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Childhood should be seen in terms of a pattern of growth in which the child is always served to transcend the limits of his or her current adaptation, through living association with the Spiritual Principle of Happiness.

—Avatar Adi Da

Basic Principles of Conscious Childrearing as Given by Avatar Adi Da Samraj

The following guide summarizes Avatar Adi Da's instruction for caregivers who serve His young devotees:

I) “Intimacy is the Healing Principle”
Intimacy is the essential foundation for all growth; without it a child has no basis from which to make ego-transcending gestures.

    The Three Forms of Intimacy in Childhood:
  • Bodily Intimacy with human relations

  • Bodily Intimacy with the world of nature

  • Bodily Intimacy with Real God or the Mystery, expressed in and via the relationship with Adi Da Samraj

Be ecstatic with children—never talk the talk, always walk the walk!

    Four Practical ways to do this each day:
  • Touch—hugs, massage, and laying on of hands

  • Eye Contact—looking in their eyes and shining love and happiness to them

  • Breathing—have children take slow, deep, feeling breaths, using Adi Da’s Instruction: “breathe in the good stuff, breath out the bad stuff”. Once the child is in the swing of it, you can introduce “shine from your heart in all directions”. It is good to practice conscious breathing a lot each day, in happy times as well as in times of upset.

  • Conscious eating—relate to food as something that gives life to the body. Make mealtimes calm and happy. Try is a “calm down” period before starting to eat—for example, “holding hands” around the table.

II) “Children Must Be Liberated”
The child’s need for and heart-impulse to liberation must always be respected and served. To this end, they need to progressively learn for real that the true source of life, sustenance, and happiness is the Divine itself, not the mortal parents. The Divine is not a creator to replace mortal parents as an ultimate parent, but Real God, known in the transcendence of egoity and in communion with Adi Da Samraj.

Without this, children eventually get the message that “we are supposed to depend on our parents as the source of love, but it is not reliable and it does not fulfill us absolutely”. Binding patterns of hopeful dependence and reactive independence follow; patterns of seeking for and withdrawal from love shape the personality.

Infants should be nurtured completely, breastfed (unless unable to), carried in slings, slept with, etc.

As they grow, the sphere of relationship should always be broadened. The aim should be to always serve the child’s individuation through relationship, not identification with the mother. A child should never be pushed away from the mother, but rather, suported to go beyond fears and move out of themselves into intimacy with others. Generally, this is not difficult—children naturally want to be independent. To this end, parents need a wider context of like minded individuals for their children to relate to.

Children’s Intimacy with the Divine Reality in their relationship with Avatar Adi Da Samraj should always be presumed, and enacted daily (at storytimes, during guided meditation, contemplative walks and so forth).

III) True and effective discipline is always an act of love

  • Ineffective discipline = punishing the child for behaviors
  • Effective discipline = returning the child to "total psycho-physical Oneness with the Divine Reality”

Rather than dealing problematically with negative behaviors and reactive emotions in the child, give an appropriate action that will reconnect him or her to relationship and intimacy. Expect your child to be loving and give energy and do likewise yourself. Don’t make the child feel bad about himself or herself, or create the sense that there is a problem.

    3 Steps when disciplining children:
  • No Problem—don’t assume/presume a problem. Rather, have an attitude of “Life is hard sometimes, but we can learn to come up to it. The current difficulty is simply an opportunity to grow.”
  • Feeling—ask the child what he or she is feeling. Draw the child out into relationship again with humor and sympathy.
  • Alternative action—provide the child with an alternative action that reconnects him or her to relationship.
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