Being a parent is the toughest job on earth, but also the most rewarding as well. And as the saying goes there is no such thing as perfect parents. All parents are unique and so are their parenting styles.
In today's scenario parents are having a tough time with their kids. So to bridge the gap between parent and child, we have professionals like a parent coach who can help us solve our problems and create a stronger bond with our children. But the concept of parent coach and seeking help is still very new in our country.
In a conversation with Mridula Saria, co-founder and owner of Grooming Tales, Educational Researcher and Certified Parenting Coach talks about parenting, creating a stronger bond between child and parent and many more issues related with parenting.
Saria who studied software engineering and also worked in the IT field always had a keen interest in working with kids and when she saw there was nothing here in Nepal for children besides school, she wanted to start something of her own to ensure that kids enjoy the process of learning which led to her founding Grooming Tales.
“I had never studied anything related to education when I started Grooming Tales. I was an IT consultant. I only started studying about children since I opened Grooming Tales. When I started teaching I realized I needed to learn more about children, and started studying about early childhood development and different pedagogies of education, child behavior, child psychology,” said Saria.
It was a huge difference but way more interesting because I am dealing with children and humans. Earlier I was mostly involved with machines. There is always more to learn. I have been studying for the last seven years, and I am still not done. It is way more intricate as well.
My purpose is to make parenting a rewarding journey for all parents.
Over the years I also had parents who questioned me on how to deal with their children and regarding their behavior. That was a whole different ball game for me. I wanted to help these parents, and as I dwelled and researched deeper into these questions, I unravelled my path towards getting certified to
become a parent coach. I want to help parents consciously in their journey of parenting. I do workshops with parents and help them understand what is actually going on with the child, and how children perceive things, and how they develop over the years. Based on that, I help parents with strategies and tools that they
can use, to help make parenting less difficult and more rewarding.
There are so many things that we have to regulate our children from, in todays world.
With changing times, parenting has absolutely become more difficult. Starting from regulating their sugar intake, to limiting screen time, to checking their social media, video games, and the list goes on. We
have to keep using the word ‘NO’
all day, which leads to tantrums and fight backs, which again we have to deal with. A few decades back, the
environment in general was more supportive. There were not too many harmful things for parents to dodge from, but nowadays the scenario has completely changed.
Most of the times we don’t even validate our child’s feelings, which is very important.
I think one big thing missing is trying to understand the perspective of the child. As parents we are always inclined to teach our children. Hence, we start the process of correcting before connecting. While teaching and guiding our kids, we forget to bond with them first. This is what forms or increases the gap. We as parents think that we know the best for our child and we always look at the child as naive and unwise, who doesn’t know what he/she wants, which to some extent may be true but not entirely. We have to let them express their emotions, regardless of whether we can justify it or not, and be there with them to support and validate their emotions.
As parents we want to see our children happy all the time.
Parents find it very difficult
to accept sad emotions of their children. Even they are humans,
and experience different emotions, lows and highs, just like adults. Their emotions are like a GPRS system, that show us directly how they are feeling inside, so no matter what they feel, as long as they can express it, it is a good thing. As parents we could figure how to comfort them, and in the process also teach them emotional regulation.
Parents need a lot of support and guidance through these ages.
Through my coaching experience and learning, I believe the most difficult age to connect with a child
is when they are two to three years old. We all know of the ‘terrible
twos’ when children throw a lot of tantrums. One of the reasons ‘terrible twos’ is so difficult, is because as
our children learn to communicate, the ‘connection’ is reduced and ‘correction’ is increased.
Another difficult age is the ‘teenage years’, which experienced parents will tell you, is actually ten times more difficult than the ‘terrible twos’. Once your child is a teenager, you would rather have that 2 year old.
The relationship between a parent and a child is one that lasts life-long. The work on that relationship, begins the moment the child is conceived.
There are lots of confusing messages nowadays as to what parents should
do and shouldn’t. Some say that you shouldn’t say ‘NO’ to your children, as it will limit them. Others say that children shouldn’t have things their way.
I believe that we have to apply both hard and soft parenting, and every parent knows that in their hearts. Just connection without any boundaries isn’t enough, while correcting
your children all the time without connecting with them first, will never work in the long run.
It is very counterintuitive for parents, but we must always connect with our children first, regardless of what our agenda is. The best way to connect with our children is to be there with them in that moment, validating their emotions and even if they are throwing tantrums, and fighting back. The first step is to understand them. We don’t have to always agree with them, but we can genuinely understand where they are coming from and try to feel what they are feeling.
Once we have done that, we can proceed with setting boundaries and limits, which is a very integral process with children of all ages.
Even if you are spending an hour with your child, just be completely present in that moment.
It is always quality over quantity. Children don’t need so much time from their parents to have that bond. Parents should use that quality time to connect with their children. Whatever time you
are spending you need to be with them. Working parents can take out time in the morning or evenings and whatever time they have be completely present with them.
It is very uncommon for parents to seek help or reach out to professionals for help in terms of parenting. What is the current scenario?
By the day, more and more parents
are open to seeking for these tools and strategies, as they realize that it is not just beneficial for the child, but makes their job much easier.
Although it is uncommon as well as difficult for parents. Parents who have approached me for coaching, is usually the last resort because they have tried every possible thing before that.
Sometimes, losing it and not having all the answers as a parent, is actually quite normal.
The best thing we can do is to
stop judging parents and their unique parenting styles, instead support them, even while they consider to seek help from someone else. Extended families and friends, the society in large has to support parents be comfortable with
their own ways of raising their children. In the process of doing that, it is normal for parents to be overwhelmed with this task, specially as they go about their
days multitasking and juggling. During these phases, seeking help from experts should be encouraged and normalized. Happier parents lead to happier kids. Also seeking help from someone else doesn’t mean a parent is not a good parent. It is ok for parents to not have the solutions
to everything regarding their children. The fact that parents are willing to go
that extra mile in educating themselves further, on the best tools out there, speaks of the dedication that they have towards raising their children right. There is nothing called a good parent. Like no child is perfect, no parents are either, but every parent is perfect for their child, and of course vice-versa.