The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood
February 5th, 2013 by Aldouspi

The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood

The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood

Steeped in the Buddhist traditions of wisdom, compassion, and the interconnectedness of all things, Tibetan childrearing practices are a refreshing new way to prepare for and raise children. This book provides a practical introduction to these practices and an integrated system of childcare that incorporates body, emotions, mind, spirit, relationships, and environment. Authors Anne Hubbell Maiden and Edie Farwell cover all aspects of traditional Tibetan parenting from conception onwards, both ex

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3 Responses  
  • L. Erickson "Mommy Mystic" writes:
    February 5th, 20133:41 pmat
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Well-written and Fascinating Look at Tibetan Beliefs and Practices Regarding Parenting and Childcare, October 13, 2009
    By 
    L. Erickson “Mommy Mystic” (Los Angeles, CA) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood (Paperback)

    I really enjoyed this book, but readers should pay close attention to the subtitle: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood. The first half of this book covers the stages of preconception, conception, gestation and birth, which many Westerners might not yet consider ‘parenting’. Once the book does begin to cover actual childcare techniques, it is focused only on the infancy and early childhood stages. Also, readers should note that this is not a book on Buddhist parenting per se, but instead specifically covers Tibetan parenting, i.e. Tibetan cultural and medical practices. In many ways it is more of an anthropological study (and that is the background of one of its authors.) However, since Buddhism permeates every aspect of Tibetan life, I think anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism will also get a lot from this book. Themes of karma, rebirth, and subtle energies underlie all the Tibetan’s beliefs re: parenting and childcare.

    Below are the seven stages of parenting presented in the book with sample insights from each stage. Note that I am only including one or two items from each stage – within the book there are many included, and each is covered in much more detail.

    Preconception: Parents prepare to conceive, including at times with Buddhist rituals and purification practices, as it is believed that parental actions and states of awareness during this period will karmically influence the type of child they attract.

    Conception: Beliefs related to conception are summed up as follows: “Life is ongoing, and the spirit seeking incarnation is attracted by the specific energetic quality of the parents, even as they engage in intercourse.” Once conception has occurred, it is believed that the child ‘forgets’ its past life memories until later in gestation.

    Gestation: Spiritual practice and ritual by the parents during pregnancy, especially the mother, is believed to benefit the baby. Dreams by either parent, but again particularly the mother, are important during pregnancy, and can offer clues to the child’s nature and later life. In the 26th week of gestation – interestingly around the ‘fetal age of viability’ in Western medicine – the child begins to remember its past lives again, and it will retain these memories, at least to some extent, until the age of around 8 years old.

    Birth: The belief that being born human is extremely rare and fortunate influences how Tibetans view birth. There are often rituals to celebrate, and it is viewed as one critical event within an infinite cycle of rebirths. Many Tibetans birth at home, with family members attending.

    Bonding: There is a 3-4 day period of exclusively family bonding before the child is introduced to the community. Early parenting involves plenty of “water, sun, touch, fresh air, and massage” all of which provide the baby “with needed nourishment and connection to the earth.”

    Infancy: Tibetans believe infants are very sensitive to energies – positive and negative – that many adults have lost the capacity to feel. They take both their children’s intuitions and energetic disturbances very seriously, and Lamas may be consulted in cases of both. As for a child’s development, they believe that every milestone should be celebrated, and have rituals associated with many.

    Early Childhood: It’s believed that children have a natural purity of mind and naivete lasting up until about 8 years old that needs to be taken into account when parenting and educating them. At the same time, discipline is essential, especially in relationships, where harmony with others is emphasized above everything else.

    If these themes interest you, and/or you are interested in Tibetan culture and/or Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Art of Parenting is a wonderful book for learning more.

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  • "mtribit" writes:
    February 5th, 20134:17 pmat
    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Very informative and interesting, June 17, 2001
    By 
    “mtribit” (United States) –

    This is a good book that takes an intimate look at Tibetan culture. One of the most fascanating aspects of cultures is how each one has a different technique to raise their young ones. There is no other book like it to my knowledge. Neat parenting ideas, and great information about Tibetan culture.

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  • Richard K. Woodward writes:
    February 5th, 20134:32 pmat
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Disappointing, August 19, 2008
    By 
    Richard K. Woodward (Edinburgh, Scotland) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    While spending two weeks traveling through Northern India a few years ago, I visited the Tibetan enclave in the village of MacLeod Ganj near Dharamsala and was quite impressed by the people in this small community. In contrast to the sometimes overwhelming and always stressful noise and chaos of the other places I had seen in India, the Tibetan community in India seemed calm, peaceful, and happy in a quiet way, and spending time among them made me feel at peace as well. Reasoning that the manner of upbringing of their children must be of crucial importance in making these people seem so peaceful and content, I bought this book hoping to learn how Tibetans raise their children and understand how that upbringing shapes their personalities and inner lives. Unfortunately I found this book rather disappointing. The authors devote a very large part of its content to descriptions of superstitious practices (e.g., those intended to drive away evil spirits, etc.) rooted in Tibetan shamanistic traditions and folklore. There is too little discussion of the spiritual practices that shape the inner lives of Tibetans, apart from a couple pages describing the way respect for all life is inculcated in Tibetan children and brief, passing mentions of similar issues. After finishing this book I still felt that the secret of the Tibetan inner balance and harmony that I had observed in India remained largely a mystery.

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