HOW TO RAISE EMOTIONALLY RESILIENT CHILDREN
Heartfulness eMagazine|September 2021
NAOMI ALDORT is the author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, published in nineteen different languages. She guides parents via phone, Skype and workshops internationally, bringing peace and clarity to both difficult situations and everyday family issues, including marriage, pregnancy, birth, diet and lifestyle, and child development for children of all ages. Her S.A.L.V.E. communication formula has been praised as providing the best of the work of Byron Katie and Nonviolent Communication combined. In this exclusive interview with LAKSHMI ARAVIND, Naomi shares her wisdom on how we can raise emotionally resilient, well-adjusted, authentic children.
LAKSHMI ARAVIND

Q: All kids encounter stress in their lives to varying degrees, and despite our best efforts as parents we can’t always protect them. Kids get sick, they have to move schools and environments, deal with bullies, cyber bullies, exams and tests. They may face family breakups and grief due to loss. On top of all this, we also live in a fast-paced world, where we want quick solutions to problems. But this is the time to pause and think of how we can do the best for our children.

Naomi, welcome and how are you today?

I’m doing well, thank you, and I’m delighted to be here with you.

Q: Awesome, so let’s get started. The first question is: What are the basic tenets of your philosophy for raising children, and why emotionally resilient?

Where I depart from the mainstream way of parenting is that I am not into shaping children and making them. I hold children as creation (if you’re religious that means God, otherwise Nature) and they are perfect creations just as they are. So my whole approach is about allowing children to be rooted in themselves rather than in what we want for them. Parents want children to learn this, to be there, to sleep in their own room; all this “wanting” for our children. We cannot chew food for another person, we cannot breathe for another person, and likewise we cannot want for another person. A baby is a time bomb. It’s a grown-up in a small body with its potential not yet unfolded. We need to know the limitations, but we need to respect them like we respect God. This is not our making. So that’s the main difference in my philosophy. It’s not permissiveness, it’s not license. We still need to guide and be leaders, but we need to be leaders who enable children to unfold who they already are.

I always use the analogy of watering a flower so it will bloom – not so that it blooms your way, your color, or to your timing. It’s already in the design. They’re going to walk at a certain time, they’re going to talk at a certain time, they're going to sleep by themselves at a certain time, they’re going to read at a certain time – anytime between age four and thirteen or fourteen. It makes no difference later on. Whether children learn to walk at one or two, we all learned to walk at different times and talk at different times. Einstein didn’t talk until he was four. What difference does it make once we’re unfolding ourselves into adults? And in terms of resilience, again, with the utmost reverence and spiritual recognition of who a baby, a child, a human being is, they are born resilient.

Our job is not to ruin that. And unfortunately, we ruin it a lot. We get in the way, and then, when it’s ruined and things aren’t going well, we ask, “Gee, what do we do? Our child is doing this.” And then we are convinced that we have to shape them because we unshaped them to a point where it’s not working. My teaching is about nurturing who is already there, not shaping them; watering the flowers, not painting the color of the petals or telling them when to come out.

Let me say a little bit about how we do harm. What do we do? Well, we’re taking the inner power of the child and we’re destroying it in many ways. We give messages to children that their inner voices are somehow wrong. They have to do what we say, not what they say to themselves. It starts in babyhood – that’s why I always say that everything I teach is from babyhood to adulthood, because it’s the same principle.

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