Monday, July 20, 2009

Bringing up children: what’s the right way?

We all bring up our children in the way we think best. But who is to say which is the right way and which isn’t. This topic requires so much insight and experience that I thought it best to put forth few thoughts based on the teachings of one of the greatest spiritual Gurus.

Bringing children into the world and bringing them up is not only one of nature’s most wonderful gifts to us, but it is also one of our biggest responsibilities. And to make sure that we, as parents, do this right, here are a few insights which may help all of us in becoming better parents.

1. Share responsibility of children and train them at home

Both mother and father should share responsibility in bringing up the child. Even though the child may possibly be spending more time with his mother, the father should play his role of being a good parent as well.

The proper training of children begins at home, not at school. Raising children is truly difficult these days. But it is our duty to protect, guide and care for the children we bring into this world. If we plant a small tree in our garden, and we want it to grow healthily, we must be there to support it and protect it in all types of weather. It’s the same for children. To fully blossom, they need nurturing through love, guidance and understanding that only parents can give them.

2. Discipline your children

Children need discipline. This does not mean beating them, which should never be done! We should guide our children with firmness, but also love and patience. As once said, “These little ones cannot express discrimination and understanding, even though these qualities are innate in the soul”.

Children should be taught the right attitude and the right behavior which will stay with them as a support system for the rest of their lives.

3. Build the right relationship

We should build the right relationship with our children. In an effort to come closer to them, some parents try to become one of them. This may work to some extent, but not completely. Children should learn to love and respect us as parents. This doesn’t mean we cannot have fun with our kids; this just means we should be responsible parents.

4. Communicate openly

We need to be approachable to our children. They should feel that they can talk to us, confide in us and be truthful. If we give a child a hard time because he had the courage to come and tell us something we didn’t like, this could turn him away forever. He might look for another confidant or worse, turn to something ‘else’ for comfort which is definitely not what we want. Good rapport with children should begin in the early years.

Parents should spend time to talk with their children in a language that they can understand. Instead of just saying “Don’t do it”, explain why. We need to reason out with them instead of simply asking them to obey orders.

5. Make your children responsible; don’t pamper them too much

Parents should guide children such that it helps them to develop skills and responsibility. Else, they may grow up to be careless and unreliable, who would not know how to teach their own children. Bad habits are passed from generation to generation.

Children should learn at an early age that nothing comes without effort. One has to earn what he receives in this world. Parents should teach the child that he should contribute his part to the family, to his friends and to his community.

If a child is given a task to do, parents should see to it that he fulfills it. This includes simple things like clearing up the mess in his/her room before sleeping at night. Insist that he do this, without spanking him/her. Once good habits have been formed, children will automatically continue to do so. Young ones will do what is asked if they feel they are contributing and helping out. Give them praise and encouragement, make them want to do it. But make sure that the responsibility given to the child is as per his capability. You can give rewards for good behavior or good work done in certain situations. This may not be the best thing to do, but works in most cases!

Parents often indulge in their children too much. We should give our child a chance to achieve on his own, to learn from his own success and failures and meet the challenges of life, but with our strong support. By giving in to all his whims, we cannot ensure that he or she will be happy always and may in the long run, hamper his progress.

6. Don’t impose yourself

Children should be allowed to develop their own personalities. We must be there to give them the right sense of direction and the right principles. But we should not overshadow their lives completely by forcing them to become us.

7. Teach your children to pray

It will be a good thing if from early on parents and children pray together before going to bed. A child who is taught to pray for self and others loves it and does it throughout life. It teaches the young one to have faith in God, be thankful for what he has been given in life and care for others.

Probably, the best thing we can do in raising our children successfully is to lead by example. If our children see the good results of following the standards we set in our life, they will respect us and listen to us. Amen to that!


  1. Your son doesn't know how prepared his parents are :-)

  2. Binzy...all of the above is a great compilation on how to bring up your kids. But I always fail to understand, how do you get the elders of the house on the same page as you? Try telling them, don't pamper Aryan too much!!...ha ha...that ain't gonna work?!