Parent-Child Relationships


Disability & Home Visits
Further Discussion:
Parent-Child Relationships
There are several techniques that an astrologer can use in order to cast light on areas of difficulty in a parent-child relationship, and therefore give the parent extra tools to make creative changes to the dynamic. The points made here can be applied to any care-givers or authority figures in the child’s life, but I’ll refer to the example of the relationship with the parents. By ‘parents’ I mean parent(s) or guardian(s). The discussion takes a ‘trouble-shooting’ angle, but is not intended to be pessimistic. Rather it explains how, in my view, an objective look at any areas of tension can liberate parental instincts, and the child's spontaneity, from any fear, frustration and confusion.
Firstly, the temperaments of each individual can be noted, with the help of the birth charts, and then compared. If there is any conflict here then the adult can note that the child simply has a different way of seeing and approaching the world, and make a conscious effort to honour that in their interactions. The adult can still be themselves, though they might find such honouring nurtures a new side of her/his own psyche. And the child will have the adults temperament as an example of qualities that the child does not identify with yet, but will be met in other relationships further along the road.
In such a situation, it is common that each individual has a need to develop the other’s temperament, (shown by both temperaments being represented in each birth chart). They are thus one another’s teachers, although the child may not have the capacity to really develop the secondary temperament until later in life.
Other features of the charts that are worthy of inspection are those that show what each individual will expect to encounter in her/his dealings with the other. The qualities of the Sun, Mars and 4th house in a child’s chart are often ‘projected’ onto the father or a father-figure, and the Moon, Venus and the 10th house onto the mother or a mother-figure. (This is less clear-cut nowadays, however, as gender roles become increasingly flexible and any of these chart factors may be projected onto either or both parents.) Selective perception thus colours how the parents are experienced. A parent is usually quite a fitting screen for such projection, although the parent won’t necessarily be aware of having all of these traits. Also, no matter how strong, weak or absent a particular trait is in the parent, the child’s projection of that trait will tend to influence the parent to behave more in that manner in any case.
The child’s chart may reflect projections that could hinder her/him feeling at ease with the parent, often accompanied by a trait in the parent that fits with the child’s expectation. By noting that this is a part of the parent that the child is especially sensitive to, the parent can be careful not to express it in too extreme a way, and perhaps find some expression for it outside of the parent-child relationship so that it manifests less powerfully through parenting. If the trait in question is unconscious in the parent, then it will tend to assume even more power in the perceptions of the child. For example 10th house planets often reflect unacknowledged ambitions in a parent to which the child is very sensitive. The 12th house often shows unresolved issues that have been handed down from generation to generation - seeing such a placement can spur the parents to reduce the child's legacy by bringing the energy into to open.
Even the child’s inner image of how her/his parents will relate to each other is reflected in the birth chart. Again, this can alert the parents to the possibility of tensions that need to be worked with in order to appease the child’s sensitivity to some extent. Here we would look mainly to the relationship between the Sun and Moon in the chart, and that between planets associated with the 4th and 10th houses. These chart factors not only show the interaction of the child’s parents, they also represent the lines along which different parts of the child’s own psyche will unite, and, as part of this process, what kind of partners the child will seek later in life. So careful handling of any tension in the child’s experience of the parental marriage can have far reaching positive effects on her/his life.
In the parent’s chart the 5th house is very important, since its energies are readily protected onto her/his children. The 5th is also the house of the inner child, and any unfinished business from childhood (most of us carry some resentment that we weren’t made to feel special enough) can get in the way of our allowing our own child(ren) to indulge their natural and healthy egocentricity. (Or we may overindulge them as an overcompensation which shows the same unfinished business coming out differently.)
A third area of investigation is the angular relationships between planets and points in one chart and those in the other (showing how each person's energies trigger the other's.) If there is a part of the parent’s psyche that has always felt too uncomfortable or alien to accept as her/his own, the arrival of the newborn can bring quite a shock if the baby’s energies powerfully activate it. There may not be a quick fix for such a revelation, but at least an understanding of what is happening gives the choice of co-operating with the emergence of this neglected trait, rather than feeling disoriented and confused, and even inclined to try to suppress it in the child.) Such phenomena can illuminate why the parental instincts can flow much more easily with one of her/his children than another. Likewise the child will have particular parts of her/his psyche triggered by each parent, and this will go some way to explaining why behaviour is different with each parent, along with issues of temperament.
Where we have two or more charts, we can merge them together to create a composite chart, in which each point and planet is placed according to the average of its positions in the individual birth charts. The composite chart reflects the nature of the relationship in it’s own right, and how it fares in various areas of life. So a composite chart can be drawn up for the parent-child relationship. But it might also be useful to draw up the composite chart of the parents and see how it interacts with their child’s chart, or to compare the composite of a child and one parent to the birth chart of the other parent. The permutations are too many to pursue this line of enquiry to its fullest extent, especially if more than three people are involved in a family dynamic, but it is very useful if, for example, the arrival of a child seems to be causing upheaval in the relationship between the parents, or if the arrival of a step parent is affecting a child, or a parent-child relationship.
The motions of the planets after birth, in relation to the positions at birth, are called transits and progressions, and symbolise the unfolding of the potentials shown in the birth chart. Since some the planets in a child's chart will invariably form significant angles with some of those in the parents' charts, transits (showing where the planets actually are at a given moment in time) often 'hit' both a parent's and child's charts around the same time. Although this reflects a 'shared experience' for both parent and child, they won't always experience the transit as an internal stirring. One of them may experience it as coming through the other - with the child often experiencing it through changes in a parent's feelings or circumstances. At such times, astrology can shed light on how a child is experiencing the changes. Transits and progressions to a composite chart can also show the relationship itself will be prompted to change.