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December 27, 2012 / Gul Malani

Learning

Son & Mother Painting 271212Learning rather than educating is the most important aspect for the development of our children! Whereas, we tend to focus only on educating our children and many times force them to participate in studies and other activities that we feel will be good for their development! The better process is to provide our children the opportunities to learn at their own pace and time! Such timely and appropriate learning will be firmly part of our children’s Intellect and Memory and will help them to manage the future with comfort and ease. We do have to make sure that the learning process is a fun process from the child’s point of view!

Best learning is done when the child’s Intellect is calm, peaceful, uncluttered, unburdened and free of stress! Parent’s objective should be to maintain this calm and peaceful situation as long as possible! This is easily achieved, if the Parents maintain their awareness of the present moment and allow the Child to also function and remain in the present moment as much as possible!

It is impossible to force a child to learn. He/she has to be left free to do it as when he/she is willing to do it!

The worldly success of our children has a direct correlation to the number of skills he/she learns as per Scott Adams, the famous Dilbert Comic Strip Cartoonist! Few of the skills identified are Development of a Socially Acceptable Personality, Public Speaking, Human Psychology, Writing, Languages, Sports, Music, Dance, Art, Design, Business, Accounting, Investment, Computer, Technology and others. Parents should provide the opportunity to the child to acquire these skills but not drive or push them to achieve perfection in any of them. Even mediocre skills are adequate as per Scott Adams to achieve impressive worldly success!

Our present education system leaves a lot to be desired. Education is preprogrammed and forced on to the child and is mainly focused on becoming suitable for employment and earning a livelihood.

Education now means passing on knowledge of one’s family, society, nation and the world! We are teaching our children what to think instead of how to think! We are telling them what to know and what we want them to understand as true! Truly, we should focus on the development of their Intellect and resultant wisdom which will follow if we were not to tell them what to know or what is true, but to teach them to get to their own truths! Children are being taught to remember facts and fiction- the fiction each society has built about itself – rather than given the ability to discover their own truths!

Regretfully, the present Education system measures learning by the end of the semester/year exam results and not what the child has learnt every day, every moment while he/she has been at the school. Children with good memory do well in such examinations but they may not be creatively intelligent and their Intellect may be inadequately developed to handle unusual life situations well on their own!

Learning and Education should include  development of many skills, analysing, diagnosing, problem solving, critical thinking etc which are necessary for creative, wholesome and independent development of our children, even though most parents will be threatened by the independence and strength that such learning will build into the child!

Learning and Education also needs to cover the internal world of thoughts, emotions (including love and sex) and actions for balanced understanding, appreciation and celebration of the miracle of life!

Sex, which is an integral part of life is under denial and suppression in most families due to the conditioning we have received from our parents, religions and society. It is very important to have open discussions with our teenage children so that they understand Sex correctly and manage their sexual activities in safety, comfort and in pleasure!

Choice of School and the teachers has to be done with great care that they are willing to support the child in its learning process rather than imposing their methods on the child! Teachers, who are sensitive to each individual child’s needs, contribute massively to the child’s development. Good Teachers are guides and facilitators to help the child develop its skills and abilities as well as showing them the methods to keep abreast with the latest knowledge and technology which are changing rather rapidly these days!

Any changes in behaviour patterns of the child can be a good indication for parents to review the child’s learning environment and make suitable changes so that the child enjoys what he is doing most of the time!

Child’s passion and interest should be the criteria for sustaining any activity in the child’s life. Bear in mind that passions and interest do change with time. Sensitive parents will notice this and quickly expose the child to different activities to ensure that the new activities are a pleasure for the child to indulge in!

There is a lot of learning that we all including children can do from the Nature and our Universe. So, it is very desirable that children are taken to parks regularly, spending some time daily in awareness of our beautiful natural surroundings, go for holidays to the beach side, river banks, hills and mountains, etc! Connection with Nature, which should include familiarity with trees,  plants, flowers, butterflies, birds, insects, animals, stones, hills, mountains, streams, rivers, solar system etc., brings balance to our lives!

Parental and Social programming are generally directed towards avoiding failures! Children are taught to succeed in everything they do and never fail. This is truly unfortunate, as this limits the child to do only what it is good at. The child will not take risks and try out new activities. In fact, there is more learning the child can do from failures than from successes! So, encourage the child to do new activities without driving them to succeed and be the first or best in everything the child does. * 110218

There is really no activity that is so important that every child has to do it! So, even in a family, what suits one child may not suit his/her sibling. Activities have to be matched to every child individually!

Excerpts from the book ‘The Biology of Belief’ by Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.

  • Dr. Rima Laibow, has been quoted in this book on progression of these developmental stages in brain activity (of children).  Between birth and two years of age, the human brain predominantly operates at the lowest EEG (electroencephalograms) frequency, 0.5 to 4 cycles per second(Hz), known as delta waves. Though delta is their predominant wave activity, babies can exhibit periodic short bursts of higher EEG activity. A child begins to spend more time at a higher level of EEG activity characterised as theta (4-8 Hz) between two and six years of age. Hypnotherapists drop their patients’ brain activity into delta and theta because these low frequency brain waves put them into a more suggestible, programmable state. * 030817
  • This gives us an important clue as to how children, whose brains are mostly operating at these same frequencies between birth abd six years of age, can download the incredible volume of information they need to thrive in their environment.* 030817
  • Young children carefully observe their environment and download the wordly wisdom offered by parents directly into their subconscious memory. As a result, their parents’ behaviour and beliefs become their own.* 030817
  • Infants can pick up complex skills solely by observation and don’t have to be actively coached by their parents.* 030817
  • The fundamental behaviours, beliefs, and attitudes, we observe in our parents become ‘hard-wired’ as synaptic pathways in our subconscious minds. Once programmed into the subconscious mind, they control our biology for the rest of our lives…unless we can figure out a way to reprogram them.* 030817
  • Given the precision of this behaviour-recording system, imagine the consequences of hearing your parents say you are a “stupid child”, you “do not deserve things”, will “never amount to anything’,”never should have been born’, or  are a “sickly, weak person”. When unthinking or uncaring parents pass on those messages to their young children, they are no doubt oblivious to the fact that such comments are downloaded into the subconscious memory as absolute “facts” just as surely as bits and bytes are downloaded to the hard drive of your desktop computer. Once programmed into the subconscious mind, however, these verbal abuses become defined as “truths” that unconsciously shape the behaviour and potential of the child through life.* 030817
  • As we get older, we become less susceptible to outside programming with the increasing appearance of higher frequency alpha waves (8-12 Hz). Alpha activity is equated with states of calm consciousness. While most of our senses, such as eyes, ears, and nose, observe the outside world, consciousness resembles a “sense organ” that behaves like a mirror reflecting back the inner workings of the body’s own cellular community; it is an awareness of “self”.* 030817
  • At around twelve years of age, the child’s EEG spectrum begins to show sustained periods of even higher frequency defined as beta waves (12-35 Hz). Beta brain states are characterisede as “active or focussed consciousness”, the kind of brain activityin reading this book.* 030817
  • Recently, a fifth, higher state of EEG activity has been defined. Referred to as gamma waves (>35 Hz), this EEG frequency range kicks in during states of “peak performance”, such as when pilots are in the process of landing a plane or a professional tennis player is engaged in a rapid-fire volley.* 030817
  • By the time children reach adolescence, their subconscious minds are chock-full of information that ranges from the knowledge of how to walk to the “knowledge” they will never amount to anything or the knowledge , fostered by loving parents, that they can do anything they set out to do. The sum of our genetically programmed instincts and the beliefs we learned from our parents collectively form the subconscious mind, which can undo both our ability to keep our arm raised in a chiropractor’s office and our best New Year’s resolutions to stop sabotaging ourselves with drugs or food.* 030817

The best Teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see-Alexandra K. Trenfor

(Real) Education is not the learning (and memorising) of facts, but the training of the mind (intellect) to think -Albert Einstein

All children are born to learn. If you give them something that appeals to their five senses, they will never say no. But how a child responds to a particular environment is up to it….The biggest challenge for the parents then is to understand that learning for the child cannot be stereotypical and monotonous. – Dr. Atul Abhyankar

Michael Mendizza and Joseph Chilton Pearce’s inspiring book Magical Parent-Magical Child makes it clear that play not programming is the key to optimising the learning and performance of infants and children. Children need parents who can playfully foster the curiosity, creativity, and wonder that accompanies their children into the world. – from the book ‘The Biology of Belief’ of Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. 160817

We grow and evolve only by responding and not reacting to the present situation. So, the best learning for a child is to learn from it’s parents how to respond and not react to the present situation. Good and complete living is an automatic result of such invaluable learning. – The Totality 010818

Evolved and inspired parents learn along with their child rather than teach the child. This will inspire the child to keep on learning most of the time and keep on learning and growing beautifully even in old age. –The Totality 050818

True Education is when the child learns to accept everything in this Universe as important. A blade of grass is as important as a Pipal Tree, a toilet is just as important as the kitchen, an office boy is just as important as the CEO. – as understood from a post of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Isha Foundation 280819

Parents, who make learning fun for the children and allow them to drop those activities that the child is not enjoying after trying it out for a few times, bring up happy and smart kids who develop a craving for learning. Activities, that have been dropped, can be re-introduced later at a more suitable date when the parents feel that there are greater chances of the child wholeheartedly accepting them.- The Totality 131219

                            

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July 13, 2012 / Gul Malani

Meaningful Quotes

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark ~ Chinese Proverb

Children aren’t colouring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favourite colours – Khaled Hosseini

He (Senior Doctor-Child Development) told me it’s the first five years of our lives that determine who we are, who we become. – Dr. Atul Abhyankar

What is the child a product of – his genes or his environment? It is just 5 percent genes and 95 percent circumstances that shape who you are. – Dr. Atul Abhyankar

Parents can’t choose mates of their children or the behaviour of their children. You actually can’t choose anything for your children without disempowering them – Abraham

Children are conditioned to depend on parents, teachers and other people’s opinions so much that they lose track of their Super, Intuitive and Divine Inner Sense. As the child grows into an adult he/she will have to rediscover his/her Inner Sense, because all that is beautiful and all that is good and all that is divine can only be known through his/her Inner Sense. – adapted from ‘Osho’

Children were meant to revolve around their parents and the other adults responsible for them, just as the planets revolve around the sun. And yet more and more children are now orbiting around each other. – Gordon Neufeld Ph.D. & Gabor Maté M.D. in their book ‘Hold On to Your Kids’

Parents love for a child is full of conditions whereas a child’s love for it’s parents is truly unconditional – Malanis

Simply loving our children wasn’t enough. We have to love them unconditionally for who they are, not for what they do – Carl Rogers, psychologist in 1960’s

Conditional parenting is to turn up the affection when children are good., withhold affection when they are not. – Alfie Kohn

One of the most powerful currencies for a child is the parents’ acceptance and approval –Phil McGraw

Parents have overwhelming influence on the mental and physical attributes of the children they raise. And that influence starts not after children are born but BEFORE children are born. – Dr. Thomas Verny, a pioneer in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychiatry, quoted in book ‘The Biology of Belief’  270717

What if we had conscious parents and teachers who served as wonderful life models, always engaging in humane and win-win relations with everyone in the community? If our subconscious mind were programmed with such healthy behaviours, we could be totally successful in our lives without ever being conscious! – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’  040817

But how much easier would it be to be nurtured from the beginning of life so that you reach your genetic and creative potential? How much better to be a conscious parent so that your children and their children will be conscious parents, making reprogramming unnecessary and making for a happier, more peaceful planet. Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’  070817

The fetal and infant nervous system has vast sensory and learning capabilities and a kind of memory that neuroscientists call implicit memory. – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ * 270717

There is mounting evidence that programming of lifetime health by the conditions in the womb is equally, if not more important, than our genes in determining how we perform mentally and physically in life. – Nathanielsz quoted in the book ‘The Biology of Belief’ by Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. 280717

‘For the growing brain of a young child, the social world supplies the most important experiences influencing the expression of genes, which determines how neurons connect to one another in creating the neuronal pathways which give rise to mental activity’ writes Dr. Daniel J. Siegel. In other words, infants need a nurturing environment to activate the genes that develop healthy brains. Parents, the latest science reveals, continue to act as genetic engineers even after the birth of their child. – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ 280717

Every child is born Divine! Due to unconscious, although loving, parenting, the child’s divine thinking and actions get replaced by self centered thinking and actions. Parents, who become conscious, can help the child reverse this. The child can reverse this too as it grows up, by becoming aware of its own true self! – Malanis

When we acknowledge a child’s feelings, we do him a great service. We put him in touch with his inner reality. And once he’s clear about that reality, he gathers the strength to begin to cope – Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish in their book “How to talk so Kids will listen & listen so Kids will talk”

All children are born geniuses, and we spend first six years of their lives de-geniusing them – Buckminster Fuller

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up – Pablo Picasso

Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time – Rabindranath Tagore

Children learn from their parents that water is dangerous. Parents must later struggle to teach Johnny how to swim. Their first big effort is focussed on overcoming the fear of water they instilled in the earlier years. – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ * 010817

Children are easy to understand as they are transparent, while parents are very difficult to understand as they have lost their transparency while growing up – The Creation

Nobody (no child) is inferior, and nobody (no child) is superior. One is just oneself, incomparable – Osho

Don’t compare your (child’s) life to others.. There’s no comparison between the Sun and the Moon. They shine when it’s their time. – Abdul Kalam, ex President of India

Nobody is here to be somebody else -everybody is here only to be himself……..And then you can respect yourself. And the man who respects himself, respects others. Then you can love yourself, and the man who loves himself can love others. – Osho in his talks compiled in the book ‘The Silence of the Heart’                                           

I have grown to respect the innate ability children have for knowing what they need – Stacy Hein

Parenting isn’t about raising a child, it’s about raising a parent!- Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Just as there are physical and intellectual milestones we want our children to attain, the parenting journey presents us as parents with spiritual milestones we too need to attain (most important for bringing up strong and happy children)  – Dr. Shefali Tsabary

From the time we are old enough to talk, our parents, society, and the world in general, train us to be result-oriented. We measure our success-and oftentimes our worth-by the results produced by our efforts. Therefore, the majority of us form the lifelong habit of focussing on the results we want-and fail to activate the one thing-love-that gives wings to our desires.-Carnelian Sage in her book ‘The Greatest Manifestation Principle in the World’

And every parent fails in some way or other – unless he becomes a Buddha (enlightened) – Osho, in his talks compiled in the book ‘The Silence of the Heart’

Parents are trying somehow to create ambition in children. Ambition is a fever, it is illness. An ambitious man always remains ill inside. He suffers from Spiritual Cancer. – Osho, in his talks compiled in the book ‘The Silence of the Heart’

Due to lack of awareness and anxiety of the future, most of us, parents, are busy preparing our child for a marathon run, when all that the child requires is to remain comfortable with it’s own self and be able to walk and think independently at it’s own appropriate time schedule- The Totality 

The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent – Frank Pittman

Up bringing becomes simple, if parents are sensitive and ensure that the child is joyous and is passionate about what he/she is doing in the present moment-Gul Malani

Intelligent, happy, peaceful and psychologically strong children are those that are brought up by both the parents giving  unconditional love to the child all the time and complete and undivided attention whenever the child requires it -Gul Malani

We can only give unconditional love as well as unconditional attention to our child when we drop all our expectations of the child and are willing to allow the child to blossom to its inherent potential at its own pace – as understood by us from the book titled ‘The Conscious Parent’ by Shefali Tsabary PhD

There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst – George Bernard Shaw

The clash between child and adult is never so stubborn as when the child within us confronts the adult in the child – Robert Brault

Never underestimate the power of your words upon a young person’s life! – stated by a father in a group session and reported by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish in their book ‘How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk’ 

You must love in such away that the person you love feels free-Thich Nhat Hanh

Every child, as well as adult, needs not only physical but emotional space to grow and be strong-Gul Malani

Psychologically & physically strong, capable, contended and happy children are a result of loving, patient and conscious parenting. Parents who are anxious and worried about the future, bring up weak children without realising the damage they have caused– Gul Malani

Parental understanding and love nurtures a child and helps it build its self esteem and strengthens its psyche whereas disciplining without understanding and love damages the self esteem and psyche of the child – Malanis

The nature of human child, quite like the babies of animals and birds, is to be independent at the earliest. Normal parenting either delays or prevents this process as human parents think unconsciously that by doing this, they are useful, loving and caring-Gul Malani

Success caused passion more than passion caused success – in Scott Adams life

Failure is where success likes to hide. The trick is to get the good stuff out (of failure) – Scott Adams

Each new skill (mediocre will do, excellence is not required) you acquire doubles your odds of (material) success  Scott Adams

Parents should let go of their desire to condition children for fulfilling their desires and expectations. Parents have to accept the fact that they cannot make children to sustain doing something they’re not naturally predisposed to doing, nor can they cause them to become anyone other than who they really are from within. – Adapted from Carnelian Sage’s book ‘The Greatest Manifestation Principle in the World’

July 7, 2012 / Gul Malani

From Parent-Child to a relationship of Equals!

We become parents with the birth of our first child! The question is, should we ever stop being a parent? The answer is a firm yes, if we have the interest of our child in our heart rather than our own interest! The next question is, when? We have to become an equal from a parent as soon as possible!

Most parents think and act as if our child remains a child no matter how old it has grown, even if the child has grown up children of its own! Parents take on full responsibility to make all the decisions, give free advice, even tell grown up children who have started working and earning, what to wear, eat and drink, when to sleep and when to get up, where and when to go, to wash hands before meal times etc.! Such parenting, handicaps the child and makes him/her dependant on the parents!

So, what is the process of becoming a friend from a parent? Live and let live, (allow the child to live his own life as he would like to do) and allowing the child to be him/herself all the time! Sooner the better, but there is really no fixed timetable as this depends on the self development capabilities of each child!

The way is, to hand over decision making in regular and frequent intervals to the child based on his abilities that he/she is developing! The very first decision we can hand over is of eating; when and what to eat. This can be followed by what to wear, where to go, what to play, when to study and when to do homework etc. It need not be necessarily in this order! Slowly but steadily, we can hand over decision making for all his/her activities to the child. By the time the child is a teenager most of the decisions that affect him/her should be made by him/her.

Many mistakes will be made by the child, but let them be, and let him/her learn from his/her own mistakes rather than a parent saying ‘I told you so’! This will make the child strong and independent! Parenting is to make the child as independent as possible as early as possible too! Then the parents remain as very good friends for life with whom the children have very easy communication and a very healthy love and respect as well.

July 3, 2012 / Gul Malani

Patience, Love & Care

No matter how much is written about these three attributes, it will be less than they deserve. Parenting is all about these three attributes being in force at all times for bringing up children. Double Income Nuclear families have to be very careful and watch out for inadequacy of the above attributes in them due to limited time and energy available to such parents. Parents who have separated or divorced also need to pay special attention that these three attributes continue to be available from both parents to the children!

Lack of these three attributes in parenting may result in children growing up into adults who are unhappy with themselves as well as with life; adults who are unable to use their Intellect properly, adults who are neither able to help themselves nor others!

To be a continuous source of these virtues, parents need to discover themselves first. This subject is comprehensively covered in the blog http://www.livelifefully.in. Discovering our own self will also help in the parents having a very healthy relationship with each other and will definitely reduce the possibility of separation or divorce which generally affects the children very badly!

Patience, Love and Care can easily replace punishing a child which has only a temporary and a negative effect. Parents have to realise that what the child does is correct from his/her point of view. However, parents may not accept what the child is doing based on their own knowledge and experience and feel that the child is misbehaving. It is quite unfair and unjust to punish the child for what the child thinks he/she is doing right. Instead, whenever there is misbehaviour, try to understand the child’s point of view and then work on the knowledge and understanding aspects of the child’s Intellect and help him view and understand the situation differently! This requires a lot of PLC! One can easily do away with punishing a child as it instills fear as well as lowers the child’s self esteem. Parental appreciation of improved behaviour and performance is better and more effective than punishment for misbehaviour!

Dr. Ginott in the book titled ‘How to talk so Kids listen & listen so Kids will talk’ states that a child should experience the consequences of his misbehaviour, but not punishment. He felt that in a caring relationship there was no room for punishment. Dr. Ginott said that the problem with punishment was that it didn’t work, that it was a distraction, that instead of the child feeling sorry for what he has done and thinking about how he can make amends, he becomes preoccupied with revenge fantasies. In other words, by punishing a child, we actually deprive him of the very important inner process of facing his own misbehaviour.

The book states ‘We have to stop thinking of the child as a “problem” that needs correction. We have to give up the idea that because we’re adults we always have the right answer. We have to stop worrying that if we are not “tough enough,” the child will take advantage of us.’ *

The book continues to state ‘It requires a great deal of faith to believe that if we take the time to sit down and share our real feelings with a young person, and listen to his feelings, together we we’ll come up with solutions that will be right for both of us’. *

PLC will always yield good and permanent results. It gives the child the chance and time to correct its thinking, understanding and its behaviour. In so doing, the child ends up making a permanent change within himself/herself! Whereas punishment instills a fear in the child to correct itself. The fear itself is not a healthy phenomena in the psyche of the child! Most of us adults spend a lifetime trying to overcome the fear instilled in us by our parents, family, friends, teachers and others! Fear should really never be used as a tool in parenting unless it has something to do with the safety of the child or other children and adults ! Fear permanently damages the child! Fear resides within the Ego of the child and then it can become an overriding driver for decision making! Will the child’s or a young adult’s decisions be good, if they are based on fear?

Discard fear and punishment totally as tools to change the child’s behaviour!

June 30, 2012 / Gul Malani

Independence, Expression, Communication & Socially Acceptable Behaviour

Parents are generally very proud of children who are obedient! This means that the child does not question whatever the parents says or wants him/her to do. Unfortunately, this also means that the child has not been allowed to use his/her Intellect at all and so he/she is relying on the parent’s Intellect! The child is functioning like a robot with the remote in the hands of the parents!

Do we parents really want this? Are we bringing up children to be disciplined and obedient so that they can fit into our Armed Forces?! We are in effect preventing the child’s Intellect from developing, thereby handicapping the child!

Parents goal should be that the child is able to function independently and discover his own truths at the very earliest! Human children, also like animal and bird babies, start expressing their independence from the time they are born. They start with deciding how much and when they will take a breast feed! Soon they start to crawl away from their mother, an indicator of their natural instinct to be independent!

Parents have to help the children in their endeavour to become independent! There is no rigid timetable for this but it should be suited to each individual child’s capabilities and strengths! However, due to their own insecurities, many parents delay or deny independence to their children. When the child is seeking independence and he is denied the independence, it is possible that the child’s behaviour pattern changes and sensitive parents will recognise this and modify their up bringing methods immediately!

Parents have also to help the child develop its expression, communication and discussion capabilities from a very young age. It is preferable that parents discuss all matters relating to the child with the child! Post discussions, the child should be allowed to make decisions that he/she is capable of making! Parents should consciously help the child make more and more decisions for him/herself, the sooner the better for the child as well as for the parents.

The word ‘No’ should be used sparingly and should generally be followed by an explanation to the child as to why it was used! ‘No’ should preferably be used only when it is unsafe for the child or the child can hurt someone else! More often than not, parents use ‘No’ when they lack patience or are afraid of losing control over the child’s behaviour or if the parents already have a plan in their mind as to what the child should be doing right now! Instead, be very observant of the child and its activities and allow the child to enjoy fully what he is doing! It is not a good idea to drag a child from playing to do his homework! Watch for a break in his play and then request him to do his homework!

There comes a time when the child keeps on repeatedly asking ‘Why’. This is the beginning of the child’s search for his own answers! This has to be patiently and carefully addressed by the parents for building their knowledge, expression, communication and understanding capabilities in the child. Ignoring the child when he asks why, will develop poor knowledge, communication and other skills in the child! How we respond to the child will have great impact on the child’s Intellectual capabilities! Great amount of patience in the parents in communicating with the child is required for the child to be strong physically and psychologically!

Many parents spend a lot of time and energy teaching, training and disciplining children to have socially acceptable behaviour patterns including saying ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Please excuse me’ etc. whereas there own behaviour patterns may leave a lot to be desired. Such imposition of behaviour is akin to asking the child to wear a mask and not be himself! It is quite similar to teaching the child to lie!

Instead of teaching, let it become a process of learning so that it becomes the child’s nature and the changed behaviour pattern is lasting. This can be done by the parents setting an example by their own behaviour which children generally tend to copy and then it slowly becomes their nature!

Exercising strong control over the children‘s behaviour by the parents, leads to children putting on their masks and behaving well in their presence and misbehaving when they are not around! This, wearing of the mask and taking off, is not an psychologically healthy activity. Whereas, being our own self at all times is emotionally comfortable and stable activity for children as well as the parents! So, parents should give their child the space to be themselves at all times!

Behaviour that needs improvement or change can be pointed out to the child, but never in public! It should be done in privacy with the child alone so that his self esteem does not get damaged. Further, he/she should be given adequate time to improve or change his/her behaviour. But at no time should the parents attack the self esteem of the child! The child is never bad, only the behaviour can be pointed out as being not acceptable!

June 27, 2012 / Gul Malani

Comparison with Siblings and Peers

Frequently, we hear parents admonishing the child and comparing him/her with siblings and peers. Statements like ‘See how good and studious your brother is’, ‘why aren’t you as well behaved as your classmate Sailesh?’ etc.

This affects the child’s self esteem and the child will start resenting his/her brother and his/her classmate, perhaps for the rest of his/her life! Communication and love between siblings disappear because of such parenting. Instead the child starts harboring jealousy and hatred for his/her siblings and peers! These emotions will not help the child and may even affect his/her physical and psychological health.

Parents have to realise that each child is unique and has or can develop his/her own specific capabilities and strengths. Comparing the child to others, is in fact asking the child to be a copier rather than an original person. No child can achieve anything substantial in life by copying. He/she can become very special, if he/she does what he/she is capable of, and if the parents understand this and help him develop his/her own specific capabilities.

Even while praising one child in the presence of another, we have to convey very clearly that we do not expect the other child to compete with the child that is being praised, as the other child also has his own capabilities and strengths and we parents are proud of him/her too!

Parents have to let the Rose plant bloom Roses and for the Tulip plant to bloom Tulips! We should not force the Rose plant to bloom Tulips!

June 24, 2012 / Gul Malani

Awareness, Fear & Seeding of Desires

Bringing up our children can be simplified as permitting our children to remain as long and as often in the present moment and making them aware of what is going on within them as well as outside them! This applies to us adults as well. More details can be had from the blog http://www.livelifefully.in .

Awareness and acceptance of the child’s emotions by the parents helps build strength in the child. Instead of chiding the child that it is crying and only babies cry, we need to say ‘ I understand you are sad and so you are crying’ and give the child love by cuddling up with him/her and give him/her the security to cry when it is feeling sad! Emotions have to be expressed for good and clean living. This includes being angry, jealous, sad, happy etc. The only thing that the child has to learn is to be aware that it is angry, jealous, sad, happy etc. This awareness leads to the child becoming capable of handling all his/her emotions. Such a child will probably never need a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst in the future!

Further, it is common for most parents to use fear and to seed desires in the child’s Intellect to motivate him/her. Both these tools have severe side effects and therefore they have to be used very carefully!

Fear has to be used very sparingly and mainly in the area of safety of the child only! It is not uncommon to have parents use fear for achieving peak performance in the child. Fear actually works quite the opposite way. It freezes thinking and activity in the child in decades to come. The child will develop numerous fears, like of the darkness, of failing to meet the high requirements of its parents, fear of loss of love and respect from the parents, fear of elders, teachers, police  and many more. Fear actually handicaps a child! Further, parents have to become aware of their own fears so that these fears are not passed on unconsciously to our child!

Instead of fear, use love and positive reinforcement to change the behaviour and performance of the child!

The other disastrous technique is of seeding desires in the child. ‘If you do this then you will get this toy!’

If you observe a child, you will notice the sparkle in it’s eyes and the joy and happiness within. This indicates a sense of completeness within every child’s Intellect! All children generally are living in the present moment only, quite unlike adults, who imagine, get anxious and worried about the future most of the time! Parents only have to allow them to remain in the present moment!

Parents have to be aware that seeding of desires is the beginning of building up of the Ego of the child which implies incompleteness in the Intellect of the child. Then the child starts moving out of present moment living and moves on a imagined journey in the future to fulfill it’s desires and achieve completeness!

Therefore seeding of the desires has to be done with great care and patience, ensuring that the incompleteness we are building in along with the loss of joy and happiness, is kept to the lowest possible level!

Unfortunately desires, like weeds, multiply rapidly and automatically and incompleteness and loss of joy within the child mushrooms as the child grows up!

Rather than seeding desires, observe the child’s behaviour and determine his/her interests and capabilities and give the child all the help to develop these. Do remember that interests and capabilities change with time. So, we have to also change with the child and help him/her with his/her most recent interests and capabilities!

Also, when parents say that ‘If you do this , you will get that’, we are building up a strong cause and effect relationship in the Intellect of the child! The reality is otherwise, as each effect has so many millions of causes which are not yet fully comprehensible by the human mind! Perhaps, that is why Bhagavad Gita stated over 5000 years ago, that we should not be attached to the fruits of our action! So, we have to manage that our children act without too much attachment to the expected fruits or results! This can be done by helping our children to enjoy the action itself and not wait for the fruits!

June 22, 2012 / Gul Malani

Child’s Capabilities & Competition

Parents are quite often driven to achieve their goals and desires through their children! Such children are kept very busy doing what the parents had wanted to do, but were unable to do, due to some reason or the other!

Sensitive parents, who have discovered themselves, will keep their own desires aside and understand the capabilities and interests of the child and help him/her develop in those areas. Interest and passion of the child are great motivators for the child’s activities.

There should be no demands on the child to be competitive like being on top of the class or the best sportsman etc. Every child cannot be the first and the best! Fortunately, our world is big enough to give space to all of us and not only to the first and the best!

When the second child is born, parents have to be extremely careful as the newborn generally gets all the attention and cuddling from the parents. The first born has to compete to get the attention and this can build in a sense of competition as well as jealousy. Parents will have to be aware of both the children’s needs and give each child the required time and attention on a daily basis!

It may seem strange, but parents and children are also in competition with each other as to who is smarter, better, faster, more popular etc. Generally father and the boys compete and mother and the girls compete with each other. Unfortunately, competition is built into each one of us, but it is up to us parents to understand this and put a stop to this unhealthy competition, which only strains relationships and retains tension at home!

Instead of competition, parents should play role models and inculcate co-operation so that the child learns team work, networking and other relevant skills to play and work in the bigger social environment of family, teams, organisations etc.

Good parents are like gardeners who water, change the soil, add fertiliser, keep the pests away, etc. to help the plant bloom to its own fullest capabilities. But they will not force the Rose plant to compete with a Tulip plant and bloom into a Tulip! Each one of us and our children have our very own virtues and capabilities which should be appreciated by us parents!

June 20, 2012 / Gul Malani

Eating, Drinking & Health

What our child will be physically and psychologically in the future will depend a lot on the drinking and eating habits she/he has developed in childhood.

Parents, specially Mother’s, who are not anxious about the child’s feeding and eating, help their children to develop good drinking and eating habits! Cool and free from anxiety Mothers also lactate adequate milk for the child!

To start with, proper breast feeding the infant on demand is important. Slowly and gradually as per comfort level of the child and the mother, the feeding should be regularised.

But, it still does not make sense to make an infant cry as it is not given feed till the scheduled feed time. This can create stress in the child with the resulting indigestion. So, occasionally we have to digress from the regular feed times to keep the child stress free and well fed!

Additionally, some mothers believe that unless the infant pees or poops it cannot be hungry! We adults poop only once a day but we do get hungry 4, 5 or more times during the day! Let us give the benefit of this understanding to our little infant and feed her/him as and when it requires nutrition and not necessarily wait for a schedule! On the other hand, some Mothers feel that it is necessary to over feed the infant so that it can overcome its constipation. The truth is that our stomach works better when it is underfed than when it is overfed. Allow the child to decide when it has finished its feed for best stomach health!

The feeding anxiety and madness continues even after the infant out grows breast feeding!  Most parents see eating as a phenomenon of feeding the child more than adequate quantity at  every meal,  even if the child does not have an appetite or does not like the taste or the type or combinations of food that is being served.

Parents can stress the child out at mealtimes by saying or doing one or more of the following:

– saying you normally eat more than this

– saying you have lost your appetite as you have eaten junk food earlier!

– threatening the child by saying that no food will be available to the child later

– forcefully feeding the child, food that it does not like, soup, mushy food etc.

Parents will even go to the extent of distracting the child by allowing it to watch a video while feeding, or at times  run around the house chasing the child with a plate full of food and forcefully feeding him/her huge morsels of food while the child is busy doing something else! This can cause serious long term indigestion, and health problems in the child as well as eating disorders in their adult life!

Eating should be an enjoyable and a fun activity timed suitably for the child’s hunger! It should be done with total awareness of the activity of consuming and enjoying the food! It can start with keeping our dining area very neat, clean and hygienic. It should be made attractive with variety of table cloths and mats, flowers, candles, artifacts etc from time to time.

Eating times should be happy and memorable times for enjoying the food, sharing ideas, thoughts and activities done or planned. It should not be time for serious discussions, or distractions like watching TV or video, working with computers or reading magazines or books. It is certainly not a time for disciplining or forcing the children or even adults to eat.

In many homes the family says a prayer of gratitude before starting to eat. This is indeed a good way to get our digestive system started for enjoying and digesting the food. The child’s Intellect has to be stress free to become aware that he/she is eating, and the child should like the looks and the taste of the food that is being served so that its digestive system produces the required enzymes, chemicals and juices for digesting the specific foods the child is eating! The child should never be forced to consume foods that it does not like, to avoid digestive system disorders and future eating disorders!

Joining our children at the dining table, or on the floor as in some South Indian homes, for every meal and being a role model is a fine way to train our children on good eating habits. A prayer, good humour, exchange of pleasantries are a nice start to the meal. While food laid on the table will be as per the choice of the parents based on good nutrition & wholesomeness, children have to be served items as per their choice and the quantity should also be as per the child’s requirements. Only the child knows what and how much can be digested by his/her body at that particular meal time! Forcing foods that the parents think are good for the child or forcing extra quantity into the mouths of children will not help the child! Instead, it will lead to poor digestion, health and eating disorders as they grow up!

Nutritious & wholesome food should generally be available and easily accessible to the children all day long and should be taken by or given to them on demand, in addition to the food available at the regular meal times when the whole family sits together to eat! Bad and unwholesome food should be removed immediately from the dining and storage areas as soon as it is detected and it should be disposed off. Criticising and commenting negatively on the food quality or taste at the dinner table does not help others who may like it and are consuming it. Opinions and criticism can stop the digestion process in other persons who are consuming that food.

Children should be allowed to eat junk (processed and packaged) food too, in smaller quantities and not so frequently, as there will be peer and advertising pressures on the child to do so. We have to make our children aware of what is junk food and what is nutritious food. The availability of junk food at home should be limited! By allowing this freedom to our children, they will not splurge on junk food when they get the opportunity.

Good digestion happens when we chew, masticate our solid foods till they become liquid, i.e change their texture, before we swallow it. We can teach our children this, by setting an example and taking sufficient time at every meal to chew, masticate, see, feel, taste and smell the food we consume! If we grab a sandwich on the run, so will our children! Avoid being such a poor role model!

Good health, disease free life is based on stress free living and good eating habits! We have to start early with our lovely children so that they bloom well!

June 19, 2012 / Gul Malani

Space, Attention & Understanding

If you notice a new born child, you will find that it is very happy with itself. It cries only when there are needs of the body like food, cleanliness, burping etc..

Giving too much attention takes away this inherent capacity of the child to be happy with itself! All children, as well as all adults, need space to do their own thing most of the time! Attention should be given only when the child needs it or there are safety concerns! An easy way to give child space is to let him/her be alone for sometime everyday while they are at home, or to have them regularly visit grandparents, relatives or friends without the parents accompanying them!

We also need to give every child attention and understanding that we would give to an adult and not ignore it as it is only a small child! This will build the child’s self esteem and love for itself as he/she is being loved and respected too!

Children as well as adults function best in an environment where there is appreciation and acceptance. Criticism and non acceptance reduces the capabilities of the child. Please refrain from criticising the child or its behaviour either in private or in public, because what the child is doing is correct and right as per his/her present understanding. Help the child’s Intellect and understanding to mature at its own pace with timely and appropriate discussions and suggestions.