We are back with Part 2 in the Chakra and Child Development series. If you missed Part 1, you will want to check it out before going any further. Part 1 gave a general overview of the Chakras and outlined my thoughts on how this view of child development aligns with natural/attachment parenting principals as well as the child development work of Rudolph Steiner. I also explored the 1st and 2nd Chakras in depth.
Today I will explore the 3rd and 4th Chakras and how they relate to child development.
Chakra Three: Manipura (fire, ego identity, oriented to self-definition)
Photo Credit: Etsy/Pumayana
Child Developmental Stage: 18 months to 3 years
The Basics: This chakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules children’s personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as their metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings children energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.
Signs of Deficiency in the Third Chakra
· Low energy
· Easily manipulated
· Poor self-discipline
· Low self esteem
· Poor digestion
· Victim role
· Passive and blaming
Signs of Excess in the Third Chakra
· Aggressive, dominating
· Need to be right
· Over-functioning and competitive
Emotional issues related to the Third Chakra
· Lack of trust
· Fearful and/or intimidating
· Low self esteem, lack of self respect
· Sensitive to criticism
· Emotionally manipulating
Health issues that may arise from Third Chakra imbalances
· Digestive disorders, indigestion and ulcers
· Pancreatitis, hypoglycemia and diabetes
· Gall bladder, liver disorders, and hepatitis
· Colon and intestinal problems
· Adrenal fatigue
· Muscle spasms and muscular disorders
· Chronic fatigue
How Parents Can Support the Third Chakra in their Child
1. Support autonomy and willfulness.
As your child begins to separate, celebrate her independence. Try to support her in her willfulness, hard as it might be, by offering choices whenever possible. Instead of asking, “Do you want Cheerios?” “No!” “Do you want corn flakes?” “No!” “Do you want oatmeal?” “No!” and then getting exasperated, you can say “Do you want Cheerios, corn flakes, or oatmeal?” Or you can pick out two suitable outfits to wear, and give her a chance to choose. Give your child opportunities to feel willful in ways that are safe and appropriate. (I have my own thoughts about choices and am not in complete agreement about offering choices.)
2. Encourage self-esteem.
As the ego identity is forming at this stage, be sure to take delight in your child’s accomplishments and make her feel appreciated. Support her independence without rejecting her. If you give your child tasks that she can successfully accomplish, she will develop confidence. Age-appropriate puzzles and toys, small jobs around the house, like putting toys in a box or picking up stuffed animals can help to foster a basic sense of confidence. If she insists on doing a task that is beyond her abilities, such as tying her shoes, help her accomplish it. By all means, refrain from getting critical or overly frustrated by her awkward attempts to do simple things. Have patience. It will pay off in the long run.
3. Successful toilet training.
Your child will indicate to you when she’s ready for toilet training. She will show an interest in the toilet and adult bathroom activities. She may tell you when she’s wet or resist diapers when you’re putting them on. She will stay dry for longer periods of time. Sphincter muscles are not capable of holding on until the child is 18 months to 2 years. It may not be until age 3 that she can go all night without a diaper. If you wait until the time is right, she will feel a sense of pride over this new adult behavior, rather than engage in a fruitless battle of wills.
Rewards for successful behavior go farther than punishments for mistakes, which only create shame. Find treats that can be given as reinforcers, as well as hugging, clapping and verbal appreciation. (I am completely against the ides of rewards and praise in excess.)
4. Appropriate discipline.
In supporting your child’s autonomy and will, you obviously cannot relinquish all control. There needs to be appropriate limits, firmly given. Your child cannot understand sophisticated reasoning, but simple cause and effect statements, like: “Doggie bites! Don’t touch!” can be understood. Severe punishment teaches aggressive behavior and fosters shame. Withdrawal of love puts the third and fourth chakras at odds, and stimulates the child’s insecurity and need for approval.
Instead, try to divert your child’s attention to something more appropriate. If you take the remote channel changer out of her mouth, don’t yell at her when she cries. Give her something else to hold. Remove her from dangerous situations. Limits set firmly and consistently for short periods of time (such as time out in one’s room alone for a few minutes) can be more effective than anger or withdrawal. Children are highly sensitive to parent’s approval at this stage. When you must, disapprove of the behavior and not the child. (Again, I disagree here with the time-out method.)
Chakra Four: Anahata (air, social identity, oriented to self-acceptance)
Photo Credit: Etsy/Pumayana
Child Developmental Stage: Ages 4 -7
The Basics: This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows children to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.
Signs of Deficiency in the Fourth Chakra
· Being cold and withdrawn
· Being judgmental
· Feeling isolated and lonely
· Lacking empathy
Signs of Excess in the Fourth Chakra
· Codependency (focusing on others rather than self)
· Having poor boundaries
· Being demanding of others
· Clinging to others
· Being jealous of others
· Behaving as a martyr
Emotional issues related to the Fourth Chakra
· Mood swings
· Vacillating between loving and hating
· Grief and anger
· Problems with commitment
· Inability to trust and forgive
Health issues that may arise from Fourth Chakra imbalances
· Heart disease
· Bronchial pneumonia
· Sunken chest
· Shortness of breath
· Asthma and allergies
· Issues of the shoulders, upper back and chest
· Immune system deficiency
· Problems with circulation
How Parents Can Support the Fourth Chakra in their Child
1. Pay attention to how you model relationships.
Children at this age are learning about social roles by identification and imitation. Parental identification allows children to feel that their parents are with them even when not physically present. This means your child will internalize your behavior as a part of himself. If you are angry and aggressive, you will teach him to be angry and aggressive in his relationship with himself and others. As he grows into an awareness of relationships around him, model balanced, loving relationships for him to observe and be a part of.
2. Model empathy and moral behavior.
Identification with you as parent will also give him a basis for moral behavior. Explain to him why you do certain things and refrain from others. “We’re going to take cookies to Mrs. Smith, because she’s all alone and it will make her feel better.” “See how the baby likes it when you smile at her?”
Also, be aware that you are modeling gender behavior. Be careful not to support overly sexist or narrow interpretations of how men or women behave. Treat your boy and girl children with equal affection, responsibility, and respect. Allow your child to see a wide range of acceptable behavior. Let your daughter be aware of models of strong women. Let your son know that he won’t lose his masculinity by showing his softer feelings.
3. Explain relationships.
Your child is trying to understand how everything he discovers goes with everything else. The more you can explain such relationships, the more secure he will feel. “We put the puzzle away so we don’t lose the pieces.” “We put gas in the car, so it will take us where we want to go, just like food gives us energy to run around.” “Mommy has to work so she can get money to buy food.”
Routine can be very important. If routine is interrupted explain why. “We can’t go to the park today because Aunt Mary is coming to visit.”
4. Support peer relationships.
Your child can now relate to children his own age, with supervision. If he’s not in school yet, find ways to get him together with other children. If he is in school, ask him about the other kids he interacts with. Find opportunities to foster friendships outside of school.
|Photo Credit: Etsy/Visionwise|