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(Given below is a short article on the initial responsibilities of the parents toward their young ones :)
SrilaPrabhupad said "A child is a rare gift given by Krishna, but at the same time a great responsibility; every parent has the responsibility to see that his child grows up in K.C.”
From the scientific point of view, the condition of the baby in the womb during pregnancy is described to be warm, secure and comfortable. In fact, mother's womb is considered the most peaceful and contented shelter for the baby. But the truth can be perceived when looked from the eyes of sastras. In canto 3 of the Srimad- Bhagavatam, Sri Krishna describes the condition for the living entity in the womb to be very miserable and sore. The condition is described as such; "Deriving its nutrition from the food and drink taken by the mother, the fetus grows and remains in that abominable residence of stools and urine, which is the breeding place of all kinds of worms. Bitten again and again all over the body by the hungry worms in the abdomen itself, the child suffers terrible agony because of his tenderness. He thus becomes unconscious moment after moment because of the terrible condition. Owing to the mother's eating bitter, pungent foodstuffs, or food which is too salty or too sour, the body of the child incessantly suffers pains which are almost intolerable. Placed within the amnion and covered outside by the intestines, the child remains lying on one side of the abdomen, his head turned towards his belly and his back and neck arched like a bow. The child thus remains just like a bird in a cage, without freedom of movement. "
As described the condition is very awful and after nine months when the child has developed its body and consciousness to some degree the entrapped soul begs to Lord Krishna to set him free and promises that in this life he will be a devotee. At that time the baby is allowed to be born
but, unfortunately during the Kali yuga as soon as the child is born, he is in 90% of the cases he is not given any facility to further its KC. However, devotee parents must endeavour so that the child is nurtured properly and is given the chance to advance further in Krishna Consciousness. Child care begins right from the day the child is placed in the mother's womb. It even includes care for the pregnant mother.
Ensuring Baby’s Gentle Birth is the prime responsibility of the parents. Prabhupad says natural birth is possible if we keep ourselves natural. Pregnant mother should not sit idly. She should move and do some physical work. And under the circumstances, it is very better to consult a doctor. Krishna is the ultimate Master, so if you keep the natural habits and depend on Krishna, then everything will be done nicely without any difficulty. Also during pregnancy, the mother should eat very simple and fresh foods, hot or spicy, pungent foodstuffs are not to be taken and also sexual relations are to be forbidden.
Minimizing the child's physical pains is the second step. New babies are tender and gentle and will take time to adjust with the environment of the outside world. Parents must give special attention in protecting their young one from any physical harm. One of the best ways to comfort the new born baby is have immediate physical contact with her after birth. If this is impossible, as when undergoing a cesarean section, request that the partner (father) be able to embrace the newborn shortly after his birth. And ensure that your baby be touched and embraced frequently. Numerous studies have proven the healing effects of touch on babies and children. They thrive from frequent physical contact achieving quicker recovery times with improved immune systems, enhanced growth, and reduced stress hormones just to name a few benefits.
If the mother and the baby are physically able make sure that the baby room-in with her. Every effort should be made to change to full rooming-in as soon as mother is feeling able to safely care for her own baby. Having your baby with you for as much time as possible after his birth is the most beneficial for the both the mother and baby. In addition to soothing the baby during his time of adapting to his new world, the close contact with him will increase the parents’ natural intuition and responsiveness to him. The ability to sense what the baby is feeling and thus knowing what he needs creates a natural easiness in parenting.
The child must be breastfed at least for six months. SrilaPrabhupada recommended that children should be breastfed for as long as possible especially for boys as this will help them control sex desire when they're older.
As the child grows, special attention must be given to the child's nutrition. Of course every parent know that the child should be provided with healthy food for proper growth and intellectual development but the notion of healthy food must also be clear to the parents. Foods that contain artificial colourings must be avoided since they are known to cause or influence the development of ADHD, anxiety, hyperactivity, migraines and even cancer, as per the Feingold organization notes. Preservatives and additives in foods need to be avoided. And the consumption of sugar and candies need to be minimized as the health effects of them are familiar to everyone. As much as possible, chocolates need to be avoided since they contain caffeine which is also contained in tea and coffee. It will be better if the children are not introduced to chocolate, if at all possible, to avoid adding to it to their favourite snacks list. And as always, children should be given Prasadam to eat to keep them spiritually inclined.
The parents must love and give as much as possible time to their child. Giving care, time and affection to one’s child is one of the most important aspects of raising a child in Krishna consciousness. Devotee parents should provide conducive spiritual environment to facilitate the child’s Krishna consciousness.
Check her happiness factor. No need to mention! Every parent knows that it’s the very important aspect of child care. Still, just to mention, the child’s overall level of happiness is very important. If a child is generally unhappy, then it becomes a bigger problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Parents should pay attention to the children's academic education. Parents should make sure that their child brought up in a Krishna consciousness environment does not get the label of being a “failure” in his studies or chosen field of activity. Such a child tends to seek a new identity and success by taking to activities of his wrong kind.
Discover the child’s special something. Every child needs to excel in at least one thing. Parents must help find that special talents, whether it be art, sports, or music. When a child is involved in one thing that s/he is good at and likes, this will usually carry over into his/her overall satisfaction and will help the child in future.
From the very tender age of childhood, the kids must be provided K.C education. Even though there might be feelings that there won't be any benefit yet we must have faith in the power of transcendental sound vibration. Observations are proven that kids do show eagerness in listening to spiritual chants and recitations. Parents must provide their young ones with the rich cultural heritage of the very profound Vedic civilization. It's the very important responsibility of every parent according to the scriptures that their children are encouraged to develop wonderful character based on spiritual education than to become mere animals trying to earn a livelihood. They are taught the science of self-realization.
Given above are just few steps toward good parenting or just the initial steps. It's a mini attempt to help parents start their whole new journey and make it soothing and easy. Parenting is undoubtedly a very big task and a little more big when it comes to rising children in K.C. It requires a lot of compromise and adjustment. But remembering what Prabhupad said "Child worship is more important than deity worship" helps a lot. Children are a gift of Krishna and helping them to continue their journey on the absolute path will certainly make us dearer to Him. So keep parenting, keep teaching...Haribol!