Parenting: Raise Yourself Before You Raise Your Kids
Sadhguru looks at how a child needs a friend, not a boss. If we enforce our ideas upon a child, he will lose his sense of independence, and this could result in rebelliousness later on. Once you become a parent, the most important thing is that you have to be 100% straight. You just have to protect them from the wrong influences, the rest let them free, he says. At the same time, they should remain free from your influence, he points out.
Questioner: Pranam Sadhguru. One of the tasks that we are given and trying to do it is to raise the… taking care of the kid… taking care of your children at home, but we are troubled with we… whenever we to make a decision or not to make a decision get troubled with like what to consider or what not to consider. Can you give us some perspective about something that we should think while making a decision or not making a decision for the kids?
Sadhguru: Why are you making all the decisions for them?
Questioner: (Laughs) That’s the trouble. I am sure that I am not the right person to make the decision, but should that be made or not like what do I do when I need to do something?
Sadhguru: Hmm? First thing, we need to understand is children only come through you, they don’t come from you. They are not your property to be conducted whichever way you feel fit. No, they are not. If you treat them as your property or your future investment - if you treat them as such, you are committing a certain sacrilege against Creation and the Creator for which there will be a price. Simply it’ll come in the form of life or maybe it’ll come in the form of your children - the price. Yes, it’ll be very unfortunate to see that. I am saying this - a very cruel thing to say to any parent, but I am saying this because it’s a very cruel thing to parent a child. The child doesn’t need that, but please see in so many ways, you’re doing everything possible to see that he remains dependent on you in some way or the other. You are not thinking of liberating him.
So, the moment you start working, you want your children to be attached to you, isn’t it? Well, you yourself open Bhagavat Gita and read and say ‘You should not be attached, you should not be attached’, you tell your wife ‘See don’t be attached to me so that you don’t ask me when I don’t come home.’ (Laughter) But your children, you want them attached to you. So before you choose to have children, you must think about these things but if already it’s happened, now… at least now you must think about it properly, seriously. One thing is if you want to produce something little better than yourself to the world, hmm? It’s important? If you produce a child, it must be at least one step better than you, isn’t it? If the same nonsense is going to happen once again, what’s the point?
So, something better than you has to happen means the first and most fundamental thing is you are one hundred percent straight - even if it is embarrassingly straight, you’re one hundred percent straight is important. This is something very hard for most parents because that’s the only place where they get to boss around. They have a committed audience in their children. Wherever else they speak, nobody will listen to them, children till they become twelve years of age - thirteen is dangerous - till they become twelve years of age you have a committed audience. You are losing that also, many of you much earlier, isn’t it? (Laughs) Yes, much earlier you’re losing it.
So… how old are they? Hmm?
Sadhguru: Okay, there’s enough room for correction. (Laughs) You must do this - stop parenting them. What they need is some good company, not a bloody boss walking around in the house. Yes or no? When you were growing up, did you like it, being talked down to? Did you like it? No. So what they need is a friend, they don’t need a bloody father and mother. That job is already done. Fathering somebody, mothering somebody means biologically delivering them - that’s been done. Now they’re trying to become a life by themselves - what they need is a friend. The only qualification you have against them or over them is you came here a few years earlier than them - that’s all you have. What else do you have, I am asking? Are you sure you are more intelligent than your child? Are you sure? Hmm? What?
Participant: We are sure we are not.
Sadhguru: Yes. So, the most important thing you need to understand, just you came here a few years earlier than themAll you have done is a few years earlier you landed here - beyond that, you have no other qualification to tell them what to do and what not to do. Yes or no? But, the other consideration is, if you don’t tell them somebody else… unqualified advice on the street will happen. You only have to guard them against that but if you have to guard them against that, that you must have the courage to bring them up in such a way that they don’t take any advice from you either. You say “What I say, you must listen, but don’t listen to your friend. He is telling you take a drug, don’t listen to him.” But what the friend says seems to be more of a pleasure than the nonsense that you’re talking about. That’s a fact, isn’t it? So, it’s not going to work.
If you bring up your child with a… such a fierce sense of his own intelligence and his own decisions, then you will see, he will seek help because he will very easily realize that his intelligence, his understanding is not good enough for everything. But if you bring him up that he has to listen to your advice, he will come up with rebelliousness. Even when good things are said, he won't do that - he will do the reverse of it. This is something that most parents are experiencing, isn’t it? He wants to do just the reverse of it, just to feel independent because he doesn’t know what it means to be independent.
So, four is not bad. Now you can start treating them as just one more person, not as my child, my child. It is not yours, I am telling you. At the most, you’ve given some genetic substance to create a body - you can’t create a life - don’t have such grandiose ideas about yourself. You cannot create a life. You just provided some substance… some genetic substance to make a body. Yes? That too you did not think about all these things - out of your own compulsions, you do something and they land up. Yes?
So, understanding that a child is not your making, it’s a privilege they come through you - enjoy the privilege, cherish the privilege, respect the privilege. Do not abuse the privilege that’s been given to you. It’s very important. Why are you brought up this or that? You are supposed to grow up as a human being, isn’t it? It is just that most people never create an atmosphere for people to grow, they’re brought up the way you want them to be, not the way they should be as life.
If you are not ramming up nonsense into their head, they have a tremendous sense of observation and observation naturally pops up a million questions. You answer as many questions as you can the way you know it. What you don’t know you just tell them ‘I don’t know. My only problem is I came a few years earlier than you - this doesn’t mean I know everything.’ Admit it to your children, what’s the problem? Yes? You think they can’t read, you’re not even bloody sincere about things that you’re saying. You think they can't see it? If you think they can’t see it, I want you to know by the time they are ten - twelve, thirteen, if they have some problem within them, they don’t come to you, they go to their friends. Why? Because they feel they’re more sincere than you. No other reason. Yes or no? You are acting like you’ll drop from heaven. Who wants to listen to your nonsense unless they are so bloody brainwashed by the time they are ten-twelve. They will not listen. Any intelligent being will not listen to bullshit. Yes or no? Unless you’re brought up on it seriously.
So, just handle this privilege sensibly, respectfully - do not abuse this privilege. Just you have to protect them from wrong influences. Rest, leave them free. If you think they will anyway go wrong that must be your own self-knowledge. (Laughs) You are so sure of yourself ‘My children bound to go wrong.’ (Laughs) Just protect them from… you have to protect them a little bit from wrong influences, but at the same time, they must remain free of your influence, which is also a bad influence.
I am saying if you show that what you’re doing is of real worth and you’re willing to invest your life in that, why would your children not invest their life in it? If you don’t show that commitment… if you do not show that involvement with life and you’re expecting them to become wonderful whatever - no, it will not happen and they don’t listen to what rubbish you say. They’re observing what you do and how you are, isn’t it? So, if you want to raise children, please raise yourself - don’t worry about the children - just raise yourself into a wonderful human being, make yourself that, it will reflect. It cannot go wrong, but there’s no guarantee. (Laughter) Like in… everything in life, there’s no guarantee because there may be some other stronger influence on the street side, isn’t it? (Laughs)