Talk by Ali Khwaja……………Parenting


I attended a talk on Parenting by Ali Khwaja on 14th Feb in IISc (a rather strange thing according to others on Valentine’s Day :D)……..and here, I write about that talk. When I was going for the talk, I was mentally prepared for a talk of Do and Don’ts!!!!! But when I sat through the talk, I realized that speaker was not insisting on your being this way or that way, it was more about how you could be! And he just left you with messages that you could ponder and modify according to the needs of your child……

I know that I am not a parent but I still went for the talk. And here is a summary of the talk, written pointwise to make it easy to understand:

1. Father’s role: The first step towards good parenting is to realize the fact that the word “parenting” is a combination of TWO words: Mothering and Fathering. No amount of one can compensate for the other. So, a father is as important to the kid as is the mother. So, it’s time the men woke up who think raising kids is the woman’s job and all they have to do is come home and watch TV……….

2. Listen to your child: When the child comes back from school, he/she has stories to tell like, this girl pulled that girl’s hair, this person threw water on that person, this person fought with that person…….LISTEN to the child. He/she is NOT telling you about the event per se. It’s their feelings about the event that they are expressing. To the child, YOU are the world. They vent out their feelings to YOU. YOU have to understand them and respond in an appropriate manner. If the kid is excited about something, you can listen to her/him and gently prod to make them reveal what THEY feel about the event. Maybe, you can explain to them that it’s not good to fight/throw water on other people. This will make the child feel important and loved. Just HEARING them is NOT enough, LISTEN to them, understnad them………..when these kids reach adolescence, they’ll confide in you and are less likely to go wrong in choosing their paths. BECOME YOUR CHILD’S FRIEND…….

3. Be their role models: In the world of today, where children face a severe lack of role-models, be one yourself. No matter how much you lecture, the only way kids learn is by example. If you honestly pay your taxes, children will learn the importance of being honest towards Government. If only you maintain your calm most of the times, children will learn to stay calm themselves. Children may make BAD learners but they make EXCELLENT imitators. So, watch what you do. Your children are watching you ALL THE TIME.

4. Answer children’s questions honestly: Children are curious and their first target for their questions are parents. When a child walks up to you to ask an explanation for something he/she doesn’t understand, NEVER answer it as “When you’ll grow up, you’ll understand” or “Don’t ask silly questions”. As such our Education system works overtime in killing our children’s curiosity. DO NOT ADD TO THAT! You may not always know the answer, true. But guide the children towards the PROPER sources for answers. And confess it honestly, if you don’t know. Sometimes, the answers may not fall within the regime of child’s understanding. SIMPLIFY things but do answer your kids’ queries. In this age of information technology, it’s not particularly difficult for the child to dig the information out. WHERE the child gets the information from (whether the source is authentic/proper) is something YOU can have a say in. If you answer the child in an honest and simplified way, the child may ask more questions but a little bit of your patience in such instances can save a lot of confusion the child may face if he/she gets the same information in a distorted way from somewhere else.

5. Treat children as if they matter: A lot of children grow up as creatures excluded from the running of the house (because “they won’t understand much of it anyway”). They don’t leanr routine things like money management as their opinions are neer sought. They are never made to understand the importance of managing money. Start these lessons early and who knows, when you ask the kid for his/her opinion, he/she may really give you an altogether different prespective.

6. Accept your child’s uniqueness: Every child is unique. By comparing the child with ANYONE else (it could be the sibling, the neighbour, the classmate), you kill the child’s self-esteem. NEVER compare. Encourage the activities child is good at. Be involved in their life. Stand by them when they face difficulties. Children do tend to feel lonely if their parents aren’t worried about what they are doing and how they are doing it.

IN short, Parenting is a job more involved than any other but the rewards are rich!!!!! These very children will grow up to treat you with respect if you respect them when they were kids. So, start early and invest in parenting continuously.




  1. fuse me said,

    February 17, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    My My!! Why ever do you want to attend all these stuff now!! You hsould have enjoyed your Valentines day still 9 months to children’s day!! 😉

  2. Ajit Chouhan said,

    February 25, 2006 at 2:11 am

    It’s always wise to have all the gyan..

  3. Pritesh said,

    February 25, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Haha! Nice point of view Ajit! 😀

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