Monday, 11 March 2013


Research shows that colours have a significant influence in your life. Know your colours, because the colour of your child's room, have the potential to influence the child.  .

When a child is a toddler, the favourite colour is inevitably, the colour red. ‘I want a red ball, red shoes, red car’ etc. And then comes the awareness of other colours from primary to secondary and then to a mix and match and sometimes conjuring up their own colours. Colours are something that we take for granted in the environment but if used well can help you get the best out of our moods.

Colours have an impact on our moods and emotions; this is a known fact of colour therapy. Children bring colour to our life, so let’s add more colour to their life.
Did you know that colours impact your health? Well here are a few interesting facts about colour

v  Red is a warming and stimulating colour and excessive amounts can lead to anger, irritability or hyperactivity, naturally because it is a stimulating colour. Too much of it avoidable in a bedroom

v  Orange is an anti depressant colour, which means it can make you joyous; no wonder some communities tie colourful orange flowers on their doors!  Maybe a little in the room

v  Yellow is calming, promotes well being and happiness and in children it is associated as a happy colour- happy sun, happy sunflowers….. yes definitely will help

v  Green is again calming and relaxing and imparts a feeling of energy. Try walking on green grass or going to a green garden, you automatically feel calm, relaxed and rejuvenated. Hmmm this too is good for the room

v  Blue is a soothing colour and induces calm and restful sleep without nightmares! Lots of it in the room.

v  And brain research says that colours that enhance brain function are- yellow, beige and off white for optimal learning and red, orange and yellow spark energy and creativity. Maybe in the child’s study corner.

(I think the above answers your next question about decor of a child’s room and behaviour)

Spatial arrangements-
The room should be demarcated into three zones, the sleep zone, the study zone and the play zone. The sleep zone can have more softer colours and focus is on sleeping so the lighting etc should match. The study zone should have additional lights that can be switched on and the study table should have utility and health based furniture, the height of the table, the chair all need to be designed as per the age of the child. The play zone should be a small area maybe for books, or general toys that child can sit and play. This helps the child in understanding that bed is not for playing or studying and also helps cultivate healthy habits. A bed is uncluttered and means better hygiene for sleep.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


When flying between the Earth and the Moon, the Apollo spacecraft was off course more than 90 percent of the time. On their lunar voyages the crew would constantly bring the craft back to its intended trajectory. They were not on a perfect path but a critical path. Because they knew their intended target they could correct their spacecraft whenever it wandered off- Anon

Teenagers are on a voyage to adulthood, they will veer off course like the Apollo but we need to know that as long as they come back to the intended trajectory which in their case is a healthy, happy life, we can be there to correct their spacecraft as and when required. No teenager will be perfect what is critical is that they are given a perfect chance.

Most parents are afraid that as their kids approach teenage, they will become stubborn, fall prey to wrong company, start bad habits and be difficult to communicate with. Well, teenagers will do this if they do not have the right support from parents, so instead of worrying parents should prepare for the teenage years, much in advance. And as the teenage years approach they should adopt a method called, ‘teen mentoring’.

According to Sigmund Freud adolescence is marked with ‘egos’ that leads to some level of superiority complex and inferiority complex as well. Author of the book, Stress In Young People, Sarah McNamara says, “Because adolescents have greater levels of logical and critical thinking and problem solving they are involved in establishing social identity. It is not only a time of opportunity but also of vulnerability to risk behaviours which can have lifelong consequences, especially for health.”

So the trick is to start preparing for the adolescent period early on, as those who have a healthy relationship with parents and teachers are able to stay away from harm whereas others succumb to it and engage in behaviours that jeopardise their healthy development.

So how can teenagers stay away from peer pressure? First comes an understanding that peer pressure is just another form of bullying in which the bully is your friend! Teach your kids to take hold of their life and where it is headed; teach them that no one should be ruling it but you. And for kids to take hold of their life, parents need to trust them with the independence of decision making and choices. If you are going to make all the decisions about your child, then your child will not be able to function without you and so when faced bullies your child will succumb. So stop being a ‘bully parent’.

Secondly, parents to teach kids that whenever they are in doubt about a decision - don’t do, teach them to seek advice from a parent. And for kids to be able to come to you for advice, you need to develop an open relationship that is non-judgemental, non threatening and accepting.

Thirdly, adolescents must get ‘social competence training’; teach them how to deal with stress management, self-esteem, problem-solving, substances and health; assertiveness and social networks. From your parenting tool kit, remove the word ‘no’ and replace it with, ‘let’s talk about this’, remove the words, ‘you are lazy, I don’t want to hear any excuses’ and replace with,’ so let’s find a way that you can do both’. Remember criticism hardens children and conflict resolution helps them nurture.

Fourthly start having ‘conversations’ with your child to understand how your child will react or think in difficult situations. Play a game of ‘Scruples’ to understand your child’s thinking and reasoning ability under emotional situations.

People who lack in self esteem are more liable to fall prey to peer pressure.   Find out if your child is always thinking negative or positive? Then instil confidence in your child, ‘I can! I will! I am sure! And it’s my life I will make it good’, are all statements that will help. Remove self doubt and replace with self will.

The next dilemma that most teenagers face when it comes to peer pressure is how to say no to friends! In such a case you need to cultivate assertiveness. Assertiveness is really about being fair- to yourself and all others.  Assertiveness means realizing that your feelings are neither more nor less important than those or other people, but rather they are equally important. Assertiveness helps you to talk about yourself without self-consciousness, to accept compliments, to disagree politely, to say no and to be relaxed around other people even when you differ or disagree with what they believe. And this is so important when dealing with peer pressure,

What adults can do is, accept that the child is now an adult and talk to him and relate to him accordingly. Instead of always shouting or lecturing him try ‘teen whispering’, which means having a quiet, discussion in which both the parent and the teen puts forward their point of view and way ahead.

When faced with peer pressure teens can use the fingers-thumb test to decide whether to succumb to the pressure or not. This test uses each digit of your hand and helps you self question and decide, so teach your kids to use this when they face peer pressure.

  • Pointer finger- we always use this to point at others, so ask yourself if I fall prey to peer pressure will I be headed in the right direction or will I always have fingers pointing at me and labelling me for my incorrect decision.
  • Tall man- I want to stand tall and be the best in my life, so then what my peers are telling me to do, will it make me best in my eyes or only in theirs?
  • Ring man- stands for love and family, so before taking the decision under peer pressure, ask yourself what would my family want me to do?
  • Little finger- have I thought about the minute repercussions to my health and reputation if I fall prey to this peer pressure?
  • Thumb- a thumbs up says that you took a decision after weighing all the pros and cons and after considering the advice of all important people- peers, stress busters (family, teacher, friend) and yourself.
Parents need to understand that their parenting style needs to change with each stage of development of their child. You cannot treat an eight year old like a 3 year old of treat an eighteen year old like an eight year old. So here Rudolf Steiner the German educationist has good advice for parents-

They learn by IMITATION
They learn with AUTHORITY
They learn with INDEPENDENCE
They need LIBERTY
They need EQUALITY
They need friends and FRATERNITY
They need a SPIRITUAL approach
They need ‘LEGAL’ rules and consistent consequences
They understand ECONOMIC and so need pocket money etc.