Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Quite obvious, it’s always the environment and surroundings which grooms the child and “PARENTS” play a very vital role. A child’s birth brings happiness and pleasure but also brings lots of responsibilities as a part of parenting to shape and groom their child to be a better person. Parents influence their child, be it a social–emotional development, health or any of their activities. It is always said that it’s the parents who groom and determine their child’s future.

It has always been a notion that family is the first school for a child. Even a shy and sleepy newborn takes interest in observing things. Majority section of his brain is indulged in understanding the surrounding. A newborn can see, hear and understands but cannot speak but then too he adopts his mother tongue. The child is a very good imitator. As rightly said, “Monkey see, monkey do”. Parents are in charge of their child’s social interaction, and thus the environment that the child is exposed to, with the parent’s permission shapes their future behaviour thus forming a family and then society.

Let us understand few factors which impact the Child’s behaviour:

The Environment: Children do inherit some traits from their parents, but more than that, it is the environment in which the child is raised. If the parents are found having conflicts between them, then the chances are that the kids will treat others with hostility. Once they see the parents fighting and abusing each other then the child will find it common and will begin solving sibling squabbles with the same tactics as they have witnessed. It may also lead to difficulty in handling their relations with their friends or in future with their partners if they’ve grown accustomed to such family discord.

Few suggestions to deal with this:

  1. Love your child and acknowledge his feelings as well.
  2. Avoid fighting in front of the kids. If at all situations worsens then the kids can be explained the reason of fighting. Like, “Daddy and I were extra argumentative as we did not have same opinion but yes it was wrong on our part to behave like that.”
  3. Please assure your child that it was just an argument and not a bigger problem.
  4. Finish the fight with a smile and the entire family can sit together and show that despite of any disagreements still, the family is the strongest one.

It’s believed that the children’s acquisition of problem-solving, language and social-emotional skills always gets better with more contact and communication with their parents.

Develop Healthy Habits:

Parents play an important role in shaping children’s eating habits. We know that a growing body needs proper nutrition to develop and prevent disease. Sometimes it happens that just because the child is not eating and is crying or being fussy, we offer them the junk food which pleases them. It’s always heard, that “my child doesn’t relish fruits or vegetables or homely preparations but prefers burgers, pizzas, other bakery items”.

But a little more patience at your level will make you realise that if they get hungry, they will eat the food you have served we all understand this, but fail to follow.

As role models, parents need to make sure that they’re demonstrating a healthy attitude toward food and health so their children do too, so one should bring some simple changes:

  1. Avoid single serves of anything.
  2. Choose water as a drink.
  3. Milk is a healthy option against packed juices.
  4. Prefer fruits over packed food in case of scarcity of time.
  5. Inspire them to have grains with more fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products.
  6. Involve your child in cooking it will create a magical bonding between two of you.
  7. Exercise or go for a walk with family

Never forget that “A family that eats together stays together”.

Clutches of Media & Technology:

The other main element where we want to put light on is the clutches of TV, mobile, westernised exposure which has corrupted our lives and our values. We have forgotten our past where grannies used to tell stories and where outdoor activities were highly motivated. At that time we had a joint family and so the responsibilities of the parents were shared. Now, due to the nuclear family system, parents have added responsibility. The time constraints push parents to an alternative method of compensating their valuable time with things that money could buy by way diverting the root cause of the problem, but values in a child can be imparted only by contact and communication.  When parents fail to make time to talk and play with their children, they may feel unwanted either getting close to any gadgets or find wrong place and the wrong people. All these things widen the gap between parents and kids which can sometimes risk their lives as well. Engaging your child in TV, mobiles or any other gadgets can never be your substitute.

Parents can manage this ever changing digital dilemma by:

  1. “Children see, Children do”.  First of all, you limit the use of gadgets, read a storybook and then your child will follow the same.
  2. Keep your child engaged in some sport activity or play with him by this the child will become more creative and communicative.
  3. Keep a track of your child’s friends and the sites, software and the apps the child is using.
  4. Always interact with your child, see that you are always present when the child is in front of the screen. Play a video game or watch a movie, share some childhood stories related to it. This will help your child to open up and share his/her experiences as well.
  5. Show some informative videos like good manners or some moral stories online as we all know that they are good mimics and will follow the same soon.

If a digital device is used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life.   

Helicopter Parenting

The term “helicopter parent” was initially used by Dr. Haim Ginott’s 1969 book Parents & Teenagers by teens who said their parents would hover over them sort of a whirlybird.

Parents’ presence can be felt and seen around the child always. Whether it’s related to his homework or any other activity. You will always find a parent not only involved but also influencing the child’s decisions. This is also called a protective type of parenting. Parents are a major concern about the safety but then sometimes it happens that parents are so obsessed with the child that they forget that the parent and child both are a different entities and have a different tasks to do. Parents need to understand that being too much involved in their child’s life can be harmful.

Allow the child to explore, to make mistakes, to try out new things without much guidance. Without this, the child will never understand how to deal with a particular problem or uncertainty. It becomes difficult for a child to face problems both emotionally and mentally. Parents surely has to give warmth, the discipline environment and the environment where they are the role models and they are inspiring and teaching children moving towards that direction but with their actions and in limited instructions.

Let’s understand that all sacrifices which you make will never go unnoticed. As parents, you will sometimes feel that you’re constantly making mistakes, remind yourself then that ITS’ OK, you are doing just fine.

How to Talk to Children so that they Listen

We are well into the New Year 2019 now. As parents and educators, one of our New Year resolutions should be about spending more time talking to children…especially the school going ones – how to talk to them so that they listen, is what worries us most. This would surely be an intriguing topic for some of us, a non topic for others, but it is nonetheless an important one.

The 21st Century has thrown up many challenges, not the least of them being the problem of face to face communication. With the advent of newer means of technology at our disposal and the proliferation of hand held and portable devices for communication on the rampant increase, personal conversations have become rare occurrences with people resorting to con calls, audio and video chats, SMS and Whatsapp messages as well as connectivity on other social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. Even official discussions, meetings, seminars and conferences are now being conducted over Skype and Zoom and other such mediums. Hangouts is one of the ways in which the younger generation actually hangs out! In such a scenario, how do parents and teachers connect with children who are more comfortable with online and virtual conversations than the ones in real life? No wonder some of us may feel a sense of disconnect with our children when in their physical company.

The answer does not lie in resorting to messaging or video calling our children and learners but in using the following simple tips to connect with the children who mean the most to us.

When talking to children we should:

  1. Smile and greet our children when we meet them at any time of the day. A smile is a great way to connect and radiate warmth that envelops and cheers up the children. When we say ‘Hello’, or ‘Good Morning’, we will get a reply which can then lead on to the next step as the connection is established. Maybe we can even have our own special ways of greeting our children.
  2. Ask leading to and open ended questions like, ‘So, how was your day?’, ‘What are you thinking about now?’, ‘What is it that I can do for you?’, ‘How have you and your friends been doing in school?’ or even something as simple as, ‘Which subject/time of the day/snack/book/movie do you like the most? And why?’. These can be great conversation starters.
  3. Give ample time to our child/learner. Set aside time for the conversation. Children too, just like us, love to be heard patiently. Let us respect that. Do not try to close conversations in a hurry. Do not raise your voice. Do not keep looking over their shoulders or here and there while talking. Look at the child/learner in their eyes, but do not stare. That would be disconcerting. Though, one should be firm, in a polite and friendly manner, in case the child/learner does not follow the decorum of the conversation.
  4. No matter what turn the conversation takes, let us not forget to smile at times, nod our head, use appropriate, non threatening body language, and most importantly, listen to them when they talk so that they may return the favour when we have something to say.
  5. Speak in a positive, encouraging tone. Instead of asking, ‘Was the test difficult to attempt?’, we should instead ask, ‘Which question in the test did you find the most exciting?’. A statement such as. ’As you haven’t been doing any reading, I don’t think your language will improve!’ could demoralize children and put them off reading. It would be far better to say, ‘Over the holidays you could read this book. It seems to be enjoyable!’.

There are many more ways to make a conversation interesting for children. Let us begin by using these 5 crucial tips which will be most beneficial to us. Let’s begin talking in the way our children would love to listen to us!

Good Parenting

Being the ‘Good’ parent is not so difficult, after all!

From the moment we become parents, we are constantly under pressure to attain the much coveted ‘Good Parent’ title. An idealistic unmeasurable concept that only exists as a notion in our own heads; whose measurement parameters are in the hands of every human we interact – known or stranger.

In many ways our parenting journey is like the Aesop’s fable ‘The Man, His Son and The Donkey’. In our case, the donkey being our parenting style. So, whichever way we lead our donkey we are bound to attract criticism. Here is where the feeling of GUILT comes handy.

Guilt is a feeling of worry or unhappiness that we experience when we have done wrong or have deviated from the set norm. While Guilt is labeled as a negative emotion, for us parents it works in our favour.


This is how guilt helps:

First, I create a list of traits that according to my society and me, a good parent must have. Like, all good mothers, bake cookies and cakes or, to be a good mother I must host trendiest playdates or, good parents sing lullabies each night. Then I assign an implicit under side, which says if I did not host the latest in-trend playdate (so what if trends change every hour) or bake cakes (a take from colonial mommy image) or sing melodious lullabies (despite my sore throat) I am a bad mother.

Now, being a bad mother is not what I wish to be. It is not a feeling I am comfortable with. So, I feel GUILTY. Now I say, “I am a bad mother as I do not bake cakes with my son, but since I feel so guilty about it, I am actually a good mother.” By feeling guilty, what I just did was to allow me keep a high opinion of myself while acting like what I believe was bad. After all, only good conscious individuals feel guilt and remorse for their actions. Is it not? In a way, guilt becomes our saviour.

Most often, the source of these high code of conducts originate from benchmarking with our previous generation, comparing lives over social media, our own upbringing where we have been made to believe in ‘sacrifice all for the sake of children’ kind of parenthood or, in majority cases our beloved Bollywood cinema and television serials.

Going back to our ‘donkey’, just as there is no right or wrong way to deploy the services of this faithful animal except to avoid cruelty, there is no right or wrong way of parenting as long as it stems from trust and love. Each child is different and so is each parent.
Few points from my personal parenting diary that helps me stay sane:

  1. We are unique:Know what is best for my family and accordingly align my expectations from self
  2. One step at a time:Listen to my child to know her immediate needs (at times the need is for attention, at times seeking more freedom and yet at times the need is of being appreciated) and tend to those for that moment
  3. Different is good:Be conscious that my child is not an extension of me but an individual in her own right
  4. Be OK to be wrong: Accept that I am also growing as a parent, just as she is growing as an individual, so we shall both make our own mistakes and that is OK.
  5. Lose control:Remind myself that I am not responsible for fulfilling her dreams, my responsibility ends at being the facilitator.

To quote OSHO, “The function of parents is not to help children grow, they will grow anyways. The function is to help what is already growing.

Oindrila Purohit
Parent of Daanya Purohit
VIBGYOR High – Goregaon, Mumbai

Codependency

Codependency is characterised by emotional dependencies in a relationship, to an extent that the giving is one-sided and so excessive that it hurts the giver. Codependency begins early with parents passing it unknowingly, despite best intentions.

How?

  1. By being a super parent! You believe you know the best for your child and so it is you who will decide all aspects of your child’s life – right from planning her food to choice of friends, when to eat and what to wear, which hobby to choose and which colours look good. As they grow older they are likely to seek out relationships in which someone else has all the power and control.
  2. By going out of your way, sacrificing all your needs and desires, to ensure all your child’s needsand demands are met. You spend lunchtime fussing over your child’s food and stay hungry yourself, you go to buy that new toy by cancelling your doctor’s visit, you stop watching your favourite serial to ensure your child gets to see his. In life they will either seek relationships to dominate and control or grow to be “Mr. Pleaser” constantly needing others to approve of them.
  3. Be always there to solve problems for your child. You rush to scold the next-door neighbour who pushed your girl or pick a fight with the teacher who did not grade your child well or reach out to help even before your baby can try. This sends your child the message that they are not competent or responsible enough to figure out how to solve their problems and that someone else needs to do it for them. They will always seek relationships in life where another person will tell them what to do.

Codependents are usually nice individuals who are very stressed from carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are perceptive of others but not at all perceptive of themselves. Thus the challenge! Codependency usually gets disguised under the pretext of love and the virtue of sacrifice, and most often confused with Interdependency. However, unlike codependent families, where one person makes all the sacrifices even at the cost of their own happiness and dignity, interdependent families go out of their way for each. A member’s sacrifices are always respected and reciprocated in an interdependent family.

Therapy with codependents involves teaching self-care skills, and most importantly, convincing them that they are not selfish or in danger for choosing to take care of themselves. If you are codependent it is time to rise and love yourself. For your children will learn from what you do and not what you tell them.

Oindrila Purohit
Parent of Daanya Purohit
VIBGYOR High, Goregaon

Happy Parenting

Parenting is a blessing which comes with a lot of responsibilities. It has been rightly said “Once a parent always a parent”.

Like many other fields such as technology, education etc.-  parenting has also evolved with time. The upbringing and environment provided to the child has drastically changed. Modern influence on parenting has shifted the paradigm from necessity to comfort. In the race of acquisition of materialistic things, the parents provide an atmosphere where the child is always in his comfort zone. Children’s desires have turned into demands. This sort of upbringing is encouraging complex behavioural problems.

Few Steps towards Happiness

Healthy Mind:-

First and foremost, children should be taught about humanity. They should learn to be more resilient so they are prepared for rejections in everyday life. The parent should empathise with their children. They should maintain a balance between love and discipline. The parents should act as role models for their children because children are excellent imitators. They do what they see. They should be taken out of their comfort zone to face the challenging situations.

Fun & Frolic:-

Children are so engrossed in the virtual world that they have almost forgotten the pleasures of playing in natural environment. Children should be encouraged to play outdoor games. Playing outdoor has a lot of benefits. The children learn social skills like team work, co-operation while sportsman spirit and physical fitness come as a bonus package.

Healthy Little Bites:-

The parents must replace junk food with a balanced diet. Healthy eating habit should be encouraged. Google is an effective tool to help parents in this as you can find ways to make even home cooked mundane food interesting. A time out for meditation and Yoga can add wonders to mind, body and soul.

Charity begins from home. To bring a change in the upbringing and nourishment of a child, the change has to start first with the parents. As mentioned above, children are imitators, parents must practice the same in front of the children what they want their children to do. Parenting is the most challenging role. Parents and children must work together for their development. Children are like soft wet clay. They can be molded into any desired shape. Now it all depends upon the potter, what shape do they want to give to the clay.

Apoorva Mishra
Teacher
VIBGYOR High, Lucknow