Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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manas
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Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am

From just average folks, I don't get much solace: "yep, that's how it will always be, you never stop worrying about them!" or words to that effect. Great, so I will only find peace from worry, once I'm dead. :D

A friend in the spiritual life (not exactly the Dhamma we follow, but close enough to relate with) reminded me that ultimately, they are separate beings, undergoing their own karmic journeys, and that in time, I will have to let go, hope they have the wisdom to take good care of themselves, and trust them to do so. I agree with him, and have been trying to work on this vision, but still, when my kids suffer troubles, I suffer along with them, and strive to help them through...when they are doing well, I rejoice with them...this is attachment, of course, but in my defense, it's NATURAL that their lives and welfare mean so much to me - this is what we sign up for, if we become parents, is it not?
So, it's a challenge to be at peace, for example, when they are out (I've got daughters), and it's getting dark (my eldest is over 18 now) - my heart only feeling at ease again, once they are safely back home (either at my place, or their mothers')....anyway, how do other parents deal with worrying about their kids? Any advice, sharing or discussion would be appreciated.
:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by Annatar » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:31 pm

I find that the Brahma Viharas are helpful. Four wholesome mental states.
When your kids are suffering - compassion, and taking what action you can to help them. When there isn't anything to be done to help - equanimity. When they experience wholesome happiness - empathetic joy. When you're just worrying about them - loving-kindness.
"Attachment" which you mention is the near enemy of loving-kindness, so I would expect loving-kindness practice to help with this.

Having said this I still worry about my (now grown up) kids. But it does give me something wholesome to do at challenging times. And over time it does help, though there is no quick fix.

With metta,
Annatar

Worry about kids is just one aspect of dukkha: and the noble eightfold path is the cure.

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:33 pm

manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
Great, so I will only find peace from worry, once I'm dead. :/
This is nihilism, per the definition, here: https://suttacentral.net/en/iti49
How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: ‘In as much as this self, good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death—this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!’ Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach.
:candle:
manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
A friend in the spiritual life (not exactly the Dhamma we follow, but close enough to relate with) reminded me that ultimately, they are separate beings, undergoing their own karmic journeys, and that in time, I will have to let go, hope they have the wisdom to take good care of themselves, and trust them to do so. I agree with him...
This sounds like moral nihilism, which many regard as "metta", "compassion", "tolerance" or "acceptance". The Pali sutta teach:
In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion:

(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.

DN 31
:alien:
manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
and have been trying to work on this vision, but still, when my kids suffer troubles, I suffer along with them, and strive to help them through...when they are doing well, I rejoice with them...this is attachment, of course, but in my defense, it's NATURAL that their lives and welfare mean so much to me - this is what we sign up for, if we become parents, is it not?
This is certainly the way it is for parents & children without Dhamma. Often Westerners study Buddhism but overlook the basic foundation teachings, until it is too late. MN 6 states:
If a bhikkhu should wish: ‘May I become a conqueror of fear and dread, and may fear and dread not conquer me; may I abide transcending fear and dread whenever they arise,’ let him fulfil the precepts
:alien:
manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
So, it's a challenge to be at peace, for example, when they are out (I've got daughters), and it's getting dark (my eldest is over 18 now) - my heart only feeling at ease again, once they are safely back home (either at my place, or their mothers')....anyway, how do other parents deal with worrying about their kids? Any advice, sharing or discussion would be appreciated.
Daughters out alone at night is not the Buddhist way of life therefore naturally there will be worry. It is the Law of Dhamma that the hindrance of worry arises due to the three modes of unskilful conduct. It can't be any other way. I doubt New Age teachings or attempting to follow only two of the three trainings of the noble eightfold path will help or cure.
(b) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours:

(i) he himself/she herself is unprotected and unguarded,
(ii) his wife and children are unprotected and unguarded,
(iii) his property is unprotected and unguarded,
(iv) he is suspected of evil deeds,
(v) he is subject to false rumours,
(vi) he meets with many troubles.

DN 31
It should be said: the five hindrances. The five hindrances, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for the five hindrances? It should be said: the three kinds of misconduct. AN 10.61
The three kinds of misconduct, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for the three kinds of misconduct? ... It should be said: not hearing the true Dhamma. Not hearing the true Dhamma, too, I say, has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for not hearing the true Dhamma? It should be said: not associating with noble persons. AN 10.61
:alien:
manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?
If parents have tried to follow the Dhamma but the kids don't follow, its just bad luck, as taught in Iti 74: https://suttacentral.net/en/iti74. But if parents haven't followed the Dhamma, its sort of kamma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:16 pm

Greetings manas,

I tend not to worry unnecessarily about my children. I see that worrying would not improve their welfare or the quality of my parenting, so I don't do it.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:36 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:16 pm
I tend not to worry unnecessarily about my children. I see that worrying would not improve their welfare or the quality of my parenting, so I don't do it.
In a world so full of assāda (bait), what is the point of worrying & thinking we can control things? Each individual is born with mentality to reconcile the world as their in-born disposition allows. As parents, we cannot always be gods.
'Brahma,' bhikkhus, is a term for mother and father. 'Early devas' and 'early teachers' and 'those worthy of veneration' are terms for mother and father. For what reason? Because mother and father are very helpful to their children, they take care of them and bring them up and teach them about the world."

Iti 106

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manas
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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:12 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:33 pm
..........
Doodoot, I find virtually all of what you have written, as though all you are trying to do, is seek to criticize, not in a helpful way, but as if to cast aspersions on either my faith in the Dhamma, or my parenting. I'm not a nihilist and I'm regarded by folks in real life, as a good father, but just a little over-protective. None of your aspersions are accurate, I will just leave it at that.
Last edited by manas on Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:25 pm

Annatar wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:31 pm
I find that the Brahma Viharas are helpful. Four wholesome mental states.
When your kids are suffering - compassion, and taking what action you can to help them. When there isn't anything to be done to help - equanimity. When they experience wholesome happiness - empathetic joy. When you're just worrying about them - loving-kindness.
"Attachment" which you mention is the near enemy of loving-kindness, so I would expect loving-kindness practice to help with this.

Having said this I still worry about my (now grown up) kids. But it does give me something wholesome to do at challenging times. And over time it does help, though there is no quick fix.

With metta,
Annatar

Worry about kids is just one aspect of dukkha: and the noble eightfold path is the cure.
Thank you Annatar for reminding me, yes the four Brahma-Viharas are perfect for this situation...thank you
:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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manas
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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:37 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:16 pm
Greetings manas,

I tend not to worry unnecessarily about my children. I see that worrying would not improve their welfare or the quality of my parenting, so I don't do it.

Metta,
Paul. :)
True statement there, retro. I must admit I'm getting better over time, with not getting involved in worry, since I can see it's unhelpful, and just a passing mental state. It's more a vestige of the past, an old mental habit.
:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by Garrib » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:51 pm

My two cents (**Note: I don't have kids, but I do understand that most parents tend to worry A LOT about their children, and I sympathize with that):

Maybe this is something you could work on during your meditation - because when you are trying to calm down the thinking mind and attain calm and concentration, it is obvious that you need to overcome restlessness and worry. You don't need to convince yourself that worrying about your kids is wrong, or is never useful - that might be too much to ask of yourself all at once. But you can simply remind yourself that a) meditation is healthy, and b) if I want to have a good meditation, I have to calm down this "worry and flurry"...then once you have somewhat successfully abandoned worry during your meditation, you try to maintain mindfulness and integrate what you have learned on the cushion into all the other areas of your life. You might notice that you are worrying less about your kids - you still care about them, and love them, and want to help them, and want them to be safe etc...None of that should change. You just worry less!

Hope that helps.

Karuna,

Brad

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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:09 am

manas wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:12 pm
Doodoot, I find virtually all of what you have written, as though all you are trying to do, is seek to criticize, not in a helpful way, but as if to cast aspersions on either my faith in the Dhamma, or my parenting. I'm not a nihilist and I'm regarded by folks in real life, as a good father, but just a little over-protective. None of your aspersions are accurate, I will just leave it at that.
I simply quoted the Pali suttas as a mirror for reflection. Kind regards
(3) In four ways, young householder, should one who gives good counsel be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he restrains one from doing evil,
(ii) he encourages one to do good,
(iii) he informs one of what is unknown to oneself,
(iv) he points out the path to heaven.

DN 31

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manas
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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:20 am

Garrib wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:51 pm
Hi Garrib, I agree with what you wrote. Before meditation, I do a mental check: are the kids safe and well? check. Is the house door locked and safe, etc? check. Do all the pets, at the very least, have access to water to drink? check. From then on, it feels ok to let go of the 'world outside' for a while, and just practice kaya-sati, unconcerned about whatever else might be going on in the rest of the physical universe for a while (well, ideally :)
:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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manas
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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by manas » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:26 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:09 am

I simply quoted the Pali suttas as a mirror for reflection. Kind regards

Really? When you wrote 'daughters out at night is not the Buddhist way', you verged on slander of me, as a parent. I never said that would be ok, in fact if you read what I actually wrote in the OP, you might realize how concerned I am, that if they travel, they be back before dark. I think you need to read exactly what someone has written first, then make a comment.


:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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DooDoot
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Re: Worry about kids - is there any way to avoid it, or is this just life?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:56 am

manas wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:26 am
When you wrote 'daughters out at night is not the Buddhist way', you verged on slander of me, as a parent.
Certainly not. If this was imputed, I cannot apologise for this, even though I might be inclined to apologise. I merely posted sutta quotes & comments that shared & correlated with your personal concern. In other words, if you are concerned about your daughter roaming the streets at unseemly hours, you share the same concern as the Buddha. If I personally read this, it would reassure me that my view was close to the view of the Buddha.
manas wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:16 am
...it's getting dark (my eldest is over 18 now) - my heart only feeling at ease again, once they are safely back home (either at my place, or their mothers')....anyway, how do other parents deal with worrying about their kids? Any advice, sharing or discussion would be appreciated.
The suttas contain many answers. For example, if a parent worries about the actions of a child, a parent should straightforwardly & honestly communicate this with a child; even to a child who is an adult. The suttas say four qualities are required for the household life, namely: (i) honesty (saccā); (ii) training/self-control (damā); (iii) patience/forbearance (khantyā); & (iv) cāgā (generosity).
A faithful household seeker has
attained these four: truthfulness,
virtue, courage, generosity too,
and so grieves not when passing hence.

Now if you wish, ask others too,
numerous monks and brahmins—if
truth (saccā), generosity (cāgā), taming self (damā),
patience (khantyā) too—what’s better than these?

https://suttacentral.net/en/snp1.10
I learned this in this book: https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Contents.html :reading:

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