Monday, 15 July 2013

The Navratnas of Parenting

Stress has become an integral part of our lives. Parents particularly are stressed out and frazzled! 

Why? A parent has plenty to deal with- house work, office, targets, household staff, children, husband/wife, the whole family and friends who ridicule you for becoming ant-social due to lack of time and the constant stress of raising a child who is exposed to multifarious activities and also a successful one. To top it all it’s an age of wanting to do your finest, but it becomes a challenge when you have a tough and express way of life, like nowadays. Although parents do have more conveniences to support their lifestyles with the washing machine, the refrigerator, the microwave, school buses, technologies, house help, chauffeurs - but these come with their own share of nuisances!

As you realise now, one indeed needs to be a ‘super parent’ to be able to bring up a happy, confident kid and yet remain fit, sane and happy themselves. A little imbalance and it will throw a parent off, causing stress. So, what is the ‘stress’ in parenting? Well, there is the typical and common stress that is part of the role, such as homework, the school bus, the cold and cough, the stains and tears and all the office work on top of it all. But, that’s what every parent signed up for, isn’t it!

On the other hand, stress that parents need to watch out for and weed out is the ‘negative stress’. For this, parents need to remove ‘guilt’ from their parenting style. Guilt gives rise to an imbalance in the mind and forcing you to make wrong decisions unknowingly such as bribing and bartering with children or end up battering them.

The antidote for cognisant and wise parenting is to ‘keep the guilt and bad stress away’! How do we do that? It’s simple. Believe, enjoy and understand the hidden secret of parenting- The secret of the Navratnas of parenting.

The government of New Zealand has a policy document called Te Whariki, which has nine aspects that needs to be involved in the care, growth, nurturing and education of children. I have adapted these for parenting and called them the ‘Navratnas of Parenting’. Practise these and watch the stress of parenting dissolve into an art and parenting will be pleasurable not painful.

1.     Empowerment

For Your Kids - Empower children by letting them to talk, discuss and logically argue. It is healthy, encourage it. Teaching them to keep quiet is only bottling their emotions.

For You - Parents should empower themselves first by not getting caught in mindless competition with other parents and then empower children with the confidence that I am with you, come what may. This will give children a sense of trust and abundance.

2.     Holistic development

For Your Kids - Children need you to take care of their life skills and not only academic skills. They need, love, food, understanding, attention, patience, rules and sometimes a friend in you. When you are stressed about one, take a deep breath and focus on the other.

For You - Parents should focus on all needs. Their interactions with children should not only be limited to conversations about marks and exams. Be firm about food rules and sleep rules.

3.     Family and community

For Your Kids - Family, neighbours, friends, teachers are all part of your child’s family and community. Let your child see you interacting with them, children learn from what they see, they imitate what you do.

For You - Involve family and community and take help when necessary. No grand parents? Well take a favour from a good neighbour and ask them to baby sit while you take a break. A good break rejuvenates the mind

4.      Relationships

For Your Kids - Your child will have a different relationship with siblings, grand parents, friends etc. Don’t define or control these. Don’t be the point of contact for your child, don’t micro manage your child’s relationships. When you do that you are inviting stress. Accept your child’s relationship with others. Don’t feel insecure if your child is closer to a grandparent or someone else. When a parent is secure, it brings a sense of security within a child.

For You - Parents must have good relations with each other and the family as this will reflect on the child. Nurture relationships. Family ties decide the emotional strength of an individual.

5.     Well being

For your kids - Kids need to be safe and secure and should know that they can approach you about their fears. They should know that they will not be shouted at, ridiculed or laughed at about their fears.

For you - Your duty is not just to give them the latest, technology and fashion but also the safety and security of their overall well being. Look out for your child.

6.     Belonging

For Your Kids - When we belong, we care, when we care, we love and when we love, we can protect and defend and stand up for or fight for what we love.  Let children belong to themselves first. Don’t try and control every emotion. Don’t micro-manage your kids. Give them the freedom to take decisions.

For You- Bring belonging in your parenting. Discuss with your spouse or partner, make decisions for your kids together. Never argue or differ in front of the kids, do it in private. Belong to your kids, even in rough times. Don’t give up on yourself or them.

7.     Contribution

For Your Kids - Teach children about what they can give and not only about what they can get. Consciously teach kids that contribution can be in the form of a smile, a hug or some help. It does not have to be a materialistic contribution.

For You- Don’t only contribute laptops or holidays abroad for your children. Contribute your time and effort, so that kids can have the right development and learning. Quality time can be just 20 minutes a day, spent fully focussed on your child, no distractions.

8.     Communication
For Your Kids - Teach children that there are many ways to communicate their feelings and needs. Be open to your child’s way of communication, each child is unique. Teach your child which communication style will get your attention the most. Which means positive styles of communication will be nurtured in your child.

For You - Learn to laugh, smile, giggle tell stories, make gestures, wiggle your eyebrows, furrow your brow or hug. Learn ways to communicate with your child. Be a fun parent!

9.     Exploration

For your kids - Children are born explorers and they love exploring your limits! Set boundaries, set limits, but at the same time ensure that you give them choices too. This will help them explore their potential.

For you - Explore different ways of dealing with your child. One size never fits all! Try different approaches in stressful situations and yes, change your parenting style as per the age of your child. Trying being in a child’s shoes, after all we were all their once!


Manju Joshi said...

Holistic development cannot be achieved without Family and community’s proper Relationships, Well being and Belonging to child which ultimately leads Empowerment. This can be contribution in growth of child by communication and exploration. Jewel for life, easy method to come out of stress felt by parents. Ma’am nine steps not only for kids but also for parents. It works for most of the mothers and will help them to move easily in hand holding their kids.

bhavna said...

This 'precious' article is a beautiful dual guidance from a parent and a child's point of view...if followed it will lead us to a stress free time with our children...truly the 'navratnas of parenting' are extremely precious,valuable and regal.

Snehal Pjk said...

It is said stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him . This article has taught me about the role of parent towards child. These nine jewels of parenting made me understand If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
He a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

pjkparbhani said...

Respeceted ma'am,
It is said that family is the first school for a child and that school now will be perfect by reading this article. Maybe many of our parents have Original pearls, diamonds,...etc. all Navratnas but now they will surely feel that 'We were incomplete before this as we didn't have real NAVRATNAS ! Your precious thoughts will make RICH to parents like me!

jayshree shah said...

Respected Ma'am,
as a child i had read emperor Akbar had 9 navratnas in his kingdom and that made him best emperor in history today you have written article about how stress free upbringing of the child will help parents and children for smoother relationship and life style.You are navratnas tips will work as magic for any parent.

vaishali joshi said...

Respected ma'am,

wonderful words, every child is different, need to handle in different ways. For solution to any problem need to be calm. Thanks for precious guidelines to enjoy the childhood without stress and with lots of fun!!!!!!!!!!! as it come only once, we enjoyed, now kids time to enjoy, joy is right of every child.
Vaishali Joshi

RB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RB said...

Nice Article, but as a parent who's child goes to school in an UNSAFE School bus with no seat belt, it really does not appeal to me.

I dont understand why my child, a student of Podar Jumbo Kids, Kharghar, has to avail of a school bus without a basic safety norm as a seat belt. Really sad, that safety of the child is not of prime importance to the school authorities.

Twinmom said...

Hello Ma'm, an encouraging & inspiring article on parenting. My observation is that a lot is written on parenting... a great guidance indeed... but nothing much is available on parenting multiples (be it twins or triplets). I guess such families are also increasing. While the tenets of parenting remain the same, there is a quite a bit more to parenting twins. and the stress is much greater.

I say this as a parent of twin boys attending PJK. It will be great if you could also share articles for us.

roshni handa said...

Dear ma'am. Reading nd understanding th navratra were an eye opener fr me. Being a working mother at times things are stressful nd having teenager kids nd dealing with them at home is not that easy. Will surely practice nd o think will b able tu make a difference in th lives of my students nd at home as well.