Happy Parenting

The Art of Raising Children: H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: It would be wonderful to have our children grow up happily in this sometimes difficult world. What can we give them besides lots of love when they are still too young for meditation?
Sri Sri: Just play with them. Don’t try to be a teacher all the time and start teaching them. In fact, learn from them and respect them. And don’t get too serious with kids.

I remember as a child when my father would come home in the evenings, he would just clap and make us laugh. My mother was very strict but my father would just clap and make everyone laugh before we all went for dinner. Everybody had to sit together and eat. So before that, he would just clap and chase everybody around in the house. Everyone had to laugh before we sit for food. So don’t go on teaching them all the time, just celebrate with them, play with them, sing with them. This is the best thing.  If you always take a stick and say, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that’, that is no good.

With kids, I feel you should play with them more and tell them stories sometimes. We used to hear a lot of nice stories when we were kids. Every day one story. It is good to bring up children with values in this way. If you tell them nice interesting stories then they will not glue themselves to the television and sit there all the time. There are many stories for children; there is Panchatantra. One of our devotees is also making cartoons of the Panchatantra. Soon it will come out.

So it is good for parents to sit with the children and tell them stories that have morals. A story with a moral is good. And that quality time of one hour or half an hour that you spend with your children is good enough. Also, don’t stifle them sitting with them for five to six hours. Quality time of 45 minutes to one hour is good, and this time should be very interesting. They should look forward to the time to sit with you and listen to stories.

The Fine Art of Parenting: H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: How to cope up with child’s expectation when they compare themselves with others and demand those things that others have? They say that so and so is groomed well and they also want the same kind of stuff.
Sri Sri: You have to tell children that you can only give that much and they shouldn’t compare themselves with others. But it is important that you don’t give them any false hope. At the same time, we can give them a dream. If you pass or do this, maybe you will get it. Here lies the importance of bringing them up with that sensitivity and belongingness. That is why I said if you participate instead of teaching them, they will not even ask you. They should be a participant in your life. Then they will be sensitive towards you, rather than putting a demand on you. Before you become a good father or mother, you need to become a good uncle or aunt. Are you getting what I am saying? You should communicate more with friends of your children. They will listen to you. Suppose, if your son’s/daughter’s friends have any wrong habit, you can influence them to change. They listen to you more than their own parents. Similarly, other parents can take care of other’s children better than their own children.

The Fine Art of Parenting: H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Children should be encouraged to interact with various age groups. This is very important and will indicate whether they are developing any superiority or inferiority complex or if they are becoming introverted or extroverted.
Children with an inferiority complex like to interact more with children younger than them. They will try to avoid the older ones and may even try to avoid those of the same age. Those with superiority complex will try to shun the younger ones and will only want to relate to those older than them.
By encouraging interaction with all age groups, they can be moulded into balanced and flexible human beings with personalities free of complexes.

The Fine Art of Parenting: H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: How can spiritual practices strengthen academic progress?
Sri Sri: Definitely. you know there has been a research recently from England that the children who study Sanskrit excel in mathematics and linguistic function of their brain become so much better that these children can learn any language from Chinese to English to Russia easily. Researchers worked for 15 years and they find out these results. Three schools in England have made Sanskrit compulsory in the school. They also did research why India is Excellent in IT. Indian brain is more suitable on computer. This is because of the background of Sanskrit language. So, it is good to have your children study Sanskrit. Apart from this, there are number of researches which show how doing pranayama enhance the performance of children. They feel more calm, attentive, and more alert. They are able to perceive and digest better. There are number of such benefits that have been proved.