Parenting Puzzle

Master was talking about how life becomes a trickle when you do not surrender to underlying ocean, when a child started to run around in the assembly. Being fond of kids and their unrestrained life force, master just smiled and carried on. Much to the consternation of her parents the congregation however was getting disturbed. A scowl had started to register on some of the monks faces. To stem the commotion the father rebuked the child loudly and made her sit down.

Master stopped his sermon mid-ways and did something he had never done before. He switched the topic of his discourse.

“As a body language expert can look at your posture and deduct your emotional state, likewise looking at the behavior of a child one can deduce how he or she is being brought up.” Master remarked.

Everybody understood why the topic was chosen and they liked it whenever master switched from spiritual subjects to social or relational ones. It humanized their spiritual quest.

“So master, what can be deduced from a child’s behavior who throws tantrums or is routinely unruly”. A monk asked.

“Either it is regularly neglected forcing it to make negative bids for its parents attention or that it is being indulged too much and is being taught that blackmail is the way of getting its wishes granted. Either of these situations is bad because sooner or later the child will have to learn to correct its behavior and further on in life it learns, more difficult and painful the course correction gets.” Master paused.

“Some other examples on the negative side are:
a child who lies has parents who overreact to its small confessions;
a child who is greedy is not being given choices about things it wants;
a child who is jealous is being compared to others;
a child who cannot assert itself in rightful situations is being corrected and rebuked in public or
a child which is fearful is not being encouraged by parents to explore out. “

“Master what about a child who misbehaves with its siblings and often fights with them.”

“That’s often a complaint about injustice” Master remarked “The child is reacting to a bias in its parental love. That behavior often is a “lack of adequate nurture” complaint. Some other complaints of similar nature that a child makes is when it intentionally disrupts its parents often or would make it difficult for them to leave him for some time. It is demanding to be physically held at that time and reassured of their unconditional love”.

“Master what about a child who cannot get along with other children” another monk wanted to know.

“Children who do not play with other kids either cannot share or are bullies. Non sharing kids lack empathy and this means their parents do not listen to their feelings and thus they have learnt not to care about other people’s feelings. Bullies invariably have one parent who is a bully and they are copying that parent.”

“So master how can the behavior of these kids be corrected”

Master explained “Since the child’s behavior is merely a reflection of parent’s behavior, hence it has to make no change whatsoever..As soon a parent changes its own behavior the child’s behavior automatically shifts. So if a parent wants a child to be throw less tantrums, instead of reacting they should give child more attention and so on…..”

“Master if a child is curious and marvels at everything, what does this tell about its parents” asked another voice.

Master smiled “This means one of the parents has decided to be a child along with it. If the parent is exploring the world anew with its child, getting on all fours underneath the bed or splashing in a puddle or marveling at the leaves, the child will never grow out of its wonder at the mysteries of this world”.

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