Articles on parenting

Are Parents just Giving or Also Receiving while Parenting..??

Ms. Sneha Bhat, Psychologist
Parenting is a beautiful experience. Parents play the vital role in helping children grow. In their role as creators and providers can we compare parents to the sun? As we know sun is the sole provider for earth who maintains whole existence here, by giving tirelessly without any expectations. How about role played by children? Can we compare children to the moon; who continuously revolves around the earth in the process of the sustenance of it's existence..?? It doesn't sound like the whole truth and there has to be much more to this relation than what it seems like, at surface level. Let's go ahead & check the role played by both parents and children in the course of life and see If parents are just the giving entity or are they also receiving simultaneously..??!!! If they are also receiving, what is it that they receive while parenting..??A Life is Brought on Earth…Creation Phase We are Pregnant..!!A life is conceived when the creation & nurturing forces come together as father & mother. From the moment a life is conceived, every cell of the embryo or to be a child is formed from the body of the mother. How a child looks like is decided by how father, mother or the ancestors looked like. The health of the infant is the reflection of the health of mother & father because she gives the infant what is very own her and he gives the genes and creates a conducive environment. The conditions in the womb are just the reflection of mother’s food habits, mindset and the moods which shape that of the child to a great extent. Mother herself is very much reflection of her own outer environment and inner strength. Child is Raised….Maintenance or Shaping PhaseMy journey starts from the place you are..!!Parents are the representation of the society to the child. A child would start and advance exactly from the point parents themselves stand. If parents feed child, she’ll have food. If parents can recognise child’s emotions, she would learn to recognise and understand her own emotions. If parents respond to her needs appropriately and create a secure environment, she would have security in her heart as well as life. If parents recognise her talents, capacity and inclinations; she would develop them. Child would invest herself continuously in any intellect developing medium like school only because of the will of parents. Through their will she would eventually develop her own will. She would learn from the values parents’ project, observe the way they live and make those standards her own. Parents are the lens through which child looks at herself as well as the society. Overall growth in every aspect of the child from physical to spiritual is just the reflection of her parents. Child carries her parents throughout her life.  The impact of parenting on child is expanded further in the Article about effective parenting. Adulthood & Marriage…The Exploration Phase I am curious, adventurous, exploring & expanding however i am also bound..!!This is the phase where initial growth has happened and individual can take care of himself in every front. He can earn his food, contain and express his emotions, think & analyse rationally, make his own decisions and most importantly has developed a will; which helps him to set goals and work for the goals without any immediate reward in vicinity. This is the phase where he learns to look at his belief system from different angles, consider the bigger picture rather than a single perspective and take his own stand. He hastens his exploration and expansion as an individual. He ventures out & Starts engaging in work which fulfils his deeper needs. Once a certain amount of development is in place, he is ready for the major step, marriage.Marriage is the coming together of two people on the foundation of commitment to contain the attraction and expand the intimacy, within its very own boundaries. So far, the person mostly has been a receiving entity; with marriage he starts to give, to accommodate and to walk with.  The success of any marriage is the reflection of the extent to which two people involved can respect each other give unconditionally & appreciate what’s received. This is the beginning of Love or self-expansion where one starts realising the joy of giving. More about marriage is discussed in the article on role of romantic love in marriage .. We are different as individuals yet three of us make the perfect team...me, her & life..!!Giving Birth & Raising a Child….The Evolution Phase Once couple can contain each other in a trusting environment, they are ready for further self expansion in the form of parenthood. Conceiving and parenting a child gives an individual the opportunity to give unconditionally, which is the meaning of real love. Children are the answer to a parent’s craving for an eternal Life. Children strengthen the bond of parents with universe by teaching them to love truly. Responsibility towards children is the will that motivates parent’s to work harder. By helping children gain agency, parents strengthen their own confidence, esteem & agency. So parenthood; by driving Love, motivation, & responsibility drives the higher order growth of men. Parents shape the future of children & are in turn shaped continuously during the process. They expand self, attach themselves to children as if they are one with them and then detach from children eventually; gaining wisdom in the process. Parenthood teaches understanding & develops inner strength which in turn creates a bond of trust and caring towards society . Late Adulthood….The Testing phase The path had it's seasons however journey was splendid..!!This is the phase where the outer strength which was taken from someone else diminishes however inner strength which was built so far is tested. The person is happy to the extent he has managed to expand. If he gave everything he could to life unconditionally and received all that parenting & parenthood gave him totally, he would be more content than insecure. He would be even with life because he would have received a lot & given unconditionally. His body becomes less important to him than his emotions, emotions lesser than intellect & intellect less important than mastery & will. His concept of home expands.Are Parents like Sun & Children Like Moon in Existence..??The Nourishing Sun & the Expanding Moon : The Parents & The Children..??“You are the bows from which your childrenAs living arrows are sent forth.The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,And He bends you with His mightThat His arrows may go swift and far.Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;For even as he loves the arrow that flies,So He loves also the bow that is stable.” Kahlil Gibran, On Children ~ The ProphetIn the journey of life; we are the past, present & the future. We were the children who received from yesterdays,  we are the individuals who are evolving the present day & we would be the parents who shape tomorrows by giving . If we received directly from some, we shall be giving directly to some others. When we give, we indirectly receive at a higher level in various forms namely sense of satisfaction, motivation to live,love,laugh, struggle & sustain, sense of expansion etc . We are both the arrow that flies far & bow that is stable. Life has been flowing through us throughout yesterday, today & tomorrow towards eternity. Be a parent or child, we are the links for life to flow & we ourselves are the life. Hence We neither are the sun who is mostly giving & nor the moon who is mostly receiving. We are the earth who takes from the sun & gives to the moon while sustaining Life & evolving every day during the process. Let’s cherish the interdependence and connection we share with everyone/everything & grow together...!!Reprinted from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-parents-children-help-each-other-grow-saga-receiving-sneha-bhatPhoto Credit :http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/old.pnghttp://www.fluentin3months.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/couple-travel.jpghttp://www.boundless.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/YOUNG-ADULT-MAN.jpghttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/f7/4e/c3/f74ec3abcb4c601f46ff3767a3d764d9.jpghttp://www.ccrctulsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/parents.jpghttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fa/2e/de/fa2ede028a31355e74222c2670d6587f.jpghttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/48/f8/22/48f822a3c11b4b53b31339a0edf3d7ec.jpg

Problem Child or Problem Parent?

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
I strongly believe that a problematic child is a result of a number of factors, the most important of which is the parenting. Effective parenting is the best way to solve these problems.To begin with, let me introduce some of the common behavioural problems that children have and how you as parents can deal with them.It takes time for children to learn how to behave properly. With help and encouragement from parents and teachers, most of them will learn quickly. All children will sometimes disobey adults. Occasionally, a child will have a temper tantrum, or an outburst of aggressive or destructive behaviour, but this is nothing to worry about. He may argue fight, hold his breath, bawl and threaten you as long it is occasional it does not create a problem. You just need to leave him alone and give him time to recover.Behavioural problems – the signsBehavioural problems can occur in children of all ages. Very often they start in early life. Toddlers and young children may refuse to do as they are asked by adults, in spite of being asked many times. They can be rude, swear and have tantrums. Hitting and kicking of other people is common.So is breaking or spoiling things that matter to others.Some children have serious behavioural problems. The signs of this to look out for are:If the child continues to behave badly for several months or longer, is repeatedly being disobedient, cheeky and aggressiveIf their behaviour is out of the ordinary, and seriously breaks the rules accepted in their family and community, this is much more than ordinary childish mischief or adolescent rebelliousness. This sort of behaviour can affect a child’s development, and can interfere with their ability to lead a normal life. When behaviour is this much of a problem, it is called a conduct disorder.What does this mean?Children with a conduct disorder may get involved in more violent physical fights, and may steal or lie, without any sign of remorse or guilt when they are found out.They refuse to follow rules and may start to break the law. They may start to stay out late at night and create trouble in school during the day.Teenagers with conduct disorder may also take risks with their health and safety by taking illegal drugs or having unprotected sexual intercourse. They experiment with alcohol, cannabis and inhalantsWhat effect can this have?This kind of behaviour puts a huge strain on the family and makes you as parents feel very upset and sometimes even guilty. Children who behave like this will often find it difficult to make friends. Even though they might be quite bright, they don’t do well at school and are often near the bottom of the class.On the inside, the young person may be feeling that they are worthless and that they just can’t do anything right. It is common for them to blame others for their difficulties if they do not know how to change for the better.What causes oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder?A child is more likely to develop an oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder if they:have a difficult temperament;have learning or reading difficulties – these make it difficult for them to understand and take part in lessons. It is then easy for them to get bored, feel stupid and misbehave;are depressed;have been bullied or abused;are ‘hyperactive’ – this causes difficulties with self-control, paying attention and following rules.Parents themselves can sometimes unknowingly make things worse by giving too little attention to good behaviour, always being too quick to criticise, or by being too flexible about the rules and not supervising their children adequately. This often happens if one of the  parents especially the mother is depressed, exhausted or overwhelmed. Parents not getting along with each other and domestic violence can add to this.Giving too little attention to good behaviour:As a parent, it can be easy to ignore your child when they are being good, and only pay attention to them when they are behaving badly. Over time, the child learns that they only get attention when they are breaking rules. Most children, including teenagers, need a lot of attention from their parents, and will do whatever it takes to get it.Perhaps surprisingly, they seem to prefer angry or critical attention to being ignored. It’s easy to see how, over time, a ‘vicious cycle’ is set up.Being too flexible about the rules:Children need to learn that rules are important and that ‘no’ means ‘no’. Keeping this up is hard work for parents. It can be tempting to give in ‘for a quiet life’. The trouble is that this teaches the child to push the limits until they get what they want. Teenagers need to know that their parents care about them. They must also understand that rules are needed to protect their safety and that they must learn to live within these rules.What can you as parents do?Treat children as young adults. Children go through the same emotional issues that adults do only their coping is limited making it difficult for them to handle it in a mature manner and with all that pent up energy it manifests in physical and behavioural waysParents can do a lot. It helps if discipline is fair and consistent, and it is crucial for both parents to agree on how to handle their child’s behaviour (Read article on good parenting  http://blog.mindcares.com/parenting-the-toughest-job-in-the-world/). All young people need praise and rewards when they improve their behaviour. This can be hard. Remember to praise even the small, everyday things, and let them know that you love and appreciate them.It is worth asking the school about whether they are also worried about your child’s behaviour. It is helpful if parents and teachers can work together. Extra teaching may sometimes be  necessary.If serious problems continue for more than 3 months, its best to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist dealing with children’s issues.Leave your comments on this article. Criticism and brick-bats are also welcome.

Am I Parenting Right? Am I Parenting Wrong? 5 Lies Parents Sometimes Tell Themselves

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Myth 1: Parenting requires no skills!  Everyone does parenting the  right way all the time!Reality 1 : Parenting is a complex dynamic process requiring  constant hard work, skills and improvisation in today's challenging and advancing world. Parenting definitely is an anthropological evolutionary phenomena which has evolved around the ages! Of course, there is an instinctual biological phenomena in child rearing, yet social and individual factors play a holistic overlay. Every parent wants to be the best parent to his or her child and puts in his or her best shot . Yet, in the complex world we live in, struggling with jobs, finances, stress, etc parents can also make some mistakes in parenting unknowingly !  Parents may sometimes unknowingly displace their own stress on the child by getting angry, not being emotionally responsive, being hostile to the child, etc. Many parents struggle to strike the right balance in their personal and professional lives while parenting effectively. Everyone tries their best to do it right, however sometimes parenting can go wrong as well! Myth 2: Parenting the child is a Mom's job Always !Reality 2: These are common expectations in a traditional society where the mother cares and rears the young ones and does the household chores and the expected role of the father is on earning money and providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, etc for the family. However, in today's modern times when both the father and the mother may need to work and earn money, it is very vital that fathers take on an equally important role in parenting and child rearing. Myth 3: I send my child to the best costliest school so  I am the best  parent! Do I need to do anything more?Reality 3:  A mentality which some parents have is to expect that sending a child to the costliest available school is equivalent to being the best parent! They do not want to do anything more than that and according to their mentality they feel that as they are paying huge fees hence its only the school's job to cater for the development of the child. Some of these parents in this process may forget their own role of  providing values, teaching concepts of good and bad, disciplining, etc unknowingly! Its certainly good that you are able to provide for good quality schooling for your child . However, kindly do not forget your own duties in terms of spending quality time with your child, enriching your emotional bond with your children, caring and loving them irrespective of whichever type of school you send your child to!Myth 4 : Good parenting means buying lots of costly gadgets, clothes, gifts, etc for your children! Reality4:    A common mistake is to substitute the lack of time spent with the child with costly, expensive gadgets and gifts for the child to make up. Your child needs you and your love more than anything in the world! Not your money!Myth 5 : Parents are always right! Child is always wrong! I am the parent! I know whats best for my child always all the time ! Reality 5: Certain parents can have some rigid ideas such as that only they are right! Others are wrong when it comes in terms of their child! They also think that whatever decisions they make are the best decisions all the time across all stages of development for the child. There are different stages of physical, social, cognitive, emotional development in a child across different periods of infant, toddler, preschooler, school going, adolescent, etc. As the child start growing towards adolescent and then subsequently towards adulthood, parents need to introduce concepts of autonomy, collaborative decision, alternate thinking pathways, critical thinking, etc and show respect towards the child inputs, intelligence , emotions, etc and involve children and adolescents by seeking their thoughts and inputs. You might be in for a big surprise to know how much your teenager knows as well on these worldly matters! Certain matters like choice of higher education and  career decision may need a collaborative decision making. A parent deciding a career for  a child assuming the parent's view is supreme  may lead to problems in the child  especially if the child felt that he or she was  not willing for that career right from the beginning for that!

Mistakes Indian Parents Make

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Indian parents try to realize their own dreams through their children.What we see is typical: a doctor’s child only sees the medical field. He or she is prompted to choose similar field right from the beginning. The child may or may not have aptitude, but is blinkered to see no other option. Result: the child’s personality is stifled.Later in life, the individual may realize that they are not really interested in medicine (or any other field that is selected on the basis of their parents’ vocation). This leads to a life of frustration, unrealized potential and a broken spirit. Unfortunately this is a very common case of Indian parents thrusting their own thinking and aspirations on the next generation, thereby stifling the child’s growth in the long run.Your child’s life is theirs. Not yours.Parenting to tap child’s full potentialThe real and ultimate objective of parenting is to allow your child realize his or her full potential. This can be achieved only if the child becomes aware of his or her needs, desires, aspirations and capabilities. Helping them grow up doesn’t mean giving constant direction, controlling all major decisions or deciding what’s best for your child (what’s best for you may not be so for him or her!).For the children to identify their assets and capabilities, they need to try out new things. Exposure is important. Travelling, meeting new people with different lifestyles opens up new avenues.The child needs to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them – only then will their growth will be real.Obsessive parenting affects parents’ well-beingIndian parents tend to get obsessed about their child. This obsession of the parents has another undesirable effect – on the parents themselves.Since their entire focus is on their kids, their own growth and fun factor gets neglected. Remember, parents need to nurture their relationships between themselves as they grow old. They need to renew and rekindle the bonding between each other while age-related issues begin to creep into their lives.When their kids are grown and flown the coop, they suddenly find that they are living with a stranger. They have not invested in their own growth and in the relationship with their partner.Letting goAfter a stage, parents need to LET GO. Ironically, that is the best gift they can give their child. Letting go doesn’t mean stopping loving and caring for them. It means letting them know that they have the freedom to choose their own path. It means allowing them to make mistakes and learning from them. Letting go means having confidence that your child has the ability to ultimately make the right choices - even if they make some mistakes. We may communicate to them that we are always there if needed, like a safety net, but not stifle their lives with our controlling. Letting go is giving respect to your child as an individual.Letting go requires some courage. It means not living in fear that something drastic is going to happen if you’re not there to guide or control. It’s a spiritual step.Letting go is good for you and ultimately good for the future of your child.

Parenting: A Journey!!

Mrs. Hemlata Thakur, Psychologist
Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and unpleasant. Most parents experience moments (or months or years) of feeling overwhelmed. As a psychologist, parents approach me to know the best ways of handling their children. However, before using any parenting style it would be sensible to understand that every child is unique and they behave in their own special ways with the given environment. As children develop from infants to teens to adults they go through a series of developmental stages that are important to all aspects of their personhood including physical, intellectual, emotional and social. Now that the new academic year is to begin very soon, parents must be gearing up more than the kids. The intention of this article is to help this journey make easy-going.Let’s look at the developmental stages of children from 3-7 years old. This is the fastest growth period. During this period the primary feature involves the child regularly interacting with other children at school and in the neighborhood. Central to this stage is play, as it provides children with the opportunity to explore their interpersonal skills through initiating activities. Children begin to plan activities, make up games, and initiate activities with others.Hence it is best to provide them with Play telephones, kitchen appliances and utensils, tool sets, medical kits etc. Also, they would enjoy vehicles, Dress-up clothes and, of course, baby dolls, as well as toy people and animals as kids would like to construct scenarios. Finger or hand puppets offer another way of acting out and mastering day-to-day experiences.Children, at this stage, will be learning to read and write; to do sums, to do things on their own. The language and social skills can be boosted with letter-word- and number-recognition toys and games. Activity books can help reinforce math and language learning. Early board games like snake-ladder, carom-board would introduce the concept of taking turns and sharing with others. Art materials (clay, crayons, paints, collage materials) are another creative favorite with most children in this age group.And of course, outdoor sports like running, jumping skipping would not only help them build the muscle control and strength but will also develop a sense of initiative, and feel secure in their ability to lead others and make decisions.Parents play a very vital role. It would be best defined as a right combination of encouragement, support and guidance. Parents serve as primary teacher for the mastery of basic learning skills and encourage active discussion and experimentation of new concepts and skills. Parents need to understand that children ask questions out of their thirst for knowledge. These questions should not be turned down as embarrassing or nuisance. The realistic clarification would help children fulfil their curiosity in a constructive manner.By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well as toys that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.To conclude, observing your children growing is an enriching experience. As the child is growing, a parent also gains many insights. This journey would be really elevating when a parent is consciously involved in the entire process.

Parenting Dilemma : Are You Understanding Your Child while Shaping Him/Her..??

Ms. Sneha Bhat, Psychologist
When I am brushing my teeth, with slightest awareness of the scratchy material wandering around the nukes and corners of the cave of my mouth, amidst the sea of foam; only wish I have is to rush back to the comfort of cozy bed and continue with the world of  warriors and ferries. “Sonu, aren’t you finished with your bath yet, you are going to be late for school again”, mum’s shrill voice is like this final ‘Go’ in the running race, it has that alarming effect. I hope for the umpteenth time for a miracle that should delay the school bus, which appears unfailingly at our doorstep, somewhat sooner today..!!I don't want to wake-upWhile I am entering the classroom, I am still struggling to wipe off those final traces of sleep, save the rhythmic voice of my class teacher. I try to keep my eyes and ears open, when they go on filling me in with different subjects; thinking all the time about that wonderful hour when I get to play. Once in a while my attention is captured by a story or a joke or a sudden question. Yesterday, someone asked me about my favourite subject. “Of course English, there is no doubt about it. I like it when mam tells all those stories. She has never hesitated to explain again, when I did not understand something. How does she know that I haven’t understood in first place? She must be the nicest person in this whole world.” Then comes the next question. “Sonu, why do you think you are studying?”; “Ahh, don’t I know; to become a great person; rich and famous”. He was also curious on what all these subjects I am studying are about.?  I really have no clue; I guess they are taught so that I can write exams. Finally he asked me what do I like most about school. Of course, it is the time when I get to mingle and play. Many a times i think that i would have loved school & learning a lot, if they wouldn’t have thought about exams. Why Do I study..?Why exams..?? The mention of exams freaks me and my parents together, alike. Dad tells me that I need to be ahead of crowd and ace the exams if I am to become a great person and make my mark in society. May be then I need not get up soon or go to school and get to play all the time. Mom also tells me that it is not enough to be good but also to be ahead of others. I guess the school is about competition and to conquer everyone around. But I like it more when I am playing with others. I even enjoy me falling in the attempt to make a goal. I love it when we hold hands and laugh together. I like the game the same irrespective of our team winning or losing and want to play it desperately the next time. May be rest of the life is not like these games. May be it’s supposed to be dry like most of the classes, homework & exams. It's fun working together..!!Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy the games so much and not so with the rest of the day.  May be the games I play are much simpler than what I am learning at school, or maybe not and just appear so because I perceive and understand in my own way; the whole of the game but not most of the subjects, I am supposed to learn. Games engage me , interest me and also teach me to respect rest of the players & their role however rest of my life wants me to become superior, to be the best with a forced and artificial engagement in subjects, I am learning. I enjoy the inter dependence on other players in the game but rest of my life does not reflect it to me in any way. Just like games I play, I have the capacity to learn anything and everything in this world if I get to look at them just like another game.You lead me to my tomorrows..!!Many a times I want to converse with my world, and tell you all; how thankful I am to you, for loving me and directing me the way you do. You use your will & reasoning to help me engage with life, so that I develop my own will & reasoning. I can't imagine what I would be without your direction & disciplining. I might not realise now, however whatever I am is mostly because of you. Would you do a little more for me and lead me in my own path.? Would you be patient with me and understand my perception & reasoning;  so that you may help me grow from where I am. End of the day, isn't my competition with myself & none other in the quest to evolve..?I wish to conquer my Insecurities & Embrace Life rather than to embrace the insecurities & Conquer Life. Would you be my ally in this grand endeavour? Photo Credit: http://www.zastavki.com/pictures/originals/2014/People___Children_Happy_child_runs_in_the_rain_071448_.jpg

My Mom Is My Best Friend: Communicating With Your Teen

Dr. Hvovi Bhagwagar, Psychologist
“Can I go for a party tonight?” asked 17-year-old Tarun. “Where is the party? How long will you be out? Who’s coming with you?” shot back Madhu.“MOM! Stop asking so many questions. You, like, just don’t trust me!”“Trust. A difficult word in today’s day” thought Madhu, her eyes riveting to the newspaper in her hand. The daily tabloid had featured one more article on the recent rave party in Mumbai. “So many kids were caught there, Tarun. All taking drugs. I don’t want that to happen to you!”“There you go again. Just don’t believe your own son.”Whatever you put it down to – stress, media exposure or the internet – parents and kids are today talking two different languages. The generation gap has become wider by far. The result of this is parents have much less control over their children’s lives.Unfortunately most parents mistake communication to mean ‘telling their kids what to do’ or questioning their kids all the time. But good Communication starts with relationship building. A parent-child relationship is like a bank account and needs constant deposits of listening, trust and an honest attitude. Withdrawing from that account by raising suspicions, screaming, being sarcastic without putting in any deposits doesn’t work in the long run. Here are 5 strategies to start communicating better with your child.Build the bridge: How does your teen respond to you? Does he/she hide stuff from you? When you are talking, do they rudely leave the room? Do they refuse to talk to you for days after a fight? All of these are signs of poor communication patterns set from childhood.  Fortunately, nature has provided a natural bond between parents and children which can be forged at any point. Start now. Respect your child. Let them have privacy. Leave them to explore their interests and career choices without pressure. And allow them to state their opinions.LISTEN! Most parents talk 50% more than they should. No wonder the usual complaint is“My child just won’t’ listen to me!” when actually they are never given a chance to talk! Parents get taken aback at how open their kids can be with simple empathic statements such as “How do you feel?” or “What’s troubling you”No lecturing: In the teen years, avoiding family is the norm. Friends are much more important. Parents have to steel themselves against this, be patient and yet let their child know good from bad in as diplomatic a way as possible.Teens and pre-teens need information on issues like AIDS and abortion but don't lecture while doing this. Have a conversation instead.4Be comfortable with sensitive issues: Why would a teen experiment with drugs? What makes the 16-year-old give into her boyfriend’s demand for sex without protection? Curiosity of course.  Parents who are early birds in informing their children on issues such as sexuality,bodily changes of adolescence, attraction to the opposite sex and drugs,usually have stable and secure kids.Balanced parenting: At no time does parenting get tested more than when the child is between the ages of 12 and 18. Here a parent has to draw a fine line between freedom and authority. Freedom in limits is acceptable, such as if the teen wants to withdraw into a room with a shut door, or stay overnight at a close friend’s place.  But authority needs to come in on issues such as keeping tabs on friends, questioning on whereabouts and insisting on keeping cell-phones always on.Improving the lines of communication between parent and teen goes beyond buying them the latest cellphone and laptop. It is straightforward and honest talking which actually does the trick. Although deceptively simple in theory, communication is tough to practice. Yet, it could make the difference between a child on drugs and one who passes each exam with flying colours!

Tips to Win the Bedtime Battle With Your Kids

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
Welcome to the world of parenthood where bedtime becomes a power struggle between the child and the parent. What’s a sleep-deprived parent to do? Fret not. We’ve got some really simple and effective tips for getting your kid into bed on time, every time.Bed is only for sleepingDo not use bed for all the activities like playing, eating etc. It should be strictly used for sleepingAvoid products with caffeine before sleepDo not put hungry child to bedNo TV/Laptop/I pad in bedroomThese electronic gadgets distracts children a lot. It makes sleeping more difficult  Casting the monsters away Switch on a dim night light to ward off those lurking shadows that fuel scary dreams. A stuffed toy will give a sense of security and a goodnight cuddle just might do the trick. It works all the time.Ambient temperatureWrestling with the blanket can make even that thin trace of sleep, vanish. Make sure you have the AC or the fan on at just the right temperature - not too cold nor too hot.Make up a story Give your children the solace they need by singing a lullaby or reading out a favorite story. Add a fun twist with a made-up fairy tale where your child is the prince/princess. Stories are a super way to doze into dreams high on imagination.Exhaust the energy Keep your kids on their toes by letting them dance to some fun music during the day. Playing a vigorous game or learning karate will tire them out and get them to sleep as soon as their head touches the pillow.Ditch the sugar Sugary treats too close to bedtime are a strict no-no. A sugar high will put your child into hyperactive mode. Curb those cravings by allowing them to munch on candy only during the day.       Seal the deal Some smart kids need a deal to be struck before you can get them into their beds. Offer to buy something off their wishlist, or make a promise to take them out the very next day. Looking forward to something puts their mind at ease and seals the deal.     Always stay one step ahead with these tips to get them into bed. Remember to establish firm boundaries to discipline them into their own bedtime routine. So what are you waiting for? Set the ball rolling and be on the winning side of the bedtime battle!

When You Are in Conflict With Your Teenager - Parental Care Guidelines

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Teenage is awkward as well as fascinating period for both youngsters and parents. It is a period of transition.Rapid Physical, physiological and psychological changes occur during this period. Teenagers seek autonomy, to establish identities of their own and their own value system.PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF TEENAGERS:• Question everything• Challenging, rebelliousness behaviors• Need for independence – preferences and choices in dress, daily routines, friends, food, leisure time activities• Moody• Concerns - emerging sexuality, self-image, self-identity, living up to expectations• Aspirations - education, career etc• Peer group identity• Open to community, media, influences• Hero worshipNEEDS OF TEENAGERS:• For a secure family base• Supporting, understanding and trusting adults• Healthy peer groups• Need for achievement• Need for appreciation• For privacyPOSITIVE PARENTING TIPS:NURTURE - by being supportive, warm and encouraging.DISCIPLINE - by teaching how to behave, set and enforce limits, and monitor behavior.RESPECT- by encouraging teens to develop their own opinions and beliefs, model civility and allow privacy.WHEN IN CONFLICT WITH YOUR TEEN?1. Don’t engage in “power struggles” that are about how to think, and who is right.2. Focus on the important issues of health and safety.3. Model the language and tone of voice you expect from your teen.4. Stay calm and remember you are in charge - You are the adult.5. Be realistic about how your teen acts - they simply don’t have the skills and experience you have in dealing with disagreements.6. Find ways to say “YES” as well as “no”. Look for common ground where you and your teen agree.7. Don’t forget your sense of humor - it’s your best tool for putting issues in perspective.8. Friends are very important to teens, parents need to balance family time and their teen’s time with friends.

Parenting

Ms. Deepali Bedi, Psychologist
“Always kiss your child goodnight even if they are already asleep!”– Jackson Brown Jr.Giving Birth to a child is a natural process but becoming a parent needs guidance of the elders and the experts. To add to the complexity are the various doctrines which at times are even contradictory. Not to further complicate the situation I would like to first and foremost acknowledge that every child is different and so are their needs. To help our child who is special and unique, we as parents are responsible to provide this child a safe haven. This safe haven assures the baby of:•The basic amenities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, warmth and hygiene.•Safety and Security needs including protectiveness and stability•Need for belongingness and love, also expressed in the form of kisses, hugs, love, care etc.•Esteem needs including awards and appreciations that include the needs to be called a good boy or a good girl.This safe haven helps building the creative capacity of a child to become a self reliant, healthy, mature adult. The attention and environment you provide shapes your child’s brain development for life.-Erik EriksonTips for Parents to have healthy relationship with their child: •Smile and look at children in the eyes as you greet them •Spend time with the child. Quantity matters. During this time, get on the floor, listen and establish eye contact. •Use touch to comfort- It is appropriate to hug, gently touch a shoulder, or hold hands. •Help children learn appropriate social-emotional language (how close to stand, how to use eye contact, when to touch, how to touch). •Remember that there are many styles of forming and maintaining relationships- A shy child is not an unattached child. If you sense a child is having a hard time engaging others, help facilitate this by actively including her or pairing her with another child who has a matching temperament. “Play is the most natural method of self-healing that childhood affords”-Erik EriksonLike every child’s needs can be different than others similarly s/he also has different needs at different stages of development.An infant till the age of 1yr is completely dependent on the caregiver. By timely feeding, cleaning, comforting and care s/he learns to trust the parents and relies on them with hope that the need would be met. But if the needs aren’t met the baby will distrust all and see people as unpredictable, undependable and dangerous. Thus at this parenting includes being available for the baby as a consistent, trustworthy & reliable caretaker who will meet all his needs.A toddler from the age of 1 -3 years starts exploring his /her body and spaces around. Parents also start toilet training of this child who looks for autonomy and self control. Autonomous child becomes confident that s/he can handle problem by their own otherwise would always be doubting one’s own potential and may be ashamed of themselves. At this stage the child should feel some sense of control over their life and should have his / her say in the activities of his/her daily living.Pre-Primary school child between the ages of 3-5 yrs initiates plays, explores and discovers. By following the child and allowing space for exploration child develops the courage and sense of independence. Fault finding by parents make children guilty and confused. Parents at this stage should be very encouraging of the child and of all their constructive initiates. By the age of 5 a school going child starts learning. Sense of achievement and accomplishments ensure feeling of competence or the child would feel inferior. Parents’ and teachers’ encouragement is very important ingredient at this stage.The toughest phase for the parents and the child is the teen years. Adolescence is an age of experiment looking for identity among his peers. Here the child’s body is maturing but the adolescent is not completely matured intellectually. Peers become more important which further complicates the situation when parents feel dethroned and experience a challenge to their authority.Sense of identity provides the ability to experience one's selfas something that has continuity and sameness, and to act accordingly.- Erik H. EriksonTips for Parents of Adolescents:•As a parent, once again it is important to be a reliable guiding resource. •Be appreciative of all the constructive initiates of the adolescent. •Don’t ridicule the adolescent. •Beware that a decision may be wrong but not the adolescent as an individual. •The house should have clearly defined rules role modelled by adults. •There should always be space for communication and negotiations. •It is important to find win-win solutions for the differences cropping in the relationship.As kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them.Adolescence is not about letting go. It is about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.-Ron TaffelSuccessful sailing of the adolescent stage gives rise to a healthy, matured, loving and secured adult.In today’s time, parenting is further challenging with both parents working and thus lack of time for both. Actually it is the quality of time that matters and not just quantity of time.Some Research on Working Parents:•No scientific evidence says children are harmed when their mothers work.•A child who is emotionally well adjusted, well loved, and well cared for will thrive regardless of whether or not the mother works outside the home. •Fathers are more proactive in dual career couples.•A mother who successfully manages both an outside job and parenthood provides a role model for her child.•Daughters of working mothers aspire to be gainfully employed.•Children become independent faster and develop higher self esteem.•Day cares need to be chosen carefully to avoid negative impact.Children have a different spelling for the word love,We spell it l-o-v-e, they spell it t-i-m-e.Tips for working couples:Within yourself:Create boundaries between work and home- Avoid “spillover”.Make time for self.Deal with GUILT (remember the research)Avoid falling into the “superwoman Syndrome”Ask for supportAllow people to helpLet your family do things “their way”Learn to let goPrioritizeCommunicate with spouse:Clarify Roles and Expectations.Divide tasks. Plan for Emergencies.Be Flexible.Be forgiving.Appreciate and Thank often.Do fun things together .If Parenting is love:•Love doesn’t stem from punishments, but from forgiveness, acceptance and hugs. •Love is positive, encouraging, open, sincere and communicative. •Love involves discipline.•Love makes us admit our mistakes willingly and make improvements without hurting relationships. Children love and want to be loved and they very much preferthe joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure.Do not mistake a child for his symptoms. -Erik EriksonTo sum up as parents our role is to give our child a loving and secured relationship. A healthy secured attachment which will help the child to develop into a healthy loving caring mature adult.