The stages of adolescence unfold like the seasons. Chinese medicine offers a unique, ecological understanding of transformation based on the Five Element seasonal cycles:
- Winter (Water phase) transforms into spring (Wood phase).
- Spring (Wood phase) transforms into summer (Fire phase).
- Summer (Fire phase) transforms into late summer (Earth phase), the season of the Harvest.
- Late summer (Earth phase) transforms into autumn (Metal phase).
- Autumn (Metal phase) returns to Water (Winter phase)
Each phase has deep physiological and psychological resonance in our lives. This Five Phase model (see Figure 2) can be very useful in generating practical advice for parents in the midst of raising their children. Understanding the adaptive style of your child, according to the Five Phases, can also be helpful. Read here to determine which of the Five Phases corresponds best to your child’s personality and adaptive style.
Phase 1: Water to Wood: Where Am I going?
Between the ages of seven and ten years old, the winter to spring cycle of transformation begins. Often one of the earliest signs of adolescence we may notice in our child is that his sleep habits change. Read more…
Phase 2: Wood to Fire: What’s New?
As your child moves further into adolescence, her moods may become more intense and volatile. Inwardly your child is asking, “What’s happening to me?”, as physical changes begin to manifest outwardly. Read more…
Phase 3: Fire To Earth: How Do I Fit In?
One of the natural ways children move through the transitions of adolescence is by building new bonds outside the family. The loyalty of friends takes on increasingly important meaning in a teenager’s life. Read more…
Phase 4: Earth to Metal: Why?
As children move further into the complexities of adolescence, bodily changes trigger increasing concerns about their personal appearance. Your child’s styles of clothing and hair may begin to take on quasi-religious importance. Read more…
Phase 5: Metal Returns to Water: Who Am I?
During the great upheaval of change that is the journey of adolescence, we can help our children discover their own secret powers of wisdom and compassion. Identity begins to regain some sense of stability around 15 years of age. Read more…
The Five Questions of the Heart in Adolescence
Abbreviated excerpt from Dr. Cowan’s article, “The Wonderful Dangerous Path of Adolescence”
For more information about childhood and adolescence, as well as about Dr. Cowan, please visit Dr. Cowan’s website at www.stephencowanmd.com.