As parents we know that every child is unique. When we had our second daughter (Nori) we quickly realized that although this wasn’t our first rodeo, this child was going to be different.
We thought that we could apply the same tried & true parenting techniques that we used with our first daughter (Zoe) on our new daughter…and boy we’re we wrong! Nori had her own way of doing things. Even at birth she literally came out sucking her thumb – we didn’t even think newborns could do that! As she grew into her toddler years she had moments of being shy, withdrawn from others, and sensitive to loud noises or new circumstances. This was in total contrast to Zoe who lived life out loud & was center stage from day one!
We knew we needed some new parenting tools & a shift of perspective. Thankfully, we found that within the realm of Elemental Parenting.
Five Elements in Parenting
In Chinese Medicine we view a person as a unique individual. For starters, every child has a specific type of constitution that they are born with. It basically serves as a blueprint predicting how they may think, behave & feel in the world. There constitution is determined by which element type they are and is influenced by their external environment.
There are 5 element types & they are: Fire, Earth, Water, Metal, and Wood. Each of these elements has well-defined characteristics, tendencies & habits which will show up in a child’s day to day life. We can evaluate a child, even from very early on, and categorize them according to their element type.
Once we know what element type a child is we have a sense of what their inherent strengths & challenges may be – in everything from school, to play, to friends, to health. It quite literally gives us as parents a window into our child’s worldview. We can understand them better, we can relate to them easier, and parenting because much less of a struggle!
Five Element Parenting Defined
We’ve covered some of the basics of the five element types in another article HERE, but today we set the stage for understanding how to use the five elements to more effectively parent to our own child’s uniqueness. The system of parenting with the elements has a few core principles, and here they are below.
7 Core Principles of Five Element Parenting:
1) Every child is unique, and as parents we strive to understand that uniqueness.
2) We accept our child for who they are, not who we want them to be.
3) We acknowledge our responsibility to nurture our child by understanding their natural strengths and inherent challenges.
4) We take an active & informed role in shaping our child’s health & happiness.
5) We create a safe space for moving beyond cultural norms & embracing our own family’s uniqueness.
6) We believe that our children can thrive – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
7) We see our child’s inner landscape as inextricably linked to the outer ecology of the world.
In acknowledging & embracing our own child’s constitutional type, we can begin to change our parenting to become more conscious & inclusive. Rather than wondering why our child does the things the way she does we instead can predict those things in advance & plan accordingly.