Astrology is a practice many parents are only loosely familiar with, and the notion of our fates and personalities being dictated by the stars is something more than a little disconcerting to many. However, in recent years there’s been a sudden uprising in astrology among young people, and the pseudo-science is no longer restricted to the daily horoscopes in the back of magazines and local newspapers. For some reason, teenagers and young adults are finding a new sense of security and understanding from the interpretation of heavenly bodies.
If your teenage son or daughter has begun showing an interest in astrology, you’ll likely have lots of questions. Is astrology reliable? Is it safe for your teen to believe the time and place of their birth has such a significant effect on their personality? It’s not a cult, is it? All parents will take different approaches to these questions, but my short answer is that far from being dangerous, astrology is actually a great way to improve teenage self-esteem, initiate personal reflection, and introduce difficult concepts. In this article, I give a quick rundown on what astrology is, how to approach it as a parent, and several reasons for why it might actually be a good thing for your teen.
Astrology In a Nutshell
Astrology is the practice of interpreting the stars, planets, moon, and sun to develop insights into a person’s strengths, weaknesses, passions, and personality traits. It is by no means a hard science, and it’s also not a religious belief. Rather, it’s a system for interpreting the way people behave and interact with each other, almost like a personality test such as Meyers-Brigg and Strength Finder. Only, instead of being based on answers to contextual questions, it’s based on the alignment of celestial bodies at a person’s birth.
In astrology, the day you were born dictates your Zodiac sign, which can be one of twelve: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Caner, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, or Pisces. All of these signs have different traits; some are known for being fiery, passionate, driven, and confident (like Aries and Leo), while others are said to be more relaxed, compromising, and calculated (like Libras). Many people know the Zodiac sign based on their birthday, but people foreign to astrology probably aren’t familiar with the more obscure traits based on things like the time and location of one’s birth. These variables dictate a plethora of other signs (like the moon sign and ascendant sign) which further explain a person’s personality. A person’s astrological chart can provide insights on everything from their professional strengths to their romantic compatibility.
If this sounds ridiculous, you’re not alone. Many people have a problem with the idea of having no control over these kinds of traits in their own life. After all, we don’t get to decide when we’re born! Why should that dictate something like our work ethic, for example? This, along with the air of mystery granted to astrology, is a major reason many parents don’t want their teens getting too interested. However, there are several reasons astrology can actually be a good thing for teenagers! Here are a few examples.
- Astrology Can Improve Self-Esteem
All Zodiac signs have natural strengths, and letting your teen read about their own might make them feel better about their own abilities! For example, if your teenager was born in early February, they’d be an Aquarius. People born under that sign are said to be especially innovative and intelligent! If your teen is doubting their academic abilities, it might be good for them to hear this kind of positive reinforcement and feel they have an inherent creative streak. Astrology is meant to give people a well-rounded view of themselves and others, and this includes finding personal and mental strength!
- Astrology Introduces Hard Concepts
Most teenagers don’t have fully formed understandings of things like conflict resolution, setting barriers, work-life balance, handling stress, or maintaining healthy relationships. These are all things that many people learn on a trial-and-error basis as they go through life and begin to seriously consider when they’re older, perhaps in college or beyond. In high school, kids are much more concerned with their social standing, academic progress, and friendships to think about these kinds of serious inter- and intrapersonal skills. Astrology resources, however, spend a good amount of time talking about and explaining these kinds of issues and how they manifest in different signs. Even if you don’t want your teenager believing they’re destined to be a certain way, astrology readings are a great way to introduce your teen to these concepts and spur self-reflection (of course, you’ll want to have a conversation with them, too).
- Astrology is a Good Time!
Chances are, your teen doesn’t actually think they’re personality is set in stone based on celestial bodies. Astrology, for lots of people, is a fun way to understand how they interact with the people around them and bond with friends and family! Be sure to ask your teenager how seriously they take astrology; if they concede it’s more of a hobby than a way of life, it isn’t something for you to worry about.
All in all, astrology is fine in moderation. If your teenager shows an interest, be sure to talk to them about the importance of not taking it too seriously and looking at it as a new perspective, not the only one. Once you give them this advice, astrology becomes a great resource and tool for critical thinking!
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.