By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can Yoga help children find their way through this confusing path we call: “life?” What if my child is not attracted to Yoga? How can my child learn to communicate his or her feelings to me, even in the worst of times? Let’s discuss Yoga, as an approach to anger management, for children and teens.
Creating positive habits, early, is a foundational concept of parenting. At birth, children absorb new ideas like sponges soak up water. Whatever we do, our children tend to copy our behavior. This is true for children who grow up in an unstable environment and for children who live privileged lives.
If we choose to smoke, drink excessively, make poor food choices, and lash out at others, our children will usually replicate our behavior. There are exceptions, but our unwise choices tend to serve as an example to our children. On the other side of the coin, if children are exposed to a parent who practices Yoga, they are more likely to practice, as they learn how to move their bodies.
Hatha Yoga, and other physically-oriented styles, are easy for children to understand. Physical awareness is the first step for most of us on the Yogic path. Most people are not going to study the yamas and niyamas before their first Yoga practice. For children, Yoga postures (asanas) are a good starting point.
To see a familiar adult practicing asana, meditation, pranayama, or relaxation on the living room floor is an invitation to join in. As parents, we do not have to coax or force participation. When a child’s interest arises, without any apparent external cause, it is a genuine action or reaction.
Some parents complain about anger management and opening communication with their teenagers. Let’s be honest: Is teen anger anything new? Look in the mirror and try to see the teenager you once were. Most of us were rebellious, as we tried to establish our direction toward adulthood.
Open lines of communication should be maintained throughout the entire relationship. If either side chooses to neglect a relationship, it is up to the side that can reason, to work toward good communication again. For parents, this seems to be a major concession.
However, parents and children will share some common interests throughout life. As parents, we know if our teen likes Yoga, golf, music, art, or football. Responsible parents want to be the best guide in the life of their children. We cannot become their peers, but can show them options to a better quality life – at any time.
© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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