SHRI PARVARISH” The ABC of Parenting from The Heart “C” – Communicate

Shri Parvarish

The most important thing in communication, is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucher 

And that is what this segment of ‘SHRI PARVARISH’ is all about – Communication.

Although children today are more articulate and expressive, they don’t always open up about what is really bothering them, irrespective of their age – toddlers, preschoolers, juniors, teens or tweens.

Knowing specific things about your child’s anxieties, fears and worries, equips you with the ability to initiate a conversation and channel it gently and subtly towards a more open and stress free discussion.

Your child may begin a conversation by saying just a few words or phrases, they are testing you to see if you are really listening and are truly concerned, before they open up and tell the whole story. Communication is about both ‘listening’ and

‘talking’. One without the other is meaningless.

To open up channels of communication with your child, follow a few conscious, and yet simple steps:

Give him/her your 100% attention – This means you set aside what you are

doing and listen with complete attention. We call this “Listening Bodies”. Your body language, eye contact and encouraging expression will give your child the confidence to share feelings, emotions and thoughts.

Respond verbally – Just nodding your head mechanically is not enough. Respond with words and phrases such as “And then what happened?” “How did you feel when he said that?” “Oh, dear, how terrible!”, “Oooh! How wonderful! You must have been thrilled to hear that.” And so on……

Do not interrupt – Allow your child to complete the story. Intersperse with questions or verbal responses, but do not interrupt with comments or advice. Even when they tend to ramble (this is probably because coming right to the point is sometimes difficult), do not rush them by completing their sentences with words of your own. Let them take their time to arrive at the core of the issue that is causing them worry. Your patient listening will help your child know that he/she is heard and show them that you are interested in their whole story. It will also help him/her sequence his/her thoughts and express them better.

Be there for your children when they want to talk – Children have specific times when they are most talkative. It varies with each child. Sometimes it is bedtime, sometimes it is at breakfast, or dinner time, sometimes it is when they are in the car while on their way to school. Optimise this time by striking a conversation with them. The topic could be anything, something that interests him/her, or something you see on the road, or about an incident from your own day at work. Remember, when you initiate a conversation, it should be about what you are thinking, feeling or seeing. Don’t initiate a conversation with probing questions. It will make the child feel as if it is the beginning of an inquisition.

Acknowledge what they are saying – Listen to their point of view even if you disagree with it. Let them finish talking before you respond with your point of view. Repeat what you heard them say to ensure that you have understood. This also gives the child the assurance that you have been listening carefully. Ask to clarify that what you heard and what they said are the same.

Don’t raise your voice, strengthen your argument – When you are in disagreement with what your child is saying or asking for, respond in a way that they will hear and understand. Don’t sound angry or defensive, soften your tone and response. Acknowledge that you do not agree with what your child is saying, and you understand that your child too probably does not agree with what you are saying or suggesting. Instead of arguing about “who” is right and “who” is wrong, speak about “what” you think is right or wrong.

Encourage your child to do the same. Lok at the problem or issue being discussed. This is not a power struggle, it is a discussion.

Recognise your triggers and those of your child – Often we react during situations and conversations, rather than responding. Make an effort to identify what triggers your reaction. Recognise them so that you are aware and conscious of them. These triggers would vary from situation to situation. Some of the common triggers that cause you to react come from your own feelings, such as fear, anger, guilt, helplessness, inadequacy, etc. Be conscious of your emotions when communicating with your child. Parent from your principles, rather than your fears. Reflecting for a moment before responding will enable you to check if it is triggered reaction or a thoughtful response.

“Communication must be HOT. That is Honest, Open and Two-Way.”

– Dan Oswald.

Studies have shown that effective communication is a result of a combination of words (7%), tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%). Notice how body language has the maximum impact on effective communication?

Therefore, it is important that during any communication (when your child is talking to you, or you are talking to the child, or both of you are talking to each other) you make eye contact. Be aware of your gestures and posture, as they send out non-verbal signals to the listener. These non-verbal signals could make or break effective communication.

Be conscious of your emotions. Be calm and focused, so that communication is not diluted or distracted. Vary your tone of voice and pitch to ensure that the conversation is non-threatening or and encouraging. Ensure that neither your tone of voice nor your pitch is anxious, irritated, threatening or intimidating.

Don’t monopolise the conversation. Encourage your child to speak and respond. If your child is struggling to frame the sentences or sounds confused, prompt using subtle words and phrases, rather than abrupt probing questions.

Knowing what causes barriers for effective communication is as important as knowing what enables effective communication. Some of the most common barriers are: preconceived perceptions, one’s own emotions, snap judgements, closed questions and words, passive or distracted listening, endless rambling, lack of empathy, over use of abstract examples and assumptions, interruptions and interference. Avoid these to achieve effectiveness and to open and strengthen channels of communication with your children.

In conclusion, conversation is an art, they say. Well, so is communication. Especially communication with one’s child. Hence, to ensure that communication is effective, a conscious effort by both listener and speaker would be required. And for this, one needs to –

Listen more than talk, Think before talking,

Speak calmly or not speak at all, Ask open ended questions,

Respond, rather than react.

“The effectiveness of communication is not defined by the communication. It is defined by the response.” – Milton Erikson


Contributed by Neethi Srikumar, AVP – Operations Shri Educare Limited

(For more tips on ‘Positive Parenting’, please write to

SHRI PARVARISH” The ABC of Parenting from The Heart “B” – Balancing Beliefs and Behaviour

Shri Parvarish

“Training a child is like painting on a blank canvas. You will greatly influence what it looks like. The beliefs you choose to adopt will impact your child forever. Make sure you practice healthy beliefs that serve both of you and the greater good.” Elayna Fernandez

Why do we as parents behave the way we do? Often it is because we model our behavior on the behavior that we saw in our own parents. While being parented, we have imbibed and absorbed some of the behavior reflected by our parents.

Sometimes, information gathered from books on parenting and from discussion forums have guided us to choose a behavior or accept certain beliefs.

All of us as parents have some ideas about how a child is to be raised, what values need to be instilled in them and what goals need to be set for them, to prepare them for a highly competitive and ruthless world. These culturally shared ideas and how they develop are referred to as beliefs.

Since we live in social communities and each society is influenced by its unique culture, all that we learn from this culture influences our parenting as well.

Children observe their parents and their behaviour, even when we think they are not watching or listening. While very young children love showing off their parents to their friends, teenagers are often embarrassed by any overt show of affection by parents in the presence of their friends. Hence, how we behave changes with the changing needs and age of our children. It is also important, therefore, to be an involved parent and not an interfering parent.

Balancing this is not only difficult it is also stressful. To have a positive effect or impact on growing children it becomes essential that a parent leads by example. As Robert Fulgham effectively puts it, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you.”

If you want your child to display a certain type of behavior, model that behavior yourself. Children see you as role models. How you speak, how you react, how you respond are being watched and imitated by your children. So, if good behavior is what you seek, then good behavior is what you want them to see.

As children grow up and move onto different environments, school, the playground, friend’s homes, etc. they begin to experience and are exposed to different behavior and habits. We, as parents, have very little control over this. Being away from parents is a good thing, as that is the only way children learn to adapt and make choices. Despite this, we are the most influential people in our children’s lives, and they pick up habits, beliefs, mannerisms, ideas and values from us. And yet, we shouldn’t expect them to be mirror images of ours.

While a lot of our children’s actions are a direct result of our own behaviour, there will be behavior that is a result of their own choices and this need to be respected. Allowing children to make their own choices and respecting these choices instills self-confidence and enhances self-esteem.

There will be times when they get it wrong. But it’s important to remember that those failings aren’t failings, but part of the process of learning, growing and becoming one’s own self. Sometimes they may embarrass us. But they will also make us proud.

While parenting styles have a great impact of how children behave, the child’s behavior is a result of a combination of nature and nurture. Your methods of disciplining, interacting with and relating to your child are all a part of nurture and your style of parenting.

In conclusion, to help children behave in a socially acceptable way, we need to make them responsible for their actions and trust them to make the right decisions.

Ultimately the most important thing is to behave in a way that you would want your child to emulate, listen to your child’s needs, and set clear boundaries that are appropriate and helpful to the child. Every parent wants the best for their child and to help make this happen, remember to be aware of how your actions impact them.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach” – W.E.B. DuBois


Contributed by Neethi Srikumar, AVP – Operations,

Shri Educare Limited

(For more tips on Positive Parenting, please write to

“SHRI PARVARISH” The ABC of Parenting from The Heart “A” – Acceptance

Shri Parvarish

“Raise the child you have got, not the one you want” is what author and parenting coach Nancy Rose advice in her book with the same name.

And, that is what this article is going to discuss, “Acceptance” – the ‘A’ in “The ABC of Parenting from the Heart”.

Accepting the child for what he or she is building a healthy parent-child relationship that is founded on trust and wellbeing. When the child has to constantly live up to expectations that are beyond his or her ability, there is discontent and conflict.

Not only does the child become reticent and withdrawn, his or her self-esteem and confidence is crushed under the pressure of comparison and competition.

We often mix up approval and acceptance in the belief that they are both the same. Well, they aren’t. As parents, we do not have to approve what a child does, but accepting that it has been done becomes important. We as parents may aspire and dream for our children. This is not a bad thing. However, when these take a precedence over what the child himself or herself aspire for and dream about, painful conflicts arise and destroy the fabric so carefully woven over the early years of the child.

So, how do we connect with our children when there are differences in temperament and aspirations? What questions do I need to ask myself to gauge whether I am an accepting parent? How do I avoid comparing my children when one has much higher needs than the other? What can I do to ensure that I can accept each of my children for their own personal uniqueness?

Here are some useful insights and tips:

  • Strike a balance between changing your child and accepting your child
  • Recognize the qualities in them that are intrinsic to them
  • Ask yourself if there anything more important to you than your child’s happiness
  • Recognize the strengths and virtue in each of your children and appreciate them
  • Love your children for themselves, not for the best of ourselves in them
  • Let your child/children know through words and action that you are there for them, loving them and accepting them, no matter what
  • Try to empathize with their differences, and to experience those differences on their terms rather than your own
  • Listen with full attention and focus on what your child is saying to you
  • Be an active listener
  • Communicate to the child without making judgments
  • Help the child become aware of the emotions he/she feels as this will enable them to make conscious choices on how to respond
  • Show empathetic concern towards your child as it shows them that you really care and are trying to understand them and their feelings; it shows them that you love them despite the situation and demonstrates your acceptance despite the behavior

One of the biggest challenges to being able to accept your child is holding onto unrealistic expectations of your child and yourself. Most parents agree that having a happy child that achieves within their capabilities, academically, socially, physically and emotionally, is their hope and dream. Just because your child is not like you doesn’t mean that they are not valuable and certainly doesn’t mean that you have failed in your role as a parent in any way.

Acceptance is fostered through understanding and knowing. Get to know what makes your child tick, what they love doing, what interests them, who they feel close to, what they want you to be doing with them, and what they want you to want for them.

Take turns in doing things together that you and your child enjoy and make time in your schedules to have fun together. Make space in your house to cater for your child, whether it be a spot for toys, music, games or books that interest him/her. To conclude, Acceptance in parenting is about being able to see and acknowledge the uniqueness in your child, without pressing for this to change.

As Andrew Solomon states, it is “finding the light in your child and seeing it there” that is important (Solomon, 2014). This, however, must not stop you from striving to shape your children’s behavior, educational outcomes, sporting ability etc., but rather, enable you to accept and validate with warmth their unique personality, and loving them for being them.


Contributed by Neethi Srikumar, AVP – Operations Shri Educare Limited

(For more tips on Positive Parenting, please write to

Congratulations on becoming a Parent!

Shri Parvarish

This indeed is the most beautiful role one would play in one’s life. A role that is lifelong and comes with no “exit clause”

This is an assignment that no amount of pre-reading or pre-discussions can truly prepare you for a 100%. And yet, most of us are able to find our own style and philosophy to ensure that the child’s upbringing is peppered with the right amount of “do’s” and “don’ts”, which hopefully ensure that he or she grows up to be someone we, as parents, could be proud of.

From the moment we hold our little bundle of joy in our arms for the first time,
our lives change dramatically, taking on a new meaning and purpose. From then on, we strive to provide our little one with everything money can buy. And of course, along with all these materialistic things are the other experiences and memories that we ill our child’s life with.

These experiences and memories are what he or she will look back on when faced with life decisions. Therefore, a parent with caution and compassion; a parent with empathy and sympathy; a parent with love and firmness; a parent with trust and faith. In the months that follow, we will be sharing with you various insights into positive parenting that will enable you, to some extent, to reduce anxiety and stress while interacting and transacting with your child. However, while these are experiences shared by many a parent, it is not a case of “one size fits all”. Therefore, it is imperative that what is read is read in context, understood completely, before strategies and techniques are used in similar situations. Remember, the situation may be similar, but the child is different. And hence, customizing these tips and strategies is important.

We call these series of articles “The ABC of Parenting from The Heart”. Do also read similar articles provided through the mentioned web links for further understanding.

In case you would like to contribute to the parent community with insights and
suggestions of your own, please feel free to mail us the same on the link provided.

We also encourage you to put forth questions you may have which we would endeavor to answer through subsequent articles.

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Once again, Congratulations and Welcome to “SHRI PARVARISH” our special

bulletin on “The ABC of Parenting From the Heart”.

Contributed by Neethi Srikumar, AVP – Operations,

Shri Educare Limited

(For more tips on Positive Parenting, please write to