That children need to experience the warmth and nurturing of adults is fundamental to their ability to grow up as conscious, caring, and happy human beings. It is imperative that parents protect their child’s space of deep emotional balance – call it sanity. This is true particularly in today’s difficult and often dangerous world. I believe parents need to spend more time with their children in early childhood, but unfortunately our society often doesn’t permit us to do this. Both parents, or a solitary parent, are often forced to work, and children are left with other caretakers. Either that, or young adolescents become latch-key kids with no one to check on them. Children at 12-14 are too young to make competent decisions for themselves – or parents are psychologically exhausted, and are not able to give of themselves. Their hours away from home are long, and there is limited time for nurturing or mentoring. Some parents may tend to indulge themselves a little too much, and time spent with their child is cut down. This is a generalization of course, and you would know very well if your child is thriving or not.
The well known author and human potential speaker, Maryanne Williamson states, “If children are not properly cared for in their formative years, a kind of ennui takes hold.” What she meant by this, and what I’ve been seeing in my classes with students ages 12-15, is that some, not all, suffer from a disinterest in learning, and a lack of curiosity / caring about the world. Not only that, but they also display a lack of commitment to achieve excellence. This type of child’s world is greatly diminished, and it becomes an upward battle to open new doors and possibilities. It is my opinion that this type of child has not been properly mentored or exposed to enriching experiences. It is a complicated issue.
Because little children have a natural reverence for life, and a deeper understanding than we give them credit for, it would be an enormous help for the child to start on a spiritual practice early in life, and this can be approached situationally. There are many classes for young children in yoga and meditation today. Some schools even have mindful mediation written into the curriculum on a daily basis. Recreation centers offer classes in the arts, and kids learn social skills. What is also important for teens is to become involved in community service which opens their eyes to being more compassionate and less self-involved. By finding ways to help your teens, you are giving your child a way to become empowered.