Psychiatrists share insights on right parenting

‘Limit extra classes’: Dr Shefali Batra

Kids internalise the dark spirit of competition and tend to worry about where they stand in regard to their peers. Or to a gold standard they picked for themselves. This takes away fun from everything children do, because all of it now becomes a chore.

While, it is essential in a rapidly moving world to keep pace, it becomes an increased responsibility to broaden children’s horizon and help them see themselves in brighter light. Children seem to bear the burden of the world on their shoulders. Here is what parents and teachers can do to help children reclaim the fun and innocence of childhood.

- Manage time better with timetables

- Use interesting behaviour incentives

- Limit the extra classes to minimum

- Focus on quality of work (vs. quantity)

- Focus on education more than marks

- Appreciate successes – however small

- Use an assertive communication style

- Let kids know that they matter most

- Be open to the idea of parent education

- Seek professional help where needed

‘A child is more than just academics’: Dr Kersi Chavda

It is imperative that kids be allowed to enjoy their childhood. Basically, that means they should be allowed to do the so-called ‘childish behaviour’... laugh and fool around and gambol in the grass and be allowed to indulge in a lot of physical exercise.

Today kids are participating in a number of extracurricular activities, which is lovely. But when the objective of an extracurricular activity is to again excel, that again puts pressure on the child!

A number of parents also would like to relive their own childhood through their kids’ a lot of activity is done which the parent wants to do rather than what the kid wants. This is also the cause of tantrums.

We also need to remember that the kid is more than just academics... he has emotions and other aspects to his personality other than just the part dealing with studies!

Kids need time to ‘do nothing’ rather than always having every minute of their day under scrutiny. It is what I call “supervised neglect”! Let the kid look up at the sky and allow his imagination to run riot... let him visualise whatever he wants to... This is then the time that he can allow for reduction of the consequent pressures of life that he will face in future.

‘Do not focus on weaknesses’ Dr Chinmay Kulkarni

Parents should be a little less task-oriented than what the social norm is becoming. Children need not follow the very strict routine which adults have to follow in their office. Sending children to all types of classes for academic and non-academic activities puts unnecessary pressure on the children as well as on the parents. This also builds up a demand that children should excel in all these activities. One more aspect which many careerist parents should understand is, merely trying to substitute your lack of attention, time, love with money, expensive toys, gifts, gadgets is not good for the child's future. If children are given necessary love, time and if they are allowed to flourish then they would grow as human beings. One more thing parents need to understand is, that the child is a unique individual. Every child has some strengths and some weaknesses. It is important to encourage the child's strengths and not merely focus on the weaknesses.

‘Simply doing nothing helps immensely’ Dr Anjali Chhabria

In order to reclaim freedom it is essential to understand the needs of the children and see things through their lenses as well. We might arrange for the best of the best facilities for them however, it's necessary to keep a check on whether they are actually enjoying those facilities or feeling extremely burdened by it. Today, outdoor play and activities has been replaced by gadgets, dinner table conversations have ceased to exist, kids are busier than adults, it seems. Few elementary changes such as free play, enhancing vivid imagination rather than an attempt to cage them and most importantly spending quality time with them by simply doing nothing could help immensely in re establishing a healthy childhood in times of depression and pressure.