All glories to Srila Prabhupada, Sri Guru and Gauranga.
So the topic is about how to become a RESPONSIBLE PARENT. If we are a little observant then we can see that every living organism starting from a worm to an animal to bird to human, everyone gets a chance to become a parent. Worms, birds, animals all teach their offspring how to earn food. We humans call this earning livelihood. But this is just a bare necessity. As a human, the definition of a responsible parent is a bit higher than the worm and animals. The thing which differentiates us from an animal is moral values and habits.
Let us discuss few points which can be important for us
1. PARENT THEM BY AN EXAMPLE
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute lokas tad anuvartate Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.This instruction of Krishna is extremely important for parents because they are the first role model for their children. Hence we parents have to be an example for our kids.Bhagavad Gita 3.21
Let us say if we are always engaged with TV, Smart Phone, Social Media, our child will definitely want to copy us. Now if we won't allow them, they will question us, "why can't we when you are doing the same." Even if they don't ask us verbally, they might have this in their mind. Our teachings fail when we cannot walk our talk. Research shows that the reason why one watches TV or wastes time on Phone, Social Media, Cartoons, Movies is that they want to avoid getting bored. The reason why one gets bored is that they have time but no activities to engage themselves. The best antidote to all the negative influences and addiction is to engage our children in some quality activities. As a parent, we need to spend some quality time with them, play with them or recite some stories, stories which can help them build their strong character. Our Vedic Scriptures are full of such exemplary characters. So instead of polluting their innocent mind with fiction characters like Captain America, Spiderman, Superman, we can introduce them to legends like Hanuman, Arjuna, Lord Ram, Lord Krishna etc. We as parents should learn to control our emotions mainly in front of our children.
One of the main causes of shouting is bringing the tensions of the office into the house and showing the frustration on our partner and child.
If our children watch us shouting or yelling or disrespecting others, even they tend to follow it. This is again on a similar line to what we discussed earlier, we need to set a proper example for our children to follow.
Another moral that we need to imbibe in our children by example is Art of Accepting our mistakes.
By apologizing for our standard doesn't fall. We should say sorry whenever we do anything wrong, not just to them but even to others, especially our spouses.
As a civilized person, we must teach them the culture of Thanking Others, Forgiving Others and Apologizing.
So we need to be cautious about the way our child is perceiving us. We must try :
"NEVER EVER LIE IN FRONT OF OUR KID"
"AVOID GADGETS INFRONT OF THEM"
"BE AT OUR BEST"
2. SHOW OUR AFFECTION :
Many times young parents get confused with the emotion of Affection. We must understand that giving all comforts, giving all kinds of video games, new gadgets, and new toys are not "Affection".
Real affection is in giving them our quality time, speaking to them with words of love and touching them with love, giving them hugs and kisses, make them believe that we actually love them. This means a lot to them. They will not be feeling unsecured ever in their life. This also helps in actually strengthening our bonds with them. This bond becomes the foundation of our relationships throughout our life.
Many times parents get overreacted and try to forcefully make their children do or no do something. Although it is important to make them obedient and disciplined we must be careful not to make them rebellious. Today we can find parents becoming over lenient or over strict. Both extremes are harmful to the growing child. It is important for us parents to go understand how to go strike a balance between the two extremes. If we force our children to do or not to do something they might be frustrated and suffocated. One way to deal with this situation is to reason with them. For this, we need to get down to their intellect. This mantra works based on the bonding we have with our children. Another aspect of showing affection is attentive listening.
Many parents do a mistake by not listening to their children. Children love to share their experiences, day in school or day in the park, or their friend's activity, etc. This act of sharing their experiences deepens our bond, teaches them how to be expressive, teaches them the art of communication and most importantly makes them feel secure.
We must make it a point to ask our little ones about their day in school or playground.
3. DO NOT LET THEM GET ADDICTED:
viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is ﬁxed in consciousness.Many times we find ourselves struggling to give up something which we know is not good. Like smokers find it difficult to quit smoking, alcoholics find it difficult to quit alcohol, TV addicts find it difficult to quit TV, Krishna in Bhagavad Gita tells us a way to overcome this. He says paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate which means the only solution is getting a higher taste. For example, a person having once tasted the comfort of AC will never tend to opt for the fan in a summer afternoon.Bhagavad Gita 2.59
The child getting addicted to useless cartoons? Let us tell them stories with expressions so that their little imaginative brain can actually see our story with their eyes.
A child getting addicted to junk foods? Let us cook the best recipe and feed them with love and affection.
We must give quality time to our children, ensure to have at least one meal together.
The biggest mistake that young parents do is to have their peace, they tend to hand over mobile to their kids. We must never commit this mistake.
4. GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITY:
Children today are the future of tomorrow. If we want them to be responsible tomorrow we must train them from today. Our modern education system teaches them the responsibility of dominating and exploiting others so that one day they can be called leaders of the company/society and can earn bread. But real responsibility is taking care of others by compassion and caring, this is not taught in the modern education system. We must teach this at our home. Giving them responsibility means asking them to help mothers in household chores, serving water to elders, especially to father when he returns home after work, filling water bottles, giving medicines to grandparents, etc.
5. PUNISHMENT and ENCOURAGEMENT
No doubt punishment is extremely important for a growing child. Unless one is punished he will not understand the core teachings of life. However, at times, it is seen parents tend to get to extream. We must learn to strike a balance. Punishment is counteracted by encouragement / praises. Like in case of unforgivable offenses we might have to punish our child, we must also praise/ encourage when we see something good. We must understand only punishment can lead to a mentally disturbed, cruel, insensitive and violent child. Similarly, only praises can make a child proud, arrogant, self-centered. Hence we must properly try to balance between the two sides.
BONUS TIP: RAISING LIKE A HUMAN.
āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām dharmo hi teṣām adhiko viśeṣo dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ Eating, sleeping, sex, and defense—these four principles are common to both human beings and animals. The distinction between human life and animal life is that a man can search after God but an animal cannot. That is the difference. Therefore a man without that urge for searching after God is no better than an animal.At the beginning of the article, we briefly touched upon the difference between animal and human, this verse from Mahabharata makes it clear. We must engage our children in the service of the Lord. We must inculcate a culture of daily prayers and deity worship at our home, help them with devotee association, help them by discussing the scriptural injunctions. This makes a child more humble and humane. He will grow up as a part of this society as an asset to this society and not like another parasite exploiting society.The Mahabharata
Thank you very much
CHANT HARE KRISHNA AND BE HAPPY
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