Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Most parents long to provide their children with the best they can offer on every level. But what is "the best"? Less enlightened parents will see in the child a symbol of all the lost potentials of their own youth, and will envision not the future toward which the child is best suited to aspire, but the future which they would have wished
for themselves. More enlightened parents will understand the wisdom of Kahlil Gibran's words, recognising not only the magic of the child as a symbol of new life, but also the profound gift of being caretaker for a developing soul with a unique individuality and a life journey which cannot be dictated in advance. Children have their
own inherent blueprint for life, independent of external factors. Within any family, two children given the same parents and the same social and economic background will express from the first days of life distinctly different personalities and distinctly different ways of responding to the outside world. Children are not blank
slates upon which the environment writes. If we wish to offer "the best" for our children, we need to discern first who they are, and how we can most effectively support them according first and foremost to the child's, not the parent's, needs.
Much wise information on child-rearing can be obtained from friends, family members, doctors, child psychologists, and the vast body of literature available. But no general rules on parenting can sufficiently honour the unique personality which each
individual child possesses. It is here that astrology can make a profound and creative contribution to our understanding of our children and also to our understanding of the child we ourselves once were. The birth horoscope of a child is a map of
patterns and potentials which exist in that child from the moment of birth. When an adult explores his or her birth horoscope, many of these potentials have been "fleshed out" according to actual life experiences and the choices that person has made
over many years. Time, circumstances and relationships with others crystallise potentials into set behaviour patterns and attitudes. In a child, these potentials are so easily stifled by conflicting family demands, thwarted by inappropriate circumstances,
or simply ignored through lack of recognition. Encouragement of these potentials in childhood can help a child to develop greater confidence and hope for a future which is more authentically his or her own, so that greater happiness and fulfillment
are possible later in life.
Children also possess inner conflicts and insecurities, and it is healthy and natural for them, like adults, to sometimes feel afraid. But all human beings have their own individual ways of dealing with such fears, and some defense mechanisms may not
always be recognised for what they are. We may not understand the language of our children's fears because we do not suffer the same ones, and we may mock these anxieties or try to "cure" them in ways which are inappropriate for the child. The
birth horoscope not only reflects nascent abilities it also describes the ways in which any individual will try to protect himself or herself against life's uncertainties. Understanding the nature of a child's fears can be of enormous help in encouraging
an inner sense of security and resilience. Each child also has highly individual ways of expressing love, and possesses emotional needs which are not always the same as those of parents. One child may need very physically affectionate demonstrations
of love. Another child may be more cerebral, needing a love expressed through verbal communication and real interest in his or her thoughts and efforts to learn. Sometimes these differences can lead to painful misunderstandings between parent and
child each of whom may feel unloved simply because their ways of loving are so dissimilar. Insight into a child's unique emotional nature can help us to build bridges over these divides and relate to our children with greater love and tolerance.
Children reflect back to us a profound insight into life's continuity and hope for the future. Rather than trying to be "perfect" parents or create "perfect" children, we could instead try to honour and support the child's right to be an individual. A
relationship can then develop which contains mutual respect and recognition, and which nurtures and heals rather than cramps, suffocates or undermines. The birth horoscope does not describe a child's "fate", nor can it provide us with any
predictions of what our children will or will not become in adult life this depends primarily upon their own future choices. Nor can a horoscope provide the means for an unconsciously ambitious parent to attempt to direct the child's destiny, for a
child's individual nature will sooner or later find some way to express itself in spite of if not because of upbringing. Instead, the horoscope faithfully reflects an inner cast of characters and an inner story which awaits time and choice for its
unfoldment. To explore the birth horoscope of a child is a humbling experience and a moving opportunity to participate in containing and honouring a new life.
II. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPE
The rich array of individual abilities and potentials portrayed in Harry's birth horoscope is set against the background of an inherent temperament bias which may be partly hereditary but is also the reflection of a mysterious essence which
belongs to him alone. We might call this bias his psychological "type", for it is a typical or characteristic mode in which Harry is likely to respond to the situations life brings him even in infancy. No child begins life whole or perfect, and
all children have certain natural areas of aptitude which will help them to deal with challenges, conflicts and problems as life unfolds. Like the muscles of the body, these inherently strong areas of Harry's personality become stronger the
more they are "worked" as he moves through childhood into adolescence.
Likewise, all children have certain innate areas of the personality which may be slower to respond and develop, and which may be a source of great anxiety during childhood. Harry's psychological type will not remain static and unchanging through the
whole of his life. There is something within all of us whether we call it the unconscious, the Self, or the soul which strives over a lifetime to integrate all those qualities which are innately weak, neglected or undervalued. This mysterious
"something" is already at work within Harry, helping him to develop his personality along the lines which are healthiest and most natural to him. At the major archetypal junctures of childhood this central core of his personality, deeper and wiser even
than the wisest parent, will draw Harry into conflicts which enable him to develop the less adapted areas of his personality so that he can grow into a more complete person. Life does this for us all, sooner or later. But one of the greatest joys of
interacting with a child is the pleasure of encouraging a development pattern which we know can help that child's own inner self to achieve its goal of a unique but balanced personality which can cope with the great range of experiences life offers.
Sensitive responses to others' needs
At the heart of Harry's sensitive and responsive personality lie a deep need to belong and a powerful urge toward emotional involvement with others. A sympathetic group of school friends and a good emotional rapport with one or two
teachers will inevitably influence his learning progress, for his need to belong and feel accepted must be met at least to some degree before he is able to move ahead with the intellectual challenges of schoolwork. Harry has an innately
compassionate heart and loves to be needed. He may therefore readily adopt a kind of "parenting" role from a very young age, looking after younger brothers or sisters and wanting to bring home every stray cat or dog which crosses his
path. At school his sympathy will flow quite naturally toward the class scapegoat. He loves to feel that he is being helpful, and dislikes hurting people. This beautiful quality should never be exploited. Parents and family members may need
to be careful of taking advantage of his generous heart through making him feel responsible for their own well-being for he will accept such responsibility without question, to his great detriment later. Harry needs time and space to
himself, as any child does, but he cannot easily ask for this because of his deep fear of being rejected and alone. Because others' feelings are so important to him, he is likely to stifle his own direct expression of need in order to fulfill the
needs of loved ones. He possesses a rare charm and a natural ability to mediate and soothe the upsets of others. These are wonderful gifts which need to be respected without being taken for granted. Harry will find great joy and happiness
in the experience of belonging to a larger human community firstly his family and then a close circle of friends but he also needs encouragement to recognise and formulate his own values. He should therefore never be pushed into
playing the role of the family caretaker, although he may regularly volunteer.
The struggle for independence
Harry's greatest difficulty may well be too great a dependency on the love and approval of others. His sensitive and highly intuitive nature makes him acutely aware of how others perceive him, even if they try to conceal it. Consequently
much time and energy are likely to be spent in soliciting loving and affirmative responses from parents and family. But this child's moods and needs tend to be cyclical, and he also must withdraw at times to replenish himself and discover a
clear sense of identity within. As he gets older he may need more and more periods of privacy, and may become intensely protective of personal objects such as a diary or scrapbook which contains private feelings and thoughts. Parents and
family members should be sensitive to these needs and respect his secrets, for his occasional dark moods and periods of withdrawal provide a necessary balance to his sometimes overwhelming need for love, acceptance and approval. In
reality, Harry's turns of mood reflect a powerful need to achieve greater internal independence first from parents and family, and then from friends and teachers, all of whom may loom too large in his mind as the source of all love and
approval. He needs to learn to value and nourish himself without having to have constant feedback, and this unconscious urge although he will probably not recognise it as such so early in life acts itself out through his sudden changes
of mood. As he gets older, it would be helpful if Harry were encouraged to take such times of withdrawal as normal and natural, so that he can use these times to explore what he really thinks and feels without fearing reprisal from family
members who have come to depend on his more helpful and outgoing side. Therefore it is essential that Harry's loving nature is not used as a kind of psychological source of nourishment for the rest of the family. He may willingly agree to
this, but it will ultimately build up great resentment within him. His innate love of harmony and closeness needs to be balanced by a capacity to withstand conflict and separateness.
Problems in communication with others
Although Harry is highly responsive and intuitive about the feelings of others, he may be slow to develop communicative skills which allow him to articulate such feelings. His natural medium is not words, but rather, feelings and images.
Others' body language, facial expression and tone of voice all form a language which is more readily comprehensible to Harry than words. As his intellect develops it will always follow whatever subjects capture his heart and whichever
teachers are truly enthused by what they are teaching. But because words are in some ways an awkward medium for his highly developed emotional nature, Harry may sometimes feel inadequate or "bottled up" when it comes to letting
others know what he needs. There may be a tendency to give subtle cues, rather than express things outright and these cues may range from little psychosomatic "symptoms" to tantrums which focus on something apparently irrelevant or
unimportant and which conceal the real source of his rage and upset. He is also not averse to a little emotional manipulation through sulks and feigned helplessness. Later on, in school, Harry may rely more on a good relationship with a
teacher than on academic skills, and may find it difficult to risk original ideas (although he is likely to have a highly imaginative and original mind) because of the fear that others will not approve. The area of communication is thus an
extremely important one because his natural means of communication is subtle and nonverbal. Patience, encouragement and understanding will go a long way toward helping him to develop greater confidence in expressing himself clearly
and objectively to others.
III. THE CHARACTERS IN THE STORY
One of the most important insights gained by depth psychology is the revelation that people are essentially dual in nature some aspects of the personality are conscious and other aspects unconscious. This polarity is already present in
childhood in a nascent form. Although this developing dual self may be influenced, encouraged or opposed by environmental factors, nevertheless it belongs to the individual child and will, sooner or later, express itself in life. The interplay
between the conscious and unconscious sides of the personality is a complex dialogue between two important inner characters who sometimes agree, sometimes argue, and sometimes simply ignore each other's existence. These characters
within the individual also change their wardrobes and show different facets of behaviour and attitude at different stages of life. It is during childhood that the potential for a creative interchange between the conscious and unconscious
aspects of the personality is most accessible and most easily encouraged to develop in life-enhancing rather than divisive ways. The tension between the main characters in Harry's inner story is the source of energy which provides the
impetus for growth, movement and the formation of a healthy individuality. And there are other, less sharply defined characters within Harry as well supporting players who sometimes harmonise and sometimes conflict with the main
ones. These too contribute unique elements to a unique human life. Where they are strongly marked in the horoscope, we have included a description of them as well.
A child with a secret inner world
No person, child or adult, is an island. But as he grows up Harry will do his best to be a peninsula. Introverted and serious, he has a vital and ever-present connection with the inner world of the imagination and the soul. Throughout
childhood he will always prefer a few real friends to the collective world of clubs and teams. He may be difficult to get to know, even for a loving parent, and there will be facets of his personality that he does not share even with close family
members and certainly not with children whom he sees only in the classroom. His personality is a little like Bluebeard's famous castle in the fairy tale: One room always remains locked. This is not because Harry does not care for others.
On the contrary, special people mean an enormous amount to him and he is capable of great loyalty and long-lasting affection. But he is a very private person, and this will become more evident as he grows up. It is important that his
privacy is respected, not invaded or dismissed, for his great fund of creative potential arises from his capacity to commune quietly with his inner world. As he gets older he is capable of making lasting friendships and deep commitments.
But certain inner experiences are his own property, and not for public consumption no matter how deeply attached he may be to loved ones.
Natural shyness and sensitivity
Because Harry has a serious nature, events and people make deep and lasting impressions, both positive and negative, which he may retain for many years. Although he has a fine sense of humour, his ideas of what is funny may have a
surprisingly subtle edge. The stories and television programmes which appeal to him may not be common fare, and he may laugh at jokes too ironic or "adult" for other children's tastes. He is a careful observer of the world around him, and
from a very early age tends to study an object, person or experience intensely, absorbing its nature and examining it carefully before showing any outward response. For this reason he should never be hurried, for he needs this period of
reflection whether a few moments or a few weeks before he feels secure enough to take on any new challenge. He may be a quick learner, but may refuse to read aloud in front of a class. He may be physically well coordinated but
could hold back from team sports and group activities, preferring his own company or that of one or two friends. All this reflects a quality of shyness and sensitivity which is the natural concomitant of such an innately discriminating and
reflective temperament. Harry can be friendly and outgoing when he is in the mood, and has a gentle understated charm which is extremely appealing. But when he is not in the mood, parents should not worry that he is "antisocial" or
unhappy. He simply needs to process his perceptions of the outer world at his own rate of speed and in his own highly individual fashion.
He is also very proud, and as he gets older he may become increasingly protective of his feelings. Consequently he may sometimes display a strangely adult self-containment. He does not find teasing or bullying in the least bit amusing or
tolerable, and he can fight back with an intensity that may astonish other, thicker-skinned children. Slights and mockery hit hard and go on hurting for a long time, and it is pointless to tell him that the other child "didn't mean any harm" so
make up and be friends again. Harry's perceptions are acute, and if he recoils from classmates because of such incidents, then they probably did mean harm however strong the denial. Even if he cannot articulate what he perceives, he
instinctively knows when people are essentially kind and decent or essentially hard and unfeeling, whatever their outer behaviour. This instinctive wisdom comes from deep within him, and parents may learn a great deal from him about
what lies beneath the surface of life. Such awareness at a young age poses certain problems not least a sense of aloneness and separateness from other children. Because of this, Harry needs as much loving support and understanding as
parents can give him. What he emphatically does not need is being pushed into more "sociable" behaviour because parents are themselves more extraverted and do not fully appreciate his depth and complexity.
Powerful emotions flow beneath the surface
Harry feels things with great intensity, but as he gets older he is likely to express these emotions with great reluctance and only in situations where he feels absolutely safe. Family members, teachers and friends may have no idea of his real
feelings, and may mistakenly assume he is not bothered by some unpleasant experience when in fact he is extremely upset but too proud and private to show it. He is also acutely sensitive to the emotional atmosphere around him and is
easily affected by an undercurrent of anger, resentment or unhappiness amongst family members. He may appear to lack a layer of psychic "skin" which other children seem to have, so that every experience happy or sad is felt at
double volume and all the unspoken words which others do not say (and may not even know they wish to say) are clearly heard by his inner ear. Thus Harry is a small psychologist in the making. As he grows up he is likely to want to learn
about this unseen underworld of feelings and motives partly to protect himself from hurt and partly because he is naturally drawn to the hidden dimensions of life and people. From a very young age he may display a strangely mature self-
control, and will observe everything around him attentively without giving much away. When he does erupt, however, it is likely to be volcanic, and parents need to understand rather than recoil from the intensity which lies behind such
outbursts. It would be extremely hurtful and even destructive to tease or reprimand Harry for the strength of his feelings. Instead, he needs help in recognising that his perceptions are real and his responses justified but they need to be
balanced by greater detachment and objectivity. Until he is older he may be unable to differentiate between a deliberate intent to hurt him personally and the more general unconscious feelings of aggression which many people carry for
on the emotional level they feel the same to him. His guarded and sometimes mistrustful attitude springs from the instinctive awareness that people do not always take responsibility for their motives and actions. Because Harry has insight
as well as intensity, he needs considerable honesty from parents and family members. It is difficult to fool him and it would be unwise to try, because he will become terribly confused and suspicious if he knows something is going on but is
told he is imagining it. If parents are willing to recognise the wisdom of his penetrating perceptions, they may find that they learn as much from him as he does from them.
A need for solitude
Harry needs plenty of time alone. He has a powerful imagination and a regular need to withdraw into his inner world, for it is through this imaginative involvement that he restores his energy and can meet the challenges of the outside
world. Intensely private and inclined to keep secrets, his boundaries should never be invaded or violated. Try to recognise his separate individuality and give it the respect it deserves, for Harry feels threatened by an enmeshed domestic
atmosphere where family members unconsciously help themselves to each other's time, energy and possessions without asking first. Give him his own room as soon as possible, and remember to knock before you enter he instinctively
understands the basic rules of courtesy and will always respond well to such civilised treatment. His inner world is very rich and his dreams and fantasies may have a dramatic and highly coloured quality. He is also extremely receptive to
the emotional undercurrents of the environment and may sometimes find it hard to separate his own feelings from those of others. He may reflect serious family disturbances through nightmares and bouts of inexplicable anxiety. It is
important that parents encourage an atmosphere of honesty and fair discussion within the family. If conflicts or separations are unavoidable, try to explain these to him as clearly and objectively as possible, even if he seems too young to
understand this would be preferable to family members suffering in silence for the sake of external "normality". Harry's immensely creative inner world needs to be expressed through imaginative channels, and this can be encouraged
through providing a trustworthy emotional climate. Then he will find, when he makes his forays into the outer world, that it can be as beautiful a place as the inner one.
A solo performer
Harry is not at home in large groups, and as he gets older he may display a certain mistrust of that collective mentality which requires uniformity of dress, language and mannerisms. He may even be downright perverse when it comes to
such collective fashions. If all the other children at school have gone to a certain film, he will deliberately not go, and if they are all wearing T-shirts and jeans he will make sure he is never seen in such garb. He instinctively fears that his
identity will be engulfed by following what the group decrees, and throughout childhood he will attempt to define his personality not only through his own tastes but also through the opposite of what everyone does. It is important for him to
feel supported in his need for individuality by a sympathetic home environment. Parents who are more collectively inclined may need to understand that being just like everybody else does not give Harry comfort or security. On the
contrary, he feels threatened by the crowd and is frightened by the all-too-human propensity for scapegoating which occurs on every school playground in every country and on every level of society.
Children seek the safety of the group even more than adults do, and can be crueller about making their displeasure known to those who seem in any way different. Although Harry is as attractive and lovable as any other child, there is a
mysterious quality of inner self-sufficiency about him which others may find disturbing. He may attract teasing or scapegoating from his peers simply because he is so emphatically himself. In very early childhood he may display this subtly
separate quality, and may be most anxious or difficult when the family tries to function as a collective (such as on a family holiday). The moment he is expected to fit in with a prevailing collective trend or set of rules, he instinctively reacts
by asserting his individuality sometimes with awkward consequences. Try to respect his need to develop as his own person. This is a priceless gift which will bear sound fruit throughout his life. Most importantly, never try to bend Harry
to fit a collective image of what a "normal" child should be. He needs love and trust, not a well-intentioned but mistaken belief that he "ought" to fit in with the crowd.
Confidence comes from within
The introverted and reflective nature of Harry's personality makes him develop through drawing upon his own resources rather than borrowing from others. This will result in his forming a firm and highly individual set of values as he
moves out into life. Because he looks inward for his sense of security and truth, he is strong, courageous and enduring. Yet he can sometimes be difficult for others to understand because he may often withhold his thoughts and feelings
even from those he loves most. He will attract love and support from discerning friends and teachers because he has a quality of inner integrity and a sense of empathy for others which they are bound to feel whether he expresses it or not.
But he is not likely to be one of those noisy, gregarious children who perpetually appear in American films as the ideal of normality. Harry does not trust others readily, but once trust is given he is deeply loyal and a staunch and generous
friend. His extremely sensitive nature can be deeply injured by forcible efforts to squeeze him into a collective mould. He is a true individual who given the understanding, love and support of parents who recognise his specialness and
depth will grow up to become a wise, resourceful and enormously creative adult.
A secret longing to belong
Harry's intense self-sufficiency and individualistic nature are sharply contrasted by a hidden need for approval from others. But as he gets older he may express very little of his secret longing to belong. He will convey his emotional needs to
those individuals he trusts albeit cautiously. But the larger collective provokes deeply ambivalent feelings in him. Essentially discriminating and rather introverted, he will usually prefer to draw on his inner resources rather than exposing
his vulnerable feelings to those he does not know well. Yet his desire to be popular and an accepted part of a group is actually very great. These two aspects of his nature generate an internal conflict which could be extremely creative if he
can be helped to accept the fact that his need for the approval of the collective does not have to lead to hurt, humiliation or the loss of his individuality. He would be condemning himself to an unnecessarily painful isolation if he retreats
defensively into a proud and inaccessible stance toward other children. His instinctive mistrust of any group situation may be based on real experiences of hurtful behaviour. It may also be fueled by fantasies of rejection which have no basis
in reality. Either way good experiences with others are likely to outnumber bad ones if only Harry will give people a chance. This does not mean that parents should force him into situations which frighten him. He is and will remain
throughout his life a deep and private kind of person. But encouragement can be offered if he does express interest in a party, a club, or a social gathering of any kind. Harry needs to offer a little bit more of his inner wealth to the outside
world, in order to discover that other people are (in the main) kind and only too happy to offer friendship and acceptance in return.
A hidden need for the limelight
Harry secretly craves the limelight, and longs for adulation and attention. But he does not possess the extraverted nature necessary to pursue this need through social popularity. His nature is too sensitive, his perceptions too individualistic
and his mistrust of the collective too deep. He is more likely to try to fulfill his hidden longings through excelling at school work, creative hobbies or sport or, if he fears he will fail at these activities, through being so strikingly
individualistic that others cannot help but notice him. He may also play this role within the family, striving to shine at some particular skill or task so that loved ones will recognise his specialness. He may also adopt a provocative manner or
dress in order to get them to notice him. If he begins to cause disruption, it is probably because he feels unappreciated and misunderstood. But he cannot simply rush up to family members with a big smile and ask to be hugged or listened
to he is too proud and fearful of rejection. Many children have the ability to win admiration and attention through spontaneous extraverted charm, but Harry may find this difficult. Although he is extremely likeable, paradoxically he may
be the last one to believe it. Encourage him to pursue excellence in what he does because it is a valid and creative way in which he can gain recognition without the anxiety too much emotional exposure might invoke. But do not let him
believe this is the only way in which he will get the admiration he seeks. Harry is extremely vulnerable and deeply uncertain of himself in any group situation even if he appears otherwise. Parents should not let his apparently seamless
self-sufficiency fool them. He needs admiration and recognition of his specialness whether he has done something wonderful or is just being his ordinary quiet self.
Learning to express the need of others
As he grows up, Harry's sensitivity, depth and instinctive reliance on inner resources may make it hard for him to admit or express his profound need to belong. His internal conflict is a healthy and natural one, although he will benefit from
some help in understanding why he is so easily hurt by people he pretends not to care about. He needs more involvement with the larger group, yet he fears at the same time that those who do not know him well will misunderstand, reject or
ridicule him. Simply telling him not to be so sensitive is worse than useless it is unwise, since he has good reason to fear the destructive potential of the collective. In a loving family as well as in a group of children at a playground, people
tend to be much less sensitive and aware of individual needs and rights when they are busy thinking and feeling as a mass. History has some horrific lessons to teach us on the theme of what human beings are capable of when they become a
mob. Harry has an instinctive understanding of the dark face of the collective, but he may need help in recognising the rich rewards of sharing himself with other human beings.
His perceptions should be respected and honoured, even if parents do not feel such sensitivity themselves. Harry has many unusual inner gifts, and his wisdom, courage and self-honesty will stand him in good stead throughout his life.
Accept him as the very special person he is, rather than trying to make him more "ordinary". He will need plenty of parental understanding and loyalty in order to find a balance between the contrasting sides of his own nature. Talk with
him as much as possible about his relationships with and feelings toward others, as soon as he is old enough to express himself. Most importantly, encourage him to value and appreciate his own nature, instead of giving him the message
overtly or implicitly that the family would be happier if only he were different. Because he feels like an outsider, he may underestimate the friendliness and good intentions of other children. Harry may take a long time realising that
others may truly like him and want to get to know him. But they may feel he is the one doing the rejecting because they mistake his shyness for aloofness. Understanding this simple dynamic may work miracles for his self-confidence,
allowing him to feel more secure in the outer as well as the inner world.
Another important pair of characters
The characters described so far represent Harry's essential inner dialogue between the main conscious life-orientation and the hidden unconscious strengths which, if recognised and integrated, can round out the personality. Besides these
figures, there are other inner characters indicated in the birth chart which are likely to emerge as Harry develops, and which are described briefly below.
The magic of the dream-world
Although Harry appears to live on the earth like other children, his heart is also connected to more ethereal realms. He is a highly imaginative child who may never feel quite at home confined within the boundaries of material life. Like a
character in a fairy tale, he instinctively seeks a world where the Good, the True and the Beautiful always vanquish the Bad, the False and the Ugly. As he develops, Harry may assume that life will always be like this. If he is unable to find
the magic he seeks, he may sometimes retreat into a fantasy-world of his own creation. If he is extremely upset, he may become withdrawn and melancholy, hiding from the external world behind a protective cloak of imagined illnesses. So
strong is his inner vision of beauty and magic that he may simply refuse to acknowledge the harsher aspects of reality the unconscious cruelty of other children, the death of a pet, the little cuts and bruises of everyday life. It may seem as
though life bruises him easily. Yet despite this extreme sensitivity, he is in touch with a subtler and more profound level of reality the magical world of dreams and imaginings. With sufficient encouragement and support, he has the gift of
being able to translate that world into the here-and-now.
Life is full of magic
Thus there is an elusive, ethereal and other-worldly quality about Harry which is magical at the same time that it reflects great vulnerability to the challenges of the physical world. He does not need to be "overprotected" his own
inclination to dwell in the realms of fantasy, combined with too much cosseting, would only make it more difficult for him to find an appropriate balance as he grows. Certainly he needs encouragement to take on the challenges of the
external world, particularly the painful business of separating and forming as an independent identity. But Harry should be appreciated most of all for what he truly is. Some of his greatest strengths lie in his imagination and his capacity to
sense a finer, higher and more beautiful dimension of life than many people ever perceive. He may not always find the world an easy place, and sometimes he may be a little too thin-skinned to readily digest some of life's cruder offerings.
Parental violence, the death of a pet, or the inexplicable cruelty of the "pack" may be sufficient to create long-lasting distress. Helping him to find a more detached and realistic stance, without sentiment and without attacking his young
ideals, may be the most creative way of dealing with his vulnerability. But the innate trust, grace and optimism inherent in Harry's personality will always allow him to bounce back from whatever difficult experiences life may offer.
Strong appetites need acknowledgement
In contrast to Harry's bright and ethereal spirit, there is another, tougher protagonist in his inner psychic drama. This less developed side can offer a much needed realism and resilience, if it is understood and encouraged to develop. Here
are hidden all those powerful instinctual and emotional needs which, because they are so raw and intense, can cause Harry conflict as he develops. A strong will and strong desires inevitably cause conflict and competition with parents and
siblings, and Harry's harmony-loving and gentle nature is likely to find such conflict very painful. Thus there is a likelihood that as he gets older he may try to avoid experiencing and expressing his more divisive feelings. This could lead to
indirect, unconscious forms of expression such as psychosomatic symptoms (rashes, stomach upsets, headaches), nightmares or erratic bouts of disruptive behaviour. Every human being has many sides to his or her nature, and Harry is no
exception. Encouraging him to acknowledge and value his sometimes highly aggressive feelings and needs can help him to find a much-needed sense of self-worth, contributing to a stronger and more balanced personality.
Learning to balance body and soul
Thus this enchanted and enchanting child, open to a magical world many adults would do well to recognise, is also earthier and more intense than he might seem. Harry possesses a very special blend of refinement and sensitivity combined
with considerable sensuality and emotional power. He needs the second to give substance to the first, so that his fertile imagination and delicate attunement to others can withstand the buffetings of life. Without the density of a strong
physical and emotional nature, Harry would be in danger of floating away on a cloud of idealised images, always expecting too much from himself and from those he loves. His more basic instincts, properly valued and encouraged, can help
him to feel better related to others, more at home in his body, and increasingly capable of protecting his sensitivity and idealism from the more brutish aspects of life and other people. Such integration of opposites is not easy for anyone.
But it begins in childhood, and with the support and understanding of parents Harry can explore and express both the world of the instincts and the world of the imagination without growing up to believe they must mutually exclude each
IV. EMOTIONAL NEEDS AND
PATTERNS IN RELATIONSHIPS
The means by which we find happiness and nourishment through others become more complex, subtle and diverse as we progress from infancy to adulthood. But our fundamental emotional needs reflect our individual characters and in
essence do not change. Every child has particular ways in which he or she experiences and seeks emotional contact with others, and this may not always accord with other, more dominant personality traits.
Share my dreams!
Although he is remarkably self-sufficient in many ways, Harry's deepest need in relation to others is the feeling that he can share his rich and constantly changing inner world with them. He experiences a deep sense of connectedness with
others on nonverbal levels, and may sometimes be almost telepathic in sensing and mirroring the feelings and needs of those close to him. Harry needs a great deal of emotional closeness, but this does not take the form of possessiveness.
He may be able to relate deeply and sincerely to a wide variety of people, and although he will easily attract friends he will never become the exclusive emotional property of any one of them. He feels happiest and most secure when he can
identify with emotions and experiences that both he and others have felt and been through. It is as though he needs the constant reassurance that he is part of a much larger human family, bonded on profound and mysterious levels through
shared fears, longings, dreams and needs. Acutely responsive to others' pain, he may feel most at home relating to younger siblings or peers who for one reason or another need his sympathy and understanding. For this reason he may form
important friendships with handicapped, underprivileged or scapegoated children, preferring this more complex interaction to more conventional and superficial contacts that fail to touch his sympathetic heart.
So deeply does Harry need emotional closeness that he is quite capable of ignoring his own needs in order to become what he senses loved ones want him to be. It may be hard for parents to get him to express what he really feels, because it
is through making someone else happy that he experiences his own deepest happiness. He is therefore likely to be quite dependent and in need of constant demonstrations of affection, and may find it hard to be alone without becoming
anxious. He needs to feel needed, and may easily feel rejected by more independent or emotionally self-sufficient family members. Highly idealistic in his adoration of loved ones, he may experience many disappointments through
expecting a state of total emotional fusion with parents, family members and friends. In all his relationships he may need gentle encouragement to assert his own feelings as well as accepting others' need for detachment and breathing space.
Most importantly, a sense of emotional closeness is fundamental to Harry's happiness and well-being, and he will always seek an experience of deep and magical rapport with anyone he loves and needs. No one can remain emotionally fused
with another indefinitely, for it is in the nature of human beings to need separateness as well as closeness. For this reason one of the greatest challenges of his childhood will be the necessity to grow beyond his fear of fundamental human
aloneness. His refined and empathetic emotional nature can always distinguish between a subtle but genuine feeling of rapport and a flamboyant show of dutiful self-sacrifice. Such a rapport cannot be manufactured through verbal
declarations of love which lack real warmth, and his instinctively wise heart will always respond to the genuine article even if it is not on offer every minute of the day.
Special needs in relationship with parents
There are different needs in relation to mother and father not only based on the obvious fact of the sexual difference between parents, but also based on the child's own personality make-up and way of interacting with each parent as an
individual. Just as every child's character is unique and inherent, so too are that child's feelings and emotional requirements in relation to parents, siblings and friends. Gaining some understanding of these requirements can help family
members provide at least some of these fundamental needs, thereby offering an environment which to use the words of Winicott is "good enough" to allow the child to develop his or her relationships with greater inner security and
A longing for closeness with father
Harry longs for a sense of emotional intimacy with his father a feeling of being safe and cared for by a kind and gentle protector. Even though tradition implies that such qualities are "maternal", nevertheless Harry has an inner image of
his father as an essentially sensitive and caring man even if the "real" parent is sometimes moody, changeable or unavailable because of circumstances. Harry will seek to establish as close a bond as possible with his father because he feels
a deep emotional rapport regardless of any external differences in their characters. Naturally no parent, however loving and kind, can offer a constant uninterrupted blanket of solicitous love and concern. And there may be external issues
such as work pressures or family conflicts which make the time Harry's father has available less than his son might wish. But it is the quality of this relationship which is important, not the quantity. Most important is Harry's desire to be
near and to model himself after a parent whom he believes is capable of sensitivity, emotional responsiveness and concern for his son's well-being. These qualities reflect the kind of man Harry hopes to be when he grows up.
On the everyday level Harry longs to experience his father as an ordinary, fallible, approachable person. It is through the concerns of daily life meals, school routines, hobbies, talks about girls, sex and hygiene that Harry and his father
can best establish the kind of bonding that is needed. Genuine emotional responsiveness rather than heroics or exaggerated authority will form the solid core of a warm and mutually sensitive relationship which Harry can then internalise
and build on as he grows into adulthood. He really seeks a sense of emotional roots through his relationship with his father an experience of everyday human interchange which will stand the test of time and provide an example of
emotional sharing and mutual compassion. Therefore it is most important that, whatever issues might arise within the domestic environment (including separation between parents), contact between father and son is preserved as much as
possible on an everyday level, and not interfered with because of vindictiveness or resentment on the part of other family members. Harry's father should never be ashamed of his own vulnerable feelings in front of his son, and need not
hide behind any mask of false "macho" authority or strength. Harry has a deep emotional bond with his father which needs to be respected, even if he (and others) feel his father is less than perfect. For it is from these very imperfections,
honestly addressed, that Harry will learn the most important lessons about his own humanity.
Looking to mother for inspiration
Harry has a dramatic, larger-than-life image of his mother as a figure of tremendous colour, restlessness and imaginative energy, and he hopes that she will open the doors to new and exciting experiences. Even if she is tired, stressed and
feels anything but exuberant, he nevertheless experiences her as a source of vitality and inspiration. He needs plenty of time to explore the world with her, and domestic responsibilities and traditional role-playing may sometimes need to be
put aside so that mother and son can pursue the great adventure together. Most importantly Harry looks to his mother as the bringer of joy, enthusiasm and hope, for he perceives in her a woman who has the gift of tinting life with richer,
grander colours. Sharing travel, films, books and creative hobbies with her son can be a very important part of this potentially inspiring and nourishing relationship. The greater the scope of his mother's interests, the more her son will
benefit from the doors she can open for him and the more she can share in his creative development, the richer her own life will become.
It is therefore extremely important that Harry's mother can formulate and pursue some of her own creative aspirations. If she is too burdened by mundane responsibilities and rituals, her son may become confused and guilty because he
perceives her unlived dreams and shattered hopes and wants so badly to redeem them. Also, if he believes that his mother's vibrant and dramatic spirit has been diverted through unhappiness into darker, attention-seeking performances at
home, Harry may become frightened of the expansive and imaginative side of his own nature because he cannot see its positive potential. He does not want or need a perfect mother who achieves great creative goals. He wants a joyful,
stimulating relationship with a mother whom he perceives as lively, exciting and interesting. It is likely that this image is not wholly in the boy's imagination, and that his mother really does have many special qualities which inspire him.
Therefore the more honest she can be about her own need for self-expression, the more creative the bond will be for her son. This positive and dynamic image of his mother will eventually be internalised, providing him with a rich inner
source of faith in life's possibilities and a greater, more multifaceted appreciation of the girls and women he meets throughout life.
V. FEARS AND INSECURITIES
Every child, like every adult, experiences fear fear of objects and situations that belong to "real" life, and fear of inchoate things which loom in the night and seem absurd or strange in the bright light of day. Fear is a powerful motivator in
all human beings. It can work negatively, making us defensive and closed to life, and it can work positively, making us develop strengths and talents which begin as a means of self-protection and end as important assets of the personality. A
child's fears have not yet crystallised into those rigid defense mechanisms which cause so many adults to block off important dimensions of their natures. Responding to a child's panic with insight may save many years of the child become
adult struggling with an entrenched defensive pattern. Moreover, a child's fears can point toward profound archetypal issues which, dealt with in a spirit of understanding and compassion, reveal the wellsprings of nascent values, creative
potential and individual identity. Just as one man's meat is another's poison, one child's fears are another's playground. Yet every child experiences personal fears as real, objective and threatening whether they belong to the outer world
or the inner. Calling such fears silly is not only unhelpful it is downright destructive. To the child they are not silly at all and may reflect not only important personality issues but also unconscious conflicts in the family psyche which the
adults are not in touch with but which the child perceives all too clearly. Listening to a child's fears with an open mind and heart can, at a formative period of life, provide what every human being most needs a sense that his or her reality,
full of unpredictability and menace as well as beauty, joy and meaning, is taken seriously. Fear is always far less frightening when shared than when it is confronted alone.
Fear of the world's criticism
Despite his intense individualism, Harry has a deep need to fulfill the expectations and rules of the world, for he has an instinctive appreciation of order and the importance of structure in outer life. Being "good" matters a good deal to him,
although when he is young goodness will quite naturally be defined by prevailing family attitudes rather than his own individual values. Even if he sometimes seems rebellious, he longs to please others according to what they require of him.
Even if he kicks against the rules, he secretly respects sound authority and one day, as an adult, will be able to handle a good deal of it responsibly. But at the same time he has an instinctive sense of the price which must be paid for
following the rules. Sacrificing one's goals in the name of social and material security inevitably requires the suppression of individual creative expression, and Harry has an acute, although unconscious, awareness of this fundamental human
dilemma. Thus he fears and resents the power which others have over him because of his need for their validation. As he gets older he may swing from one extreme to the other, cooperative and obedient at one moment and then
sabotaging his position through rebellious behaviour obvious or covert which provokes criticism from loved ones and disapproval from school authorities.
As Harry grows up he may attempt to assuage his fear of others' criticism through certain characteristic defence mechanisms. He may place excessive importance on outer appearances whether his clothes are right, what other children
think of his home, whether his parents are "respectable". He may try too hard to accommodate prevailing ideas of what is acceptable at the expense of his own feelings, aspirations and goals. He may also display precocious ambition and an
overly developed sense of responsibility even when he is quite young, because he equates status, material success and the discharging of duties with being loved, wanted and worthwhile. Yet the more he tries to model himself after others'
expectations, the more unhappy he is likely to become because he is gradually losing contact with his sense of individual identity.
Harry may also interpret any sign of criticism as an indication that he is fundamentally unlovable. He may confuse the expectations of the outer world with his intrinsic value as an individual. If, for example, he is not invited to join a
popular group or club at school, he may assume it is because he is ugly, awful and a terrible person. Although all children sooner or later experience some kind of rejection by some group, Harry may take such events terribly personally. It
will not occur to him that the group may not have a great deal to offer him because he cannot see past his own deep fear that he has nothing to offer them. Parents may need to give Harry a generous amount of emotional support and
reassurance, for he will turn to them first for validation of his worth and will be crushed if he is made to feel he should be somebody other than himself.
The dilemma of individual and society
Behind Harry's very personal defence mechanisms a fundamental human challenge may be glimpsed the dilemma of remaining true to oneself while remaining a responsible member of the society in which one lives. Many adults never
find any resolution to this dilemma, and it is a challenge which Harry will face on many levels throughout his life. Harry lacks nothing in terms of his ability to adjust to the world around him. However individualistic he may be, he has much
instinctive wisdom about the importance of being a useful and productive person, and he needs as much acknowledgement of his efforts as parents can provide. It may also be helpful for parents to examine the overall family attitude toward
worldly position and achievement, in both the present and the past. For this fundamental human issue may have been a family challenge in past generations just as it is a challenge to Harry now.
His great sensitivity to criticism and disapproval should never be underestimated. Whereas some children might shrug off a word said in anger, or recognise the validity of a comment meant to help, Harry reacts in a deeply subjective
fashion by interpreting any criticism however objective and well-meant as a sign that he has failed entirely. Parents may need to cultivate a fine balance between appreciation of his vulnerability and the recognition that a blindly
accepting attitude of "Whatever you do is wonderful" will only make him wonder why he is being lied to. One thing is fundamental in helping him to cope with his fears never, never use comparisons with other children as a means of
securing his good behaviour. "Why can't you be more like so-and-so?" is a deadly weapon which will deeply undermine his faith in himself. Unthinking generalisations of good and bad, normal and abnormal, loving and selfish may be
equally hurtful. Harry is instinctively trying to establish a balance between his own developing values and the rules of the world around him, and he needs help in clarifying both rather than simply being taught that any child who answers
back is bad. The complex issues of individual versus collective morality are a continuing challenge to all human beings. Even in his early years Harry has deep sensitivity to these important issues and needs the understanding and support of
loved ones as he moves forward to find his own way.
VI. LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE
Every child has a unique fund of potentials which can best be encouraged through an individual educational approach. However, most children must "make do" with what is available to them through local schools. In Western countries
education, in accord with our present world-view, primarily consists of the acquisition of practical skills and specialised knowledge. Regardless of whether this particular approach is suited to every child, or even "right" in the broader
philosophical or moral sense, children must to a great extent adapt their own individual abilities to the prevailing trend. Some can achieve this easily, some do so only by denying their own natures, and others accomplish little because they
simply cannot make themselves into what they are not. Educational facilities may be found which place greater emphasis on a more holistic world-view, or on the imaginative and creative dimensions of a child's development. But the cost of
such facilities may be beyond many parents' reach. Nevertheless, so immense is the power of innate individuality that whatever limits may exist in the educational environment, any child given sufficient parental understanding and
encouragement of natural aptitudes can find the confidence to discover his or her appropriate path in life.
A need to explore the deeper levels of life
Harry tends to follow his own inner path, and his mental focus is on what lies behind the obvious and concrete manifestations of life. He may evidence great curiosity about the family, especially those important but difficult emotional events
which are often not talked about. He has one eye on the outer world and one on the inner, and images and feelings are as real to him as objects. Because of this awareness of the multi-levelled nature of reality he may not find a strictly
conventional educational approach very fulfilling. The receptive and highly imaginative nature of his mind may make words an uncomfortable vehicle for expression, and he may be misunderstood by more intellectually inclined teachers as
he struggles to put his images, insights and intuitions into words. His mind works through association and imagery more readily than through step-by-step logic, and he may be happier with subjects such as languages, history or the arts
which require more emotional and imaginative input.
Harry's high degree of imagination and receptivity to others' feelings will not only colour his areas of interest at school but may also hamper his ability to master a subject if there is animosity between him and a particular teacher. Personal
relationships with teachers are as relevant to him as the learning process itself, and his insight into people gives him the disturbing ability to perceive hypocrisy in teachers and school authorities. The personal qualities of the teachers are
therefore of greater importance than the academic reputation of the school. Most importantly, he needs to have room to look more deeply at things, using the faculties of intuition and fantasy as well as the more conventionally acceptable
function of logic. Harry is not likely to put all his mental gifts in the shop window because the inner world is so difficult to communicate except through images, symbols and music. If it is not possible to make provision for this at school,
extracurricular classes or hobbies which support his more "esoteric" interests especially artistic ones may prove extremely helpful and satisfying. And parents who are interested in the deeper side of life and can talk openly with him
about his real questions would be most helpful of all.
The pursuit of the great adventure
The spirit that lives within Harry is like a bird which will, however beautiful and comfortable its home, sooner or later take flight to seek far horizons mental or physical or perhaps both. Whatever difficulties he might experience in
childhood, and whatever fears he must face and overcome, he has on the deepest level an unquenchable vision of life as a great and inspiring adventure where all difficulties are really opportunities and all futures potentially better than what
has gone before. His capacity for vision and his sense of future potentials will always help him to inject optimism and faith into even the most mundane and limited of circumstances. Thus he will never lose sight of the possible regardless of
how limiting the actual may seem. Inevitably he will seek bigger pastures and broader horizons as he grows up, and as he moves into adulthood he will struggle against being circumscribed by one neighbourhood, one group of friends, one
set of beliefs or one mundane goal. Any lapses in practical judgement will be more than compensated by an intuition which allows him to turn problems into worthwhile lessons and obstacles into creative challenges. If there is any one thing
about Harry which parents would benefit from recognising, it is that his constantly expanding vision of life will never permit him to be contented merely with how things are or have always been. Even in the face of deep emotional
attachments and security needs his urge to learn, travel, explore and understand life will always keep him moving forward, and if others refuse to make the inner journey with him he may ultimately leave them behind. His capacity to find
fulfillment in a vocation depends upon whether his chosen direction permits him to expand his mental and physical horizons, for when he reaches one goal he will instinctively begin to seek another. Harry is one of life's intrepid explorers,
and those who love him will hopefully never trample on his future dreams.
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet