By Sadhguru, Isha Foundation
Parenting involves a certain amount of discretion. There is no one standard rule for all children. Different children may need different levels of attention, expression of love, and toughness. Suppose I was standing in a coconut garden and you ask me, “How much water per plant?” I’d say, “At least 50 liters per plant.” When you go home, if you give 50 liters to your rose plant, it will die. You must see what kind of plant you have in your house and what it needs.
Tip #1: Recognize The Privilege
It is a privilege that this child – this bundle of joy – has come through you and arrived in your house. Children are not your property; they do not belong to you. Just see how to enjoy, nurture, and support them. Don’t try to make them an investment for your future.
Tip #2: Let Them Be
Let them become whatever they have to become. Don’t try to mold them according to your understanding of life. Your child need not do what you did in your life. Your child should do something that you did not even dare to think in your life. Only then will the world progress.
Tip #3: Give Them ‘True’ Love
People misunderstand that loving their children is to cater to whatever they ask for. If you get them everything they ask for, it is stupidity, isn’t it? When you are loving, you can do just whatever is needed. When you truly love someone, you are willing to be unpopular and still do what is best for them.
Tip #4: Don’t Rush Them Into Growing Up
It is very important a child remains a child; there is no hurry to make him into an adult because you can’t reverse it later. When he is a child and he behaves like a child, it’s wonderful. When he becomes an adult and behaves like a child, that’s bad. There is no hurry for a child to become an adult.
Tip #5: Make It A Time To Learn, Not To Teach
What do you know about life to teach your children? A few survival tricks are the only things you can teach. Please compare yourself with your child and see who is capable of more joy? Your child, isn’t it? If he knows more joy than you, who is better qualified to be a consultant about life, you or him?
When a child comes, it’s time to learn, not teach. When a child comes, unknowingly you laugh, play, sing, crawl under the sofa, and do all those things that you had forgotten to do. So it is time to learn about life.
Tip #6: Nurture Their Natural Spirituality
Children are very close to a spiritual possibility if only they are not meddled with. Generally, either the parents, teachers, society, television – somebody or the other meddles with them too much. Create an atmosphere where this meddling is minimized and a child is encouraged to grow into his intelligence rather than into your identity of religion. The child will become naturally spiritual without even knowing the word spirituality.
Tip #7: Provide A Supportive And Loving Atmosphere
If you set an example of fear and anxiety, how can you expect your children to live in joy? They will also learn the same thing. The best thing you can do is to create a joyous and loving atmosphere.
Tip #8: Maintain A Friendly Relationship
Stop imposing yourself on the child and create a strong friendship rather than being a boss. Don’t sit on a pedestal and tell the child what she should do. Place yourself below the child so that it’s easy for them to talk to you.
Tip #9: Avoid Seeking Respect
Love is what you seek with your children, isn’t it? But many parents say, “You must respect me.” Except that you came a few years early, are bigger in body, and you know a few survival tricks, in what way are you a better life than him?
Tip #10: Make Yourself Truly Attractive
A child is influenced by so many things – the TV, neighbors, teachers, school, and a million other things. He will go the way of whatever he finds most attractive. As a parent, you have to make yourself in a way that the most attractive thing he finds is to be with the parents. If you are a joyous, intelligent, and wonderful person, he won’t seek company anywhere else. For anything, he will come and ask you.
If you are genuinely interested in giving your children a good upbringing, you should first transform yourself into a peaceful and loving human being.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally-renowned speaker, Sadhguru’s wit and piercing logic provoke and widen our perception of life. isha.sadhguru.org.