快樂爸媽，快樂小孩 / Happy Parents & Happy Kids
瑪麗亞·蒙特梭利（Maria Montessori）主張，孩子從出生到三歲，具備著吸收性的心智（absorbent mind）。孩子在這個時期像海綿一樣，吸收來自外界的各種訊息，不管是大人的舉手投足、言行談吐，或是情緒態度，都會烙印在孩子腦中。此時的孩子學習力特別快，不僅是身理上，更是心智上的建立，他們努力學習如何成為一個獨立生命個體。因此，孩子的頭三年非常重要，個性的形塑就在這個時候。
根據威斯康辛大學公共衛生學院精神學系的瑪麗蓮·埃塞克斯（Marilyn J. Essex）所進行的研究發現，當父母在孩子出生頭幾年處在極大壓力狀態時，孩子掌管大腦發育和胰島素分泌的基因會深受其害，影響時間不短，直到孩子進入青春期都會受影響。
「父母也有犯錯的時候，或是面臨不知所措和情緒潰堤。但無論如何，最重要的是要全力以赴。父母的身教影響孩子。烙印在孩子們心中的不是爸媽說了什麼，而是那些言語所伴隨的行為舉止。父母的生活態度深深影響孩子如何生活。父母的愛和生活方式就像地底下炙熱的岩漿，成為孩子最深層的心靈能量，支持他們在人生道路上邁步向前。」池田大作先生精選集 Happy Parents, Happy Kids
As parents, we all want our children to be happy and live happily in their lives. Don't we? We try our best to fulfill such a mission in our lives, whether we try to offer our children material satisfaction or experiences or give them mental support by accompanying them.
Maria Montessori believed that children from birth to 3 years old had an absorbent mind. From 0 to 3 years old, children absorb all information from their surroundings, and this is when the young child is growing not only physically but also spiritually. The child learns to become a human being. The first three years in life are of great importance. During this time, the child forms his personality. Children unconsciously copy and reflect adults' gestures, speaking styles, or even attitudes.
According to the research conducted by Marilyn J. Essex from the Psychiatry Department, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, when parents are significantly stressed during their child's first few years of life, some children's genes, which involve insulin production and brain development, will have to prolong impacts, even years later, in adolescence.
So if we as parents want our children to be happy, one fundamental question for parents is: "Are we truly happy?" In the adult world, happiness has become a luxury for many people, and we lose the ability to recognize and enjoy pleasure. Everyone, as an individual, has his/her definition of happiness. It is a very private self-discovering and perhaps soul-searching journey.
It may be too big and too complicated to find happiness. However, as parents, we can somehow create a positive, peaceful, and joyful environment for our children to foster happiness. We do not need a whole house of toys or different experiences to make such a feeling. All we need is mindfulness.
When our child was born, the moment of happiness was beyond description. The joy that the little one has brought was just abundant. Yet it slowly kicked in with sleepless nights bombarded by baby's tantrums, the household tasks piling up as urban jungle, the never-ending negative discussion between the couples, the emotional gap from the new role transition... All of the above could lead to stressful moments for parents.
Who does not want to be peaceful with their children 24/7? But we are human beings, and we also have our emotions. It is okay to be angry or upset or feel frustrated. As parents, we should learn and strive to create a peaceful and positive way to deal with our anger or frustration, not letting our emotions hijack our reactions when we are in stressful moments. When we are under stress, be present, and acknowledge our feelings first. We can focus on breathing or drink some water if it helps you to calm down. Afterward, return to yourself before we try to take care of children or handle their tantrums.
We should also always respect our children. If we already stress out to our children, once we both calm down, we can still explain to them what has happened and how we feel (Note: we should focus on the behaviors that trigger your emotion instead of the person) and apologize is necessary. We can also invite children to discuss or explore options about how to prevent future situations.
"You may, at times, make mistakes become overwhelmed, or lose your temper. What is important, however, is to make a wholehearted effort. Children grow up watching their parents. It is not the parents' words that children hear. No matter what wonderful things parents may say, children will never listen if their words are not accompanied by action. Children's lives will be determined by how parents live. The parents' love and way of life will, like magma beneath the earth's crust, from the innermost core of children's hearts and become a source of energy to support the rest of their lives." Mr. Ikeda's selected speeches, essays, and books, HAPPY PARENTS, HAPPY KIDS.