We all want to do our best for our children and their education so raising them well is the toughest of the responsibilities we’ve been put in charge with.
Reading, discussing, researching, learning, observing, seeking for answers and guidance is a parent’s constant homework. While it’s true, not all answers lie within the covers of a book, checking on different cultures’ approach to parenting is never harmful. Quite the opposite as I recently discovered myself, and after reading everything my hands touched on this subject excluding endless hours of chatting, asking and analysing answers with the help of a Nepalese focus group made of both parents and children, I had to admit I was most impressed with their wise Tibetan way of raising a family which is so different from the Western life we know. I therefore gathered here some of their greatest tips and words of advice which I’m more than willing to try out.
According to Genius Pregnancy, there are 4 crucial stages in a child’s family education. Here’s a brief description of each one of them followed by 6 wisdom rules inspired from the Tibetan art of parenting.
The first period lasts up to 5 years – treat the child like a king
Tibetans believe that during the first years of his life, the child should be treated “like a king”. A clear line between obeying and understanding must though be visible. Nothing should be prohibited and distraction must be the tool used by all parents. These first years are the ones when activity, curiosity and interest in life are shaped. The parent must not forget that the child is still unable to build long logical chains and for any mistakes made, punishment will be perceived as suppression from the position of strength.
The second period is from 5 to 10 – treat the child like a slave
This is the time when the child should be treated “like a slave”. Tasks should be given to the child and they have to be completed. For any failed tasks punishments can be accompanied by explanations and advice, however physical punishment should be avoided at all costs. This is the time when intelligence is developing actively. Also the child must learn to predict people’s reactions to his/her actions, cause a positive attitude to him/her and avoid negative manifestations. Focusing on empowering the child with a love for knowledge must be a main focus.
The third period is from 10 to 15 – treat the child like an equal
While this may sound a bit silly as you are still the one who is more experienced and knowledgeable, the child must be treated as being the same as you. It’s now high time to constantly check with him or her on all important issues in order to provide and promote independence. Giving constantly tips and advice while listening to their requests and challenges should now be your main focus. During this time, the autonomy and independence of thought are developing.
The last period starts at 15 years – treat the child with respect
Respect is the last, but not least main lesson for your child. It is now late for any other common sense teaching values and it’s time you only have to reap the fruits of your labor.
During these important stages keep an eye on the following Tibetan parenting wisdom rules. May help ease on your busy job.
1. Respect the simplicity of a child’s mind
According to The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood (2008), by Anne Maiden Brown, PhD who is also psychotherapist and social pyschologist , a child has a natural phase of simplicity of mind before it is developmently ready to interrelate experiences, senses, emotions and thoughts with its situation and past experiences.
2. Don’t neglect the imitation, memorization, touch and movement
Tibetans emphasise teaching children through imitation, memorization, touch and movement so the full meaning of the material can get into consciousness intuitively as well as intellectually.
3. Create a clean teaching environment
For Tibetans the environment for learning needs to be clean, nurturing and full of touch and a sense of the sacred. Mistakes should be corrected without judgement. Also children are vulnerable to impressions and need to be protected and healed when they experience fearful or intruding images.
4. Core values focus
Compassion, honesty and sharing are valued qualities in children and can be instilled in young children through their natural imitations of adults through discipline as needed and through recognition and celebration of prized behaviours.
5. Harmony for all
Harmony in relationships is highly valued; it is important to teach even very young children how to interact harmoniously rather than competitively with other children, adults, animals, insects, nature…
6. No humiliation and corporal punishment
Tibetan parents believe in no humiliation and corporal punishment. The only reason to beat children is that they cannot fight back.
Share your thoughts on how efficient these parenting rules may be on your opinion. Leave a comment with anything you believe it’s worth adding.