Parenting: Talk To Your Kids (cont.)

Event_Moderator In the news today, they just discovered some children in Orange County that were planning to mimic Columbine.

Kaela_Austin I'm not surprised. I have chills through my body sitting and listening to you say that. I can tell you that there are other children and other adults planning copy-cat performances. And we, all of us, have got to do something about it. We have to stop the notion of you or me. This is no longer a you-or-me world. It must become a you AND me world. It must or we will destroy ourselves and each other. We can no longer pretend that it is not happening at home, in our own homes. We can't pretend it isn't happening. Let's not pretend it isn't happening just because we don't hear about it. It's festering. A fire isn't a fire until there are flames in the air? And hopefully parents and children, human beings, will take hold of this. There isn't one person who does not come from a mother and father who simply grow up and put these masks on, which is what happened in Columbine. These children put masks on and mask their lives from their parents and school mates. They wore masks. Nobody knew who they were, least of all themselves. They think they knew what they were doing. Not at all. And they didn't have the courage to live and see what will happen. These are children who do not know how to process their feelings and they have parents who, innocently, don't know how to teach them. They didn't go to school. How many of you out there have gone to school and have passed the test and have applied for a license to become a parent?

Event_Moderator {question presented} What is a parent's job?

Kaela_Austin Everybody asks me that question. I love that everybody asks me that question because nobody knows the answer. Can you imagine having a job in which there is no job description or training? It wouldn't exist. If you applied for a job and you were supposed to be a widget turner, you would have to say, "what's a widget, how do I turn it, what's the need of the widget and how can it best be handled?" So you'd have to ask somebody what to do. Unfortunately, what parents do is what was done to them or the opposite. But, that's not addressing the issue of the child that is in front of them. Because if you do what was done to them, you're not paying attention to that child in front of you. If you do the opposite, you're only doing the opposite because you didn't like what was done to you and that is not addressing the child in front of you. The only way you can be in real time is to really take a look at how the world works and how the world worked you to become the person you've become.

Let me tell you what the job of the parent is. The job of the parent is to help our children identify and articulate their needs and their feelings. WE may not agree with what they want, but they have the right to want it. And we, as parents, must permit them the space to say what's going on inside of them. I've done studies in Puna, India and my guru's name is Osho. He says, if children were permitted their anger, there would be anger in the world no more. But because we do not permit children and were not permitted as children to have and express our anger, we have it and we hold it and are steaming with it. The job of the parent, I will repeat to anyone listening, is to help children articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection. All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection. For their development, children need the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them and honestly help them to become oriented in the world.

Event_Moderator {question presented} How can parents respect their adolescence's desire for privacy, yet still address their needs and feelings?

Kaela_Austin Good question. It is imperative for adolescents to want to have their own space and their own privacy and their own growing time. If parents were instructed in how to talk to children so that they can listen to children's needs without feeling threatened, then parents could be able to allow children their privacy. Because when you have a child that you are interacting with and talking to and you have good and clear communication, then trust begins to form and trust begins at about the fifth or sixth year of life. Babies! That's when trust begins. And not just the child trusting the parent, but the parent trusting the child. Both parent and child must learn to trust. I'd like to say something about acceptance and agreement at this moment because it fits in with the question. A parent may not want a child to have privacy for their own fears, but they need to accept that a child has a right to their own feelings. So let me tell you what acceptance is and what acceptance does. And be clear that I'm not only talking about agreement, but I'm talking about acceptance. Acceptance is valuing another. Acceptance is acknowledging differences. Acceptance is validating the other person's perception. Acceptance is allowing the other the right to their feelings. What acceptance does: Acceptance builds high self-esteem. Acceptance allows the other to feel worthwhile and important. Acceptance encourages self-reliance. And Acceptance stimulates internal changes. It is not important that we agree with each other. It is vitally important that we accept the other's difference and want to hear it. Growth happens in the privacy of our own being. When we're being talked to or talking to or having stimulation being thrown at us all the time, there is growth happening. Growth happens when we meditate. Growth happens when we walk along the seashore. Growth happens when a teenager sits in their room grooving to music. Growth happens when a teenager has a private, intimate conversation with a personal friend on the telephone at 11:30 at night.

Lucca_3_WebMD {question presented} I am a single mother. How can I provide a good male role model for my son?

Kaela_Austin As a single mother, it is important for you to provide positive role models for your son. And I'm really glad that you know that. There are a lot of ways of doing that. Books and the way we read books about daddies or brothers is a way of providing a good role model, taking your child to films that are about positive role modeling and fun interactions between boys and their dads, and there are a lot of events that you can take your child to. I don't know how old this child is, but there are a lot of events and a lot of community centers that will provide male-male relationships with your son. Plus, hopefully, you have friends whose partners/spouses who will be able to provide that. I've been a single mother most of my life. When my daughter was three and a half we moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia. So, I had the same issue with my daughter because it was just as important for a little girl to have positive male role models. One of the families I became friendly with had a husband who loved my daughter and two boys who teased her mercilessly. The other family I became friendly with had a husband who loved my daughter and two boys who teased her mercilessly. My daughter has grown up to be very self-sufficient, very loving, has a beautiful relationship with her husband and we now have a boy child, my grandson, that will hopefully grow up to be a sensitive, tender young boy who doesn't treat girl people too unmercifully until he gets to an age where he values them differently. And please remember to have fun with your children. Adolescence can be a lot of fun. And, by the way, for your information, the March issue of Los Angeles Family Magazine will be directed towards single parenting. Pick it up. You can get it at your local libraries, schools, community centers, children's retail stores and sidewalk newsstands.

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