The parenting handbook

Being a parent is the most important job of your life. Some ways to help you do it well and enjoy it too

happy family young mother father and daughterParenting comes with its highs, lows and pressures. While you want to give best values to your child, don’t get disturbed by some of your actions or behaviour. Kids and their behaviours need to be dealt with care and understanding. I have tried to cull some here.

  1. Children are well-behaved, if their parents have a high level of dedication towards them.This is probably what all of us like to think when our brood behaves well vis-a-vis that of our relatives. Before you start taking credit for that once-in-a-while good behaviour, be aware that this is not likely to happen every time. Kids are nonchalant about their activities and don’t give two hoots what others think, when they’re in a mood to play and jump around. There would also be times when your otherwise decent adolescent would throw tantrums and fuss over things. But, parents cannot be blamed for this. Taking control Instead of fretting and fuming over your kid’s misbehaviour, analyse it and see how grave the mistake is,” says Reena Saxena, a Delhi-based counsellor. “For example, if your child breaks a vase while running in the living room, you could dismiss it as a case of carelessness after telling her to be more vigilant. But, if your adolescent takes to smoking, you’ll need to give her a firm talk about its ill-effects on her health and also keep track of whether she’s making an effort to change her ways or not.”
  2. Parents who can’t give enough time to their kids end up spoiling them.“There is no substitute for quality time, but the physical presence of the parent is not essential every time,” says Reena. There are times when just a phone call or a note left by you for your child can make up for your absence. As long as your act makes her feel cared for, you need not worry about not being able to be physically present at times when you really cannot.
    Taking control A good example here is of mothers who have to leave their kids at a day-care centre when they go for work and keep feeling guilty about it. “Keep track of what is happening at the day-care and be involved with the caregiver,” maintains Reena. A daily interaction with her about this will help you know her better, help her accept the day-care and take away a lot of your unnecessary guilt.
  3. Good parents never fight in front of their kids. It is not only difficult, but impossible not to fight or argue in front your kids. A fight takes place when all other means of communication cease and your anger reaches its peak. You need a lot of patience to put off a fiery situation for a better time, away from kids.
    Taking control Remember that if you are angry and seething inside, it is not possible for you to behave normally with anyone around you. “So, in a scenario where you are upset with your spouse and your kid asks you to play with her don’t go along half-heartedly,” says Reena. “Instead, excuse yourself for 10 minutes, take charge of your emotions and either speak to your partner or go and hit the pillow till you feel better. Then, come back to your child to play with a light heart.”
  4. New-age parents need to be well-versed with the explosion in information. A whole lot of knowledge or even good education cannot make you a good parent. What’s important is how you put your knowledge to use while parenting.
    Taking control Whether you are a simple corporate employee or the CEO, all you have to be to your child is a simple, ordinary parent who can accept her own mistakes and learn from them. There was once a little girl who when asked how old she was, said, “I am five and a half and so is my mom.” A gentle and sweet reminder that parenting is learnt with age and parents are no older than their children are.
  5. Individuals who have good parents become good parents. You may have had the best and the most saintly parents who showered their love and all that you wanted, but that could well turn you into an individual who has similar demands from society. On the other hand, the most neglected children in the world may become the most caring parents, if they want to give their children what they couldn’t get themselves.
    Taking control What your parents did with you may have been right at that point of time, but may not work for your children in the present circumstances. For example, finishing dinner before seven and sleeping by 7.30 pm may have been an option for you as a child, but isn’t feasible for today’s kids who get back late from school and have so much home work. Making them sleep early doesn’t work of all, as many parents work late and may not be able get a chance to interact with them at all.
  6. Parents have a right to spank their children for disciplining them.Spanking will only hurt your child—physically and emotionally. It instils fear in their tender minds and gives them the impression that this is the only way to make others listen. Studies reveal that such children become rebellious, bitter, angry and socially isolated.
    Taking control Don’t look for a quick-fix solution to discipline your child. Let your treatment be progressive. Discuss what went wrong and then give an explanation of the repercussions of your child’s mistake.
  7. If parents are in sync, so are their beliefs about parenting.You could be the most envied couple in town or be the most compatible one amongst friends, but that doesn’t mean you will have similar ideas about raising your children. No two people have the same thought processes or problem-solving skills and gender does make a lot of difference.
    Taking control If your kids are young, it is advisable to keep your disagreements at bay when they are around. Find a time to discuss a few important things like discipline management, education, and health of your children between the two of you and then keep to those norms. “It is a good idea to include your adolescent in your family matters involving your parents, in-laws and spouse,” says Reena. This will help develop life skills and diplomacy in them.
  8. Parenting comes naturally to well-intentioned parents. Parenting skills are learnt with experience, they are not intrinsic. You need to change with the ever-changing needs of your child. What works for you today may not apply tomorrow and what works for others may not be the best solution for you.
    Taking control There is no instruction manual to becoming a good parent. You learn from your child just the way she learns from you. You also learn from other parents and from your own experiences. Don’t be judgmental with your child and tell her that she should do a certain thing because you have been doing it. Instead, adopt a problem-solving approach, and explain why it should be done.

Awareness is a great way to dispel longstanding myths. It helps you become the thinking parents of today. So, let go and unburden yourself, you deserve it, and so do your children.

Priti Salian
Priti Salian is a teacher by profession and a writer by choice. Her interests include yoga, health, parenting and social awareness. She lives in New Delhi.


  1. Priti, very nice article!! Loved the way you captured it.
    Looking forward to read more on parenting…do let me know.
    Also referring ur article to my bro

  2. HI Priti
    Its great to recieve ur reply.Yes you said it correct each child is different thus i wanna ask few specific question related to my child. Which Id should I write to? Please advice.

  3. Hi Sheetal,

    It is good to know that my article could help you in some way. We have to keep in mind that all children are individuals and as parents we cannot follow the same yardstick that others do, to bring up our own lot. So, being different doesn’t mean being wrong.As long as it works for you and your child, it’s right!

    If you wish to read anything specific on parenting, do let us know.

  4. As a working parents we both were facing hard time to deal with our 6 yr old son’s changing behaviour(Hyperactive). I really can’t express what m i feeling after reading this article. I m bit relaxed and confident that i will be able to handle him more carefully now. Thank you very much.


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