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