Counselling Corner


School Counsellor


There has been much debate of late on Patriotism and Freedom of Speech .What does Patriotism mean and is it linked to Freedom of Speech?  We need to be clear in our minds about such issues before we embark on heated debates about them.

Here I would like to restrict myself to  the terms  “patriotism” and “freedom of speech” in as far as it is concerned with that phase in life when one is still engaged in studies at a place of learning. A sense of belonging and pride about one’s place of learning contributes to one’s own image and sense of worth. Thus it means upholding the rules, regulations, traditions, policies and protocol which are associated with the institution. In fact, admission into any institution pre-supposes that one will abide by them.

During the phase of learning, it is important to have an open mind and question what one learns. It is important to discuss, and seek answers to doubts that arise in one’s mind. Inquiry and inquisitiveness in learning help a student to understand every aspect of the subject being taught and learnt.

To question and to debate on any subject is desirable as long as propriety and decorum are observed. When decorum is violated, the discussion turns argumentative and sometimes offensive. It is then no longer conducive to learning.

Student years are for learning and not for engaging in trade-union type of activities and political side tracking. The acquisition of education must be engaged in with single minded purpose. All round education also includes other extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. In most colleges and universities, student bodies are formed where elections are held to choose representatives, who form a core committee to serve as the link between the students and the faculty or management. The objective of such student bodies is to address issues that concern the students and their interactions with the faculty. Outside issues, especially political ones should ideally be avoided unless they are purely as a means of academic discussions. Participation in such a group serves as a method of obtaining practical experience of team work, brain storming, enhancing communication skills and leadership qualities.  Hence, most educational institutions encourage the formation of such student bodies. A prudent student is one who balances academics with sports and co-curricular activities.

Being patriotic means respecting one’s nationand unconditionally embracing all the signs and symbols associated with one’s nation. Whole heartedly accepting and taking pride in singing the national anthem and national songs, respecting the national flag and strictly following the rules which determine how, where and when it is to be displayed, acknowledging the national language  and most important, undertaking to protect one’s  heritage and motherland against invaders and enemies. It is the duty of every citizen to pledge to protect the territorial integrity of the nation. If any person, in any way demonstrates disrespect for the nation, then the patriotism of that person becomes questionable.

Our constitution guarantees us freedom of speech. Is this an absolute right granted at all times to all people? When elected members of Parliament take oath, they pledge to maintain confidentiality in matters that concern the nation’s security. This automatically curtails their freedom of speech on this issue. Similarly, anyone in any organization may need to handle confidential files. Such a person too cannot exert complete freedom of speech. Freedom of speech isrelative and attendant with great responsibility and self-imposed restraint in many holding positions of accountability. Therefore, one cannot argue that freedom of speech is absolute at all times. Free speech is a right we can all enjoy to a large extent in private but in public gatherings, shouting slogans and freely expressing hatred towards others people or the institution / university / state / or nation is tantamount to a blatant abuse of the freedom of speech. No freedom should be exercised by a person when it can result in the insult or injury of another. If it is done, then the person is answerable.

Many senior students will soon pass out of schools into institutions of higher learning. There will be many choices as they enter the threshold of this new phase and landmark in their lives. I am confident that each student who passes out of this school will be a patriotic citizen of this country who upholds all the values taught here.

My best wishes to all of you for a bright future.

Dr. ShakuntalaDawesar                         

14th, March 2016

Home work and Examinations


Learning is a procedure that involves a series of steps. Spoken speech requires less effort than written speech and hence the convention,the world over, to send children to school where the teaching is done verbally by teachers, making it easier for the student to learn. A degree of proficiency in the language, in which the lessons are taught, is required by the student to fully understand what is taught. What is understood is generally stored in the mind but it will become hazy with time, unless it is revised. The number of times a lesson needs to be revised in order to train the mind to recall it at will, may differ from person to person. Each of us must make an effort to understand our own potential and limitations so that we can be realistic in setting our goals and time frame for preparation of our lessons.

Every person has different abilities and different degrees of the same abilities. What one person may learn in 45 minutes another may take one hour.  Each of us must learn to assess our individual ability to learn lessons, do homework and prepare for written tests. The objective should be to improve one’s own performance and not to outdo another’s. If I need an hour to learn a lesson then I must set aside that one hour and get started with learning the lesson. This will ensure sufficient time for learning and decrease stress within. It is when we race against time and set unrealistic goals for ourselves that we are unable to cope and that is when we experience additional stress. While preparing lessons for tests, allow yourself points for accomplishing the targets you have set for yourself.. This gives a sense of achievement and acts as an incentive for reaching higher. Grades are a necessary evil in a system of assessment and merit ranking is only a case of relative performance. Do not worry unduly about your rank. Put your efforts into learning and preparing your lessons and be sure to revise. As long as you have studied and done your best, you need not have any apprehensions. After class tests and examinations discuss the subject of your papers with your parents. Take them into confidence and tell them your own assessment of your performance. This will prepare them for the results when they are finally declared. Parents want to be a part of their child’s life. Do not deprive them of this joy by being aloof or non-communicative. They will always be sympathetic to your needs. Even if something goes amiss, share your fears with them. Parents are your best friends and will be willing to do anything for your happiness….although at this stage in life you may not think so. If you have a problem in understanding the lessons tell your parents at the earliest so that they may be able to help out in some way. If anything else worries you, share your anxieties with themPeer rivalry also creates tensions. An excellent way to diminish this is by being appreciative of your rival’s talents. If someone scores better marks, compliment the person. It works in an amazing way to create good will and foster better relations. If a classmate has a better handwriting, compliment the person for it. Good will tends to be infectious and very soon, each person sees the positive in others rather than the negative and this causes interpersonal stresses to decline all around.

Being made fun of can undermine the sense of self-worth so never make fun of others. If you do not make fun of others, others will not make fun of you and you will not have to suffer the embarrassment of ridicule.

Tests and examinations are only one part of student life. Exercise, leisure and all other daily activities related to health and hygiene must go on so each student must ensure that their activities are optimally balanced, with adequate time for sleep.


14th September 2015

Personality Development

Talking to students in the pre-teen age group I asked them what the term personality meant to them. Some of the answers which emerged were:
• Respecting elders
• Being kind
• Being well mannered
• Being neat and clean
• Being helpful
• Attitude
• Self-confidence
I elaborated that the overall personality included one’s outward appearance and attitude as well as one’s inner attributes and abilities which constitute one’s character.
To have a well-rounded personality, one must work towards possessing these qualities. Good manners and grooming can be acquired by observing these qualities in others and making a concerted effort to inculcate them.
Character building, however, requiredgreater discipline and sense of purpose. To be kind, helpful and considerate of others, one must truly feel these qualities. This is best done by following the simple rule of putting oneself in the other’s position. It is not achieved over night. But each effort that is made helps to overcome any hesitation or selfishness that may exist and one automatically learns to be mindful of the others. This eventually gets reflected in one’s behaviour and personality.
Explaining the meaning of chivalry and its role in the development of one’s character and personality, I asked the students to begin now, by practising to acquire these qualities. How nice if boys offered their seats in the bus to girls or older women. How nice if all students, helped the elderly or disabled to cross a busy street or help to carry their baggage when doing so. How nice if one offered to help parents with simple daily chores when one is not engaged in studies or other duties.
A good personality also meant conquering baser feelings like anger which could result in the usage of unsavoury language. We discussed the need to think before reacting to what others may say. Caution will help us exercise greater control on the choice of words and this alone can make a big difference to the outcome in any given situation. Civilised thought, speech and behaviour are crucial aspects of a pleasing personality.
Self-confidence comes from knowledge. Knowledge that one is correct, knowledge that one is truthful, knowledge that one is upright, knowledge that one is prepared and doing one’s best. Hence, to acquire this trait one must put in every effort to learn as much as one can and be accomplished in everything that one endeavours to do. The sense of achievement one thus experiences, translates into self-confidence.
It is important to identify role models in one’s community and seek opportunities to interact with them as this can be a crucial motivating factor to inspire an individual to excel. I asked the students to try and identify the role models in their neighbourhood and ask them the secret of their success. While one may not realise the importance of such meetings at this stage in life, often a view point expressed or thoughts shared at such encounters can have a lasting impression on a young mind and help a person to learn to convert dreams into reality.


11th February 2013


The human body is one of the most complex of god’s creations. The body functions almost effortlessly as a well programmed, fuel efficient machine. We are unaware of the working of our liver, brain, heart, kidneys and other vital organs till we fall ill or get injured. Movements of the joints and locomotion occur almost as a reflex, digestion goes on noiselessly, the blood circulates without fuss providing nourishment to each part of the body and the repair and replacement of dead cells goes on all without our awareness.  The brain is the center of our cognitive and behaviourial functions. While we see with our eyes and hear with our ears, it is the brain that interprets these visual and auditory senses. Our ability to think, reason and plan are due to the advanced functions of the brain. If we want the mind and body in a fit condition free from diseases and dependencies then we must ensure that we keep fit by a regular regimen of healthy eating habits and exercise. Most forms of sports and physical exertion provide the body with the stimulus required to build stamina. Yoga, which is time honoured and recognized form of discipline helps maintain mind-body balance, aids in regulating our system and keeping it in optimal order. This fact has been documented the world over and yoga has gained acceptance as an ideal, non-traumatic method of keeping in balanced health

Exercise is essential to keep the body in good working order. Our daily activities like walking, bathing, sitting and standing also form low level exercises. Movements of the body are essential to ensure that muscles remain functional. When there is no movement of any particular part of the body as in those suffering from serious injuries of the limbs which requires immobilization for healing, the muscles begin to waste and this is called disuse atrophy. To keep all muscles in good working order and optimum strength, regular and sustained exercise must become a part of the discipline of life. It is now proven beyond doubt that the mind and body function as a unit and for total well-being the exercises must include the mind in the regimen. It is in this context that Yoga has found such wide acceptance the world over. It allows mind-body balance by incorporating body movements along with deep breathing techniques and meditation. It thus provides a holistic means for keeping the person fit in both body and mind. Yoga is an age old discipline in our country. The knowledge of Yoga, to a large extent has been passed on in a practical manner from teacher to student. There are now many books available on the subject. Since the teachings of Yoga are freely available for us, we must make the best of the opportunity to learn this technique while we are still young so that we can include it in our daily routine and reap the benefits during our entire life span. The main fact which puts yoga on a higher platform as far as exercise of the body is concerned, is that, it teaches non rapid regulated body movements which increase muscle tone and strength without putting us in danger of injuries. Yoga helps us to remain flexible in our movements and is therefore an ideal form of maintaining the body’s strength at every age and stage in life. The breathing techniques and meditation help to calm the mind and reduce the stress and tension which external factors create.

Dr. ShakuntalaDawesar                                                                              

22nd June 2015




Examination stress can cause nervousness. This can lead to sweating, palpitations (increased heart rate), diarrhea, forgetfulness, stammering, stomach cramps and even asthmatic attacks.

Over-anxiety also leads to nervousness.  For counter-acting it one must learn relaxation techniques. Pranayama is an effective method of relaxation. Meditation and prayer also help the mind to relax. Next week the world will observe Yoga Day. It is an excellent opportunity for those of us who are not familiar with it, to learn this form of mind-body  exercise that enhances  self-discipline,  The over-anxiety which causes nervousness is often due to lack of preparedness for the event. Hence, the most effective method of combating nervousness during examination period is by preparing thoroughly for the test/examination. Being well prepared, gives a feeling of self-confidence and this helps to overcome nervousness. To be well prepared for examinations one must begin the process of preparation well in advance and make a time table for study keeping in mind the limited time available for extra study during the week days after school hours. This will mean devoting more time during weekends and holidays to complete revision. Unless High School students are self-motivated and focused on achieving their targets, they will get left behind. I want every student to remember that we need to work really hard and do well in our studies for just 15 yearsor so of our lives ( age 6 to age 21 ) and we can then enjoy the rewards of this hard work for the rest of our lives. If we allow ourselves to be distracted during this stage in life and we fall short of  the requirements of the university, we maynot be able to acquire admission in the course of our choice  and may eventually have to settle for jobs which pay less. We  willthen have no one to blame but ourselves for having lost the opportunity we had for acquiring higher education. Less salary means continued monetary stress and perhaps other related problems.

If one is able to acquire the disciplineof hard work and thorough preparation during the time one spends in school, then this trait will be a tremendous asset throughout life as it will become a habit to be well prepared whatever the pursuit may be.

.In our daily lives, meeting deadlines and targets are a source of constant stress in every age group. In the school going age, it is mainly in the form of learning lessons, appearing for tests and examinations or completing home assignments.  The ability to cope is enhanced by observing regular routines and allocating specific time for each task. Working according to a time table that one has realistically set for oneself, is the best way to ensure a sense of control over the situation and thereby diminish un-necessary tension. One can always take the help of elders in the family and one’s teachers to work out a realistic time table.

Dr. ShakuntalaDawesar                                              

15th June 2015


School Counsellor



Rohan’s father had promised that he would play with him in the evening. Rohan excitedly awaited his father’s return as the evening approached. But alas when his father returned after a busy day at the office he had completely forgotten about his commitment to his son! Expectedly this situations such as this leads to a withdrawal in the ‘emotional bank account’ of Rohan towards his father and stretches the already taut relationship.
Emotional bank account, a metaphor devised by Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, refers to each one of us having a bank account with everyone with whom we interact closely. We have one with our spouse, with our children, with friends and co-workers, and they have one with us. When we have a large balance in our emotional bank account with others, relationships are strong and trust is high. When the balance is low or our account is overdrawn, relationships and trust suffer.
We make withdrawals from our account with others when we are jealous, angry, disappointed or disloyal. We make deposits when we keep our commitments, when we exceed expectations, when we meet needs and when we do little things that show our love and commitment.
As parents we are regarded as role models and it is our duty to make the necessary deposits into our children’s emotional bank accounts to enhance their trust in us and consequently enhancing the relationship.
6 ways of making deposits:
1.Understanding the Individual -Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make is the key to every other deposit.
Taking time to listen and learn what is important to your children is a big deposit in their emotional bank accounts.
If your daughter tells you about her fight with her best friend, listen to her and make her feel she is being understood.
2. Attending to the Little Things-Little courtesies, kind words and warm smiles are at the heart of the little things that brighten up a relationship.
When your son tells you about how he spoke so well in the morning assembly, tell him how proud you are of him.
3. Keeping Commitments-Keeping a commitment or a promise is a major deposit.
There is probably not a more damaging withdrawal than to make a promise that is important to someone and then to fail it – the next time you make a promise, noone will not believe you.
So when you promise your daughter to take her out to her favourite restaurant , make sure you live upto it.
4. Clarifying Expectations- It’s important that the person with whom you are dealing with, knows exactly what is expected of him/her. Doing this will keep them out of the dark and allow them to relate with you confidently, knowing that what they are doing is in line with your expectations.
Communicate with your children on what is expected of them and listen to their expectations from you. Tell your adolescent child what is acceptable for his age and that there is a time for everything. If your children communicate that they want to be understood , listens to at times, give them that space. It may be better advise to listen more and speak less in such moments.
5. Showing Personal Integrity-Personal Integrity generates trust and is the basis of many different kinds of deposit.
Lack of Integrity can undermine almost any other effort to create high trust accounts.
Don’t talk about other people behind their backs with your children. The message it sends them is that when they are not there, you are likely talk about them too in the same way.
6. Apologizing Sincerely When You Make a Withdrawal- When we make withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account, we need to apolozise and we need to do it sincerely.
Knowing when you are wrong and admitting your mistakes prevents the wounds that you’ve caused in others from festering and allows them to heal.
Sincere apologies make a deposit.
Repeating the same mistakes over and over again and then apologizing will probably be interpreted as insincerity and will be a withdrawal.
So if you can’t play with your child as promised because you had a hectic day at work then apologize sincerely and make up for it .
Some others options on deposits:
1. Tell your children that you love them ..“I love you” is easiest!
2. Give them the chance to make some decisions e.g. which tv channel to see , which place to choose for the next vacation
3. Encourage them with “I’m proud of you”.
4. Compliment them- “You look so beautiful/handsome today”.
5. Listen to glimpse their their fascinating thought processes
6. Believe in their dreams
7. And lastly , your child is never too old for a hug, kisses
These emotional investments are likely to fetch you much more than your financial investments, so wish you an overload of deposits in the years to come.
Sukhmeen Cheema
School Counsellor








“To love to learn is the most precious gift that one can give to a child; to love to learn always and everywhere, so that all circumstances, all happenings in life may be constantly renewed opportunities for learning more and always more.” The Mother.
Give your child that daily dose of your loving touch which will make him/ her secure. A secure loving touch produces a special sparkle on the face of the child. If the child does not have this sparkle you can be sure your child is insecure. The child is ignorant of the importance of study in his/ her life because the child has only just embarked on it’s journey. If the most basic need, namely, the security of being wanted, is felt by the child, the child is likely to always succeed in life. For the children, precisely because they are children, it is best to instill in them a confidence to both conquer the future and to learn to consolidate carefully as they negotiate their lives’ course.



Head Teacher, Pre – Primary



How does one teach these values? These are the qualities that make us distinct from other living beings and elevate us, humans, to a special plane! Really ? All animals, Elephant or ant, live as a team, sharing and caring amongst themselves. You don’t have to do Zoology or Anthropology to know this.

It got me thinking that it may be useful to consider introducing an element of nurturing in the daily lives of our children with a pet or even a plant. The child will then learn to care for something beyond him/herself. To be patient and to feel happy when the pet or plant looks content and starts to respond to the caring.
A pet and a plant require different degrees of caring. A plant would make us investigate the type of light, air, warmth and0 nourishment required. The infinite thrill of seeing your plant, bud, flower and fruit would truly be a gift quite priceless to your little one. I lived in a time when my grandma taught me things like what the flowers of worship are, how to make them into garlands, when were they ready 0for plucking, be it a flower or a fruit! I could judge these by touch or the aroma/ fragrance I smelled. The patience required to nurse a baby squirrel that fell out of its nest, protect it from a wild cat and then see it wander about with little ones of it’s own! These are invaluable moments of learning by living. And of Wonder! Why rob your little one or yourself for that matter the opportunity to live by loving?
By Ms. Viji Vasudev
H.T. Pre-primary




PTA – Vice President



Dr Jitender Nagpal and the Life Skills Team

The Management and Teachers of The Indian School

My thoughts today are expressed as a parent and as a part of The Indian School Family, as I like to call it.

From the moment a child is born, every parent aspires to be THE best parent and give THE best to the child. However as time passes by, some parents lose focus and get involved with the more (inevitable) materialistic aspects of life, and some parents just try so hard that they fail miserably and lose their child to over-possessiveness and the effects of peer pressure.

How easy or difficult can it be to strike the right balance at parenting?

In my definition, striking the right balance is not defined by realizing my unfulfilled dreams through my child, or by trying to ensure that my child scores at least 5 marks more than my friends’ – but rather by ensuring that he grows up to be an independent, responsible and fun-loving adult with strong moral values. I would place the strength of a personality much before an A+ report card. I questioned myself often if I had my priorities right.

My son, Gaurav, began shy and did not display drive for excellence in academics,  not that the grades ever bothered me. Though we struggled in our own little way to achieve the best we could in class, I was always more concerned about his all-round development. A mothers’ sixth sense kept nagging me that there was some barrier stopping him from recognizing his abilities but I just could not hit the nail on the head. He would completely shut down at the very suggestion of going on stage to recite even two linesof a poem and his friendship was limited to one friend who was with him since pre- nursery. Attending birthday parties as a toddler was more of a torture for him.

As he entered Class 10, my son was suggested to be a part of the Life Skills and Well-being Program (2011-2012) from The Indian School. It was initially more than enough for me that he volunteered to be a part of a workshop associated with Dr Jitender Nagpal and here I would give a 100% to Mrs Tania Joshi (Vice-Principal) who had the fore-sight to recognize that there is much more behind this boy cocooned in his little world.

After a few Life-Skills workshops and under the able guidance of our school counselor, Ms Sukhmeen Cheema, I saw a very different person emerging – Gaurav started showing leadership qualities, his confidence levels and communication skills were soaring, he was willing to experiment, he learnt how to focus and most surprising of all came the following two revelations :-

First, that he wanted to now opt for the science stream, knowing very well how taxing it could be for a child with his history of grades and more so because of his attitude of being satisfied with much less than his potential. However, I made it very clear to him that I would support him equally even if he chose arts or commerce.

Secondly that he wanted to play the guitar. We belong to a non-musical family and this truly made my heart skip a beat. We were struggling to be social and uplift our gradesand now where was the time for a musical instrument? I was very skeptical about both his new desires but I chose to have faith in him go with the flow. He claimed he had learnt TIME MANAGEMENT.

I must also bring one very important thing to your notice – at one point, he made it very clear that if for any reason he does not do well in Science in class 11, he had no inhibitions in repeating class 11 to ensure that his foundation was well grounded. I saw this as a clear sign that my boy was NOW not going to be happy with a “just pass”. Also, I realized that now I was talking to a boy who had no inhibitions/complexes about what his friends thought of him – he was focussed, had an aim and a goal – to enter the aviation industry.

As he attended more Life Skills workshops, he made more friends, became more expressive in his speech, his teachers had the faith to give him more responsibility and he fulfilled each one wholeheartedly. He seemed to be in control of his life. A new and improved Gaurav was emerging..!

In fact, I saw him on stage several times – One of them being the proudest moments of my life when he was given the badge and certificate for the “Life skills and wellness” captain. Today he has sailed through class 11 (science), he is part of the school band as a guitarist, and below I duplicate a small part of his self-assessment in his own words:-

“I really want to get good marks so that I can get a good job. Moreover, I think now that I have learnt to put in more hours of self-study, my concentration level has increased”

Two years ago, if I asked him to describe himself, I would have got 1-2 half hearted sentences or may even words – and today I could not have asked for a better interpretation.

For those who have been kind and patient enough to read this, I would like to say that this is not about my son or my efforts, or my ability to support my child. It’s about a journey of a parent having unconditional faith in a child, his school, and the endowment to look beyond education. My heartfelt gratitude to The Indian School, Dr Jitendra Nagpal, his team of counsellors and CBSE initiative for making a huge difference in our lives…!

Sangeeta Aswani

VP (PTA) & mother of Gaurav Aswani

The Indian School






Share your budget with your children – From I-pads to the X-box, there is no end to the demands of our children nowadays – mostly under peer pressure. Every family has a budget and the sooner we learn to teach our children to “fall in line” with our respective budget, the better it is for the entire family. Explain to them where the money goes – give them figures of the electricity/petrol bills or how much it costs when you take them for one game of bowling with a dinner at the mall. One or two sittings might prove to be an eye-opener. Teach them to value money no matter how much God may have given you.
Never say “NO” to spending time – Who will be in the mood to listen to the trivial juvenile politics when you have a deadline to meet the next morning. The important thing here is to realize that your child wants to share his life with you. After a hard day’s work and no caffeine to pump up the system, my daughter tells me to go shopping. My brain says “Plzzzzzzzzzzz leave me alone “ but I listen to my heart and go along. I should consider myself lucky that she wants to go with me rather than go with friends and coming home with bags of shopping I don’t approve of. Then she points to 2 bottles of nailpolish and asks “Is this pink nice or is this pink nice?” Frankly, I can’t tell the difference and think “who cares?” but I rather tell her “Hmmmm, the left one is more pink, take that.” The minute you avoid spending time with them, they will turn to other things that will eventually disturb your sleep one day.
Spare the rod but use the scanner – Never hit a child especially after they enter their teens, whatever be the reason. All of us know this but how many of us can actually remember this when we are angry. No parent I have ever met has achieved any positive results by slapping his own child – on the contrary you create an emotional rift. The better way to achieve results is to withhold certain advantages you give your child but not without explaining the reason. Learn to look at the bigger picture and deal with the reason that would warrant any physical punishment rather than the action itself – was it peer pressure, carelessness, rebellion, immaturity or just growing pains. Don’t hesitate to consult a psychologist/ counselor or even to talk to a friend for advice. Love and discipline are two different things and they have to know who is the boss at the end of the day.
Show respect for inter-personal relationships – be it grand parents, teachers, siblings or friends, the first rule is make children realize the importance of the people in their lives and value them. Teach them how to say “sorry” – many of you may feel “What’s the big deal in saying sorry?”. My experience tells me that once a child learns to say “sorry” to the people who matter, you have downsized their ego. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Parents too should not hesitate to say sorry to their children. Emphasize on using words like PLEASE, THANK YOU & SORRY. Imagine a child using these words in his vocabulary while talking to his grandparents, teachers and parents – you can’t help but dote on him and praise the parents.
Accept children for what they are academically –For parents of TOPPERS, academics is a joy ride. However, for those of us who have academically-average or under average children, everyday is a struggle and every PTM is a nightmare, for both the parent and the child. The first step to overcome this is ACCEPTANCE. There is a very fine line between a child trying to work hard but not achieving results and a child who just doesn’t want to try. Differentiate between that line and stand by your child. Accept that it is not possible for every child to score 95% – Neither will every child who scores 95% ‘make it in life’ nor is every child who scores 40% a failure. Today it’s a whole new world of opportunities, and the children know it. Don’t judge your child by his report card.
Don’t compare – How easily we forget this when we speak to our children. Parents should make their child feel special no matter how he performs academically or even if he comes second in a competition, or if he cries during a stage show. Studies show that comparison and lack of encouragement can create life long complexes in your children. Here again, the rule of acceptance applies. Do as much as possible to bring up a vibrant and happy child full of life. Respect his individuality.
Be a friend, encourage transparency – Create that bond with your child where he doesn’t feel the need to hide anything from you. Be it a first love note, a detention at school or a first shot at a smoke. It is easier to fight a known enemy than an unknown one. Listen without taunting, humiliating and criticizing. Never take advantage of what they share with you or even think of betraying his trust. Assure them that parental love is the only unconditional love in this world and only this can bail him out of trouble at any stage. Win his confidence.
Encourage exercise and adopt a hobby – Explain the importance of fresh air and physical fitness. Good health is the only thing which will keep them fit enough to achieve their goals. How many of us know of friends who start exercising and walking only after they have had a health setback probably at the age of 35 and above. Why not start at an early age? Children are full of energy and we need to channel this energy in a positive way so their minds won’t wander. Introduce them to hobbies like Chess, Painting, Court Games, Musical Instruments etc., you just might find a genius in your little baby. Please control the junk food.
Dressing Sense and the Rule Book - As your child enters his teens, set the rules. For eg., wherever you are, whoever you are with, I need to know. Any disciplinary activity that happens in school, I need to know. I also need to have the telephone numbers of the best friends with a promise only to use the number in a panic situation. Make it a point to skillfully get to know the families of these best friends so you know who your child is spending time with. It’s scary how many working parents don’t know where their children are after school. Set dead lines to return home and don’t hesitate to cancel the movie tickets or confiscate the PS3 if the rules are not complied with.
As for the dressing sense, when your child begins to chose his own clothes, guide them what to wear for each occasion and differentiate between formal and informal attire. Settle the hem line for the skirt and show them how to wear clothes that suit their physical structure rather than go with fashion.
Don’t forget the daily hug – Can’t live without this one. The children are the very essence of our beings and if you don’t display your love or emotions, how will they learn to show their appreciation for you. Nothing can replace the feeling of grabbing your little boy or girl reallllllllllllly tight and planting a noisy kiss on the cheek. This always brings on a smile and melts the ice. My son is all of 16 and even now, I just have to point to my cheek and he won’t miss the kiss, provided no one is looking……….!

by Sangeeta Aswani