Emotions and Your child
Excerpts from the book ‘Your Child is Your Parent’ by Manoj J Lekhi (Amrut Vivek).
The nine rasas (essences of life), called as navrasas, are Veera (courage), Bibhatsa (disgust or discontentment), Bhayanak (fear), Karuna (compassion), Raudra (anger), Adbhuta (wonder), Shringar (romance), Shantam (peace) and Hasya (laughter).
All human emotions are variations of the above nine rasas. Preset notions about certain emotions being bad leave us restricted in expressing ourselves. The same is transmitted to our children.
Raudra, Bibhatsa and Bhayanak are some of the expressions that are considered to be unhealthy and/or socially unacceptable. It is important for us to realise that every rasa has both a positive and a negative side to it. Recognising the positivism of each and working on it is what is needed.
- Veera (Courage)
Courage is a very important aspect that needs to be developed in your child. It is both internal and external. Courage is required to explore new things, face higher challenges in life, accept defeat, admit mistakes and apologise.
- Bibhatsa (Discontentment)
Being content always leads to complacency in everything. Negative discontentment leads to comparison and dissatisfaction. Positive discontentment leads to introspection and improvement.
- Bhayanak (Fear)
Healthy fear allows one to take calculated risks. Overconfidence often entails foolhardiness instead of courage.
When a child is small, he is fearless and does not think twice before jumping from a great height. So, we need to instill healthy fear in him. Healthy fear is fear instilled in order that it saves his life.
- Karuna (Compassion)
Through compassion arises love and its highest form, seva.
- Raudra (Anger)
This rasa is discussed in detail in this book (refer to the chapter, ‘Anger Management’). It leads to the most vibrant energies when directed rightly. It enhances one’s individuality when channelised properly.
- Adbhoota (Wonder)
Wonder, amazement, thrill and excitement are part and parcel of every child’s emotions. We, the parents, kill the wonder and put in fear. Understanding the need to nourish, preserve and nurture this amazing quality is the least that is expected from us.
- Shringar (Romance)
Romance between a man and a woman is a known phenomenon, but romance can exist between a man and flowers, trees or mountains. A poet is always romancing nature; also, when one enjoys romantic bliss, poetry takes birth.
- Shantam (Peace)
Peace is a state of calmness. When at peace, you are detached from the world and from yourself.
- Hasya (Joyfulness)
Ultimate joyfulness originates from being happy for no particular reason.
All the above nine rasas need to be developed and nurtured in the best interest of the child.
We curb the child’s growth every time we hit him, shout at him or even glare at him angrily. Such a child is never able to express himself freely and shrinks with respect to his individuality, personality and mentality.
The most common example is when a child comes to us crying. We instantly ask him, “Why are you crying?” We immediately order him, “Don’t cry”. We distinctly advise him, “Big boys don’t cry”. This is the silliest and the most immature thing that one can do as we are putting a full stop to his expressions. To derive from him the reason for his crying, we may instead enquire, “What happened?”
Talking and explaining to the child the reason for his behavior (if known to you) is one of the best ways to calm him down, as he now knows that you understood his exact feelings.
The bottom line, therefore, is to allow your child to be totally expressive. The question that crops up, as a result, is, how will he then be disciplined? This too is dealt with in detail in this book (see Sec.V, Chap.5 ‘Discipline and Your Child’).
Childhood emotions play a very powerful role when a child grows up into an adult. The first seven years of any human being is predominantly about emotional development, then the age of 7 to 14 years is mostly about mental development (schooling) and then the age of 14 to 21 is about physical development when the teenager moves on to become more and more active.
The onus of the kind of emotions a child goes through during the first seven years lies on the parents. Childhood emotional wounds can become huge energy blocks when he grows into an adult, leading to a block in his growth in all areas of life.