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“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
~Leo Tolstoy.

A family is a union. It’s a place where every member is respected and has a voice. Inside a family, there is a structured hierarchy and a functional family is the one where everyone understands his roles and responsibilities within a given structure. “Family love” is solidly established when an individual acts prioritizing family interests over his own choosing a greater good for the family unit.

About Respect for Authority.

Many parents position themselves as friends with their children. This relationship dynamics can have a serious downside.

A friend is a peer, someone who is on the same level with you. If a parent positions himself on the same level with a child the hierarchy is compromised. Low power distance between a child and a parent puts the development of respect for authority in jeopardy. Parents are losing control of the most powerful tool for shaping the life of their children.

Children are like clay in the hands of parents. The plasticity of their personalities at a young age is virtually boundless. But the ability to control a child’s life is directly proportional to the depth of respect that a child has for the parent. Respectfulness is something that must be inculcated.

Children should have a sense of their place in the family. They should understand that they are inferior to their parents, if for no other reason than that they are provided with food, clothes, and shelter — things that many young people take for granted.

***

About Parental Education.

There are many things we are able to choose in our lives but parents are not one of them. We have to accept our parents as they are.

No one is born a parent. We grow old, we learn and we do so by making our mistakes. Oftentimes we forget that our parents simply don’t know how to tackle a certain problem. They lived in different times, had a different life experience, the world shaped them in a different way. They don’t know answers to all questions but most importantly it is possible that they never even asked the right questions — the questions you might be asking yourself. Acceptance is a fundamental condition for a healthy relationship with your parents.

In turn, parents should remember at all times that their model of the world is imperfect and may have some flaws. Although some of the knowledge they acquired through long life experience can be applied universally, there are things that were true in their time but nowadays became obsolete. Their model of the world might also contain conceptions that never corresponded to the objective reality in the first place as they adopted them unquestionably and grew old to believe in them.

Instead of passing on dogmas unconsciously inherited from previous generations, parents must teach critical thinking and the very methodology of acquiring knowledge, fostering good habits and supervising the course of self-education along the way.

In a perfect scenario, parental education should not be performed by parents. Instead, at a young age, when the imprinting of the core values takes place, a child must imbibe the life wisdom from his grandparents. Elders better suit the role of educators as they have accumulated broader and deeper life experience which they can pass on giving answers to the most practically valuable questions such as “What matters at the end of life?” and “How to live it not fooling away what matters?”

***

About Natural Order of Life.

Wise parents treat their children as guests. They understand that the fact that they invite their children into this world doesn’t grant them the right to boundless control. They realize that no matter how long the children will live under their roof the day when they fly away from the parents’ nest will come inevitably.

As there is a period of life at the beginning of it, when parents help a child to stand strong, there is a period of time a child must take care of his old parents whose lives start fading. That is a natural order of life and it is an unspoken order in good families, and that’s the way it should be.

***

About Fallacies.

When we come into this world our parents fall in love with us. They see a miracle, a divinity, and they will never stop thinking of us this way. In some parents this love becomes overprotective. It becomes an obsession. A loving mother is not the one who fences off dangers from her son. A loving mother is the one who lets her son fail. She understands that ultimately failure is the only way of becoming a man. A boy needs to fall hard, fracture his body, shatter his mind, taste despair, bleed, suffer, agonize, yet find the strength to rise against all odds. A mother who hides her son from misfortunes of real life is raising a handicap.

Some parents express their love by overwhelming their children with material gifts trying to cater to all their whims. They feel lost when it is time to face the consequences of such an approach. They fail to understand one thing — problem-solving skills never come from abundance. It is the sense of scarcity that ignites the fire of aspiration. It is the deficit that stimulates the inception of ideas of how to get what’s coveted. It is the lack of support and opinions that something can’t be done that fuel the desire to make it happen.

The amount of physical punishment should be minimized. At a very young age, the consciousness or as we may call it the Inner Observer of a child is sleeping. A child is not aware of his wrong-doings. An ability to foresee an outcome and control his behavior is underdeveloped. Misuse of physical punishment as negative reinforcement can traumatize fragile child’s psyche. Such traumatic stress may lead to damage which if left untreated will haunt the child all his life.

The most effective way to foster good behavior in children is to dedicate a substantial time of their total education to strengthening their mindfulness. The moment the child’s Inner Observer awakens the problems with his behavior will start to dissipate. Sadly, the truth is that most of the adults never come close to unraveling what it means to be truly mindful. Often, the methods some parents use to educate their children are purely egoistic in nature. They ignore the fact that the only way to raise mindfulness in a person next to you is by growing in mindfulness yourself.

Caught up in the routine many people spend a great part of the day absentminded and when it comes to parental education their interaction with children is no different. They are consumed by their self-righteousness just as much as they are consumed by their ego. Alas, there is no illusion more convincing than an adamant belief in self-awareness, which is contrary to true awareness born in the process of witnessing, is synthesized by a constantly thinking mind.

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