Parenting and Child Rearing – Are We Creating Morons or Mental Patients?
Let me quote some random chats from here and there.
“My son is addicted to mobile phone…”, “My daughter always play with ipad”, “I am worried about my children”, “We are paying hefty school fees but my kids are not serious about studies”, “My daughter spends time on TV and computer”, “They don’t listen when parents says them to study” “My teenage son consider me as enemy”, “He is having inferiority complex and becoming introvert”
The list is not ending here. Some parents even talk about psychological disorders in their children – depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety, suicidal tendency, eating disorder, addiction – substance addiction, autism, conduct disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders and initial stages of Schizophrenia.
“What are your children learning during the childhood?” I asked one of them.
She mentioned some nursery rhymes. All those nursery rhymes have negative connotations!!!
– Humpty, dumpty had a great fall.
– London bridge is falling down.
– Jack and Jill went up the hill (eventually Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after …)
– Twinkle twinkle little star – a goal where you can NEVER reach…
From very childhood everything here seems to be pretty negative, with things falling down and getting hurt.
“You are teaching kind of scary things. Why are you teaching your young toddlers about such negative things? Don’t you know how this will impact them when they grow up?” I asked.
I know you can substantiate teaching of those rhymes by pointing your finger to children of other countries. “There are no such problems among those kids,” you would say. But I suggest you to learn a bit about DNA, genetics, symbiosis, surroundings etc. and then compare.
As the child grows you will provide racing and hitting games to children in mobile, ipad or computer. If the child grows up as a normal person without any mental disorders, that would be the biggest miracle in this world.
Learnt people say that we should not give cell phone if your child is under 16 years. A child’s brain is too sensitive to withstand the ill effects. They also advise to keep TVs and internet connections out of bedrooms.
All those gadgets steal time for activities that actually develop kids’ brain, like interacting with other people and playing. A child should learn from real life interaction – with people and things.
The screen images also make different type of stimuli in the brain. For instance, a child playing racing games will definitely end up in psychosomatic disorder. You know a child’s brains grow profoundly during the first 3.5 years of life, with the brain tripling in mass in just the first 12 months. The basic and important social skills are developed in the kids’ first 42 months (a critical time for brain development) through play, exploration, and conversation.
I am not an expert or role model in parenting. But I can share my experience, my mistakes and what I have learned from our ancestors.
The child should learn culture, morality and life from own home and parents and not from people who make a living out of exploitation – like priests. Most parents fall in such trap. If you don’t have insecurity and fear, then there is no livelihood for priests.
“We send them to Sunday Church moral classes too…”said one parent.
“We take our children to Temple every day and perform all rituals…” Another parent.
“Our Imam advises them to be good…” yet another one.
“Our Guru takes special classes for children in the Ashram…”
Beliefs are good when you are grown up – it is a good shield for stress. Some of those beliefs will definitely yield to a placebo effect on you.
But for a small child, belief and superstitions work mostly at a very dangerous level. It creates insecurity and fear in the sub-conscious of the child (That’s exactly what priesthood needs). I heard a father telling his daughter that god will punish her if she is not obeying him.
“Who is god?” the child asked.
How will you answer this question? You will explain all those religious beliefs and superstitions that you had learned from wrong sources. Or, you probably may not know how to explain God in a scientific way. Later, when children learn science they will come to know that there is no such thing as personal god. This will create a great conflict in them – internally or at sub-conscious level. Any conflict in mind will lead to stress.
Recently I heard one of my friends tell his son: “The entire universe and we are all created by God”
The son asked: “Dad, who created God then?”
I laughed aloud. My friend gave an angry look at me and his son. “Answer him. I also want to hear the answer,” I said.
“God has just sprung out from nothing…”
“In that case why universe can’t spring out from nothing on its own? Why should there be a god to create it?” I asked. (Please read: Is there a creator? http://udaypai.in/?p=905)
How can you teach your child such irrational things? Can’t blame you though. I have seen even scientists who are superstitious! Educated people may have more superstitions.
My mother was a primary school teacher. Her qualification was just tenth standard plus 2 year teacher training course. She had advised me: “Uday, don’t believe in something that science cannot explain.”
Even if we were living on a shoe-string budget, she used to buy all books by Sastra Sahitya Parishad to develop scientific temperament in me. I was grown up as a rationalist and not a blind believer or follower. Science helped me to develop healthy disrespect towards all scriptures and holy books.
Meanwhile, my mother also told me to follow all our rich traditions and rituals. Yes, but only if that can be explained rationally and logically.
Even during my Brahmopadesha (Upanayanam) I asked our family priest to explain it to me. The then priest, unlike today’s greedy morons, was an educated person. He explained everything to me before I got into the mandap. I have learnt the importance of Shodasa samskaras (sixteen rituals) in our tradition. (Read Why should you question Hindu rituals? http://udaypai.in/?p=1107 )
If you cannot explain the ritual, tradition, ceremony etc. with rationale and logic based upon applied science, please don’t ask children to follow it. Our tradition is based upon love, compassion, sympathy, equality, co-existence etc. If you don’t teach your children the science of Dharma, you are making them selfish and self-centered from childhood itself. Later, there is no point in blaming them for setback.
“Udayji, we are treading on unsure ground. You know the rapid advancement in technologies and devices made our life style very dynamic. The gap between parent and child is widening. In this situation, how can we ask our children to learn those ancient and pre-historic things?”
“Uday sir, we do not know much about the science of Sanatan Dharma. And we don’t have time to learn it now. So, what’s the way out?”
“Even our own Gurus and priests do not know how to explain things logically according to modern science, Udaymam. It is very difficult to understand…”
“Uday, the way you explained the concept of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma can stun any hardcore atheist. But everybody cannot do it.”
I reply to them: “I know. If you do not know Sanskrit, there is no point in reading Vedic scriptures of our Sanatan Dharma as most of the translations are adultered with intentions. So, for ordinary people like us, our ancestors developed Puranic stories. Puranas can be called ‘Vedic literature for Dummies’. It is very simple too…” I said.
Until last couple of generation, there was a tradition in most of our families had story-telling tradition. Grandparents would tell puranic stories that helped children to develop their brain in a right direction and grow up with powerful neuro-linguistic ability and outstanding brilliance.
(Remember, Indians were considered as world’s topmost in software programming and mathematics till late 90s when the floodgate of market-media killed Indian brain).
The strength of our civilization was enquiry (seeking truth) and openness. It wanted every child to learn for himself/herself. Unfortunately we are now converting our children to a blind believer by following the guidelines of priest-controlled religions.
A BELIEVER CAN NEVER BE A TRUTH SEEKER. HE/SHE WILL BE CONDITIONED WITH BELIEFS AND NEVER CAN SEE TRUTH. So, let’s develop the seeker in every child.
You are already blind with beliefs and superstitions and you know very much how much stress and tension you are facing – do you want your child to inherit that complex situation with compounded interest?
Teach them puranic stories as stories. Teach them Panchathantra, Kathasaritsagaram, Ithihas, Puranas, Our land’s Mahabharata and Ramayana. There are millions of stories to develop their brain in a right way.
Meanwhile as a parent, let’s try to learn Dharma Sastra. It’s not tough – those scriptures are available in many resources. The Dharma Sastras explain clearly how to conceive and give birth to a child and bring it up and how the entire process is taken as naturally as it treats the highest thoughts of philosophy.
“Okay, but Uday, what will our child learn from our Sanskrit or tradition?”
“Your children will have a reverence toward and desire to protect the environment, tolerance towards others considering the whole world as one family. They will solve conflicts through non-violent means. They will understand power of non-violence and vegetarian diet. They will understand karma as a cosmic system of divine justice. They will want to practice of yoga and meditation for a healthy life style. And most importantly, they would personally want to experience divinity.”
Let them choose any religion when they reach maturity. It is high time that, similar to the voting right in India, practicing religion should be made strictly based upon age. Let them choose a religion at the age of 18 or let them be atheists. Till then, let them follow only science of Dharma.
Make a Chatrapati Shivaji or Rani of Jhansi out of your child – brave, strong and compassionate. Let’s don’t make a terrorist or a mental patient.
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