Parenting for Your Child's Nature: The Insightful Water Child

Parenting for Your Child’s Nature: The Insightful Water Child

Does your child appear quiet and withdrawn? Prefers to eat dinner in his or her room rather than joining the family at the table? You may be parenting a “Water Child.”

According to ancient Chinese wisdom, which was modernized and developed into the Fire Child, Water Child model by holistic pediatrician Stephen Cowan, MD, each of us is born with different ways of experiencing the world. Our dominant style or “type” corresponds to one of the five elements found in nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, or Water. Each type is characterized by many positive qualities and strengths, and as we grow we cultivate our less developed qualities to become well-balanced human beings.

Water Children are introspective and insightful. Like the corresponding season of Winter, where the world becomes still, with few apparent signs of life, Water children often appear withdrawn and disengaged from life around them. However, in Winter, there is actually a great deal of activity going on inside, underneath the surface of the frozen ground. Water children, who have a natural tendency to turn inward and daydream, often are actually contemplating the mysteries of life and formulating brilliant insights when they appear to be in another world, all “in their heads.”

When understood and their gift of insight is nurtured, Water Children can become our great poets and philosophers. They are the children we often call “old souls,” or the quirky individuals who “walk to the beat of a different drummer.” Because they spend time contemplating the larger questions, they often have great artistic gifts. They have great power of attention and can truly immerse themselves in the task at hand. However, they can also lose track of time and appear oblivious to what is happening around them. This apparent disengagement from family or classroom activities can be a source of concern for parents and for teachers.

So what can parents do to help their Water Children succeed and flourish? Understanding their nature and celebrating their strengths is the first step to Positive Parenting.

Watch my interview with Dr. Cowan to hear his practical wisdom for parenting the Water Child:

Parenting the Water child means honoring their gift of introspection first before we try to “coax them out” of their head, according to Dr. Cowan. A good way to encourage Water children to come out of their room and join the family at the dinner table is to engage them in the “magic” and creativity of the cooking process. Another way to show quiet introspective Water children that they have a purpose and a “place in the tribe” is to give them opportunities to perform and share their creative talents. This will also help them cultivate an optimistic attitude and avoid potential brooding when they retreat into their “caves.”

For more information about how to understand your child and for parenting support to help them succeed and flourish, contact me at or by phone at 786-565-7870.

Register here for Positive Parenting: Getting to Know Your Water Child

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