever. And with that... I am thankful that school is back in session on Tuesday!"
Ginger is 39 and lives in Oregon. She has Virgo rising, and the Sun in the 1st in Libra. Her Moon is in Aquarius in the 5th house. Chiron is conjunct Ceres and Saturn in Pisces in the 7th opposing a Uranus/Pluto conjunction in the 12th.
I have 3 daughters, aged 10, 20 and 22. I would like to say that in retrospect I have taught them the basics about how to live in this day and age and loved and nurtured them to the best of my ability and kept them from harm. But by far the greatest lessons have been what I have learned from them, how to love (both myself and others), how to be honest and respectful of my own views as well as those of other people and how to really PLAY. I think that by really getting to know your kids is the key, because they let you in on secrets about yourself that you never knew. They are what has kept me sane in these wild times and I am forever grateful to them for coming to me."
Debbie is 46 and lives in Sydney, Australia. Her Ascendant is Scorpio. Her Sun is in the first degree of Libra in the 11th. She has an exact conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in Scorpio in the twelfth in close contact with the North Lunar Node. Both Chiron and the Moon are in Aquarius in the 4th.
Here's what I would say about parenting: T. Berry Brazelton (renowned pediatrician), years ago, said. 'Decide in advance what you want to teach your children'. At the time, I thought this was the height of wisdom, But I didn't know just how challenging this would be. For example, I wanted to teach my children to feel loved, and to love. But....what is love, and just how do you teach it? (Thank you M. Scott Peck for giving me the answer.) Both my children, James age 22, and Kate age 16, were planned babies. James was the first baby I ever diapered, so it was new turf for me. Kate came 5 years later, and by that time I was a veteran. I was fortunate that they both are healthy and without significant physical/mental handicaps. Depression runs in both my family and my ex-husband's, so we have had that to deal with both kids.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment, and the most important commitment you can make. I have found it to be very complex and challenging, and has led me to re-think much of what I learned from my own parents growing up, not to mention some of the psychology books I have read in college and graduate school. It is a whole new perspective on your world. Bonding to your children is at least as neat as falling in love, and the feeling bears some resemblance. It has magic to it, and the wonder we have lost to becoming more jaded adults. What has been most frustrating to me is having to spend so much time working (I have been a single parent for almost 10 years) rather than spend the time helping my kids grow up with all the hopes I have for them. It helps greatly to have a cooperative spouse and a support system of family and friends, things that are largely absent these days. It is very difficult to feel that I am doing justice to the job of raising my kids, when 10-12 hours of my day are consumed by work.
Children need our TIME, and our full attention, our love and understanding, and our ability to teach what is important. What we call discipline would be so unnecessary if we had the time to deal with each situation as it came up, with thought, care, love and wisdom. The world has become so fast paced and complex, so frustrating and dangerous. It touts a message which I don't want my kids to learn: negativity, indifference, powerlessness, and corruption. A lesson that cannot be avoided because it is so blatantly in our faces. However, even though teaching them has been done in snatches of time, sometimes when I was pretty exhausted, I am happy that my kids have turned out to be honorable, caring, perceptive individuals who do not embrace this current reality, but rather want to change it and want to do their work as citizens of the world as passionately as possible.
As an aside, my advice to parents is forget the big house and new cars and billions of toys. Have one parent stay at home if at all possible. Work together, get advice and counsel when you need it. Cultivate family involvement and work towards a true community in your neighborhood. Look closely at the mistakes your parents made, but without blame. Work out different solutions, and realize that there is not a single parent in the world who does not make mistakes. All children are different, and to some degree we are all flying by the seat of our pants. Stress the positive, minimize the negative, but deal with it when the time arises!
Gail is 58 and hails from New York City. Her 1st house Moon is conjunct the South Node and the Ascendant in Sagittarius. Her Gemini Sun in the Seventh is conjunct the Part of Fortune, the North Node and Uranus. Chiron is in the 10th house in Libra next to Jupiter and is exactly conjunct Pallas.
On raising children today...I am a single mother of three, living 26 miles outside Boston. My children, ages 17, 15, and 12 are each unique human beings. For years I thought it was my job to teach them how to get along in society, how to live up to everyone else's standards. I watched them stumble time and again, unable to achieve others' ideas of what they should and shouldn't be. I've learned that the best I can do for them is move out of their way so they may be the people THEY intend to be.
They shine so brightly now, amazing me each day with their individuality, their philosophies and beliefs. I spend as much time with them as I can. They are excellent company, teaching me more everyday and never failing to challenge my beliefs and ideas. I adore them."
Toni is 44 and originally from Michigan. She has Sagittarius rising and Sun in Sagittarius in the 12th house. Her Moon is in q group of planets in the 3rd house in Aquarius, including Ceres, the Part of Fortune and Chiron. Jupiter is in exact conjunction with Juno in the 1st house.
'Parent-ing'...it's a silly word really. If only because the word itself implies somehow that we have managed to re-invent a process that is as old as humanity. But if I had to pick a different word to describe that process, I would change it only to Love-ing. Because above all else, being a parent is a constant re-education in what it really means to love. As parents we learn all the time what loving really means -- to let go -- to get Ego out of it -- to compromise, to appreciate another human being as someone apart from our own desires, to take on responsibility for another's health and happiness, to think about what really matters, and to see the world through new eyes -- treated everyday to a vision that is open, honest, vulnerable, and largely untainted by anybody except us. Our only real job as parents is to guide our children into becoming who they are and who they came here to be. Because every life has a purpose and if our kids remind us of nothing else -- they remind us there is God.
I lost my first child, a boy. He was stillborn. That was in a time where we all thought that if we "planned" pregnancy and followed all the rules and ate right and took our exercise and didn't so much as smell as glass of wine that nothing could ever go wrong. I had a textbook pregnancy, my boy was nearly full term and the loss was indescribably devastating. There was no medical "reason". It just happened. That was five years before Zoe was born, without fertility drugs, without technology, and without, I am proud to say -- planning.
And maybe that has always given me a slightly different perspective, but her life, (just as all life) has always seemed to me to be a wonderful gift, and raising her to be a great privilege. She is ten now, spiritually and physically and intellectually very mature -- emotionally still negotiating all the changes that come with puberty and peer pressure and taking the next important steps toward breaking away from Mom -- rebellion, sneaking out with forbidden makeup, yakking on the phone for hours. We have days where if I insist the sky is blue, she must disagree...but so what? She's SUPPOSED to...it's an essential part of becoming herself, not some duplicate of me.
I would say only about parenting these days that in our preoccupation with "security" and correcting all those wrongs that our Inner Children may have experienced to remember that your child is a PERSON, not some chance to correct the wrongs of the past, but a chance to see and contribute to the future. Investing ego into your child's "success" is all too easy -- back up -- see them for who they are as PEOPLE -- not who you want them to be. Don't schedule endless "lessons" and activities. Kids don't need lessons on how to play.
And please, don't say: "Good job!" every time they do something right. Life is a gift, learning is a process -- not a "job".
Give them instead room and time to dream -- and space to do nothing at all. Give them structure and tools and education and then listen, really listen to what they have to say and what they have to give. Let them lead you to their real interests and their real dreams and never forget what that your kid is a gift to the world, and you have been given a great privilege to raise that child.
Teresa is 51 and originally from Wisconsin. She has Capricorn rising, conjunct Chiron in the first. The Sun and Mars in Gemini as well as the Moon and Mercury in Cancer are in the 6th house. Saturn conjunct Neptune in Libra sit at the top of the chart in the 10th house.
I welcome this opportunity and will try to keep it concise since I could write a book about raising kids now!!
Being an older parent I believe was extremely helpful and, though none of them are teenagers any more, I promised myself and them I would not cut them off prematurely from full support from me. I gave them until they become 25 to have support as needed, as much as possible without question or judgment, but with plenty of motherly advice! Children have problems right up to then and they really are still young and inexperienced until mid-20s I believe. I have been able to love them unconditionally as I have a big heart and am dedicated to being a good mother. The two fathers were more difficult and I had to balance out the negative aspects they brought to parenting.
But what I would like to say is that, though fathers are often seen as a problem, it is important to remember that men are victims of their own cultural upbringings and it is unfair to blame them for behaving how they have been brought up. I know abuse can be passed from generation to generation and it is important to break the cycle. Unconditional love is the most important gift I have given my children -- giving them tools to use to build their own lives rather than trying to make the decisions for them about what I decided was how they should live their lives!!
I carefully gave them choices from the time they were small so that they learned how to decide things and feel the consequences before the choices were life-decisions. However, unconditional love is the number one most important thing a parent can give a child. Every child is different from the moment of birth, even if our parenting is the same. Astrology gives us some clues to help us along the way! Feeling loved deep inside gives the foundation for loving themselves.
I love CWG [Conversations with God] where it is made clear that elders should raise children (though youngers should physically have them!) so I believe intergenerational households would be a wonderful way of helping all people. Older folks (I am over 60 now) living with the younger kids can bring some wisdom from their knowledge, and patience from their life experience, to help parents deal with the inevitable ups and downs of family life.
Thank you Eric for being so astute and for writing things that are so helpful. The disaster in SE Asia seems to be bringing out the best in people, and it would be lovely if the war effort turned into a peace and relief effort. The fact that seismic soundings for oil could have triggered the earthquakes and tsunami is just so incredible (and likely) and I hope there is a lot of journalism about it. With the Freedom of Information Act coming online in the UK, many people will be asking for the real stories on things. Transparency from everyone is needed if we are going to make it through life without destroying each other or the world."
Linda is 60 and lives in England but is originally from New York. She has Libra rising. Her Sun is in exact conjunction with Juno, joining Mercury in Pisces in the 5th house. She has a stellium of planets in Gemini spanning the 9th house cusp. Her Moon is in Cancer in the 10th and Chiron is in Virgo in the 11th.
Sara and Max are my two teenagers. Both beauties were born in NYC. Both are outspoken, teasing, keen observers. Both have beautiful dark brown eyes.
When they were little and we played LIFE, my couple was same sex. When we played Scrabble, words were misspelled. I made every effort to catch them being right. Max has learning differences, and I explained to him that everyone has certain challenges. He could not leave school in second grade; he had to find ways to adapt, and we would help him.
In kindergarten a classmate told Sara her fingers were fat. She was upset. I asked her whether she had said to the girl, "Well, your hair is brown." We talked about how all bodies are good for each of us right then. My little pudgy round-faced girl is now a heart-faced beauty, due to her own exercise and right-eating which she undertook herself when she was ready.
These are outward appearances. What I've mostly cared about is instilling hope and love. We participate in the Midnight Run, bringing food and clothes to the homeless in NYC. We share what we are grateful for. I've hung "IMAGINE PEACE" in the kitchen. I share my learnings from yoga and spiritual pursuits and you with them, even as they roll their teenage eyes and grin at each other.
My deepest pleasures are seeing them respond to the people in their world. My son saying "I love you" when he says good bye on the phone. (Hearing my response back, a friend I was with, a teacher of teenagers, remarked, he says that to you?) My daughter's college essay about bringing the world together. Seeing them participate in the different rituals of our interfaith household. Watching how they differentiate responses between my outright, outspoken husband and gentle, listening me; just this experience has helped them to approach people of different characteristics.
Sharing music, sharing their 'fevers' (Max's snakes and camping, Sara's knitting and fashion forays), encouraging their kindnesses, tolerating their moods and resistance -- these are my joys. My challenges are realizing that they will inherit this overspent, raging world. I teach that by doing our own small part, we do affect the whole.
I love them, and they love me. As the saying goes, I love them enough to set them free. Sara leaves later this year for college; she's already busy with her social circle. Max is more of a homebody, but he is testing out his place in the world, his dreams, his ideas of where else to live.
They are of me, but not me. In a not-so-subtle development, I separated from my mother just last week; I will be 45 in February; this has not been healthy, and I had to struggle wildly to get to this point.
I see my children living their lives, not an expected one. There is no expected for these two creatures. They create themselves. Oneself. Their dad and I love them, guide them, direct them, release them into their very own experiences.
Ann is 45 and from Michigan. She has Libra Rising and the Moon is exactly conjunct the 7th house cusp in Aries. Her Pisces Sun and Chiron in Aquarius are both in the 5th house.
I am the step-parent of a 19-year-old-boy. He is the last of four sons. Seven years ago we moved to Vashon to help our son adjust to the fast paced world of a teenager. The world for a teen is full of images of what the marketing community calls perfect and the teens are almost helpless in the face of the information maelstrom. This generation has been programmed to consume. Every where they turn they see what the marketing spinners want them to see and consume to be "cool". Being an individual with confidence in one's self has become cloaked in the world of consuming and instant "having". It is a complicated task raising children and teenagers are especially challenging. What I carry close with me everyday is the phrase "this to will pass" and indeed bad behavior changes and passes away. The big reward of parenting for me is seeing my crazy teens turn into young adults with creative minds and involved in forming their own lives."
Jan is 57 and lives in Washington State. She has Capricorn rising and The Sun in Leo conjunct Saturn and Pluto in the 7th. Her Moon is conjunct Juno in the 11th house opposing Mars and Uranus. Chiron is in the second degree of Scorpio in the 9th house.
Raising Sidney, when she was just a few days old, I realized that as she's my daughter and likely to inherit my sensitivity, I wanted her to have the awareness around her I did not have -- understanding and encouragement/support to help develop was had been partially stunted in myself. I always presented open views to her -- for instance always using any gender combination when referring to couples -- and taught her much of my own knowledge of Nature. I take her on walks in the woods and wild areas, identifying trees and birds and bugs. We love to watch David Attenborough specials and read guidebooks and history books. She has soaked-up that teaching; begin from the moment they are born -- it has a great impression. Sid's dad and I also have taught her what smattering of Korean and Japanese we know (he from living in Seoul, his dad was a civil engineer; me from watching anime and learning from Japanese friends). From watching movies herself, she picked-up some Japanese, and later she went to a local Korean school, where she became top of the class (herself non-Korean). Currently she's studying Korean because her Dad will be teaching English there, and Sid will probably spend some time with him. Learning other languages and cultures is very important, and we wanted her to have that opportunity.
Some difficulties with her have been dealing with her focus or lack thereof. She has slight autism, inherited from both parents (we never knew until we were grown), and if she's not interested in a project, it's obvious. Constant reminders, setting examples, of the importance of focusing, at least for politeness' sake (oh, have there been moments…) The other side of that is that she's focused on something else, very intently. Sidney is very intelligent, observant and artistic -- she's learned great technique with drawing. Since babyhood, she's been very sensitive to the moods of others -- wanted to help, very nurturing in her personality. Also outgoing and good on stage. Unlike me -- thank goodness she doesn't have the crippling shyness I worked so hard to get over. I'm still awkward at times -- I think her social skills will begin to develop around 15, if she follows my own development.
We took her out of public school after 3rd grade -- she needed a different structure or she would both fall behind and have her uniqueness curbed. (Her academic skills were always among top-of-the-class, it was her social skills that were under-developed, or at least, developed along a direction few empathized with.)
The structure of schools, of how most people view life in general, does not encourage a broad spectrum of character. I would not impose that on Sidney. Learn to work with it, but not be ruled by it.
Also, being a parent means always being a student, too. Definitely have discipline, but use it yourself and use it with humor and sense or it has worse than no effect. Don't be hypocritical -- it's transparent from an early age, even if a child can't find words for what they sense. And be there for your child, young or old; I'm 32 and have parents who seemed to drop out of parenthood years ago. I'm not talking about support -- I'm talking about keeping in touch, still setting an example of self-growth -- living, in other words. When you're a parent, it's the rest of your life -- growing yourself so that you can always be there. Most relationships are that way -- you don't cross some line and have an excuse to do no self-growth. As long as you live, you grow, and that's how to be the best parent; keep growing just like your child."
Jenn is 32 and from Texas. She has Cancer rising and the Sun in Sagittarius. Her Capricorn Moon is conjunct Jupiter and The North Node in the 6th. Chiron is retrograde in Aries in the 9th house.
I have a remarkable daughter age 19 who has always been unafraid to be different. She has an unabashed craving for experience and an uncanny ability to accept the consequences. Having the experiences she chooses is reward enough for her. She is artistic, kinesthetic and glamorous. My worry is that she has difficulty with the pragmatics of life and little time for attention to details. And that she is empathetically advanced which makes her priorities at odds with her culture.
When she was five years old I stumbled upon a method for communicating with her which has worked to this day. Communication is one of my major goals as a parent. I discovered that if I just talked to her as I would talk to anyone else no matter what age, she would listen. She had been hiding the chickens that her dog had killed in the blackberries so that I would not get rid of the dog. I found an injured chicken that had escaped from the blackberries wandering around in the yard. I told her that since she was young in this life I understood that she liked to use her imagination and creativity to influence the world according to her desires but that sometimes I, as an older human with more responsibilities than she had, needed to know the truth. We made an agreement that when I needed to know the truth I would tell her and that she would tell the truth then. I have overheard her telling this story to her teenage friends as an example of how to work things out with parents. We have also used contracts at critical moments to problem solve volatile situations. Sitting together and writing down both of our concerns has solidified and documented our commitments.
I had a small cabin on my property remodeled last year for her to move into and she still is living there. More importantly we are still in communication.
Thanks for the opportunity to share one of the many stories I have about my relationship with my youngest daughter. She has absolutely pushed me to my limits and I have nothing but appreciation for the gift that she is in my life."
Leslie is 55 and born in Portland, Oregon. She has Pisces rising and the Sun in the 2nd house in Taurus conjunct Venus. Her Moon is in Libra close to Neptune in the 7th house. Chiron sits at the top of the chart in Sagittarius.
Tiny amount of personal info: My dad was one of a half-dozen Presbyterian ministers sent to Detroit after seminary to take part in the Civil Rights movement. Kinda weird -- growing up in a home that was all about helping the people who were beating me up everyday after school. (I guess officially that's Reverse Discrimination -- but you tell me how the heck discrimination can be reversed?!) Anyway, I was raised in a Norman Rockwell-esque home in the middle of the social/economic upheaval. I currently live in Burbank CA. My two children are with me every other week. They attend public school in Burbank. I am currently positioning myself to produce independent films.
Another point of trivia: A screenplay I'm writing re: marriage/divorce: "13 Years in Hell." I now have a very experiential understanding of what abuse is (emotional/spiritual etc). From what I can tell it is an extremely prevalent and insidious part of the Ozzie and Harriet culture.
Daughter: Aaryn Rachael: 13 years old. I believe she will follow a path into some form of photo/journalism. She is in dire need of appropriate role models. It's difficult to give her insight into my non-conventional belief system without upsetting her coping mechanisms as she grapples with her day-to-day world at school. She is encumbered with an emotionally manipulative/abusive dad as well. I use this as a tool for learning (how to question other people's perceptions of reality, etc).
Son: Jordan Alon: 11 years old. Appears to be an Indigo Child, if you're into that stuff. His dad tried every trick to put him on Ritalin so he wouldn't have to "parent" him. I was finally able to get the system to back me up with a he's NOT ADHD diagnosis. It's amazing how easy it is for a parent to just throw their child on drugs. Just another way to dumb down our children if you ask me. Jordan is still most probably suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (don'tcha love the fancy names) from the day he witnessed his counselor and friends shot by a terrorist at summer camp when he was 5. Oh! And we were living on the epicenter of the Northridge Earthquake -- what was that, when Jordan was 2 months? Interesting nursing my son in the middle of the street in front of the house (everything destroyed) while the aftershocks continued. (I must pause and make an observation on human nature here -- it was amazing to be in the middle of absolute destruction. I stopped into a local market a few days after the main quake. People were stocking up on canned goods and discussing the situation in a victimized, fearful way. And yet -- the bigger picture? -- if they traveled a half mile in any given direction, life carried on as normal -- the markets were full of food, water, etc...) But current events have only continued to get more intense since my now seemingly trivial experiences. And there is certainly no flourishing market a half-mile from Sri Lanka today. (But there are flourishing markets a relative distance. By the way, isn't Iraq about halfway between where "Atlantis" probably stood and Sri Lanka area? I find some irony in that...but then I find "Atlantis" to be quite symbolic.)
Parenting my children (and their dad) is all about offering as much Love as possible -- while still believing in Self even when confidence is low. (Easier said than done.) What then is Parenting? Along with the obvious "brush your teeth," being "a living example of being true to Self," perhaps? I was not a stay-at-home mom by the way. Worked my way partially up the corporate ladder. Yeah, did the pumping breast milk thing and everything. Geez – why did we have to go through that stage?! (the Era of Supermom) Let's encourage nurturing! For all of us! I am painting and sculpting and writing again (art/design major). Always the "black-sheep" in the family. I firmly believe that our whole social structure deserves an overhaul. Why should any child have to be a "misfit"? One of my biggest challenges is dealing with a school system that is soooooo completely outdated; the structure, the information -- the incompetence of most teachers is amazing - although there have been a couple of gems.
But as I'm sure you know, our whole educational system is geared to teach children NOT to think. My bigger dreams overthrow this tyranny!! Hopefully my Plans will allow me to augment change. This time of watching my children suffer through the process is my education. I do not wage small battles. I'm saving up for Real Change. I've been working on an (educational) video game business plan with a group -- based on word from an aerospace think-tank member who brought the acknowledgement that our national security is threatened because we do not have enough American students in the "pipeline" to higher education who can actually THINK! (to develop bigger and better weapons, no doubt) If that's what it takes to get people to listen.....
I expect filmmaking to be the primary vehicle for my stories. Hopefully finding and following my path will be a useful example to my children. (Better than setting them up for failure in a rapidly failing economy...aka Rich Dad/Poor Dad. The Age of Access (Jeremy Rifkin) is another really good source. I look to create ways for my children to Experience Life so that their emotions and the world around them become real.
Over the years, my biggest frustration with my daughter has been her lack of what I call "common sense". Whatever that "sense" is -- it doesn't seem to be all that "common" anymore. I suspect this is -- in part -- because of the disconnect between real life and
schools‚ outdated teaching/learning process(es). Of course it has to do with other social issues and her personal way of being as well.
2005 parent/child challenges:
- How to question authority figures without being disrespectful and accepting that many authority figures believe that children (and employees and women and others who are treated as children in our culture) are being disrespectful just by raising questions.
- How to Love, how to Turn the Other Cheek, without becoming a Victim.
- How to cultivate the Self-Tools that give stability while allowing and facilitating change. (That is....It was fine for my grandmother to teach my mom to be a housewife in the old agriculture/farm culture kind of way. No longer relevant. We must unlearn the Lessons For Being Fixed in Space and Time and learn how to constantly update patterns of behavior.)
- The current time is for helping others learn to nurture themselves and others.
- The current time is for helping our economy to shift so it doesn't collapse.
- The current time is for helping to relieve the earth of our abuses.
- The current time is for learning to listen - and to hear and see everything and everyone around us differently.
This is the Time of Truth. Listening past the bullshit. Teaching my kids and myself to constantly listen for what is behind and in-between the words (and pictures). Sadly, too many people still choose blindness over sight. It's time to end the milquetoast/liberal/self-effacing guilt trip and get on with living. Maybe the alarm clock is finally loud enough? After 9/11 so many people pushed the snooze button. What else will it take? Ah! Now I am rambling far far past the point of your questions.
Linda is 47 and born in Detroit. Uranus in the 12th house is conjunct her Leo ascendant. The Sun in Pisces and Chiron and Mercury in Aquarius are in 7th house. Her Aries Moon is Conjunct the 9th house cusp. Jupiter, the North Node and Neptune, all retrograde, are conjunct in Scorpio spanning across the 3rd house cusp. Venus is in the first degree of Aquarius and Pluto is in the first degree of Virgo.
My deepest pleasures in raising my two kids, one boy and one girl were as toddlers to youngsters of about 11-13. As young adults of 24 and nearly 22, the greatest pleasure is seeing them grow into themselves and hearing their wisdom. My greatest struggle came as a result of a divorce that, although I wanted, I didn't expect the emotional turmoil that would happen and the manipulation my ex used to get residential custody. Coming from a strict and rigid background, he said, 'I'll support the kids, but they live with me.' Needless to say, it ripped my heart out. I was so emotionally spent that I did not know how to 'fight' it. And so, I can say that the greatest challenge has been to keep the lid on my resentment, educate the kids as to people's 'ways of being' and not take it too personally that their fathers' family is revered over mine.
It has been 6 1/2 years of much needed growth for me so I guess it is a 'perfectly evolving universe.'
Linda is 54 and from Illinois. Her late Taurus Venus in the 12th is conjunct her Gemini rising. The Sun is conjunct Uranus in Cancer in the 2nd. Her Scorpio Moon is in the 6th house square Pluto in Leo. Chiron is retrograde in Sagittarius in the 7th.
I don't know if this contribution is legitimate as I am a grandmother (aged 58) although I still have a 22 year old son at home. I am still very concerned though about the young people and their parents in this troubled world.
It seems to me that parents are so undermined by the political and financial agendas of those in power. From day 1 our children are not really ours to bring up -- yet we are held responsible for their actions. What troubles me most is the present climate of bias toward the objective; the logical; the scientific. When parents try to guide children to spiritual perspectives and to heed their own inner voices, they are constantly battling this one-sided view that if it isn't scientific and factual, it shouldn't be taken seriously. This operates throughout the education system, which has been totally geared up to serve the interests of capitalism. Much the same applies to the judicial system and the now popular system of "Zero Tolerance". How are we/they supposed to bring up compassionate people while being taught that no tolerance is something to be proud of?
I realize you wanted short comments from parents, so I will leave it at that for now. Sorry if this isn't what you were looking for. I just took the opportunity to tell you what I think -- as a way of saying thank you really. Maybe it's the only way I have of giving something back. I brought up 4 children alone. One of them died as a result of drug addiction in 1995. My two daughters grew up pretty well all things considered and my younger son too. I am proud of them all, the ones still here and the one gone before. People find that strange -- to be proud of an addict. They should know though that sensitivity in a world perceived as uncaring and brutal can often contribute to this kind of retreat/escape. We are all responsible for a world to which we expect our young ones to adapt and thrive -- not just the individual parents. They need support too."
MS is 58 and lives in England. She has Libra rising and Moon conjunct Neptune in Libra in the 12th. She has an exact conjunction of the Sun, Ceres and Mercury in Pisces, all in exact square to Uranus in Gemini. Chiron is in the 1st house in Scorpio.
I read about the upcoming Parent Waves e-journal on your site recently and think it a really worthwhile idea. I work in the disability area of tertiary education so I'm involved with teenagers on a daily basis - those students with a disability which requires direct academic support and with the support workers - mainly students- engaged to work with them. I also have a 16 year old son who spends week about with me and his father and partner in a nearby suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
Will took the family break-up hard. He was 10 and cried for days - even speaking of suicide. I know this may seem harsh but I felt the fact that he was crying was a good sign, though it went on for a few weeks. His obvious vulnerability also invited attacks from a class bully. The teacher called me because Will was dissolving in tears in the classroom repeatedly. I understood her concern for the other students too but I felt it was an honest, if painfully public, response to extreme loss. Will came through it. I repeatedly offered him the opportunity to see a counselor to talk things through but he's never taken me up on it. He has many good friends and I think this has been one of the reasons he has been able to work things through without professional help. True friends have been especially important to him given that he is an only child. One other important fact I feel is that I spent his first seven years at home. He's a very active boy and I don't see much of him now so those early times were important bonding years, especially in retrospect. Not necessarily advocating this for everyone but it was important for Will and me and our future.
Will is a complex person but always full of vitality and verve. We share an interest in rock music. Amazing that he has just gravitated to that era of sounds around the 70s. I love rock and blues but it was he who introduced me to CBGB's. He's taken up bass guitar and this has noticeably helped him to be more centered and calm. He also has a great, very dry, sense of humour - say that's the Cap! and is curious about the world, loves travel and is great at class presentations! and wants to know in that deep probing way of his, what caused the phenomenon "Hitler".
I guess you can tell from what I've said that I not only love my son but I like him and find inspiration in him. Despite life's challenges Will is affectionate and loving. I love my job also because I find the teenagers I work with to be so positive, engaged and open to life's possibilities and very loving. They are much more environmentally aware than previous generations of course. I just hope cynicism doesn't take hold as soon as they start work. These people are the future unfolding before our eyes. I know that's obvious but people seem to forget just what a wonder that is."
Linda is 51 and lives in Australia. She has Scorpio rising. Her Sun is in Aries in the 6th house. The Moon is conjunct the South Node in Leo in the 10th. Chiron the 4th house in Capricorn opposes Uranus in Pisces. Neptune is conjunct Saturn, both retrograde in the 12th house in Libra, ad in opposition to Pallas and Venus in the 6th.
The deepest pleasure and the toughest challenges parallel each other. These kids are born smart and have unprecedented access to information. Thus, to raise a child is to raise a critic, in my opinion...a being for whom it is imperative to develop a sense of discernment, to understand that in every experience there are choices, whether it is to accept the supposed truth of words that he reads, understand the perspective of what is presented to him, that there are consequences not only to his actions but to his thought patterns and what he chooses to accept as reality.
The toughest aspect of raising a child, in my humble opinion, is to raise him with a mature awareness of the various politics (whether personal or institutionalized) that surround him but we must also insist great space for the boy to be a child...you can't spoil a child with affection, nurturing, support and love -- this sense of security answers the tensions he encounters as he passes through an insecure material world. I guess another way of trying to explain this -- let me try again...as long as a child feels and understands a pure and unconditional love and emotional security, the material world is secondary. This prepares him and teaches him NOT to rely on his surroundings and material comforts but to base his worth and secure position in terms of the calibre of relationships that he develops that are based on reciprocal respect, intellectual curiosity, space for each to evolve and learn together and separately.
Unconditional love is not synonymous with control and stringent rules of hierarchy...this seems to be the most significant differentiating factor between the generation of parents that precede me and my generation. Rather, to teach a child love is to teach him liberation, autonomy and safety rather than dictatorship, stringent rules of acceptance that constantly threaten a child's psychological and emotional security. To raise a child is not to insist suffocation and breaking his will; rather a child needs a space to explore, a long leash to make mistakes and celebrate his energy but a leash that is always apparent, gently tugged consistently to affirm that he is grounded, loved and trustworthy.
One digression to all of this that seems most apparent to me as my boy grows and develops...children don't seem to have the space to feel anger and use it constructively. The negative connotations of anger are prominent and zero tolerance legislation dictates an attempt to eradicate this very useful emotion. In my experience, rather than teach a child how to constructively use anger and feel it fully (and therefore purge the tension rather than suppress and carry it, insist that it festers), our kids are taught to deny, deny, deny. This is to insist a generation that is guaranteed to explode, and violently, because they have not been taught to understand and employ methods to use it effectively. I am not promoting revenge nor harmful behavior to the child or people within his reach while he is angry. Rather, I am promoting a space for him to feel frustration, refuse to accept unacceptable conditions and sort out the various options as to how to most effectively acknowledge the tension, understand why it is there and how to use this passion wisely.
By denying anger we are denying one of our most important primitive passions and means of survival -- an absolute condition of our existence. The most significant threat to love is not hate nor anger but indifference. Indifference translates easily into a calculated existence that denies important lessons of survival, discernment and autonomy.
Celebrate a child's energy and curiosity rather than medicate and oppressively manage his will. Teach him (or her) to question, criticize, think and feel. Give each child a platform of emotional security and groundedness to experiment and stretch. The leash that connects me to my child does not snap but always leads him back to the centre, where he will find me smiling and ready to question, criticize, think and feel with him when he can't manage the stimulants he encounters and seeks the tools from my toolbox to evolve.
Here's hoping I'm on the right track and teaching him the liberation of love that he'll carry through a variety of relationships...one of acceptance, evolution, gentle guidance and security rather than stringent hierarchy, oppressive rules of control and judgmentalism.
Lyn is 36 and lives in Canada. The Part of Fortune is conjunct her Cancer ascendant. The Sun and Moon are conjunct in the 3rd house in Virgo and form a group with the South Node, Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury in the 4th. Uranus and Jupiter conjunct in Libra oppose Chiron in Aries in the 10th.
My children light up my life. They certainly profoundly and beautifully changed my life for the better.
Saturn has taught me some pretty hard lessons and it was just as Saturn was leaving Pisces in 1996 that I conceived for the first time. I miscarried then conceived again very soon afterwards then gave birth to Ella.
It was a very long and painful birth, I was even hallucinating at points throughout the labour, (I took no pain killers). Ella arrived two weeks after her due date, when she was ready to come! It's been pretty much like that ever since.
She's an almost immovable object, but my husband and I, (both mutable signs), pretty much work with her rather than trying to force our will upon her -- far too exhausting. I find it interesting that in the light of Ella's fixedness how late she was in starting the change of teeth. She was 7 years and nine months before she lost her first tooth! Having said all that, Ella has a beautiful energy. She is extremely caring, loyal, persevering and humorous. She will sit for hours and draw and draw, like no other child of her age I know. She is very popular at school. She is also pretty psychic, (she has red hair*, as do her brother and myself).
But the thing that astrology has helped me with most with her is that her Mercury is unaspected. This can mean that it is difficult for her to communicate her emotions (difficult anyway at that age, but Ella seems to implode.) When I see her struggling like this my heart nearly breaks for her, but I can hold her energetically and reassure her and try to connect with her sensitive nature. I am very psychic, too, so I'm pretty good at knowing what's going on for her, (I think!).
Finlay was born four years and one day after Ella. He was born right on his due date! I call them my 'nearly twins' - both are Aquarians: Ella has Taurus rising and Libra moon, Finlay has Libra rising and Taurus moon. (Could this be a family pattern? My sister was born the day after me!)
Finlay is a joy, very easy, affable, very intelligent, astute, fair, caring, with a great social consciousness (as does Ella). He expresses his emotions very well. He can identify and articulate quite complex feelings. He has a hot, quick temper, but is also very quick to forgive. I'm convinced he sees into other dimensions, without doubt he has the characteristics of a crystal child.
Perhaps to compensate for my less than perfect childhood, a lot of my actions and decisions are guided by my children's best interest. Before having children I was overwhelmed by the choices in life. My children create an anchor for me to be present in this world. I have learned self-respect through them. I would accept things before which I now steer well clear of out of respect for them. However one thing which I do struggle with is being fully present when I'm with them. I have a strong tendency to float off and need a lot of time and space to myself, which is difficult with children at the best of times, (love them as I do...).
One of the major decisions my husband and I made was to move to the other end of the country so that our children could attend a Waldorf Steiner school. This has been a very good decision for many reasons, not least because I feel the state system would not have suited our temperaments. (The Steiner schools embrace and support the unfoldment of the incarnating spirit through all its different stages.)
Neither of them has been vaccinated and so far I've treated them only with homoeopathy and flower essences (I am a homoeopath). I hope this gives them a clear run at life, and maybe even strengthens their vital force to deal with things that they have inherited.
My children have brought so much love into my life, so much purpose and definition and are really helping me to heal my own childhood. I'll leave it for now, but I'm really looking forward to the parenting magazine. I really want to understand more about working positively with the transits."
Kaya is 46 and was born in London. She has Virgo rising. Her Sun is in Pisces in the 6th house. Mercury is in the first degree of Aries square Jupiter in the first degree of Sagittarius. The Moon is in the first degree of Capricorn in 5th house. Chiron in Aquarius is exactly conjunct the 6th house cusp. Neptune is exactly conjunc the Part of Fortune in Scorpio in the 2nd house.
Raising kids is the most difficult responsibility and the most important job I have ever undertaken. Having said this, I would still do it again and would have welcomed two more children into our family.
Communication with children and especially teenagers is difficult. Communication with preteens is somewhat different from communicating with teenagers. My daily struggle with my teen is trying to actively listen without always giving advice. Sometimes I will ask if my advice is requested or does she just want me to listen. It gives them a little more control and input. We try to give our teen age-appropriate responsibilities with suitable consequences. It helps to limit those hypertensive moments.
Throughout my children's lives my husband and I have tried to set a good example in the way we speak and act. During the teen years, they are exposed to magazines, movies, TV shows, peers and adults, and life around them that does not mirror the values we have instilled in them. At some point, these outside influences become their source for making decisions. It is a frightful society we are living and raising children in. Gone are the days where society, government, and friends support your efforts. These children are our country's future and I believe, as a people, we are failing them miserably."
Mary is 52 and from California. The Moon and Saturn in Libra in the 12th are conjunct the ascendant as is Neptune in Libra in the 1st. The Sun is conjunct Venus and Uranus in Cancer in the 9th. Mercury is in the first degree of Leo. Chiron in Capricorn is retrograde in the 3rd house.
My four children (ages 25, 23, 14, and 6) have consistently amazed me throughout the years with their sheer resiliency: from my perspective, this world reeks with danger and uncertainty, but they seem to navigate through the mire without a thought to what lurks beneath or awaits beyond. From my perspective, each new technology affords victimizers more stealth, more cover, more opportunities; yet my children open themselves to the possibilities of new ways to communicate and use them to amazing advantage with a creativity that boggles the mind. From where I sit, kids today face unimaginable pressure - pressure to succeed, pressure to appear, pressure to grow up long before their minds and bodies are prepared to do so: I've watched my children conform to the (in my mind) silly and trite expectations of their peers without even thinking but have also brimmed with pride watching them defy the norm when the principle really mattered to them (sometimes at great personal cost). And, of course, I realize that much of my fear, much of my trepidation, much of my worry stems from the fact that I have already navigated these waters -- like them, without a thought to the danger -- and have come out the other side. Only now can I see the monsters. Only now can I see the hidden traps and tripwires. And it is a constant struggle for me to allow them to chart their own journey when I think I know the best way through.
Raising kids now, I must trust that I do my job as a parent with the utmost consideration and faith. I must trust that I have provided and will provide them with the tools and skills to think critically, act decisively, and experience fully and without fear. I look around at my peers -- rat-race-runners all -- and am overcome by our culture of fear: my sense of responsibility tells me that I will not raise my children to believe that the world is "out to get" them (though I will arm them with the appropriate weaponry should they find themselves in a social foxhole), the rebel within dictates that my children will not live in fear though the society they live in constantly screams, "WHAT IF???"
Raising kids now means maintaining an Armed Forces state of readiness. It means having ready an Encyclopedia Britannica database for decision-making. It means Compassion is our first, middle, and last name. And for me, it means daily affirmation (for myself and my children) that our lives here are meaningless if not in service; and that our strength, intelligence, and knowledge are useless if applied only to ourselves.
Thank you for this opportunity...
Amber is 38 and lives in San Diego. She has Leo rising and the Sun in Gemini conjunct the 11th house cusp. Her Moon is in Capricorn in the 6th. Chiron is conjunct the Part of Fortune and Saturn in Pisces in the 8th house. Neptune is conjunct the South Node in the 4th.
As a Mother I spent a great amount of time and effort trying to "fix" my son and make life easier for him.
What I began to see as he grew to be a young man is that the best I can do is to offer him support as he walks his own life path.
Hopefully, I can hold the flashlight for him as he makes his own discoveries.
Peggy is 57 and is originally from Ohio. She has Scorpio rising conjunct Jupiter and the South Node in the 1st house. The Sun is conjunct Venus in Virgo in the 10th, as is the Moon. Pluto is conjunct Saturn in Leo in the 9th house. The Part of Fortune is in the first degree of Scorpio conjunct Chiron in Scorpio in the 12th house.
Being a nurturing and loving parent with Italian heritage can be a very volatile experience. Having a fixed image of how I thought at the time of Andrew's childhood (birth to 16 years) of what this perfect upbringing should be... was quite different in the end (when he is all grown at 20 years).
As I began to relax a little and let him be who he wanted to be (a Buddhist), I was also divorcing his Father and my husband of 23 years.
I just didn't have the emotional energy to monitor my son as closely as when he was a child. I began to realize how much I was learning from him. When our eyes met I could see the "old soul" that my 17 year old son really was -- the compassion and patience and kindness he possessed.
Again I realized he was sent here to me as my "teacher". Boy did the tables turn.
However he still needs a parent occasionally.
Laureen is 53 and from Fresno. Pluto in the 12th house is in exact conjunction with the ascendant in Leo. The Moon in the 1st house in the last degree of Leo is also conjunct the ascendant as well as the South Node. Saturn is exactly conjunct Mars in Libra in the 2nd house. The Sun, Mercury, and the Part of Fortune in Sagittarius are conjunct Juno and Chiron in Capricorn spanning the 4th house cusp.
My husband and I have two. We are very nearly opposite personalities but have found we bring to our marriage what the other lacks and this has been crucial in raising our children, who themselves are nearly opposite personalities. Because of my own difficult childhood and adolescence, I have strived to be very deliberate in my parenting yet still fall into the trap of repeating the poor parenting I received. I agonize regularly about the choices I need to make because I feel like I'm charting new ground and have no way to know until after I do something whether it's the right thing.
And even then, I may have to wait years to see if my choices for their childhoods were correct. (Case in point, we don't and never have owned a TV. How much does this isolate my children from the cultural assumptions of their peers? Is this a fair price for the voracious readers they've become and the shrewd perceptions of my son?) I want my children to grow to be thinking, independent people but fear that my own strong personality both inhibits them and sets a role model for uncompromising opinions and unproductive nonconformity.
I want them to achieve in the way that most utilizes their talents and makes them happy but they are in the throes of adolescence and I have no way to see through their turmoil to predict that I have been able to teach them what they need to survive emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. So far, they have not succumbed to the lure of sex, drugs, or crime as many members of my extended family have, but I can't be self-congratulatory either because I know they still have several difficult years ahead. The corresponding years in my own life were some of my worst; I want much, much better for them."
Linda is 52 and lives in Indiana. The Sun in the last degree of Aries in the 12th house is in exactly conjunction with the ascendant. She also has Mercury, Venus, Ceres and Jupiter in Aries in the 12th. The Moon in Aquarius is conjunct Juno, The Part of Fortune and the North Node in the 11th house. Chiron in Capricorn in the 9th opposes Uranus. Linda's Husband is 49 and is originally from Pennsylvania. Mercury in the 12th house is exactly conjunct the ascendant in Scorpio. The Sun is conjunct Neptune in Libra in the 12th. The Moon is conjunct the North Node is Sagittarius in the 2nd house. Jupiter conunct Pluto in Leo squares Saturn and Juno in Scorpio. Chiron in the first degree of Aquarius is opposite Uranus in Leo in the 9th house.
My daughter is a teacher of second grade. Last year her kids were wonderful, empathetic loving kids. This year her kids are hellions. The first grade teachers last year were feeling the same way about this unique batch of kids. I'm thinking something major must have been going on in the sky when this group of kids was conceived. What's their purpose? Or what's going on in their ‘big picture'? Most of them are 7 year olds… so it goes back to '97. Was that Hale Bop?
I'd really be interested to know the whys of things like this, and if there are answers that are helpful, I know the teachers would love to have insight into how they could help reach the kids. Basically, elementary teacher are parents too… sometimes more than the actual parents. So I think having an area that addresses this concept would be a valuable piece to consider in your parenting ideas. "
Carol is 59 and lives in Oregon. Her 12th house Mars is exactly conjunct the ascendant in cancer and is also conjunct Saturn and he part of Fortune. The Sun is exactly conjunct Vesta in Capricorn in the 6th house, and is also conjunct the Moon and Venus. Ceres is in the first degree of Capricorn and he North Node is in the last degree of Gemini. Jupiter is exactly conjunct Juno in Libra in the 4th house, also conjunct Chiron.
Another from Gail
I was a late in life parent, mostly because I wanted my kids to be planned, and because I was single until my mid thirties. I have a son, age 22, and a daughter age 17 on February 4.
I was married for 16 years, and though I always felt like a single parent, I wasn't truly one until the kids were 14 and 9 respectively. I have worked almost all of their lives. They have been with babysitters, some better, some worse, in camp, and in school when I was working. This is the hallmark of the era in which they were raised, needing two incomes in order to have a reasonable lifestyle, but it has been one of my profound regrets and the most guilt-producing part of parenting for me. Here were these wonderful, eager, happy, creative little souls, and they were very wanted and loved, and the vast majority of my time was spent working, or working at home keeping things together. Being a single parent is like working three jobs -- the paying job, the non-paying job (taking care of hearth and home), and parenting my kids. On the up side, I am a psychologist which gave me the ability to see how complex the tasks were that needed mastery as they grew up, and the ability to talk on their level about most anything (horrors! even death and sex). On the down side, the demise of the mental health profession, starting in the early 90's, was a tremendous stress for me. If I had it to do all over again, I would've started saving and investing money at the beginning of my work life so I could be home with them more. It is simply impossible to spread yourself that thin, and my kids are more important than anything else to me.
I continue to do the very best I can, but I realize that they needed my time and attention more than anything else. In 2002, I took a year off, which made us pretty poor financially, but I spent much more time with both of them talking, solving problems, and teaching them what I have learned over my lifetime. It was a very good year. The rest went too quickly for me. And in these complex and fast paced days, they need us more than ever: to stay grounded in their value systems, and to navigate a more dangerous and more stressful world than when I was growing up."
Chart info above.
My son was born on December 13th 1999. At the time I was 23 years old and had just returned from a year abroad traveling the Mediterranean and the Middle East a year prior. It was a perfect time to have a child for me because my itchy feet had been soothed by my great journey and I had already tried the college thing and knew it was not for me. Fortunately, although not cooperatively, my husband was able to support us and I was able to stay home with Mathew from the time he was born. Funny thing is, I did not know I would stay home with him until he was placed in my arms in the hospital after a very interesting birth. He was delivered Cesarean because the doctor said my pelvis was too small to deliver naturally even though I went all the way up to 9 and 1/2 cm without any pain killer! She could have told me that in the beginning!
But Mathew was very healthy and had a huge mohawk of black hair (his dad is Ecuadorian) and looked like a dark angel. I felt a deep feeling of contentment and just had no need for anything or anyone but this little gift from god. The nurses wanted to take him from me to "give me a rest" and asked me everyday "when would I like him circumcised" (We were there for four days).
That is when it came over me that I was this child's guardian and protector from the intentional and unintentional evils of this world that he was born in to. He stayed with me in my bed, not the plastic baby box, and slept on my breast with no chance of anyone getting to hold him without my knowing it first. It was bliss.
Mathew turned five this past December. Since his birth, we have moved four times. In order for me to stay home with him, I had to come up with a plan. With a little help from the blessed forces of creativity and ingenuity, we have bought, lived in, renovated and sold two homes and are now on our third here in New Paltz. This all happened at the time of a great real estate boom which is about to end. Mathew unfortunately has had to move around and now that he is five is not exactly happy about it. He had a great friend at our last home and really loved the neighborhood because there were a lot of kids "like him". We lived in Peekskill which has a huge Ecuadorian population and his best friend was a little energy ball named Serina who lived next door. She was Jamaican and her family was here to work (not unlike the Ecuadorian population) so no one was ever home. She was only 5 years old and was always at our home. We both really loved her and felt like we left her to the wolves when we moved.
Living here in New Paltz has been an interesting experience in Parenting. All of the Moms that I know are over 40 with kids under 5. They seem very on edge about their kids, watching and analyzing everything they do from pooping to "why they are playing that way". I feel like I should have been born in a different age and on a different continent. I miss my wise old Italian Grandmother who mashed up bread and spaghetti sauce for Mathew when he was two years old and laughed when he ate spaghetti and called him a little "spagettie bender". I saw in her eyes the same exact feeling that I had when I looked at Mathew, Pure contentment in just sitting there and being with him.
Why can't moms today just be? That is what I want to know. They always want and need to do something else like have there nails done or go to yoga and get AWAY from the kids for a while. I have not ever felt that way and I long to be somewhere that people can just stop and think about what is really important. I see children who are in well to do families but are malnourished because the mom doesn't know how to cook or is too busy to have her kid sit down and eat something nourishing so she just throws him/her a fruit roll up and says shut up. I have seen this! People don't give their kids affection and teach them practical knowledge that are the foundations of being a sound and happy adult.
I am afraid for my son most of the time. Luckily, I have three sisters who I would have faith in if something should happen to me, but in the long term perspective, I wonder if there will be happiness for him and where should I go to cultivate this happiness. In the end, I trust my instincts and know that Mathew and I both know what is right for us."
Katie is 28 and lives in New York State. Her Moon in Aquarius opposes Saturn and Pallas in Leo. The Sun is exactly conjunct Mercury in Pisces. Chiron in the last degree of Aries is conjunct the South Node, which is exactly conjunct Venus.
The internal human growth process is the same. I mean our kids still experience the emotional hormonal changes that occur with growing up, but the external exposure to life (good and bad) happens at a much younger age and to a greater degree that I think can be very stressful to the family unit. There is so much to choose from when it comes to the availability of activities, shopping, educational opportunities, etc., that it creates this false need to compete because if you do not participate your kid is going to lose out. My kids want to fit in like anyone else, just like I did when I was their ages, but the difference I see is in the buying power and the mobility of our culture, and the global awareness of our society.
Because of the media, i.e. television, the internet, movies, our kids have an unrealistic impression of how the world really is; and they are much more aware of what they have or do not have. As kids, we grew up knowing that our parents expected us to do better than they did. Nowadays, we parents (speaking for where I live) are so successful that it is no longer acceptable for our kids to be just average if they want to "make it" in this world. I am not so sure this is a good thing. The pressure on them is tremendous.
We adopted four children; not biologically related, days old when we got them. We thought that, because they were so young, there would be no difference between raising these children or our own biological ones. That may have been the case for us in the beginning, but that definitely changed as they got older and were able to express themselves and we found out that they certainly felt different. As I was warned, it was more of a challenge when they hit puberty and the teenage years. Raising children is the hardest thing one can do, but multiply that times four adopted and it has at times been overwhelming. I have the highest regard for anyone who also takes on the task of raising special needs children.
My husband and I believe in God and our faith is central to our life. These four children came to us purposely and we have never doubted the way in which we became a family. It has been more of a surprise with each one of them since we cannot count on our genetic background to help us. In a way, I have liked that part of it because I have learned to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual personality.
Sally is 54. Her Sun in Virgo opposes Jupiter in the first degree of Pisces. Her Moon is in Aries opposite Neptune. Mars is conjunct Pallas in Scorpio. Venus is exactly conjunct Pluto in Leo. Chiron in Sagittarius is conjunct Ceres.
What's it like to be raising kids now? Really interesting and not for the fainthearted! I've written you before about our adventures in Japan. When I can budget a full family reading I'm still definitely interested. Let me get the cat spayed & catch up on vacation bills first... anyway...
I had to really relearn structure when they were little. Not doing church, or scouts, or even a two parent family (as I was raised) led to some serious re-workings of what to do. Their being part of my life has made me what I am. They have helped me learn to be free.
Now, they are adolescent (18 & 16), and we continue growing. I've lived by my beliefs as much as possible... but it's not so easy to make these make sense to the little 'uns. I tried taking to the woods when they were small, ended up going back to college as a single mom, moved around a lot, and am now an anthropology professor. We've seen a lot and have lots of stories. Now they tolerate my decision to live as an expat, and our return visits to the US are more thought-provoking each time.
They plan on college probably in the US, but we all worry about the draft. Eldest, my daughter the Serious Scorpio budding intellectual, was so surprised a few years back to hear that I was once into punk, as she is now. I realize, teaching kids her age, how much I seem part of the establishment. She just picked up Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Society. I'm hoping she'll lighten up on the costuming and put her ideals to work. My son... born on the autumnal cusp, good at computing and with people. Hip hop DJ and cultural chameleon, if either of them ended up in Japan for the long haul it'd be him.
At this point they make their own choices to a fair extent, though I'm pretty vocal about my ideas of proper sleep, diet, and etc. and try to set a good model. It's still a challenge. I think a lot about my parents, who have been off the earth for 10 and 19 years already. Beyond the structures they clung to, and raised us through, they were each pretty unusual.
I'm glad I got to see that in them.
Debra is 42 and from Las Vegas. Venus in the 12 house is conjunct her Scorpio ascendant. Her Sun is in Libra in the 11th. Saturn is conjunct the South Node in Aquarius opposite Mars in the last degree of Cancer. Chiron, Jupiter and the Moon are conjunct in Pisces in the 3rd house opposite Vesta, Juno and Uranus in the 9th house, as well as Pluto in the 10th.