1. Tell us about yourself and what you are passionate about.
I am a child development expert and a practicing parenting coach. I feel that many of the problems in this world can be rooted back to parenting styles & the kind of home and learning environment children grow up & learn in.
I have recently started an online gender-equal store called Lilsakos with many stimulating and inspiring products for kids. I am passionate about bringing a gender-equal, more conscious and mindful narrative to parenting in India. Parenting training isn’t a go-to place for most parents here as from centuries it is been known more to be intuitive with learnings drawn from one’s own parents. I am committed to helping parents understand child development milestones and how a happy, gender-equal, stimulating and inspiring environment at home shapes their children’s destinies.
2. You encourage parents to reach out to you and ask questions. What are some common questions parents have, and how do you respond?
A lot of parents of toddlers and school-going children come up with questions based on how to discipline, screen time regulation, anxiety and anger issues, tantrums and study-related issues. I work with parents by bringing the knowledge of child development to them and ask them to look inside and at their home environment to find solutions. I tell them to use a consistent parenting style, look behind the cause of the behavior instead of using punishment, find their own and their kids trigger points, listen intently to what kids are saying and reading in between the lines of what they are not saying aloud, taking them outdoors and to utilise their energy in things they are interested in. I also work with tweens, teens and their parents. This stage of childhood has the most misunderstandings and need one-to-one intense coaching sessions. I try and advocate a conscious approach that urges the parents to not drown their kids in big expectations fulfilling their parents’ dreams. Instead, letting their free spirits evolve and develop into their own unique selves.
3. Promoting the normalization of failure and risk-taking is something you recommend. What type of risks do young children need to be exposed to?
In this new era with fewer kids, more disposable incomes, nuclear setups at home – kids are being bubble wrapped, kept away from being hurt and are seldom given a chance to fix their own problems. The parents need to teach their kids to recognize the difference between risks and danger. Small risks like climbing the trees, encouraging to cook while teaching them to use the knife properly, playing or being near water and fire, playing outdoors, being on the monkey bars on their own, jump from small heights and many others help in their physical and emotional development. Taking risks teaches them to problem solve on their own and understand how to stay out of danger. In nutshell we need to let them be, fall down, scrape a knee and encourage them to get up and keep going and not be afraid of failures.
4. What are some ways you encourage your own children to advocate for themselves, and ask questions?
My kids are grown up in college and I am proud to say they have a voice of their own. Some of the ways I encouraged their self-advocacy skills was to let them speak up, have their own opinions, let them make their own decisions on what activities they would go to, decide on their own subject choices and career choices and be a part of a family team where they were part of home and family-related decisions. Kids need to feel they are heard and see parents stand for themselves, shown self-advocacy through inspiring books and role models that speaking up is important for yourself and against injustice.
5. We spoke before about changing the nomenclature of “terrible twos” to “terrific twos.” How can this simple change of wording be beneficial?
Changing the wordings makes all the difference. Labeling kids negatively becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The simple change in the nomenclature makes us see these years as an exploration stage and their behavior start seeming more awesome than troublesome.
6. How do gender roles look in your family?
In my family, good relationships live and it all comes from supporting each other at all times. We all play roles that are needed by the family at a particular time.
7. One of the quotes on your page really spoke to me. You said, “[Moms] tend to get a lot of care and attention when you are pregnant. And then your baby is born, all that attention shifts to the baby. It’s almost overwhelming…” I find a lot of truth in this. What ways can we give mothers the care and attention they need?
Giving birth to a new life is amazing. The family has this little human who is completely dependent on adults for all his or her needs. The addition to the family is so miraculous that it takes everyone’s breath away and in all this, the mother seems to be forgotten. She needs more care and attention as her life has changed the most. What we need to do is talk more about her needs and changing emotional state so that the family smitten with their new toy realizes that she is in a vulnerable state and needs care too. Also, the mother should be more vocal about her needs because sometimes the family just doesn’t think enough, and she keeps expecting they should know how she feels on their own. She should be vocal about asking for help.
8. Thank you so much for your time! To close, can you share your most valuable piece of advice for parents?
Walk the talk parents, build a stimulating and inspiring home, invest in your relationships, give them a happy home and a safe place in your heart.