It would be great if, along with the pillow-sized maxi pads, enormous mesh undies, and teeny-tiny diapers, someone would tuck a how-to manual inside our hospital bags when we take our new babies home. I don't mean a generalized manifesto of "this is a baby and here's how you keep it alive" — I mean a guide specifically geared toward the particular model we're tasked with parenting. But let's face it: coffeemakers come with more detailed instructions than babies do.
When it comes to raising our kids, it's a guessing game, and their personalities are a huge factor in how easy it'll be. We must navigate through life anticipating their reactions to certain scenarios, and they're all different; one kid is clinging to our legs when we try to drop him off at day care, and the next one is trying to unbuckle herself and get out before the car even stops moving.
But there is a way we can be at least a little bit clued-in to our kids' innate personalities, the things that make them tick (and the things that make them ticked-off): we can look at their zodiac signs. By knowing a little bit about the classic characteristics of our offspring's ruling sign, we can gain some insight into what drives them. Flighty or fearless, bubbly or bashful, their traits can depend on their horoscope — and we've got the scoop on what to expect from each.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Capricorn kiddos are old souls, and you'll sometimes marvel at their level of maturity (it can seem like they're wise senior citizens living in young bodies). Because of this, they gravitate toward older friends, and adore spending time with Mom and Dad.
They are ambitious and diligent, stable and consistent, and will actually help keep you on schedule; consistency is key for kids born under the sign of the Goat. Their determination is unwavering, but that can also mean they're stubborn when it comes to any change in plans or deviation from their usual path. Introduce any changes slowly, and appreciate your little Capricorn's love of stability — and unparalleled loyalty.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19)
Fiercely independent and possessing a great need for personal space, Aquarian kids may not be the type to crave physical closeness (no "huggers" here!), but don't be offended — it's just that they're too busy exploring their environment to spend much time being cuddled.
From the time they're babies, they'll be poking their noses into every available nook and cranny, and by the time they're teens, they'll be begging you to allow them to travel alone (eek!). Adventure is the Aquarius kid's middle name, and they tend to be on the unconventional side, preferring to dance to their own drummer. Prepare for a bit of rebellion if you attempt, as parents do, to rein your little Aquarian in. Allow for as much independence as you (and your child) can handle, and remember that a traditional path, in an Aquarian's eyes, is not always the best one.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20)
Pisces kids are prone to — as Katy Perry would put it — catching "feels." They are super sensitive to the energies around them, and their emotions run high. They wear their huge, open hearts on their sleeves, showing compassion and caring for the vulnerable without realizing that they, themselves, are vulnerable.
Like a real live fish, your Pieces child may be a little on the shy side, seeking refuge in a hiding place from time to time. I hope the paint on your walls is washable, because sensitive Fish may find solace from emotional overload in anything artsy; Piscean kids have rich and fanciful imaginations and love being creative, whether through drawing or writing or simply acting out dramatic scenes with toys. Their considerate nature means they give ceaselessly of themselves, so make sure you refill their cup with a lot of love and nurturing.
Aries (March 21-April 20)
You've got an Aries? Better have insurance. And caffeine. Aries kiddos are spunky, energetic little fireballs who want to explore everything headfirst . . . whether you want them to or not. They possess a magnificent sense of determination, which will be a great asset when they get older, but may cause them to butt heads when their strong will clashes with yours (hey, their symbol is the ram, after all).
They are natural-born leaders (read: kinda bossy) who can quickly become frustrated when things don't go their way, but a few encouraging words and a pat on the back can quickly recharge your little Aries's go-getter spirit. They love applause!
Taurus (April 21-May 21)
Have you ever heard the term "stubborn as a bull"? It's accurate when it comes to the miniature bulls of the zodiac: aka Taurus kids. Very set in their ways, trying to change a tiny Taurus's mind can be an exercise in futility.
But bulls are strong and solid, and so are Taurus children — both literally and figuratively. They'll rarely be sick, and their steady, dependable temperament and thoughtful disposition make them lovable despite their occasionally inflexible nature. They thrive on a consistent daily routine; it gives them the feeling of stability that they crave. And when your Bull is showing those horns, your best bet is to be a calm, quieting influence.
Gemini (May 22-June 21)
Be prepared to say a lot of "mm-hmm," because you won't be able to get a word in edgewise with a Gemini kid in the house. Their interests are diverse and ever-changing, and their sociable personalities make them want to talk about it all (in detail), so you're in for a lifetime of listening.
Fortunately, though, Geminis are gregarious and funny; you'll be entertained by their exuberant nature and zest for communication. You'll also be exhausted trying to keep up, because your little Gemini will change preferences like most people change underwear — which means there will also be a lot of unfinished projects. But just remind yourself that each new undertaking is satisfying your Gemini's rabid curiosity and keeping them from getting bored, as they so easily tend to do.
Cancer (June 22-July 22)
The symbol of the Cancer child is a crab, and it's fitting — because kids born under the Cancer sign make good use of their figurative "shell." They are naturally sensitive, and when feelings overwhelm them, they retreat protectively into themselves just like an actual crab would.
Despite their armor, they are easily hurt, so watch what you say when you're irritated; even if you don't mean it, your angry words (or anyone else's, for that matter) will pierce your little crab right through the heart. But as inconvenient as their sensitivity can be at times, it's also an asset, because those soft hearts are made of gold. Cancer kids are caring and considerate. They don't like to lead, and sometimes prefer solitude to the company of others, so keep that in mind when you're planning their extracurricular activities.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Leo kids are the lion cubs of the zodiac, and you'll definitely hear them roar; they are nothing if not opinionated. Their way is the best way (just ask them!) and they enjoy being number one, which can make it a bit difficult to be a team player sometimes — they'd rather lead the team than just be a member of it.
Leos want to be the best at everything and are particularly disappointed when they feel they aren't, so positive reinforcement goes a long way for these little Lions. They are proud and love to feel important. Any opportunity to make them feel like leaders is welcome, and appealing to that ego will work in every aspect of their lives . . . even if it's just telling them that you're having them unload the dishwasher because no one else does it better.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 23)
"Perfection" is the keyword for children born under the sign of the Virgin — not because they are perfect, but because you'll never see anybody try harder to achieve that status. They are typically tidy and fastidious, meticulously tending to every little thing from their rooms to their personal hygiene to their health (for dinner last night my family went to a pizza buffet, and my Virgo son opted to hit up the salad bar instead; that's a Virgo in a nutshell).
Virgo kids are naturally helpful, because anything they can do to contribute to an orderly and peaceful environment, they'll do. But because they're such creatures of habit, and so determined to make everything perfect, they can be hard on themselves if they fall even a smidge short. Keeping a steady routine, and gently reminding them that they're doing a great job (and that you love them no matter what), can help keep your little Virgo from becoming overly stressed under their own self-imposed pressure to keep everything just-so.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 23)
Most parents hear "It's not fair!" from their offspring, but parents of Libra kids might hear it just a little more often — and in this case, the kids are probably right. Libras, whose symbol is the Scales, are inborn seekers of balance and harmony. This makes them natural peacemakers, fantastic at mediating and helping people work together in compromise.
Unfortunately, if you lay down a parental rule they feel is unfair, you may find yourself in an argument; but the good news is, these pint-sized arbitrators can be convinced by a solid explanation. They have a deep appreciation for music and beauty and thrive in a peaceful household – negativity is toxic to a little Libra. Crank up some tunes, dance in your kitchen, and watch your Libra kid's joy bubble over.
Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 22)
You'll learn early to trust your Scorpio scamp's natural intuition, because as the most psychically sensitive sign in the zodiac, Scorpio kids possess a keen ability to "read" people and situations. You won't always know what they're thinking or feeling, because they're also among the most private of signs — great secret-keepers, which can be both good when someone is confiding in them and terrible when they're trying to hide something.
Your little Scorpion is also equipped with quite the proverbial stinger, and they are champion grudge-holders when they feel they've been wronged. But Scorpio kids also love deeply and benefit greatly from displays of affection. They are bold and unafraid, because they trust their own sharp instincts. And they're just as intelligent as they are intuitive, so the Scorpio child is no fool; they don't enjoy being talked down to.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 21)
The Sagittarius child has a warm, sunny personality: the smiley face emoji of the zodiac! These happy-go-lucky kids are always the life of the party, because they carry the "party" inside them wherever they go with their natural exuberance. They're endlessly optimistic, which is a wonderful quality — until it involves risk-taking.
Sagittarius children are so sure things will turn out positively that they sometimes fail to even consider the possible negative consequences. But it takes a lot to put a damper on that bright spirit, so they bounce back remarkably well when things do go awry. Little Sagittarians are very independent, and, like their sign, the Archer, are straight shooters: they'll tell you exactly what they're thinking, and always the truth, even if it's painful. These are the kids who will cheerfully tell Aunt Martha that her potato salad isn't as good as Mom's.
Raising children is never a simple task, but the better we understand our kids, the more effective parents we are. We may never have a definitive and specific how-to manual (darn it), but if their star signs can provide even the tiniest glimpse of insight, parenting them accordingly is definitely worth a try.