Classically it happens like this, in one house there is a child who is asking this question to the mother, “Mom, is sex good or bad?” One, mom doesn’t know much about the subject completely, two, she doesn’t know how to explain it to an adolescent child in such a way, see sex can be explained without vulgarity, but we don’t know how to explain it, so there is a problem. So, the natural response is, “You don’t talk to your mother such things, okay? Go and do homework”. Now there is another house where the child is asking this question, “Does God exist or not?”
Any intelligent person should have asked this question at least once. Unless you are below par IQ, where because everybody is following, you’re following. I’ll tell you 90 percent of you sitting here who believe in God, don’t believe in God because you’ve understood the science of God. Suppose God is there, and I don’t believe in God. So, it’s more we are giving the benefit of doubt to God, and we believe in God. So, there is a child who is asking this question to his father, “Dad, I think there is no God. What do you think?”
Is this important right now when quarterly exam is coming? Go and study now, physics.” And for father, God also they don’t know, physics also they don’t know, only consultant job; study, get up, only consultancy. Now somehow these two children meet, now this child is not interested in discussing about God and that child is not interested in discussing about sex, but they need a common interest to be friends, cigarette becomes a common interest: peer acceptance. If I can do what he is doing, we will become friends and one day, we can discuss about sex and God, but today we cannot.
I need some peer acceptance. So, children are arguing with you because everybody is doing, I will also do it, and there’s nothing wrong about it. In the innocence with which they can communicate. What they are basically saying is, do not take me away from my peer group, I need their acceptance, I’ll feel lonely without them. When you can help your children to build that healthy self-image where they feel complete unto themselves, they can still sit in a bar, but they will not feel bad. They don’t have to drink; he will push the peanuts to everybody. But he’ll be able to sit there without having to indulge in it because for him what others think of him doesn’t make a difference anymore.
He knows he is complete unto himself. Now our job is how to build that self-image in children. The more and more we can build that self-image in children, where this craving for peer acceptance, not in adolescence, we go through this at every stage, even at your age, you need endorsement, because we are not complete unto ourselves. We are human, it’s okay we have to understand we have our own fragilities, so we all need peer acceptance. Lot of what we do, we indulge in doing because we need peer acceptance and for us craving for peer acceptance is because, your self-image is still not feeling you are enough unto yourself. This is one part.
The second part, which I think is very important today in parenting is, the need to feel respected is greater than the need to be corrected in all children. They want to know do you respect me or not. If eight times children can be appreciated for whatever is right and good about them and two times you tell them where to correct, that’s the right balance between being a choice maker and the consequence receiver, they will correct themselves. Build a healthy self-image for your children that they feel enough unto themselves and they are not… they will enjoy peer groups, but they’re not craving for peer acceptance, and that can make all the difference to them.