Parenting is an art and experience is it’s best teacher. That’s not to say you are able to muck it up with your first-born! Thus, where do you begin? How do you master it? Perhaps a Mystic Approach to Parenting might be a good start.
According to Swami Swaroopananda, a disciple of the world-renowned Master of Vedanta, Swami Chinmayananda, you need to split a child’s life into three periods: The first 6 years, the next 7 years and finally, the teen years and beyond.
A Mystic Approach to Parenting
In his recent talk, ‘A Mystic Approach to Parenting’ conducted at RELC Singapore, Swami Swaroopananda explained that the first six years falls mostly on the mother’s shoulders. During this period the child forms a strong bond with his/her mother. In order for this bond to be created, the mother should first have had a stable and strong bond with her own mother.
In a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, a researcher said, “If the new mother wasn’t comforted very well by her own mother when she was a child, she may need help learning to console her own infant”. Hence, if being with the child at that period is something a mother finds difficult to do, she should find ways to cope with those feelings.
The second stage, which basically starts when a child enters Primary 1, is the ‘father’ period. At this stage, the child generally will idolise their daddy. So dads, unless you want a cycle of ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’, this is the period for you to step in and treat parenting as your top notch priority. Fishing, cycling, various activities and even helping your kid with his/her homework, will bridge the gap of the typical father-child distant relationship.
The final stage is the years that precede the 7 years. This is the ‘hero’ period when the child begins to regard an aunt, an uncle, a cousin or even a teacher as his/her hero. Thus, creating an environment with different people of strong backgrounds for your child to mingle with will benefit him/her to a large extent.
When does parenting begin?
While many think that parenting starts only after delivery, that isn’t true. For the Mystic Approach to Parenting, it begins on the onset of conception. The thoughts of the father influences the fetus conceived and later, whatever the mother listens to during pregnancy influences the baby. Strengths and complexes begin to form from these.
Stopping negativity from flowing into our kids
If there’s anything that most of the stories from Law and Oder: Special Victims Unit has taught us, it is this – generally victims of abuse grow up to become perpetrators of abuse. We have to break this ugly cycle ourselves.
However, abuse can be branched out into many aspects that many of us take for granted. A domineering father who controls the family physically and mentally will lead the way for the son who, even though watches in disgust as his mother is being suppressed, will probably end up being a domineering husband to his wife.
The key to break the vicious cycle, from a mystic approach to parenting perspective, is to forgive your parents for everything you see that was done to you in a negative manner. Simply the link, that tears the perfect family that could be, has to be broken. As a parent when you become entangled in negativity, accept it, but be sure not to allow the negativity to pass on to the child.
Stopping the negative cycle is key to harmony in relationships of the next generations.
Strength in One
In Singapore, many of us have grown up seeing importance placed on subjects such as Math or Science, whilst arts subjects such as Literature and Music have been left in the shadows. Parents, over the years, have been guilty of making children focus on what they as parents deem as important and therefore, sidelining what a child really enjoys and is good at – perhaps, painting or creating music.
According to Swami Swaroopananda, the mystic approach to parenting observes that when you allow a child to excel in something, the child will automatically become successful in other areas. “It’s all about tasting the success. Each child is not to fulfill our dreams but to be here evolve into who they will be. As parents, you should mould yourself for the child to be who they want to be. Do not create the destiny. Instead, facilitate the destiny,” are the wise words from Swami Swaroopananda.
Intelligence isn’t genetically influenced
Intelligence is not a matter of genes. For example, Hong Kong’s richest person, Li Ka-shing is a son of a refugee. Closer home, former president of Singapore, Wee Kim Wee is from equally humble backgrounds. The son of a clerk, Wee Kim Wee was only eight years old when he lost his father.
If these examples are to tell us anything, it is certainly the fact that intelligence is definitely not genetic. Thus, how do you develop intelligence in a child?
Get your child to focus on a goal. The greater the inspiration, the greater the drive would be. A calm mind would give a child a focused mind. Positive values such as forgiveness and kindness are just ways to calm the mind. Encourage your child to have higher and nobler goals.
What is Swami Swaroopananda’s advice to parents?
“You may not be able to give your a child a better future but you can give the future a better child.”