Parenting moving towards mutual growth, freedom

New Delhi, April 15: Do your homework, eat whatever is on the table and don’t ever try to be naughty. Parenting has moved beyond the reprimands and stern etiquette codes to become an art of mindfulness, analysis and complex psychological healing.

The mantra in the new nuclear home is freedom and sensitivity; it spares the rod and allows the child to discover its own identity through the roller-coaster of life, said New York-based clinical psychologist and writer Shefali Tsabary, who works with families to promote mindful living and conscious parenting across the world.

“Conscious parenting puts the onus of the child’s development on the parents – and is challenging. Parents have to know more to influence their children in this world of Internet,” Tsabary told IANS here.

Tsabary in her new book, “The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children”, (released in Indian stores this week), tries to move the epicentre of the parent-child relationship away from the parent-to-child “know it all” approach to a mutual growth.

Once parents begin to learn alongside the child, “power, control and dominance become an archaic language, because parents unwittingly pass their needs, psychological pain and egos to their children”.

“Long ago, my father gave me the freedom to find my own self after I told him that I could not return home permanently to India from the US. Our children have the right to fight and live their own destiny,” Tsabary said.

Said actress Raveena Tandon, “There is no perfect parent. I became a mom when my child was given to me. We say many things that might unconsciously wound the child. A parent has to be conscious about what is good and bad…”

At a session on parenting in the capital recently, she recalled a lesson that her daughter had taught her.

“I left my favourite sunglasses a couple of years ago at a hotel in South Africa where I was invited to attend an Indian Premier League match. After I returned, I telephoned the hotel to enquire about glasses. I lost my temper with my three-year-old daughter who interrupted my call,” Tandon said.

“My daughter said ‘Mama, you can have my pink Cinderella sun glasses… and I realised how materialistic I was sounding. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. We must learn to love the journey with our children,” Tandon said.

Healer, psychologist and writer Shivi Dua, the author of a new book on parenting, “Let Go Mom…I Will be Fine”, said: “Parents are often embarrassed when a child is unable to meet parents’ expectations.”

“It happened to me recently when I found that my daughter (a teenager) does not know things around the house. I expect her to be responsible around the home. It is understood that we often get carried away with our child creating a disconnect between our needs and the child’s needs,” Dua told IANS.

“Things have changed from my childhood and we have to understand that our children are independent human beings. We have to keep the process of our own growth alive,” Dua said.

“We were brought up in a different way. We were told what to do and what not to do. There was no television and no computers those days,” said Shallu Jindal, of the Openspace Jindal Foundation, which campaigns for social causes, children’s welfare and family values.

Nowadays, children have a lot of exposure, they know more and there is social pressure, Jindal said.

“That is the challenge I am facing right now (curiosity in my children). I am talking to them a lot. We live in a joint family. My mother-in-law tries to inculcate old traditions in them and I am the modern influence. Grandmothers have different kind of relationship with children,” Jindal told IANS.

Jindal said: “Children wanted an answer for everything and one had to analyse to reason with the child…” She agreed that books were sometimes a big help.

As spiritual guru Dalai Lama has said in the foreword of the book: “Everyone responds positively to kindness. This is evident to anyone who has been a parent. One of the causes of the close bond between children and parents is the natural kindness that exists between them.”

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

IANS