Use the Five Elements to Bring out the Best in Your Child

Which-Element-is-Your-Child

As parents, we intuitively know our children are unique. 

Even so, it can be quite shocking to have two kids who are complete opposites despite their parentage! Each child has different strengths and challenges and will need a different type of parenting in order to thrive. You may also notice that each child tends to have different health problems. One child may spike a high fever with every illness and your other child has colds that always go into the chest. If your child suffers from a chronic illness, you may find their symptoms are much better or worse during certain seasons. Is there a way to understand these personality and health differences and use them to support our children?

Understand Your Child Better through the Five Elements

One of the best ways to understand all the factors that influence our children’s health and well-being is through the Five Element system in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Five Elements represent a system of correspondences that we can use to understand our child’s innate way of being in the world, which can help us generate positive interactions with our child. It gives us clues to help us understand which illnesses our children are vulnerable to and gives us tools to support them in their healing. After thousands of years of observing the Five Elements in the earth’s ecosystem, Chinese philosophers applied the Five Elements to the individual ecosystem of our body, mind and spirit. The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each Element has corresponding physical characteristics, personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses that shape each child’s overall health and way of being with the world. One particular way of being will influence the child’s personality, health and temperament above all others—their dominant Element. By knowing a child’s dominant Element, we can understand her strengths and weakness, predict the types of illnesses she is more prone to and which season she’ll need the most support to keep her healthy. Click Here to Get Your Free Five Element Questionnaire & Guide

Below is a chart that shows some of the Elemental correspondences and what traits might be demonstrated in each child’s Element:

 5 Element Chart.png 

The Elements can be viewed as a spectrum from super high energy and activity to more easygoing and slightly lower activity (although all kids are active). Identifying your child’s energy level is the first step to determining your child’s dominant Element, and then you can examine how to best support her.

    Five-Element-Spectrum.png  

Five Element Guide for Parents 

Wood Kids Have Tons of Energy

At one end of the spectrum, we have the Wood child who is very energetic, curious and adventurous. He is active and needs physical outlets in order to manage his energy and feelings, which will enable him to stay balanced. Curiosity and a drive to figure things out often lead to constant questioning of parents and teachers.  He likes to push the boundaries to challenge himself and see how firm the boundaries are with authority figures.

Water Kids are the Most Easy Going

On the other end of the spectrum, we find the Water child, who is very creative and is likely a deep thinker. She feels more deeply than other children and often understands emotional nuances in ways that are considered wise beyond her years. Parents may describe their water child as an "old soul." They can occupy themselves for hours in their own creative world, exploring these deeper thoughts and feelings.

Fire Kids are Active and Entertaining

On the more active side, is the Fire child who is bright, vibrant and seeks lots of stimulation. She wants her parents to entertain her and play with her, and loves being surrounded by friends and family. She's a very active and engaging kid that likes constant movement. A Fire child may enjoy entertaining you by dancing and singing. She recharges by being around people, and can’t wait to share every detail of her day at school as soon as she sees you!

Earth Kids are Lovable Little Souls

In the middle of the spectrum, is the Earth child who is friendly, outgoing and talkative, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy being in the spotlight. He is mommy's helper and is a loving child who’s very attached to Mom, Dad, Grandma and anyone else who cares for him. While your Earth child may go with the flow, he can also get worried about his family and friends or even his pets and is reluctant to be away from them for very long.

Metal Children Thrive on Routine and Rituals

Finally, we have the Metal Child who is easy going about many things, but also has a stubborn streak. She is loving with her close relatives, but shy with strangers. She thrives on routine and ritual and is particular about many things, especially foods, and may be sensitive to textures and tastes. She’s active, but not as active as Fire and Wood children who keep their parents on the go all the time. Instead, she enjoys a balance of activity and quiet time.   Fire-Child-Water-Child.jpg 

Respecting Our Children’s Differences

Even though we know our children are unique, we still want to make sure they’re on track with their growth and development. Comparing our children to others is one way to see whether or not they are following the “normal” curve, but it can sometimes lead to unnecessary worry. Comparing your Metal child to your friend’s Fire child may make you wonder why your child is shy around strangers. “Pathologizing” a child’s behavior at a young age has become common among adults as words like ADD are used to describe all manner of behaviors. Some parents refer to their high-energy Fire child as hyperactive or ADHD, while the shy quiet Water child who plays alone might be thought of as a loner or “on the spectrum” even before any formal diagnosis is made. However, using the perspective of the Five Elements, we can see that the children are following their natural dominant Element. This can free us up, as parents, to love and appreciate the unique traits and quirks that our children bring to our world.

Reframing Our Kid’s Behavior

While it’s important to seek medical care if you suspect your child is having issues with their growth and development, you can still reframe your child’s behavior in a positive and supportive way. Rather than view the high-energy child as hyperactive we can view him as a Wood child who needs a physical outlet for his energy. Rather than view that shy quiet child as a loner, we can view him as a Water child that has a rich, creative inner world. First, we can allow our children to just be who they are without labels, then we can take steps to balance their Element and bring out the best in them.

Supporting Our Children’s Health through the Elements

Once we know our child’s dominant Element, we will know how best to support his or her health. For instance, a Metal child may need extra immune support during the fall and a Fire child may need a calming bedtime ritual to quiet her mind and help her fall asleep. A Wood child needs plenty of outdoor activities and exercise, while a Water child needs a quiet place to play in his rich and creative inner world. The Earth child needs to develop a healthy relationship with food and eating and thrives by being part of a group. When we understand the innate nature of our children, we begin to see patterns that allow us to understand the individual child’s needs and make subtle (but profound) changes to how we interact with and parent them. We can honor the rhythm of their bodies and the way they need to recharge. We can model behaviors that will support their nature, guide their weaknesses and build upon their strengths. We can help them grow and develop in ways that are congruent with their Element, instead of trying to turn them into something they’re not meant to be naturally.

Are You Curious What your Child’s Element Is?

Set aside 10 – 15 minutes to take our Five Element Questionnaire. As you go through the questions, think carefully about how your child is at home, school, and at social activities. You’ll be surprised how accurate the descriptions are for each Element and how easy it is to spot your child’s dominant Element type. Once you know your child’s Element you can refer to our Five Element Guide filled with tips and ideas to bring out the best in your child.

 

Click here to find out which Element your child is!

Comment below and let us know what results you got or if you have any questions!

 

This post was featured on: Thank Goodness It's Monday by Nourishingjoy.com Natural Living Monday by Naturallivingmamma.com Simple Lives Thursday by Homespunoasis.com  Old Fashioned Friday by Ourheritageofhealth.com Let's Get Real Friday Party by Jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com Natural Family Friday by Naturalfamilytoday.com Simply Natural Saturdays by Pistachioproject.com

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10 comments

Kristin Misik

Keep up the great work Robin! I love referencing your website for my own 5 Element coaching work with women.
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Robin Green

Thanks Kristin! I love that you do Five Element work with women! That's wonderful! ~ Robin
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Audry Godwyn

I have 2 strong wood/fire element children, 1 water/wood, 1 earth, and 1 fire/metal Since I have been learning about the 5 element theory, I have used it to help guide the very different personalities of my 5 children in dealing with the way they learn, play, handle emotions and even eat. I love the simple questionnaire and solution suggestions to help deal with the emotional aspect of the different elements in children. Thank you so much for this information! I especially love that it is geared toward children since there is so much information on adults.
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David Sheppard

Hello I have signed up for you newsletter after finding you. I am an Acupuncturist from the UK and focus on five element treatment. I love the questionnaire for parents and have used it this week for a new patient of mine who is 10. Many thanks it's super cool
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I never would have thought of this, but it is interesting. Signed up to get my free questionnaire. Thanks!
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Robin Green

Hi David, I'm so happy you found us and that you found the Five Element questionnaire helpful :). Keep up the good work and let us know what you are up to- I love to hear what people do with this work. Take care, Robin
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Robin Green

Elizabeth, Welcome and thanks for giving the Five Element questionaire a try! I'm interested to see how it works for you. Warmly, Robin
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Five Elements » Enhanced Health | Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

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Five Element Questionnaire & Guide - Bring out the best in your child. » Enhanced Health | Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

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Brittany @ The Pistachio Project

This is so interesting! I have a Wood, Fire, Earth, and then kid #4 fits the first graphic for Water but below in the description she seems to fit Metal better... I still have one more kid but #5 is only 6 months so we'll see if I get one of each.
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