The best parenting advice you'll ever get

Geetika Sasan Bhandari
Geetika Sasan BhandariAug 05, 2016 | 12:41

The best parenting advice you'll ever get

Friendship Day is around the corner (Sunday, August 7, to be precise), and while all of us need our friends - the BFFs who never judge us, the ones who are into fitness and understand exactly how we feel when we try diets and new regimes with little success, and the party friends whom we only meet at large, society gatherings- the friends that we need the most are the friends we actually help shape - our children.


These are friends who will share a large part of your life with you, be witness to your highs and lows, and know some of your darkest fears and achievements without you even telling them.

But why is it so difficult for most of us to figure out how to cultivate this relationship?

Why do we find ourselves caught up in a dilemma ever so often about where to draw the line, about when to stop being friend and become parent, and vice-versa?

I asked Dr Shelja Sen, child psychologist and author of All You Need Is Love: The art of mindful parenting, this question at the launch of her book last year.

A few years ago, I asked her, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - the book that literally divided the parenting world into Oriental and Western styles of parenting - had pretty much established that parents who wanted their children to be achievers should not be in it for the popularity.

Parents are and should always remain parents.

What did Dr Sen believe?


Her answer is, I think, the middle path, that most of us should aspire should achieve.

She said it all boiled down to being mindful and connected with your child.

You cannot be disconnected with a child and expect to be heard.  

Instinctively, as a parent, you know when you can be a friend and when you need to establish certain non-negotiable "rules" and follow through with them.

And there's absolutely no reason why you can't be both. All of us play different roles in our lives through the day.

Quoting from her book, she says a parent needs to be hands-on like a coach.

"A coach is like a warrior who has to be out in the arena, giving up all her time, energy, love and loads of patience. She has to roll up her sleeves, get her hands dirty, be on the floor and sweat it out till she is ready to hit the bed. There is no other way. Shouting out orders from the benches will not work."

This is also the only real way to get your kids to listen.

You cannot be disconnected with a child and expect to be heard. You have to be connected enough to know how and when to say something.


Just as you know exactly how to perk up a friend who's going through a separation or make a friend feel better who didn't land the job of her dreams or scold a friend who is losing focus or sinking into depression.

But for that, you have to first consider your children your friends, credit them with the wisdom that they are at your level and not have the "you won't understand" attitude.

Treat them as friends and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what an amazing friendship you've been missing out on.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: August 05, 2016 | 12:41
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