Meditation for Children

Question

Hello

This question is regarding my 9 years old child.sometimes he gets angry and hits other kids. His friends say that he has anger issue and he has accepted that. This makes him sad and makes me feel helpless. But I want to help my child.He is ready to try meditation but I am not equipped to teach him. If there is some program for kids in Ananda I would love to bring him there. Please suggest.

—sangeeta, USA

Answer

Dear Sangeeta,

You have struck a chord with me for it is my hope to stimulate the development of meditation teacher training for children!

But, a few thoughts to share: consider that anger is the result of thwarted desire. This “desire” can include a sense of lack, of not being loved or accepted. There is likely a hurt or deep disappointment, the roots of which are lost to memory and sight.

So there’s some element with your son that is feeling rejected or judged when his apparent desire is thwarted. It’s not just enough to not get what you want because lots of us have that but we don’t necessarily get angry. Reassurance, comfort, love and most of all, acceptance is what he needs.

At nine years old the voice of reason is beginning to appear. Think long term: not overnight. Be a mirror to your son, essentially or literally asking: “How does it feel to you when you are angry?” (Reflecting afterwards, of course, when the anger dissipates, not in the heat of things). “When you get angry, does the other person (child-friend) respond with anger?” “Does that solve anything?”

“No one owes you anything!” “Friends learn to share; to accept one another.” Help guide your son to share; to help those who are not as fortunate; or, simply younger. If you can guide him to be giving; to be loving; to be accepting; Then he will love and accept himself and outer circumstances.

As to meditation: this is unique and personal both to you and to your son. As a father of two children raised in an Ananda Community, I can say that inviting your son to sit with you in meditation, even for a minute or two, maybe helpful. Children often love chanting: having chanting playing in the car as you drive is excellent therapy. Chanting at home as part of meditation; while cooking or cleaning!

If he shows an interest in doing some yoga, that would be great. But don’t force any of these things on him. Be the example and make sure he knows he’s always invited, too, on whatever terms he can accept: one minute or two, even!

Blessings and joy to you!
Nayaswami Hriman