The Astrology of Parenting: The Challenge of Generation Y

Tethered Parent Child Conversation

Tethered Child-Parent Converstation


(Astrology Explored)
Today’s parents get a bad rap for being too overprotective. Called Helicopter Parents by authors Neil Howe and William Strauss, they are blamed for ruining their children by sticking their nose into every aspect of their children’s lives, fixing every upset, trivial or no.

This has been the most protected generation in history,” says Mark Thompson, director of counseling at Colgate University. He points to car seats, bicycle helmets, and even wood chips under park swings. Because Gen Y has been reared in a “risk adverse” way, they tend to be psychologically fragile, robbed of their own identities, and unable to feel a real sense of accomplishment for their efforts.

So it is the parent’s fault when junior can’t handle life. But what do you say when something like this happens?

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says his department received a call from a parent of one of the students in the apartment, whose first response was to call home. Robbins says he hopes that students learn to make their first and immediate call to 911 or to the BUPD at 617-353-2121. ‘We’ve got to get our number on the students’ radar,’ he says. ‘It’s great that this person called a parent, but people in danger should call us first, then call a parent.’

It is not for nothing they are called the Tethered Generation.

“The Tethered Generation”, the term first used in HR Magazine, refers to young people who have to be in constant contact with their parents and each other via cellphones and Instant Message. A teen’s life becomes a continuous voice recording to Mom and Dad. The conversations are completely trivial and never-ending: “I’m getting out of class now and I’m on my way to the cafeteria.” “Dad, can you do this job application?” “Mom, what should I do about my crappy roommate? Today she wouldn’t empty the garbage.”

Those of us in the process of parenting these Generation Y offspring remember a much different youth. Certainly our parents were less involved, but this coldness generated another criticism, that our parents weren’t doing enough to encourage our self-esteem. But there was something different about us too. We, as a generation, yearned for freedom, to express ourselves, to make what we wanted of ourselves, to live our lives as we pleased. We couldn’t WAIT to get out of the house.

The parents of Generation Y are largely the late baby boomers, those born Uranus in Cancer or Leo, Neptune in Libra or Scorpio and Pluto in Leo.

Generation Y individuals, also called Millennials, were born between 1979 and 1998. These young adults were born with the planet of individuation, Uranus in either Scorpio or Sagittarius, the planet of high spiritual ideals, Neptune in Sagittarius or Capricorn, and the planet of transformation, Pluto in Libra.

As I pointed out in the post “Astrological Analysis: Generation Y and Helicopter Parents”:

“Pluto in Leo transformed a generation whose self involvement transmuted into a extreme involvement in their children’s lives. But is this a case of the tail wagging the dog?

The Pluto in Libra children do not see their parents so much as authority figures, but as managing partners in their lives. These children, providing that there are no mitigating factors, such as abuse in the parental relationship, are not only willing, but eager to accept their parents as friends and companions in this lifetime. It is unique relationship, probably not born out of the parents’ success as parents, but the unique nature of this generation.”

Make no mistake. This is not all the parents fault. The children do not want the cord cut.

One steeled willed parent of a Gen Y child told me of her conversation with her then 19 year old about his future. Since he lacked a college career or a full time job, and failed to pay rent regularly it was clear to her that she was not doing her job as a parent by allowing him to live at home. He had six months to find another place for him to live. He became angry, and moved out within a month to live with some friends. He wouldn’t talk with her directly for a very long time, though from time to time after he moved out, she would wake up and find him watching television in the living room in the middle of the night.

Later after a long discussion she found out that he didn’t appreciate getting “kicked out of his own house.”

However, he did start working full-time and after a year of working at minimum wage decided to go into military service, where he has saved a substantial amount of money. He is planning to go to college when he gets out in the spring.

But she still has two children “tethered”, and she constantly has to remind them, “this is something you have to do yourself.”

“Me ruining their lives?” she says. “When do I get to get to have my own life?”

Encouraging independence while not sparking resentment is the challenge of every parent of a Generation Y denizen. These Pluto in Libra people need a firm but gentle hand to push them out of the nest. If you are successful, you should get at least thirty seconds of peace before they bring the grandchildren over to visit. Because then, they will REALLY need you.

About Beth Turnage

I write about astrology alot. Some people like to read it.
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Tim says:

I was born in 1977, but consider my self Generation Y. A lot of what you described has been present in my own life, with a much different spin. My parents have always treated me like a friend (the same goes for my siblings who are between 4-10 years older than me). Perhaps it was the demand for equality and respect inherent in our Libran Plutos; perhaps it was the Pluto in Leo obsession with wanting to be accepted as the “cool kid”, regardless of the age group they are hanging out with. It took a long time for me to cut the cord and I admit I am happy to see others attributing it to Pluto in Libra. For a while I simply felt defective. A majority of that umbilical tug-o-war had to do with lack of parental preparation. Our generation was given a house and food and told to raise ourselves (which I’m sure sounds like a dream to anyone who was raised in a generation attracted to individualistic ideas, whilst still beholden to their parents, governments, religions, and neighbor’s prying eyes).

As a guy in my 30′s, I understand now that parents generally don’t know all the right things to do at any given time, and producing healthy/well-adjusted children is a bit of spin on the roulette wheel. In my case and in the case of the friends I grew up with, our parents were unconscious but intentional saboteurs. When faced with our adulthood, our parents were frightened we may find other friends, discover they weren’t a “cool kid” after all, or worse yet, not need them anymore. Once the house and the food could be generated on our own, what would that mean for our parent’s rolls in our lives? My mom was notorious for kicking me out of the house right before I was able to get on my feet, then when I had no other options, she would invite me back and do it again when I was almost prepared to move out. She first kicked me out before the last semester of high school (which left me without a diploma for the first few years of my adult life). Neither of my parents nor the parents of my friends, seemed invested enough to support the developing interests of their children. They appeared to think, “if s/he wants it, s/he will go get it” but they did little to help us investigate our options (or better, once we found an option we liked, would spend their time trying to convince us we could never make a career out if it). I experienced many years of anger toward my parents for hobbling my young adult life. Eventually I learned to let it go and see my parents not as failures of a standard I believed parents should live up to, but just mortals like you or me. I believe that may be easy for Pluto in Libra to get caught up in, believing one should fulfill one’s labels in a successful and convincing way. When I had a friend, I expected them to treat me as a friend, and I expected no less of myself in return. Learning to see people beyond the labels I gave them was a valuable transformation for a Pluto in Libra person who needed it.

At this point, I am capable of looking back and seeing, had I really wanted to do the work, I was resourceful enough to find my way out. I chose to come back to my parent’s home repeatedly, hoping my burdensome presence would communicate their failure as parents. I also played along in part, because it made my mom happy to have me around, but her Moon in Aries couldn’t stand the idea of me not being a fully educated and successful neurosurgeon the day I turned 18. As a Pluto in Libra kid you see people’s deep struggles (even if you can’t quantify or rationalize it), you relate with people’s personal disharmony, and can sometimes choose a poor long-term path to make that struggle less disharmonious in the short-term.

I liked this post, but the conclusion felt like a prescription for tough love. I didn’t see the need for tough love among my peers and my self, I saw more of a need for pro-active, attentive, and supportive parents who were capable of helping us envision the transformation of our hobbies into careers (just look at the social, artistic, technological, and scientific creativity springing from this generation). I see Pluto in Libra folks as essentially relative. Where Aries acts, Libra re-acts (or on better days, re-sponds). Libra doesn’t farm, he displays other people’s produce so customers will line up at their cart. He doesn’t herd sheep, he designs attractive clothing to be made from their wool. If Libra is given no material to work with, the wheels just spin. If you tell Pluto in Libra to go be independent and then walk away, you may later find them spinning around in circles obsessing over which shoes to wear on their mission. As a cardinal sign, the initial idea of anything is a good one, but maintaining progress and making a transition into new realms is where the real investment is needed. Being a partner on their path to independence, treating independence as a rite of passage, inspiring them to feel excited and safe about moving on, and helping them organize their trajectory into independence can be helpful. Many Pluto in Libra children were attentive and at their parent’s side when Pluto in Leo threw it’s self to the floor, smeared its lipstick, and cried over their own rough times. If they really want the child to be independent, they could start by repaying the service.

One last comment I felt was important to share. Humans are pack animals and even today there are cultures with more than three generations living under one roof. Independence is a fairly modern obsession and a growing part of western culture. I find it strange when people expect to eventually be “free” from their children, only to seek their return after the parent grows old. Of course it is healthy to grow up and lead our own lives, but it is also healthy for humans to have tribes and invest in supporting each other. Libra (being the first sign of autumn) is a time focused on finding people who will keep us warm through winter and enjoying the seasonal sunset with us. Separation is not big on Libra’s list of fun experiences.

eccentricvirgo says:

Pluto in Libra person here. I want nothing more than nothing to do with my Baby Boomer parents (and my grandmother is actually young enough to also be at the end of that generation). I’m finding the opposite to happen from the article; the Pluto in Leo generation does not seem to know when to let go. The proliferation of electronic devices means that they bother me all day, every day, with pleas for attention (Leo). Messages are often about backstabbing gossip or drama. They throw massive fits when myself, a Gen Y person, coldly refuses to participate in attention games. Some of the Pluto in Leo generation need to stop forcing themselves into the lives of Gen Y adults of the Gen Y adults who are unwilling to play the nasty game mentioned above. And if I ever needed proof, I worked two years as a cashier. Gen Y people were polite while in line. So many Baby Boomers would have their phones glued to their ears, and were extremely rude if “interrupted” in order to do a transaction. Conversations were usually about Leo things, drama, more drama, and tons of gossip.

Beth Turnage says:

Oh, we are an obnoxious lot to be sure. We are squeaky wheels and we think way too much of ourselves. And we don’t apologize for it. It must be terribly annoying and embarrassing to our children.

It is absolutely normal for young adults to want to keep their parents at arm’s length. A little separation is a good thing.

God Bless,

Beth