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Chinese New Year began on Friday, January 31, which means a new animal in the Chinese zodiac. 2014 is the Year of the Horse, specifically the Wooden Horse. Even though there are 12 animals in the zodiac, each animal is connected to one of the five elements (earth, water, wood, fire, metal), which corresponds to a different year.

For babies born in Wooden Horse years, parents can expect strong-willed, hardworking, and charming personalities, coupled with stubborn, willful, and impulsive dispositions. Generally, though, people born in Horse years share the same positive and negative characteristics. Read on for a brief list of these qualities, plus tips on how to raise your fillies and foals.

Positive Qualities

Cheerful - Children born in Horse years are naturally animated and bright, so cultivate your child's happiness. As your child grows up, don't criticize her for bad behavior; instead, calmly explain the good behavior you hope to see.

Clever - Even though your child will be intelligent and a quick learner, you can still nurture his education at a young age and improve his teach lessons outside of the classroom during school years.

Communicative - Your child may be predisposed to be a chatterbox, but you can still boost her language development. Help her use her words by expressing emotions in a healthy way (and not through hitting or biting), in order to be an effective communicator.

Negative Qualities

Impatient - As the adage goes, "patience is a virtue," so start teaching patience at a young age. Try simple activities to make waiting time fly by and, as your child ages, start teaching him how to improve his attention span.

Difficult to Control - There will be moments when you need to tame your bucking bronco, so brush up on the types of tantrums and learn how to give effective time-outs. If all else fails, try these mom-tested discipline tricks.

Too Talkative - Your communicative child may need to be reined in before she says something embarrassing. Follow these simple tips to avoid TMI moments and learn how to respond when she talks back in her tween years.

According to the Huffington Post, famous Wooden Horse year trailblazers include Ron Howard, Condoleeza Rice, and Jackie Chan while other Horse Year celebs include Aretha Franklin, Oprah, Paul McCartney, and Kobe Bryant. So your child will be in good company!

Now is a great time to introduce your child to Mandarin Chinese with the help of our printable flash cards.

Image: Traditional Chinese paper cutting of a horse via Shutterstock