Diwali evening, I was asking my sons to get ready for the puja. My younger son asked me, “Mom, when you don’t believe in such rituals, why are you doing it? And why should we sit with you?”
These questions are very difficult when one does know the answer. But since I have been pondering long about these rituals and beliefs, I had to give an answer. I told him, ” I was raised where Naniji would very meticulously organize and do puja. There was so much preparation since weeks that we had to help her in small things like making rangoli, cleaning puja place and all idols, arranging puja thali, making tiny Lakshmi feet, placing diyas everywhere and then dressing up! I was good at making gulab jamuns, so that was also one thing I would do. So all these activities for 20 plus years conditioned me to feel good when I do them and guilty or not so good when I did not. So just to not feel guilty, I am doing it. If you want to join me or not is up to you.”
Both of them joined me in our quick puja.
Feeling good is directly related to having confidence. In fact, many people take it the other way round. They think by having confidence, you will feel good. But on the contrary, confidence is a by-product of feeling good.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”#parenting, #confidence,@madhureisingh”]The best part of the brain is that it can be conditioned to feel confident and good. [/tweetthis]
So what if you can train your child to feel confident and hence good by giving external inputs?
Without going into details of how the brain works and what happens internally, I will share a few tricks that you must learn to apply.
1. “Fantabulous”. Enforce Positivity by using one word sparingly only when your child has done something extraordinarily good work. Pick one word and stick to it. Do not use it very frequently.
Only when you think the child has out-performed his/her own capacity. Words like awesome, superb, amazing have lost their greatness due to constant use. So pick any one word and stick to it. In the entire day, ensure it is used only once. You need not use it at all if there was nothing worth mentioning.
Your child will yearn and work hard to listen to this word from you.
2. “Perfume/ Music”. Spray a special perfume or room freshener sparingly only when your child has done something extraordinary and you are really proud of him/her. Ideally the smell conditioning should be used with non materialistic achievements. For example when your child has helped someone who was really in need. Or has told you a truth that takes a lot of courage.
Study time is also a good time to use another scent.
I use agarbatti of rose scent when I am teaching my kids some important value, like helping other, telling me the truth about an incident or discussing future with them. Unconsciously, I am conditioning their brain to feel good when rose agarbatti is lighted.
In future, even when they are on their own and have any tough decision to make, when the mind is clouded, just by lighting the Rose agarbatti, the brain will open up, cloudiness will thin and they will start to feel good. When they feel good, they will take a better decision, hopefully.
You may repeat the same with a one type of background music.
3. “Pastry”. Treat with a special food that should be done sparingly only when you celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and such close family occasions. This will be imprinted in their minds and make them feel good even in your absence.
They will love to order that special pastry and feel good each time, they think of you in future and be happy instead of feeling low. Do not connect food items with any materialistic achievement. Else they will start hogging it to feel good if they fail to acquire anything material.
4. “Donate”. Give a few bucks to poor people everytime you child achieves something materialistic. This act will condition his/her mind to feel good by sharing a small amount of wealth whenever there is any material gain like increment, profits, new TV or new cars etc.
All these different types of conditioning you practice today will take time. But it can be a real boon to your child in future. Do not link any of these acts to religion or fear or God which is how people were conditioned in the olden days.
How all these mind conditioning acts should be used to boost confidence instantly?
1. When your child is low in confidence because of poor marks even when the child had put in a lot of effort, you may use the word “Fantabulous” and make your child feel confident and good about himself / herself.
“You worked fantabulously hard, that is what matters. Try again and you will be fantabulously successful next time.”
2. When the result did not arrive as expected or when the class project did not go as expected, light an agarbatti or spray the scent of confidence in the room. There will be sure change in the mood and feelings of your child.
As of now, whenever they sit down to study, use a scent that is same each study time. You may use a soft background instrumental music too for the similar effect.
Point 3. and 4. are very simple to implement at any time.
3. Whenever your child tells you a truth, you can treat him/ her with that special savory. It may be a 1 rupee toffee, but it has to be constant and ensure it is there in future too. So to be safe pastry / chocolate are good.
4. Every birthday when you give a big expensive gift to your child, make your child donate cash or something to poor. This small act of giving to the needy will make him/her appreciate your gift more and also bring that feeling of gratitude and goodness.
Do let him/her know about it in the most scientific way, so that they can continue to practice it in your absence and teach their own children the power of conditioning the brain positively. Only a positively happy mind is a confident mind.
All images taken from Google.
Geeta Nair says
Superb. Very useful and informative articles. Thanks a lot for giving such an amazing ideas. Fantabulous”. Enforce Positivity by using one word sparingly only when your child has done good work. Really appreciated this valuable information.
Dr. Dinesh Nehete says
They say its good to have some critic in your life. Let me perform your critic’s role.
First I appreciate the scientific study of conditioning and putting it so perfectly and also for very good motive. However we must consider the side effects of this.
Behaviourism is an old science and shouldn’t be used in parenting as well as in education. Mainly because human being are way above the animal, behaviourism is based on usage of animal instincts. Human beings are above animal instincts, they can think and we must help them to think. Your answer to Diwali celebration is perfect example of believing them that they can think and answering them appropriately. I appreciate.
The new science is Constructivism it has emerged from the cognitive science and the recent brain research. I would be happy to see your next article on constructivism approach.
Conditioning with external stimulus will hinder the rational thinking process in long run. In long run the desire to give some part of the wealth away will not remain to support the needy but to manage my own inner void. Exactly the way you described about your need to be part of Diwali celebration when you yourself does not believe in those rituals. It is just to manage your guilt or feel not so good.
I am sure we parents definitely want our children to operate from freedom and not from guilt or being victim. It is only that part of our life where we struggle to build that in our child because there are no formal and scientific schools which could teach us the same.
Wow such a useful and informative articles. This help us for good parenting.
Very nice article.
Smell factor is true. I accidentally came across only a day ago.
In summer, I used to take my son to his favourite camp. And routinely, we used to wash face with rose facewash.
Summer over, camp over, I forgot abt that rose facewash. In fact it wasn’t important for my brain to remember facewash ka smell.
Then.. yesterday, I found it again on shelf. We both used it again (almost about 3 mnt later).
And my son told, “I can smell my summer camp. I miss my camp.”
I was wondering why on the earth he suddenly remembered it so much. Sometime later he only solved the mystery telling me about the smell of patanjali rose and camp.
Had I read your wonderful article a day before, I would’ve saved stretching brain to link facewash smell & his favourite camp.
Lovely. I liked it. Cheers.