No text books, no written tests, no diplomas and degrees are available for parent-child interaction. All that is needed is experience, ability to meet life'smany demands and the satisfaction of having built strong and loving bonds. There are no shortcuts to a lifetime of learning and teaching.
Written by a practicing counsellor based in Pune as well as at Mumbai, this primer is meant for those contemplating parenthood and for those who are parents and those who are ?para-parents?, like grandparents, uncles, etc. The book tells us that there are many life issues that children are ?not taught, tested, corrected or rewarded for in school.? The lessons are best learnt in the family ? at the dining table, before retiring to bed, during playtime, in the kitchen, during a family crisis.
This book explains the process of parenting through alphabets and words formed with them.
A is for apologise and learning to apologise and forgive constitutes an important life skill. Teaching a child to say sorry involves empathy, that is, teaching him to put himself in the shoes of the person whom he hurts.
B is for boundaries and it cautions a parent against telling too much too the child as the burden may be too much for him to handle. B is also for bullies; so a child should be taught to tackle bullies – with neither violence nor with cowardice.
C is for comparison, counsellor and criticism. Good parenting means desisting from pointing to other children as ?good examples? because it is like belittling your child. When there is any strain in the parent-child relationship, then a counsellor can be allowed to step in. Genuine feedback, rather than harsh criticism, works wonders.
D is for discipline and is essential for children.
E is for emotional intelligence and is the key to personal development, stable relationships and meaningful careers. E is also used for excelling so as to become achievers but not through gross overdrive.
Thus V is for violence which should be shunned by parents as well as children. Accusations, resentments, judgements and condescending attitudes should be avoided like plague.
Through alphabets, this book offers suggestions solutions and most importantly food for thought for all of us who, as parents or grandparents, have to play a demanding, dynamic but rewarding role. Ultimately all the points aim at building a strong bond between the parent and the child.
(JaicoBooks, A-2 Josh Chamber, Sir Phirozeshah Mehta Road, Fort, Mumbai-400 001.)