Quite often people ask themselves what makes their children rebell? What makes them walk left rather than right?
Today I will share my views on parenting.
The first question one should ask is, are they your children? The answer is NO, they aren’t. They are merely your partners sent to you to comprehend you as you comprehend them in each other’s path of life both Material and Spiritual. You have no powers to create you are just an instrument used by the creator in the creation process just like a tool used in the factory to manufacture a car, the tool can not claim proprietorship only the manufacturer can. Understanding this is the cornerstone of understanding parent-child relationship.
Second important question is are you more intelligent than your child? The answer is not necessarily, your child could be a hundred folds more intelligent than you, the only thing that makes you better than your child is that you came here before him/her. Children are very wise and this is because they learn by merely listening and observing. One who learns by listening is far wise than one who learns by observing and one who learns by observing is wiser than one who learns by experiencing. But parents think that being old means that they are more intelligent than their children. This is not true.
Quite often parents administer moral codes to their children by way of hurling threats, yelling and telling lies through riddles. This works upto about 12 years and after that enters the period of rebellion against lies and control freaks. The parent finds himself unknowingly on the side of liars and control freaks and the battle begins with the age mates and the opportunists in the good books of the child and before we know we know it our children have already received perfect lessons in smoking, intoxication, sex life to mention but a few. But do we ask ourselves why this happens?
First we make our children grow up used to listening, it begins by listening to ourselves then to teachers and afterwards listening to everyone, by the age of 13 they are having open ears to listen to anything. After we have opened their ears to all sorts of listening we then give them the worst from us. We hurl insults, abuses, threats and lies at them yet on the other side their peers and opportunists are praising them, gifting to them, spending time with them etc. When the time to listen comes they surely listen to those who give them all these good things and of course they end up entrapped.
How should we then instruct children?
Most parents play the role of boss and ultimate authority in their homes and forget the trouble in this. A wise parent should always show it to his children that he is just a human being used by God to bring up his/her children. You have been telling your children you the ultimate and instructing them about sex life but in a few days the whole world gets to know you slept with your secretary, Do you know that your children will never never trust you.
We should teach our children by observation and not command, because you know that you have a loyal audience in your children doesn’t mean you abuse it because you can lose that audience. If you want your children to raise early then raise early yourself, if you want them to be readers be a reader yourself then you will find ease in instructing them. Your instructions will always be meaningless if you don’t do the same thing yourself. If for example tell your children on Sunday morning to go to church or temple but you stay in your bed, they will go but at the back of their mind they will say “let me obey my boss but when I get a home of my own and am a boss like him I will never go to church”
It’s important to be consistent in what you tell your children the priorities of life are. If for example you indicate it that school is important above all things, allow them understand it like that all their life, never change. If they are going to School and something else happens insist that school first. Let the priorities always be clear and uniform all the time don’t conflict in their minds about priorities of life. While doing this make sure you have the priorities right with God at the head of all things.
I will pick it up from there.
*The writer is the Senior Permanent Resident Jurist of the Ma’at Institute*