Gurudeva spoke of the spiritual dimension of child rearing: “The whole world is reevaluating how we treat women, children, the aged and infirm. Ways of behaving toward our fellow human beings that were normal and acceptable one hundred years ago are no longer acceptable. We now comprehend, as never before, the tragedy of a battered wife or an abused or neglected infant. Shamefully, we do not always live up to the Hindu ideal in these areas.
“What is that ideal? It is this: Never injure others. Hindu children are always treated with great respect and awe, for one does not always know who they are. They may be incarnations of a grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle, dearly beloved mother, sister, brother, respected father, a yogi or rishi returned to flesh to help humankind spiritually. As parents and teachers, we must ask, ‘Who are these souls? What is their destiny to fulfill in this life? How can I help?’ Parents love their children, or at least they should, and the principles of ahimsa—nonviolence and nonhurtfulness, physically, mentally or emotionally—do apply in the parent-child relationship.”
On the following pages, one of the world’s foremost experts on child-rearing presents a practical and compassionate system of guiding children, complete with situational techniques and secrets that society should teach every parent. Drawn from Dr. Nelsen’s books, the upper portion of these pages presents some key ideas of her system, and the lower portion presents fourteen strategies. Many of the stories, captions and photos in this Insight were contributed by Kavita Mardemootoo of Mauritius, a parent and avid teacher of Positive Discipline.
By Dr. Jane Nelsen