The Chariot: the transition from childhood to adolescence

Children are perpetually growing. It is in the nature of childhood that we outgrow things. Shoes. Clothes. Toys. You name it. Whilst some kids do have a fiercely independent streak – most children are generally reliant on their parents (or other caregivers) for a vast majority of their needs. And then come the teenage years where everything turns upside down.

Whenever I tell people I work with teenagers, the response I often get is –  oh the dangerous years. The difficult years. The painful years. These comments always confuse me.

Parents often describe their teenage kids as reckless, rebellious and moody. Teenagers are usually belittled for not understanding the ‘real world’. But are parents equipped to guide their children through the transition from childhood to adulthood? Do they expect kids to magically become adults with little guidance? Or worse – do they continue treating them like babies secretly hoping their kids will stay children forever?

Hmm… about that…

Bullying is a huge problem during the teenage years. There are a wide variety of factors that contribute to this issue. But from my experience – a vast majority of boys that get bullied in school tend to have overprotective and over nurturing mothers who refuse to let them grow up. Not only is this smothering debilitating for the child – it is also a huge turn off for any woman who decides to date him. 

In tarot, the Chariot symbolises the development of a persona that is independent of Mummy and Daddy – represented by the Empress and the Emperor. The Chariot card depicts a man controlling two sphinxes with a wand. He is directing them with the strength of his will, not physical force. The charioteer directs his aggression in a constructive way so he can achieve his own heartfelt goals. 


Unfortunately, more often than not, the teenage years become more difficult than they’re meant to be because many parents are either ill-prepared for this major transition – or worse – they are threatened by it. Many parents have a need to be needed. They unconsciously want to keep their children dependent on them long after it’s healthy or even necessary.  

I am your father/mother. No matter how old you are, you will always be a small baby to me. You know teenagers HATE hearing you say that. So why do you do it? Is it just to pull rank and dominate your kid? It diminishes their sense of self and makes them want to rebel and ignore you even more.

Adolescence is a time to allow your kids to develop a healthy Self and Ego. This is not the time to crush it with structures that enforce dependency.  I’ve seen it so many times – parents extinguishing that sense of self that begins developing in the teenage years. Too many parents are threatened by their child’s new found independence and I just don’t get it. Don’t you want your kids to do well in this world? I know I do. Give them the Charioteers’s Wand. Let them steer their own path. It is as life intended. 

Author: Dipa

Tarot Tales from Japan

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