Can reading about your kids in the tarot help you to understand what’s going on with them emotionally? Definitely! But don’t forget to apply your own intuition. You know your kids better than the cards do. This week, let’s look at the suit of cups (water). Cups are about emotions and intuition. But, they’re also often about being thirsty, so keep that in mind…
Are you looking for wands (wood, or fire) instead? Click here to go back to my first post about kids:
Reading Your Kids Through the Tarot: Part 1: Wands.
The pitter patter of little feet, and then the woebegone face asking for a glass of water. They don’t want water. They just want you. The same is true, much of the time, of the nursing babies who wake up all night long. They want you. And that’s because they need you to fill their buckets (have you read that children’s story about the filling of buckets?) with love and belonging. Once they are securely attached, then they can move confidently out into the world and give you a bit of freedom. But they will keep coming back for that refill. That’s how kids are. They need it. If this card is turned upside down, though, they may not need filling up–they may need a shoulder to cry on. Cups have to be emptied, sometimes.
Awwwww! These kids are ready to take those first steps to connecting with someone else. Maybe this is a first friendship at school or in a park. Or maybe it’s just the latest new friendship. But it’s a beginning, and it’s sweet. On the other hand, if this card is reversed–that connection might be falling apart. These two may be growing away from each other. Or maybe there was a misunderstanding that has changed their feelings of trust and companionship. Either way, it’s a good time to counsel kids to listen, and pay attention, to the friends that are so important to them.
The Three of Cups is that moment when kids move even further. They take the risk of being part of a group, or going out to a party–and that means also taking the risk that they may not fit into that group or be able to find a friend at that party. Reversed, this card can indicate problems with groups–it could be just a matter of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, or it could be that the group and the kid don’t mesh well. Or maybe it’s one of those stupid small groups that teachers make kids work in, where one kid always does all the work while the others coast. That can definitely cause resentment to smolder.
This is the child who is about to complain about being bored. Up or down, this card stands for angst and anomie. No cup is right. No activity sounds like fun. That’s because fours are often a time when you need a time out–not a disciplinary time out, but just a time out to regroup and retreat. You don’t always have to choose something. You don’t always have to be doing, doing, doing. Childhood is one of the best times in life for daydreaming and just staring into space and thinking. Let your kids do it. It’s okay to be bored.
Oh, the guilt when kids screw up! Please tell them that making mistakes is part of life, part of learning, and that it’s their job to make mistakes in order to learn. But it’s still going to be hard, because sometimes those mistakes hurt other people. It probably wasn’t intentional, and even if it was, it’s now regretted from the heart. So this is the time when sometimes kids have to apologize. The art of apology is WELL worth learning–it can heal many hurts, both small and large.
Just as well worth learning as the art of apology is the art of forgiveness. The moment of reaching out to another person, bringing flowers if need be. A bouquet of dandelions and a hand drawn card is plenty. This is that moment of grace, and also of looking back, and thinking, remember when we were friends? Remember before this all happened? Can we start again? Yes. I hope so.
This card is hard to distinguish from the Four of Cups, isn’t it? But there is a difference. The Four of Cups kid needs boredom. Boredom is that kid’s medicine. But the Seven of Cups kid needs to take responsibility for assessing what needs to be done next, and make that choice. And no, you don’t get to choose for them. Kids don’t exist for the sake of adults to live vicariously through them.
Double four is eight. And this kid, like the Four of Cups kid, needs some time alone. But probably not for the same reason. This is a kid who needs to go spend some time alone and do things, alone. It’s not a time of boredom. It’s just that growing up includes a lot more than playing with other kids. It also includes alone time to develop your own interests and practice your special talents and skills. And it’s a time when you can meditate, reflect, listen to music that your parents hate…you know the drill. Parents always wonder why teens need so much time alone in their rooms…well, this card is why! If it’s reversed, though, I’m inclined to think an offer to be there for that kid would not go amiss. Sometimes kids need alone time but don’t really want it, or aren’t sure how to approach it, or just need a transition before they get to it. A present but not overbearing adult can be a good resource.
Being a kid is hard, but sometimes, you get to make a wish, and occasionally, that wish just might come true. There’s no need to be so smug about it, though! On the other hand, if a wish has come true, let your child enjoy it. Don’t always insist that every moment of glory has to be shared. It doesn’t. If this card is reversed, it could be that a heartfelt desire has fallen to pieces, so please be kind, even if your child is heartbroken because you cut his or her sandwich into the wrong shape.
Families are a safe and loving place, or should be, whether or not they look like this family. This card tends to be a strong sign that things are okay, maybe more okay than they look on the chaotic surface of things, in the family. This could be called the “functional family” card. But reversed, it doesn’t necessarily represent dysfunction, though it could (especially if it’s combined with other, very negative cards). It could just mean that this child needs some family time. Game night?
“Mooooom! There’s a fish in my cup!” Teenagers may think they know everything, but even they get caught by surprise at times. Am I being sarcastic? Maybe a little. Teens want so much to feel self-confident, but the thing they’re most afraid of is this moment–the time when something unexpected happens and they have NO idea what to do or how to handle it. But it’s okay. It’s just a fish in a cup. Put it back in the water and there’s a good chance that it will be fine. Personally, I’d wash the cup when you’re done with it. But that’s just me.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The Knight of Cups always worries me a little. He or she seems a little too willing to apply or succumb to peer pressure. This card seems like a kid who is trying too hard to be adult and isn’t quite ready yet. But that might be my prejudice. This knight is definitely reaching out to form a connection. It’s just the knight’s motives that I question. And if a Knight of Cups approaches my kid, I’m inclined to give that knight a good hard look over with my inner Queen of Swords. But again, this knight could just be a King of Cups in training, just showing a tender, sweet heart and being willing to share that heart with others.
All the queens are very motherly. But to me, the Queen of Cups is the aspect of mom who you turn to when you need a sympathetic ear. She’s not the disciplinarian of the deck (that might be the Queen of Swords!). She can listen to your tale of woe or glory, refill your bucket, or let you dump that bucket out. Her presence alone is healing. And kids need that at times.
The King of Cups is all those masculine aspects that our culture doesn’t want to admit exist: tenderness, nurturing. This king is a good adult to turn to if a kid needs advice on how to maintain good emotional boundaries. He knows how to enforce the rules, gently, so that tender feelings don’t get quashed or ignored. This king knows how to be protective, but what he’s especially protecting is your feelings. Every kid needs that at times. Does this mean every kid needs a dad? Not necessarily, because for many reasons, kids sometimes don’t get to be with their dads, and yes, they survive and can still have happy childhoods. However, if your kid HAS a sweet loving dad who wants to spend time with him or her, please let that dad in. It’s tragic when dads don’t get to show this side of themselves to their kids, and even more tragic when dads want to spend time with their kids and aren’t allowed to. Don’t think that your kids won’t feel that loss, even if the King and Queen of Cups don’t get along.