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June 19, 2015 / Gul Malani

Subconscious Intellect – The Gigantic Powerhouse within every child!

The greatest discovery within a human being is that of the ‘Subconscious Intellect’ (SCI), which is within us from the time ofID-100323034 Aircraft 190615 conception! It is the one responsible for building up the organs and our whole body and maintaining it not only while we are in the womb but after we take birth and throughout our life! Some call it ‘The Soul’ or ‘The Spirit’!

It is a gigantic Powerhouse of Energy and Infinite Universal Intelligence. Our Intuitions and Creativity spring out from this source! It is aware of all that has happened in this Universe, what is happening now, as well as what will happen in the future!

How fortunate it is that every child is born with this enormous strength within itself of the ‘Subconscious Intellect’! It maintains all the involuntary functions like breathing, blood circulation, nervous system etc.

Furthermore, it assures every child success, good health, happiness, harmony and Peace!

After a child is born it interacts with others through its SCI only and there is innocence and amazing intelligence in what it does. Later on after a year or so, the interactions with the external world, including parents, relatives, teachers, society and the external environment, leads to the creation of the ‘Conscious Intellect’ (CI) within the child. The Conscious Intellect is largely the ‘Ego’ along with its Analytical, Diagnostic, logic and reasoning capabilities. A small portion is that of non judgmental ‘Awareness’ which is the door that leads us from our Conscious Intellect to our Subconscious Intellect.

Unfortunately, our Conscious Intellect has limited Intelligence, Knowledge and experience so most of the conclusions arrived at by it are not perfect conclusions. With the imperfect conclusions it starts interfering with our Subconscious Intellect. Our Subconscious Intellect accepts everything the Conscious Intellect believes and does, as true and correct. Fortunately, it does not have logic or reasoning capabilities so our involuntary functions do not get upset by our Conscious Intellect!

For example, if the Conscious Intellect (CI) of the child says that I will be sick as I got wet in the rain, the Subconscious Intellect (SCI) will go ahead and make the body sick. If CI says that I will fail, then SCI will ensure that the child will fail in achieving whatever it is trying to achieve!

So now, the corollary of this is fascinating and mind boggling! We have the greatest power within our own self and every child has it too! If we want to succeed we just have to believe we will succeed and the SCI will deliver success. If we want to be healthy again, all we have to do is to believe that we are healthy and SCI will automatically deliver health to us! If we want to be happy we have to believe we are happy and we will be happy right away! That is the positive power of SCI available to everyone including children.

Parents have to appreciate that every child has this phenomenal capabilities of living a life without fear, anxiety and worry as it has total control over its own life through its SCI. It can easily and comfortably live a life of success, good health, happiness, harmony and peace. It just has to believe in it and its own SCI will deliver!

If there is a situation that needs to be changed, then we have to help the child to think positively that a solution will happen, before falling asleep in bed and once again after waking up in the morning! SCI will either give the solution, or make the circumstances such that the solution will arrive automatically!

Whew! What a relief to all of us parents who carry the burden of success, health, happiness etc of the child! Knowing this we can all, including our children, live a great and fulfilled life!

To understand this post fully and believe in it, we recommend strongly that we parents and everyone else too read the book titled ‘The Power of your Subconscious Mind’ by Dr. Joseph Murray.

Fearless, anxiety and worry free living is available to all of us. Make the most of this post and live life fully from here onwards!

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June 14, 2015 / Gul Malani

Imagination-the greatest gift

ID-100279528 Think outside the boxOne of the most important faculties we have as a child, as well as a grown up, is that of Imagination, the greatest gift that humans get! It is quite common in small children but unfortunately it disappears as we grow up due to poor parenting! Parents tend to destroy the imagination of the child by their logic and reasoning and try to bring the child closer to what they think is reality!

Imagination is actually the corner stone of creativity, innovation, as well as of achievements! What we imagine soon becomes reality for us provided our Conscious Intellect ( Ego) does not destroy it by logic and reasoning! The Universal Intelligence within our Sub-conscious mind delivers to us in the future what we imagine! Our Conscious Intellect (Ego) will not understand how or why this happens! But It has to remain quite and peaceful for the imagined situations to happen!

If we want to be happy, first we have to imagine we are happy!

If we want to be healthy, we have to first imagine we are healthy!

If we want to be successful, we have to first imagine that we are successful!

Reasoning destroys imagination! So, be very careful when using logic and reasoning if we want our children to be happy, healthy and successful!

Imagination is fun for children and we, parents should encourage them to imagine so that their Sub-conscious mind will direct their actions for the imagined results to happen. History is full of instances of new inventions which have been a result of imaginations of various individuals. When children realise or become aware of the strong connection between imagination and their future reality, they will tend to live a life free of anxiety, worry and fear!

Encourage children to imagine and help them play imaginary games when they are young so that their imagination faculty remains alive and active to serve them throughout their life!

November 27, 2014 / Gul Malani

Good Time to Start Schooling

Educationists and people in charge of education (heads of new version schools) in some countries have started canvassing and marketing the idea that their Institutions are the best ground for developing the Intellect of the children. They say that most of us have been brought up to have mediocre Intelligence. If we want our child to be super intelligent like Buddha, Shankaracharya, Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, and others, then the child in the womb has to be brought to their Institutions for starting early, effective and high level development of the Intellect of the child. Six weeks after birth, the child is to be admitted into a 9:00 am to 4:00 pm programme in their supposedly Super Institution for early and super development!

The question is how did Buddha, Shankaracharya, Leonardo, Einstein achieve what they did when such supposedly Super Education Institutes and Educationists did not exist?

Photo Mother teaching Child ID-10088124 271114The answer takes us back to the home environment of such super people! It must have provided the ambiance for the child to develop it’s Intellect to the extent each one of them did. The best person to develop it’s Intellect is the Child itself. It has to be given the space and the opportunities to learn and develop. Next to the child, the mother and then the father play a very important role in the child’s development. The parents have to provide the space as well as expose the child to various activities and situations at appropriate times when the child shows interest in learning more of a specific activity or learning from a situation.

Needless to say that a child’s Intellect will develop best in an environment wherein the parents love and respect each other and are giving unconditional love and attention to the child.

So, the most important persons, for the development of a child, are first, the child itself, then the mother and then the  father. Then comes the role of a good School with Teachers who have more specific knowledge on the subjects and are capable of lovingly sharing it with the child in an interesting manner.

A little baby takes time to develop its immunity. So, the first six months to a year, the exposure to other people as well as school children should be kept to a bare minimum so that the child does not get exposed to infection carried by others!

After a year, it is quite in order to take the child to a Mother-Toddler Nursery for one or two hours, two to three times a week! During this period the child may develop some independence from the Mother for a few hours. Only when the child shows this independence then the parents could consider leaving the child in a play-school for two to three hours every alternate or every day based on the child’s comfort level. The next milestone will be to admit the child into a the kindergarten class of a nursery or regular school which generally starts at the age of four.

Early separation from the Mother, even for a few hours, can cause an everlasting pain body within the psyche of the child and will manifest itself as excessive fear and anxiety resulting in loss of the capabilities of the child’s Intellect resulting in lower level of development too. Parents have to be very observant of the child’s capability to be comfortable without the presence of the Mother so that the schooling aspect is done with proper timing to suit the comfort level of the child.

Only when the child is comfortable in school that he/she will do good quality learning and retaining!

Do remember that high IQ, wide knowledge and super intelligence does not necessarily result in living a happy and a full life! This part of learning, to live a full life, comes from the way parents are living. Living life fully begins with Awareness. More on this subject is available in our blog http://www.livelifefully.in.

Do ensure that the process of schooling or education does not rob the child of the sparkle in the eyes that almost every child  is born with! If parents notice that the sparkle is missing, then they have to immediately review the complete environment of the the child and change the timings or the school itself to bring the sparkle back soonest!

March 18, 2014 / Gul Malani

Wake up Alarm

ID-10072773-1 Little boy covering his face 180314Parents who have heavy professional or social commitments generally do not have the time and patience required for bringing up children well! Additionally, most of us parents really have not discovered our own selves and so we are continuously being tossed on the waves of this ocean called life. Most of the spare time we have is spent trying to save our own skins by staying afloat in this turbulent worldly ocean.

All this adds to the woes of bringing up children well!

How do we know if we are not doing a good job? Our wake up alarm could be any of the following:

-frequent daily crying of our child

-our child is misbehaving frequently

-the child is throwing tantrums at times

First and foremost is that both parents have to actually carve out adequate and exclusive time for the child on a daily basis. We may have to forego or postpone some of our professional and social goals. Secondly, we have to bring in more Awareness and Acceptance in our lives. A good starting point for this could be to read up our blog http://www.livelifefully.in or read publications by authors like Eckhart Tolle, Osho, J. Krishnamurthi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra and many others.

Crying, misbehaving, tantrums are ways of the child to express that it is not being understood well by its parents. These are effects and not the cause. Telling the child not to cry, or misbehave is not the way out of this. Parents need to get to the root of all this by finding out the cause for such behaviour or outbursts.

Once we parents are sensitised to the child, then automatically the child is being brought up well. Then our up bringing does no damage to the psyche of the child. Unfortunately, poor up bringing results in creation of a pain body in the psyche of the child which continues to be a raw wound even in the adult part of the child’s life. The moment anything is said or done which touches this wound, the child breaks down!

Parents have to be aware that they are not contributing in building this pain body. Neither are they helping build fear, anxiety and worry in the psyche of the child! Only then, we can sit back and relax as our child maneuvers his/her way through his/her life. Otherwise our child may break down even in adult life and need our help and support often to navigate his/her life!

March 6, 2014 / Gul Malani

Unlimited Possibilities for our Children

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As parents we should never underestimate our child’s capabilities. Each and every child is a unique Masterpiece with unlimited capabilities!

As a child, we have the capabilities to do just about anything we want to. The capabilities start getting limited as the child learns from it’s parents or teachers that such and such a thing is difficult or impossible to achieve. In up bringing of our child, words such as fear, failure, difficult, impossible should never be used.

Further, the future always offers unlimited possibilities for the development and success of our own selves as well as our kids!

Fortunately the future possibilities do not discriminate. Every child will come across many possibilities in the course of his/her life. We have seen, heard or read of many children doomed to die early who go on to live a very healthy long life; many rags to riches instances of even low literacy individuals; many unbelievable heavenly performers of music & dance from poor families as well as from those persons who are physically challenged.

It is only possible to tap into these opportunities if we and our children are keyed into the present moment and act on the requirements of the situation right now! Our actions in the present moment are the foundation on which the future unfolds for us as well as for our children. However, we must remember that although our actions are very important, the end results depend heavily on the Forces of the Universe also called Luck or God!

So, we all including parents and children, should be very enthusiastically looking forward to our future unfolding into the present moments.

Regretfully, most of us have an Ego that has developed many limitations and fears including fear of the future and failure. So, instead of welcoming the future as a honoured guest who is with us for a very short while, we fear its arrival! Sadly, this is due to the fact that loving but poor parenting unknowingly built this fear and limitations in us and we are doing the same to our children.

Statements made by the parents like the following, program our child’s Ego to fear the future as well as acquire many other fears and limitations too:

If you misbehave I will call the police!-fear that in the future, police may come to get him/her

If you do not study you will fail!- fear of failure in the future

You have to become a Doctor and serve the mankind!- fear of not being able to become a Doctor

Be careful, you will get hurt!- fear of doing anything risky as he/she may get hurt and have to go to the hospital

You have be the first and the best in everything you do!- fear of not being able to achieve this

You will not make any mistakes!- fear of trying anything new

Comparing present situation or behaviour with the past and deriding it- fear of change in the future

I told you so, when the child fails at anything!- fear of doing anything without having parents approval first

We have to save today so that your future is bright!- fear of spending as the future may become bleak

Why are you trying to achieve the impossible!– fear of doing anything new by limiting the child’s imagination to its present capabilities only

We would like to clarify that nothing in this world is impossible to achieve. The limited experience and knowledge our Ego, brings in this limitation of belief that certain situations are near impossible to achieve. The fact of the matter is that if the Forces of Universe give a helping hand everything is possible to achieve. 50 years ago we would not have believed that flying while sitting in an airplane chair is possible. Likewise for Satellites, Medical transplants, Mobile phones, I pads, curing disease by Yoga, Meditation & Nutrition etc

So, what is the way out? We have to be very careful with the statements we make about the future to our children to ensure that we are not building limitations and fear of the future in the psyche, Ego,  of the child. Further, allow the child to remain in the present moment for as much time as possible and help him/her learn how to act in response to its imagination as well as the requirements of the situation at the moment. A statement which encompasses all this is: ‘Let the child cross the bridge when he/she comes to it’! Help him/her only if he/she seeks help to cross certain difficult bridges!

Then be patient and watch how our child blooms and blossoms beautifully and strongly from within and in tune with the Forces of this Universe!

All children are born with wings to fly. Unfortunately most parents and teachers unknowingly teach the child only to crawl through life! – Gul Malani *

The basic premise is the belief that the child is born with unlimited possibilities, and the primary job of the parents is to create a growth-promoting environment for it – Dr. Atul Abhyankar *

February 18, 2014 / Gul Malani

Be a Role Model

ID-10091910The best way to bring up children well is for us to be what we want them to grow up to be. Parents should be good Role Models! Yes, we parents have a full time unpaid modelling career if we really care for our families! Kids learn from imitating their loved ones and we, parents have a lot of impact on the way the child thinks and behaves even when he/she has grown up!

For starters, we are listing some of the capabilities and activities that will make us good role models.

-capacity to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes & errors

-living in the present moment and fully accepting the present situation as it is now

-acknowledging the precious presence of people around us

-being peaceful, patient and proactive rather than being highly strung, uptight and reactive

-accepting our own self as we are now

-being polite, respectful and loving to others

-willingness to listen to others without commenting or advising

-always having time to help others

-indulging in sports and hobbies regularly

-indulging in physical activity daily to maintain our immunity and our health

-spending time enjoying and appreciating the beautiful Nature and the Universe around us

-willing to learn through out our life from others, books, Internet and all the available sources like this blog as well as www.livelifefully.in

If any of the above capabilities and activities are lacking in us please do not fret and fume! It is quite ok for all of us to be what we are now and do whatever we are doing now! No rapidly planned changes or control are required to develop any of the above capabilities or add new activities. The only thing required is that we become aware that certain capabilities and activities are not part of us at present! This awareness alone will bring about the required change in us without any stress or self abuse!

Development of new capabilities and activities is an extremely slow process and will happen only at the appropriate time and not when we desire it! In the meantime we should be happy to live life as fully as we can, accepting our own self as we are now, and do the best we can for our little darlings and precious children!

What humans (including children) need is nurture in the form of love and the ability to observe older humans going about their everyday lives. – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ 160817

Parents who live in the present moment and meditate, soon discover the infinite Peace or Emptiness within and outside their own bodies. Such parents radiate positive energy which fosters healthy growth of children, both physically as well as psychologically. – The Totality  291017

The child accepts as his model only those to whom he is strongly attached… The desire for sameness with important attachment figures leads to some of a child’s most significant and spontaneous learning experiences, even though closeness, not learning, is the underlying motivation. Such learning occurs without either the parent having much conscious intent of teaching or the child of studying. In the absence of attachment the learning is laboured and the teaching forced. – Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Mate, M.D. in their book ‘Hold On to Your Kids’  181117

As the Ego develops in the child, the child’s inherent capability to give unconditional love reduces to conditional love. Conditional love is, when Children and even adults, give love only when they are sure that they will be getting something more in return! Sad as this is, some of us can make an effort to improve and evolve beyond our Ego, with it’s severe limitations, and redevelop our capabilities of giving unconditional love. Such people become role models of humans living a wonderfully meaningful life, making our planet a beautiful place to live in. – The Totality * 150118

October 6, 2013 / Gul Malani

Sensitive Parents know their Child well

Dr Shefali Tsabary said in an interview with TImes of India in June 2014 –

‘ If I’m to set myself up as my child’s teacher, I must first have learned how to be self disciplined. I must have addressed, and continue to address, my own emotional immaturity. I can do this by becoming a ‘conscious parent’, someone who is true to their self. In this way my child learns from me to also be true to their heart’s deepest desires.

The goal is to raise children to be in touch with their inner being, not to force them into a mould we’ve designed for them. When children increasingly order their life for themselves, they grow up to experience satisfaction and joy in what they are doing.’

Parents, who are conscious, sensitive and observant, develop a good insight and understanding of  their child. Such parent’s focus is not on their own needs and wants but on the needs and wants of the child.

A good starting point for good and healthy up bringing is to be able to identify the inherent abilities present in our child. Most children born normal, without any unusual genetic defects, possess many inherent abilities. Unfortunately parents remain unaware of these inherent abilities and as a result, many of these abilities are destroyed unknowingly by parents while the child is growing up due to incorrect and insensitive parenting.

ID-100108573Surprisingly, these inherent abilities are observable even in infants. Listed below are some of the abilities that we have identified in infants:

-living in the present moment 

-being transparent and authentic as the child has not yet learnt to wear a mask

-being peaceful, bright and cheerful most of the time; crying only when it needs a feed, to be burped, cleaned up or put to sleep or is in pain or wants something

child’s desire to be good for the parent (from the book ‘Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Maté, M.D. * 231117)

-being able to love its Mother and others too

being able to see and feel the energies that surround people and absorb information on their mood, character, health etc *

-being fearless and free from anxiety and worries

-being extremely active, creative as well as artistic in what it does

-being curious and inquisitive, and learning by observation, tasting, feeling, listening, smelling

-focusing and concentrating

As the infant grows older it also starts to

-becomes more independent by wanting to do things on its own

-use its intellect and makes its own decisions

-understand as well as forgive others

-become protective of its younger siblings

Instances that highlight few of the above abilities are given below:

#An 8 year old girl noticed a 7 year old girl standing all by herself and crying in a large mall. She immediately informed her Dad that this girl has been separated from her parents and needs help. So, the father daughter combo with the help of Facebook & Google contacted the father of the lost girl and reunited them very quickly! This is a clear case of sharp observation and understanding by the young 8 year old girl!

#A 9 month old baby girl was pulling the hair of her 6 year old cousin brother. The mother of the baby girl was admonishing her baby about this act as it could be hurting her brother. The young boy immediately told his cousin’s mother ‘ It is ok Auntie, I do not mind her doing this to me!’. This is a case of good understanding of the young lad as well as of forgiveness!

Once the specific abilities of the child have been identified, the parents can help the child to live life fully and well by helping build further capabilities on this solid foundation of the child’s existing abilities!

Unfortunately, most parenting unknowingly destroys many of the inherent abilities of the child. One of the biggest loss of the children while growing up, is the ability to peacefully and happily live life in the present moment! Most parents gradually replace this happy present moment living with a worried, anxious. fearful and stressful living in the imagined future or in the dead past.

This happened to us too and we in turn un-intelligently destroyed present moment living in our children because we did not know any better!

It is perfectly alright and good for the child to do nothing at times, or to be in a state of just being, or doing what it wants to do rather than what the parents want the child to do. This way they remain fully charged and youthful most of the time! Whereas if the child is doing only what the parents want the child to do, then its energy gets quickly dissipated with the possibility of low self esteem and other psychological problems in the future!

It is time for us, parents and grandparents, to awaken and become conscious of our own self so that we can help our children and grand children develop well and enjoy living in the present moment rather than suffer it living in the imagined future or dead past! This can be done if we, parents and grandparents, become AWARE of our own self, our thoughts, our emotions, our fears and anxieties, our beliefs, our speech and our actions. We can get some help by connecting with good Gurus/Teachers, as well as reading and understanding relevant literature on this subject. An associate blog titled www.livelifefully.in can be of help too.

Most parents are generally very careful about the physical health of the child. If the child is hurt and bleeding or if it has temperature above normal then corrective action is taken without much delay! Similarly, it would be good for our children if we, parents are also sensitive to the feelings and psychological condition of the child and quickly correct our actions to reduce or eliminate any damage to the psyche of our child.

Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish say in their book ‘How to talk so Kids will listen & listen so Kids will talk’ – Dealing with feelings (of the child) is an art not a science…….Parents, after some trial and error, can master the art. You’ll sense after a while what is helpful to your individual child and what isn’t. With practice you will soon discover what irritates and what comforts, what creates distance and what creates intimacy, what wounds and what heals. There is no substitute for your own sensitivity. 

Further, Adele & Elaine in their book quote a parent from their learning group-‘The more you try to push a child’s unhappy feelings away, the more he becomes stuck in them. The more comfortably you can accept the bad feelings, the easier it is for kids to let go of them. I guess you could say that if you want to have a happy family, you’d better be prepared to permit the expression of a lot of unhappiness.’

A father wrote to Adele & Elaine –  It’s not enough just to give lip service to what a child is feeling. Sometimes you have to go an extra step to “see things through his eyes.”

They continue to state– ‘Each time we show respect for his (child’s) feelings, each time we offer him a chance to make a choice, or give him a chance to solve a problem, he grows in confidence and self-esteem.’ 

On yet another very important aspect of up bringing, they state ‘All of the psychology courses I had taken had warned of the dangers of the self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you labeled a child as a slow learner, he could begin to see himself as a slow learner. If you saw a child as mischievous, chances are he’d start showing you just how mischievous he could be. Labeling a child was to be avoided at all costs.’ 

Most parents feel that giving love and disciplining the child are all that are required for good up-bringing of our children. The problem is that both parental love and disciplining demand that the child fulfill numerous requirements of the parents, which may not necessarily be beneficial to the child. Unfortunately we, parents are unaware that our love is very limited and conditional and it can cause damage to the psyche of the child! Disciplining without parental awareness and sensitivity can also cause damage to the psyche of the child!

Additionally we, parents bring up our children with scant or no respect for the child’s sharp intelligence which blossoms mostly in the first five years of the child’s life. Respecting the child’s intelligence is to give the child adequate time and to listen very attentively, understand the child’s point of view and act in consonance with the child’s thinking processes. Formidable up bringing is being done when we give respect to our child’s intelligence and feelings, allowing more and more decision making to the child, thereby making the child strong from within as well as making the child fully independent, slowly and steadily.

Sensitive, responsive and good up bringing will be apparent as the child will be peaceful and happy most of the time!

Each and every child is extremely precious and special as well! Let us all put in the best effort we can for all the world’s children to grow up to be happy, capable and confident adults!

An aspect of children that we have learnt recently is ‘Counterwill’ highlighted by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D. in their book ‘Hold On to Your Kids’. *251217

Here are a few excerpts from their book on Counterwill:

  • Counterwill in an instinctive, automatic resistance to any sense of being forced. It is triggered when a person feels controlled or pressured to do someone else’s bidding. It makes its most dramatic appearance in the second year of life–yes, the so-called terrible two’s… Counterwill appears with a vengeance during adolescence but it can be activated at any age– many adults experience it…. There is nothing abnormal about Counterwill in a child… No one likes to be pushed around, including children– or more correctly especially children.
  • Understanding counterwill can save a parent much unnecessary confusion and conflict, particularly when it comes to make sense of a peer-oriented child’s attitudes and behaviour.
  • Counterwill manifests in thousands of ways. It can show up as the reactive ‘no’ of the toddler, the ‘You aren’t my boss‘ of the young child, as balkiness when hurried, as disobedience or defiance. It is visible in the body language of the adolescent. Counterwill is also expressed through passivity, in procrastination, or in doing the opposite of what is expected. It can appear as laziness or lack of motivation. It may be communicated through negativity, belligerence, or argumentativeness, often interpreted by adults as insolence. In many children driven by counterwill we may observe a fascination with transgressing taboos and adopting antisocial attitudes. No matter what it looks like, the underlying dynamic is straightforward– instinctive resistance to being forced.
  • The very fact that something is important to us can make our children feel less like doing it. The more we pressure our children into eating their veggies, cleaning their rooms, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, minding their manners, or getting along with their siblings, the less inclined they are to comply. The more insistently we command them not to eat junk food, the more inclined they are to do it.
  • The basic human resistance to coercion is usually tempered, if not pre-empted, by attachment…We are far more likely to balk at the demands of someone we don’t feel connected with. A child who wants to be close to us will likely receive our expectations as an opportunity to measure up. Cues about how to be and what to do help such a child find favour in the parent’s eyes.
  • To give a command to a preschooler with whom one does not have a relationship is to invite being defied or, at best, being ignored. The little one has no inclination to obey someone with whom he does not feel connected.
  • For immature adolescents the dynamic is exactly the same, even if their ways of expressing it may not be nearly as cutely innocent. In situations when they are habitually told what to do by persons to whom they are not attached, counterwill can easily become entrenched as their fundamental response to the adult world.
  • Children are naturally compliant all right, but only in the context of connection and only when attachment power is sufficient.
  • It wasn’t so much that the parents were doing anything wrong as that their children’s counterwill instinct had been made pervasive–and even perverse– by peer orientation.
  • Counterwill…primary role is as a defense that repels the commands and influence of those outside the child’s attachment circle. It protects the child from being misled and coerced by strangers.
  • Counterwill also fosters the growth of the young person’s internal will and autonomy. We all begin life utterly helpless and dependent, but the outcome of natural development is the maturation of a self-motivated and self-regulated individual wilt a genuine will of her own. The long transition from infancy to adulthood begins with the very young child’s tentative moves towards separation from the parents.
  • Counterwill first appears in the toddler to help in the task of individuation. In essence, the child erects a wall of no’s. Behind this wall, the child can gradually learn her likes and dislikes, aversions and preferences, without being overwhelmed by the far more powerful will of the parent.
  • It is common to mistake counterwill for strength on the part of the child, as the child’s purposeful attempt to get his own way. The weaker the will, the more powerful the counterwill…we invite it into being every time our wish to impose something on our child exceeds his desire to connect with us.
  • The best reason for children to experience counterwill is when it arises not as automatic oppositionality, but as a healthy drive for independence. The child will resist being helped in order to do it herself; will resist being told what to do in order to find her own reasons for doing things. She will resist direction in order to find her own way; to discover her own mind, to find her own momentum and initiative. The child will resist the “shoulds” of the parent in order to discover her own preferences….genuine independence can happen only when a child is absolutely secure in his attachment to the adults in his life.
  • Counterwill is serving the purpose of protecting the child against becoming an extension of anyone else, even the parent. It helps to deliver an autonomous, emergent, independent being, full of vitality and able to function outside of attachments.
  • Peer orientation throws a monkey wrench into the natural development. Rather than serving autonomy, counterwill supports only the primitive purpose of keeping the child from being bossed around by those with whom she has no wish to be close. For peer-oriented children, those people are us–their parents and teachers…. Counterwill in the service of peer attachment, however, is vastly different from natural counterwill that supports true independence.
  • There is a foolproof way to distinguish peer-distorted counterwill from the genuine drive for autonomy: the maturing, individuating child resists coercion whatever the source may be, including pressure from peers. In healthy rebellion, true independence is the goal.
  • Adults who misread this primitive and perverted form of counterwill as healthy teenage self-assertion may prematurely back away from the parenting role…. To back off prematurely, however, is unwittingly to abandon a child who still needs us dearly but does’nt know that she does.
  • The problem with seeing our children having power is that we miss how much they truly need us. Even if a child is trying to control us, he is doing so out of a need and a dependence on us to make things work. If he was truly powerful, he would have no need to get us to do his bidding.
  • We strive to meet perceived strength with strength. Our demeanor inflates, our voices rise, and we up the ante with whatever leverage we can command. The greater the force we impose, the more counterwill our reaction will provoke… The frightened child will scurry to make it up to us and to get back into our good graces. We may believe we have attained our goal of good behaviour, but such capitulation is not without cost. The relationship will be weakened by the insecurity caused by our anger and our threats. The more force we use, the more wear and tear on the relationship. The weaker the relationship becomes, the more prone we are to being replaced– nowadays, most often by peers.
  • It is instinctive, when experiencing insufficient power for the task at hand, whether it is moving a rock or moving a child, to look for some leverage. Parental efforts to gain leverage generally take two forms: bribery or coercion…. The search for leverage is never-ending: sanctions, rewards, abrogation of privileges; forbidding of computer time, toys, or allowance, separation from the parent or separation from friends; the limitation or abolition of television time, car privileges, and so on and so on…. As our power to parent decreases, our preoccupation with leverage increases…In any other realm, we would see the use of leverage as manipulation. In parenting, such means of getting a child to follow our will have become embraced by many as normal and appropriate….We resort to leverage when we have nothing else to work with — no intrinsic motivation to tap, no attachment for us to lean on. Such tactics, if they are ever to be employed, should be the last resort, not our first response and certainly not our modus operandi.
  • Manipulation, whether in the form of rewards or punishments, may succeed in getting the child to comply temporarily, but we cannot by this method make the desired behaviour become part of anyone’s intrinsic personality…. The more the behaviour has been coerced, the less likely it is to occur voluntarily.
  • The counterwill instinct ensured that the use of force will backfire….Rewards may increase the likelihood of behaviours,” Dr. Deci writes,”but only so long as the rewards keep coming. Stop the pay, stop the play”
  • With the sense of impotence we experience when child-adult attachments are not strong enough, we begin to see our children as manipulative, controlling and even powerful.
  • If all we perceive is the resistance or the insolence, we will respond with anger, frustration, and force. We must see that the child is only reacting instinctively whenever he feels he is being pushed or pulled. Beyond the counterwill we need to recognise the weakened attachment. The defiance is not the essence of the problem; the root cause is the peer orientation that makes counterwill backfire on adults and robs it of it’s natural purpose.
  • The best response to a child’s counterwill is a stronger parental relationship and less reliance on force.

On Culture, a few excerpts from their book.

  • As long as the child is properly attaching to the adults responsible, the culture flows into the child.
  • According to Howard Gardner, a leading American developmentalist, more is spontaneously absorbed from the parents in the first four years of life than during all the rest of the person’s formal education put together.
  • If the child is helped to attain genuine individuality and a mature independence of mind, the passing down of culture from one generation to another is not a process of mindless imitation or blind obedience. Culture is a vehicle for true self-expression. The flowering of individual creativity takes place in the context of culture.
  • An evolved culture needs to have some art and music that one can grow into, symbols that convey deeper meanings to existence and models that inspire greatness. Most important of all, a culture must protect its essence and its ability to reproduce itself — the attachment of children to their parents.
  • Only in healthy relationships with adult mentors — parents, teachers, elders, artistic, musical and intellectual creators — can children receive their birthright, the universal and age-honoured cultural legacy of humankind. Only in such relationships can they fully develop their own capacities for free and individual and fresh cultural expression.

On attachment, a few more excerpts from their book.

  • When the parent is the compass point, it is the messages he or she gives that are relevant. When tragedy and trauma happen, the child looks to the parent for clues whether or not to be concerned. As long as their attachments are safe, the sky could collapse and the world fall apart, but children would be relatively protected from feeling dangerously vulnerable…. Attachment (with the parent) protects the child from the outside world.
  • Child’s idea of what his parents think of him protects him more effectively than the direct intervention of the parents in any un-wholesome situation around the child created by peers or others… On the other hand, if the parent belittles the child, shames him, pours contempt on the child, the child will be devastated. The child’s attachment to it’s parents renders him/her highly vulnerable in relationship to them but less vulnerable in relationship to others. (adapted from the book)
  • Our job as parents is to defend our children against being physically wounded. Although the bruising is not always so visible, the capacity to be hurt is even greater in the psychological area.

We have the greatest opportunity as guides to our children to point them inward to look for the answers so the shift to break old patterns can take root. So when they ask you a question that mirrors uncertainty let’s say, you can turn the question back onto them and ask “what do you think'” or “how do you feel about that” – meanwhile adding “this is a way to teach you how to trust and listen to your inner voice.-Dr Shefali Tsabary 

I believe that as infants we see and feel the energies that surround people and that we innocently absorb information about their health, mood, character and soul. But our culture does not talk about or reinforce such perceptions. By the time we are two or three, these capacities atrophy from lack of use, just as empathy, which is also an inborn capacity, will fade if not mirrored by the infant’s caregivers. – Donna Eden 

Parents unconsciously program their children to be happy when their or their child’s desires are fulfilled and to be sad and depressed when they are not! Whereas, Joy and celebration of life, free of desires, is ingrained in every child. Let us not rob our children of this priceless treasure they are born with, by our improper, inherited, desire fulfillment living – The Totality

James W. Prescott, former director of the National Institutes of Health’s section on Human Health and Child Development found that if a society physically held and loved its children and did not repress sexuality, that culture was peaceful. Peaceful cultures feature parents who maintain extensive, physical contact with their children, such as carrying their babies on their chests and backs throughout the day. – from the book ‘The Biology of Belief’ by Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. 160817

It is amazing that every child gives instant feedback. The moment you understand the child, he/she becomes fine again! – Shalin Lele, a young mother of a 4 month old boy  061217