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Is there a need to talk about parenting?


 

People often wonder why the topic of Parenting has become popular today. Is this a new age fad? Generations of parents have raised their children without discussing techniques and tools. Do we think today's children are more difficult to manage or is the world we live in, a more complex and challenging one?

May be, just maybe, it’s all this and more!

Maybe, today's children are hard to manage as we parents demand and expect much more of them or maybe, the world has changed and we need to reinvent the way we parent. Or maybe we wish to parent differently from the way we were brought up.  

Family, more than any other factor influences how a child turns out. Today, we have science available to us about how a child's brain is shaped by early experiences. And if this is the power of family, what are we as a society, doing to empower families in this task? Are families being supported with the knowledge and skills to raise children to be responsible, caring compassionate, self disciplined individuals?

So, yes we need to talk about parenting

So that:

·  Every parent has access to a community of other parents and professionals with whom to learn and be supported in this all important task.

·  Every child has parents who have been empowered with the information and skills to be able to create a nurturing environment

Have a look at these videos from The Centre for the Developing child, Harvard which show us  videos how experiences with caregivers literally shape the architecture of a child's brain! 

 http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/experiences-build-brain-architecture/

 http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/serve-return-interaction-shapes-brain-circuitry/

 In these videos we see that what children need most  for their optimum development  is deep connection and warm caring relationships with caregivers.  

 So let’s bring discussions about parenting to centre stage, where they belong.  Let's talk about what children need to thrive and develop their full potential. It will help us be the best parents we can  be  and help create the kind of society we want to live in.

 Brain Fact:If you think of the brain as a human skyscraper, a child’s experiences in the early years are how the foundation is built. We all know what could happen if you build a skyscraper on a weak foundation; the same is true for building brains. 

click here to listen to the recording of the show which was aired on Chennai Live 104.8 FM on November 20th, 2015.

 

 

Radio Show bulletin 5

 

Wires Crossed:Why do parents and children have trouble conversing?


 

Parents complain: My kids don't talk to me. They are always busy on their phones or computers. If I ask what happened today they say "Nothing much."


Children/ young adults complain: "What the use of talking to my parents. They really don't get me."


There is so much to get done during the day that when our children come excitedly to us to talk and share, we often say "later" and that moment is lost forever. And when we parents get the time to connect, the enthusiasm from the children is gone.
• Why does it get tough to keep the conversation going with our children?
• Could it be our beliefs about our role as parents or how we view our children that come in the way?
• Why we are unable to share what is closest to our hearts with the people in our own homes?
• What can be done to change these dynamics and make conversations at home more open, light hearted and meaningful?

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It is important for parents and children to make time by sharing what is happening in their lives with each other, exchanging ideas and opinions, sharing joys and regrets of the day...all these help in building communication in families. To sustain this is almost an art, because as children grow up ,they become more independent having the ability to keep themselves occupied. Parents need to recognize opportunities to interact, be available to their children so that they can continue to nurture this bond.

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Brain fact: When the child receives empathy from the parent, good hormones like Oxytocin and Opioids are released in the brain which promotes emotional and social intelligence. This also helps the child (eventually an adult) to manage stress and view the world as a warm and inviting place.

This show was aired on 104.8 FM on Wednesday, 23rd December, 2015 and spoke about what blocks healthy communication -whether it is responding to toddlers having big feelings or teenagers not wanting to share their problems with parents...Is there something we can do to create deeper connection in families?

 

 

 

Radio Show bulletin 7

 

Why do teenagers behave the way they do?Understanding the teenage brain


teenage-daughter and momParents of teenagers lament," I don't know my child any more,If I ask him a question he answers in a single word. He wants to spend time only with his friends. I don't know what is going on"!


And the teenagers complain, "My parents just don't understand a thing about my life. They have a problem with everything I want to do!"


Parents often wonder what happened to their little one who used to love spending time with them. What parents really want is to keep the connection with their growing children. Teenagers on the other hand, want explore new areas, as novelty has high appeal, have wide moods from being sullen to zestful, want to spend time with peers more than family, revel in taking risks and enjoy the thrills of it, question and defy family traditions etc.


According to Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., an internationally acclaimed author, award-winning educator, and child psychiatrist, they exhibit these behaviours because there is a huge transformation taking place in the structure and function of the brain which pushes teenagers to become independent and prepare themselves for adulthood. He explains this concept of what a teenage brain needs using the acronym ESSENCE. This awareness helps in demystifying teenage years and renews connection between parents and children.


ES: Emotional Spark—honouring these important internal sensations that are more intense during adolescence but serve to create meaning and vitality throughout our lives.
SE: Social Engagement—the important connections we have with others that support our journeys through life with meaningful, mutually rewarding relationships.
N: Novelty—how we seek out and create new experiences that engage us fully, stimulating our senses, emotions, thinking, and bodies in new and challenging ways.
CE: Creative Explorations—the conceptual thinking, abstract reasoning, and expanded consciousness that create a gateway to seeing the world through new lenses."


Check out this link to see Daniel Siegel's talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH-BO1rJXbQ

This show was aired on 104.8 FM on Wednesday, 13th January 2016

 

Radio Show bulletin 6

 

Punishment- Does it help build discipline?


Parents often say," If I don't threaten or scold my child nothing will ever get done at home!"


And children feel, "I better not tell my parents about this, they will just end up shouting at me.''


Many of us grew up being corrected by punishments like being scolded, threatened, privileges being withdrawn, hit or getting the silent treatment from parents and teachers when we did something they thought was wrong. This way of disciplining children stems from the belief that adults need to make children feel bad so that they can learn the lesson. Thinking back, we all can recount how being corrected in this manner left us feeling fearful, lonely, sad, rebellious or more.
What we parents actually want is for our children to grow up having a good sense of balance, habits and ethics. And sometimes, we end up punishing them to build these qualities as we don't know any other way.


How do these punishments affect children? Do they help them in building inner discipline? Does it help our relationship with our children or does it end up making them lie and do things behind our back?


What does actually punishment do?
A child, when punished gets caught up in his own feelings rather than reflecting on what he may have done wrong. While some children become fearful and submissive, others want to challenge the person in authority and become rebellious.

Punishment may work to get the job done for now and as long as there is fear of punishment the child does what is expected. So this defeats the parent's true intention of inculcating life values and skills.

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Brain fact: Punishing children makes them anxious, increasing release of stress hormones in the brain, and blocking any chance of learning and reasoning.
This show was aired on 104.8 FM to talk about the impact of punishment on children and what can we do to help children build inner discipline on Wednesday, 30th December 2015

 

 

Radio Show bulletin 8

 

Are rewards any better than punishments?


 

Parent says,” If you come first in class we will get you a cycle. OR If you do not fight with your brother I will give you a chocolate.”
 
Child thinks,” So let me study until I get the cycle and then I don’t need to. What happens if I do not come first, maybe I will have to copy.
OR I will be nice to him until I get the chocolate and even if I fight with my brother I will make sure my father and mother are not there!”
 
Doesn’t this sound familiar?  We often resort to rewarding children in the hope of motivating or changing their behavior. We, parents might be shocked to know what the children are actually thinking! So we need to ask ourselves:
 

 

  • Do rewards help our children do the right things for the right reasons?
  • Will our children study with genuine interest to learn or only to get the cycle? What if, the grades are not good despite putting in all the effort ? Will he then feel punished by not getting the reward?
  • Do the rewards then grow bigger as the children grow older?
  • How do rewards affect sibling relationships-when one child gets a reward and the other, despite all her efforts, does not?     

 

It is very crucial for us as parents to think through these questions when we choose to use rewards. Rewards are what we give conditionally - gifts, stars, smiley stickers for good behavior, praise, bribes. We are raising children by bribing them to wake up, brush teeth, get ready on time, eat their vegetables, finish homework etc.


Parents want the best for their children but by rewarding we are nullifying the child’s desire to learn! Wouldn’t we want our children to do the right things for the right reasons rather than the enticement of a sweet?

rewards-quote

This show was aired on 104.8 FM on Wednesday, 20th January 2016