Our Parenting Role
Parents and children: an inter-connection that results in the growth and development of each.
This is the spiritual aspect of parenting.
The child seems so dependent and needy, that it is easy to see why s/he needs parenting, caring, guiding.
Being a parent changes a person’s life; whatever the reason the child comes into the parent’s life – desire for a child, an “accident”, or just following society’s dictates.
As parents, we need to have a clear idea of our role in bringing up children.
This helps not only the child, but also the parent.[What is an enlightened parent?]
[Chakras and Maslow-Parenting the whole child]
Depending on what we want to achieve through our children,
parents often focus on just one aspect: their physical development,intelligence,
social development,or emotional development. This is
influenced by our perceptions of our own strengths and weaknesses:
we would like our children to have our strengths but not our
weaknesses. Our expectations are a pressure on them. We need to be aware of the need to balance the pressure so that the child is encouraged to expand, grow and perform as well as s/he can; but not get distressed and ill.
We sometimes forget that children develop holistically,
and in an interconnected way.
Undue focus on one aspect can lead to inadequate development
in other aspects; if the child feels the pressure as distress.
Does this mean we should have no expectations of our children? Should we not try to get them to be better than us? Stronger, smarter, better equipped to live life? Should we never push, cajole, force?
I think the issues get resolved if we have a goal in mind for the child: a goal which is specific to each child, depending on the child’s own inner drive, qualities and unique personality; our perception of the world in which the child will grow; our perception of what the child seems to want and need; and our capacity to provide the tools needed to help the child live a fruitful life.Questions parents ask
The goal that we have in mind has to be deep enough to be meaningful for the length of a lifetime: over the growing of childhood and the tribulations of adolescence; the trials of adulthood and uncertainties of old age.It has to be flexible enough to take in the unknowns of life, and yet unshakeable enough to provide a beacon for uncertain times.
Does this make parenting seem like hard work? Hard thinking, yes. It may help in seeing problems as opportunities and capriciousness as playfulness! Should parenting be impulsive or planned? Are there universal rules?
I believe that every human being is unique,
and becoz of his/her uniqueness gets treated
differently by others. Even if we want to treat
all our kids in the same way, unconsciously we have
different feelings and attitudes towards them,
which would get translated in behaviour that is
somewhat different. Moreover, different kids would
view the same rule or behaviour differently, so that
even if we think we are being fair, our kids feel
or perceive that we are treating them differently.
Finally our rules for parenting or bringing up kids
also change with time, and I’m sure that parents with
more that one kid would admit that being parents for
the first time is very different from being parents
the second or third time around. So I think that it
is a reality that we are different with different kids,
and the sooner we accept that, and manage the differences
appropriately the better for us and our kids!Something to think about… How much should we “control” our children?
Are children “blank slates” for us to write on?
What are we trying to achieve by discipline?
How can we approach parenting holistically?© 1997 Meenakshi Suri
© 2002 Background courtesy Yashodhara Suri