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editorial

For the Parent in you To know, to understand, to connect

R

ecently, a father was telling me about his young son who is not showing an interest in his studies, but is very interested in airplanes and flight schedules. He knows the flight numbers and schedules of different airlines around the world. He wants to become a pilot!

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This led me back to the session I recently attended in Chennai with Dr Howard Gardner, the father of Multiple Intelligences. According to Dr Gardner, what we term as ‘intelligence’ is purely dependent on what we value as a society. Today our societies value technology. Hence language, science and math skills are highly valued and a person skillful in these areas is termed ‘intelligent’. If a society sees music as the way of the future then a musically talented person would be called ‘intelligent’. We are all endowed with a different set of multiple intelligences and no two people, not even identical twins, will have the same intelligences. Our cover story ‘Wake up! Your child is intelligent’ details this whole subject of Multiple Intelligences. Understanding this will help us in identifying and supporting the special talents of our children, thus helping build their self-esteem. Getting involved in outdoor activities is another way to develop different ‘intelligences’. Our special story, ‘Pushing Boundaries’ guides you through the various activities accessible to our children. Today we are bombarded with news about the violent actions taken by children. Who or what is to blame? Often these children have other deep issues and their actions are the culmination of what we call ‘the last straw’. These are children who need our support. Parents, teachers and friends see different sides of the child. We need to come together, partnering and communicating with each other in the interests of these children. Read the viewpoints given by a parent, teacher and a psychologist regarding this matter. Finally to be successful in all our endeavours, we need to reach out and touch the Universal Energy we call God, in the form of prayer as explained in the article ‘The significance of prayer’. It takes a village to raise a child, let us come together as a village in the interests of our children.

Nalina Ramalakshmi PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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Parent Circle is published by Nalina Ramalakshmi, Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. All editorial material including editorial comments, opinions and statement of facts appearing in this publication, represent the views of its respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishers. Information carried in Parent Circle is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. The publication of any advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered.

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contents RESOURCES 49

NUTRITION Gooseberry

50

PARENT CHEF High energy breakfasts

52

CHECK IT OUT Good reads for all ages

56

KALEIDOSCOPE

FORUM 4

COVER STORY P12

Wake up! Your child is intelligent

48

DISCUSSION POINT Right age for Facebook

54

VIEWPOINT Teen trouble: Enough excuses, take responsibility SPECIAL P26

REGULARS

Pushing Boundaries

6

IN FOCUS

8

MINDSET Is your child talking? Be all ears

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN

21

LEARNING Everyday experiments!

22

LEARNING Memory tricks to study smart

24

SPOTLIGHT Learning the Montessori way!

32

HEALTH CIRCLE Cold calls again

36

TEEN CIRCLE Better sleep!

40

TECH TALK The ghost that stalks cyberspace

44

VALUES The significance of prayer

ON THE COVER NIYA ZAIRA SOHRAB PHOTOGRAPH BY ARJUN DOGRA

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YOUR WORD

Parent Circle / March 2012


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your word

ear p. H

ts! r e p x he E

t

to

Letters to the Editor

e. S t u n i

A-M

Just

I liked all the articles in your February issue. A special mention must be made of “Who is God?” in the Values section. It was interesting to learn how Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma with their spouses manage earth’s resources in typical project management style! I plan to quote this to my grandchildren. This article can make children appreciate their world better. The layout, articles and the write-ups were interesting and informative. Do continue the good work and I hope to be a subscriber to this wonderful magazine for many years to come. PURNIMA JAGANNATHAN, Chennai

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Are you planning any interesting event for children or parents?

I'm a mother of two and though my children are very young, I could relate to the article, 'Puncturing Exam Stress'. Exams are responsible for high stress levels in countless homes across India. Children relate to exams in the current environment in ways different from the manner in which we reacted to exams in the 80s and 90s. However, parents don’t realise this and end up putting children, even tiny-tots, under stress during exam time! I hope the article proves to be an eye-opener for parents. The pointers on supporting children like allowing snacking and avoiding post-mortem were of great help. R RAMAPRIYA, Chennai I loved the recipes in your February issue. We bought an oven recently and I was looking out for new dishes. I tried out your recipes and it was a real treat to my family. In ‘Romancing Your Spouse’, the points you have given to keep the romance alive even years after marriage must be printed on all marriage invitations so that newly-weds keep them in mind. I found the articles on volunteering and financial security for children very informative. Keep up the good work! PRIYA KISHORE, Chennai

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And more... Please send in your letter with the subject line “Letters to the Editor”, before March 15, 2012, to editorial@parentcircle.in or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India.

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in focus

CBSE helpline

Troubled children Psychologists from National Sports Centre in Chennai conduct workshops for emotionally vulnerable children. “It involves four sessions. We start by talking about their school life and play games together so that they feel at ease,” explains Dr Jyothi Ravichandran, a psychologist who interacts with the children on a daily basis. “We take a batch of eight students and conduct the sessions on the playground. Teachers and parents are not allowed at this workshop, and children express themselves unfettered,” says Dr Jyothi.

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Parent Circle / March 2012

Road safety patrol in school

Health checks for school staff The 1991-92 alumni batch of Hindu Senior Secondary School decided to forego their gala 20th anniversary celebrations and use the funds for a cause. “We were planning for the celebrations when a batchmate mentioned the demise of our Math teacher recently due to a heart problem,” says Srividya Baradwaj, an alumna. “We immediately decided to use the money collected to provide Master Health Checks for all the teachers and staff, retired and still in service. We hope to continue with this service every year.”

Coimbatore will be the first city in the country to have Road Safety Patrol (RSP) units in all city schools. RSP units consisting of students will assist the police in traffic duties and spread the message of traffic rules. Student cadets will be given uniforms and trained by Traffic Wardens, a government-run organization involved in traffic control.

Software for children with special needs A software has been developed by Dakshina Kannada district unit of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to assist children with special needs. Called CWSN Database, it records a disabled child's name, age, address, education, disorder, schemes the child has enrolled in and the benefits received to date. The software will make it easier for the government to sort the data by gender and disability, to introduce appropriate schemes. Children will be given a card with a colour code describing the nature of the disability. Around 4,738 children in the age group of 6 to 14 years have been identified in a survey conducted in August 2011.

Young artists from Kovai

© BHAVIKA DUGAR

Exams are fast approaching and to help students, CBSE has started a helpline to answer questions posed by students and parents. The toll-free number is 18001803456 and it will operate until April 16th from 8:00 am to midnight. Counsellors, principals of affiliated schools and psychiatrists will answer queries. For more information, students can email : jsctet.cbse@gmail. com, mcsharma2007@ rediffmail.com or can log on to www.cbse.nic.in.

Bhavika Dugar and A Priyadarshini have made their city Coimbatore proud! The two girls studying in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and SBOA School respectively were the winners of a National Level Water Conservation Painting Competition held in New Delhi. Another student of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mahak Khemka was a finalist in the competition. The theme for the competition was ‘Role of Children in Water Conservation’.


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mindset

A

CTIVE LISTENING

We often use the words ‘hear’ and ‘listen’ synonymously. But a dictionary will reveal that they have quite different meanings. To ‘hear’ is to perceive a sound or to realize that someone is making a sound. On the other hand, to ‘listen’ is to pay attention to a sound. While to hear is simply to become conscious of sound, to listen is to make a conscious effort to hear. We may often hear without listening! So, do we merely hear or truly listen to our children?

Your child is talking? BE

In his book Parent Effectiveness Training, Thomas Gordon, a renowned psychologist, discusses a powerful communication tool called ‘Active Listening’. Active Listening, adopted in classrooms and organisations, can also help parents forge strong bonds with their children.

TALK TIME Let’s overhear a conversation between Sarita and her son Rahul. Rahul (upset): Amit is so bad! Sarita: Why? R: He wouldn’t play with me today. He

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Parent Circle / March 2012

I shouldn’t have come to you. (He walks off in a huff).

ALL EARS BY SUJATA VASANTH DEWAJI

never agrees to what I want to play. S: OK, so play what he wants to. R (irritated): But I don’t want to play what he wants. S: You must learn to get along with your friends. R: I don’t want to get along with him. S: Then play with someone else since you are so stubborn. R: I’m not stubborn. He’s stubborn. He always tries to bully me. I hate him. S (angrily): Rahul, don’t use words like ‘hate’. R: You wouldn’t understand, Mom.

Rahul shared his feelings with his mother as he was upset. But instead of listening to him and empathizing with him, she began advising him. She heard what her son was saying but did not listen to him. She moralized, criticized and finally, admonished him. Rahul did not feel heard and understood. So he became defensive, angry and shut himself off.

In many such ways, parents create roadblocks to communication. They deny their child’s feelings, interrogate, blame and label the child. He in turn feels that no one understands him, and eventually stops sharing issues or problems with his parents.

YOU CAN BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER BY 4keeping your thoughts and judgment aside and listening with complete attention to what your child is saying. 4encouraging your children to share their feelings with door-openers like, ‘Oh’, ‘Really?’, ‘Is that so?’, ‘I see’, ‘Then?’ and open-ended questions like, ”Would you like to tell me?”, “It was


important for you?” and responses such as, “Yes, I’m listening”, “I would like to know”, “Let us discuss it”. An eye contact, with a nod and silence, conveys that you are listening intently. 4identifying and acknowledging the child’s feelings, and reflecting it back to him so as to convey that you have understood him completely. 4having immense faith and trust in your children’s ability to work out things themselves.

him well. He confidently confided in his mother, calmed down, thought clearly and worked out a solution himself.

LISTEN TO ME

ASSUMPTION 1: As parents, we must solve our children’s problems. That is our role. Let us hear out Sandhya’s tale: “Applying the strategy of active listening on my daughter, then a 12-year-old, was a revelation. One evening, she came home furious. She had been removed from the lead role in the school play and was angry with her teacher and classmates. While she ranted and raved about how unjust it was, I wanted to ask her many things, criticize the others and tell her what to say to them the next day. But I actually helped her by just listening, empathizing and being there for her.

Sarita can communicate effectively with her son Rahul in the following manner: Rahul: Amit is so bad. Sarita: You seem upset with Amit. [acknowledges his feeling] R: He wouldn’t play with me today. He never agrees to what I want to play. [wants to share his feelings] S: Oh? [encourages him to talk more] R: Yeah, I love hide-’n’-seek and he always says no. It’s not fair! [knows there is an active listener] S: Sometimes you wish he would play what you want. [reflects his feelings] R: But he never listens. I don’t want him to be my friend. S: You are so angry that you feel you never want to see him again. [understands him] R: Mmm, yes... but there is no one else with whom I can play. [calms down] S: It’s boring for you as there’s no one else, isn’t it? R: Yeah, but maybe I should play for some time what he wants to play. Then he will listen to me. I’ll tell him we can play his game for an hour and later, mine. [figures a way out] Bye, Mummy. I love you. Sarita listened intently and also encouraged her son to open up. She understood, accepted and acknowledged his feelings and showed that she trusted him. Rahul realised that his mother had heard and understood

HOW ACTIVE LISTENING HELPS Parents who learnt about active listening at our workshops shared stories of how it worked for them. Their talks also helped us understand what prevents them from truly listening to their children.

Next day, she returned from school with a thoughtful look saying that though she had got back the lead part, she had rejected the offer as that would hurt the girl who was now playing the role. Her good decision and her refusal to deprive another girl of happiness amazed me. I wonder what the outcome would have been if that day I had ‘told’ her what to do? Would she have learnt that wonderful lesson in compassion? But you might ask - how about teaching her to fight against injustice? She will learn that from another experience!” ASSUMPTION 2: When our children commit mistakes, we must

4When children approach you with a problem, don't rush to correct or advise them. Listening and supporting them helps much more. 4When we listen to children and accept their feelings, they let go of negative feelings and find confidence to work things out for themselves. 4When children feel accepted, they will listen to their parents’ views, too.

immediately correct them. It was bedtime for Anju’s daughters. When she hugged the older one Ragini, the younger one Neha came and pushed her older sister. When Anju tried to stop Neha, Neha flew into a rage. Anju was surprised and wanted to reprimand her, but she decided to first listen and find out if something was bothering her little girl. She tried to reflect back her daughter’s feelings and said, “Looks like you were feeling left out”. “Yes”, she answered, “and that’s how I felt at school today, too.” And with that, the child’s sadness on being pushed out of the quiz team at school came to light. Anju was happy that she had been receptive to listening rather than correcting her child. Next morning, Neha woke up with a grin, willing to tackle whatever challenges she may face. Anju realised that paying undivided attention to her daughter had allowed Neha to confide in her. ASSUMPTION 3: Children cannot make the right decisions and so we need to lecture and use force to control them. Reema, a mother, had this to say: “My teenage daughter was keen on 8

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mindset joining Facebook as her friends spent a lot of time in the evenings communicating with each other on it, and she felt left out. We had a conversation earlier in which I had told her why I was against a Facebook account. This time I wanted to give her an opportunity to voice her feelings and to make her own decision. I got her to share all her emotions about feeling left out, feeling pressurised by her peers, wanting to be ‘cool’ but also worrying about whether joining Facebook would affect her studies. I was amazed when she finally said, “You know what? I am OK with chatting with a few buddies on the phone. I think people get addicted to

Active Listening helps the child feel heard

4He is willing to share his feelings 4He confides with the parent about his problems 4He is willing to listen to the parent’s point of view

understood

Facebook. I am in the 10th Standard and I should focus on studies now. Facebook can wait.” ASSUMPTION 4: We assume that children are not willing to take responsibility for their actions. Sumitra’s 11-year-old daughter Aruna was angry that the teacher had deprived them of their games period. Aruna got the whole class to sign a letter of protest to the teacher, which angered the teacher. When Aruna came home and narrated to her mother what had happened, much as Sumitra felt that her daughter was also at fault for taking such an extreme step, she just listened and empathized with Aruna. In the end, Aruna said, “It wasn’t the right thing to do. Our letter was actually quite rude. I think we upset Ma’am.”

SUNITHA’S STORY, AND THE MORAL “I always considered myself a good listener and a very friendly mother with whom my children could share anything. I attended a session on active listening. I felt complacent about myself as I believed that I was already following it. I was tested soon.

4He learns how to express and deal with feelings 4He becomes calm and is able to think clearly and work out solutions 4He acquires high Emotional Quotient

accepted

4He has an open, trusting and warm relationship with parent 4He becomes responsible and independent 4He develops high self-esteem

10 Parent Circle / March 2012

Because of a death in the family, we were going through a trying period at home. Living in a joint family meant adjustments. My son, who was in his 10th Standard, was

under stress and would often get headaches. One day, after an argument with some family members, he was very disturbed. I wanted to summarily tell him to respect family members. Then, I remembered my session, and decided to hear him out. So, I asked, “What’s troubling you?” That was enough. He poured out his frustrations. He expressed his feelings about losing someone he adored, his struggle with his studies, his loss of faith in God and on it went. I never interrupted him. I listened with empathy and tried to understand him. I focused on his need to express his feelings, rather than on my need to be a good parent by giving advice and teaching values. After an hour of talking, in which I just reflected his feelings by saying, “I know, it’s hard, you must be feeling bad,” he said, “Mom, I am feeling much better now and I don’t feel so angry anymore”. A few days later, he told me, “Mom, after talking to you, my headaches have magically disappeared!” As parents, often all we may need to do is listen. We do not need to always try and correct them or teach them values. Our children know what is right. They only need an outlet for their negative feelings and guilt. After truly listening, we can put across our point of view and they will be receptive to our guidance. It took a lot of effort to cultivate these skills but as I continue to use them to this day, I find my son far more relaxed and free of headaches.” SUJATA VASANTH DEWAJI IS A FACILITATOR WITH PARENTING MATTERS, A CHENNAI-BASED GROUP CONDUCTING PARENTING WORKSHOPS.


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cover story

Wake-up!

Your child is KNOWING YOUR CHILD’S MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES BY RANGASHREE SRINIVAS

Y

our seven-year-old daughter’s teachers at school are complaining about her. The child has some difficulty following the lessons taught; her classwork is often incomplete. But she draws beautiful diagrams; her project work is imaginative. At home, you know that she likes science. She brings you an illustrated encyclopaedia with pictures of fiery volcanoes, surging seas and interesting pot-bellied ants and asks you to read aloud to her. She cannot bear to see a mosquito squashed. She cannot tolerate the fact that dirty water is going untreated into the sea.

An intelligence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings. HOWARD GARDNER, FRAMES OF MIND (1983)

You feel that she has an intelligence innate in her that makes her appreciate the world outside. What is this intelligence and is it enough for her to get by in academics? How should this intelligence be tapped? Are schools (and parents too) progressive enough to treat each child as a unique individual, and adapt themselves accordingly to satisfy her needs? It is therefore important that both you as a parent and her teachers understand the multiple intelligences (MI) present in every child, learn to identify the dominant ones and tap them appropriately. Howard Gardner, the father of the Multiple Intelligence theory, visited India recently renewing an interest in MI and how it


Word Smart will impact the world in the years to come. In the 30 years since he first propounded the theory of MI, further research has been done, not just by him, but by several other scholars and practitioners around the world.

WHAT IS MI? Gardner developed this theory based on his observations of hundreds of people from different walks of life, under everyday circumstances. His study also included stroke victims, prodigies, autistic individuals, and the so-called ‘idiot savants’. According to Gardner, All human beings possess all eight intelligences in varying amounts, with some, more dominant than others. Each person has a different intellectual composition. We can improve education by addressing the multiple intelligences of our students. These intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together. These intelligences may define the human species.

Number Smart The MI theory suggests that an individual possesses intelligences in several areas as against the traditional idea of a single intelligence. An intelligent person has been recognized so far only by her linguistic (language) abilities or logical (mathematical) abilities as these are considered to be important for academic advancement. Thus, only the student who achieves high scores in class is considered intelligent. Another child may just be ‘talented’ in the area of her achievement – ‘She is a good dancer; let us send her for the interschool dance competition.’ ‘He is a good cricket player; but he needs to concentrate now on improving his grades’ and so on. Worse still, in some schools only the academically well-performing students are given the opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities when there could be others more suited for this. For instance, it is the class topper who gets to deliver the school’s morning assembly speech. It is the girl who scores a 100% in math who gets to automatically represent her school in the inter-school quiz competition.

In contrast, the MI theory recognizes at least eight different intelligences that have to be considered while creating an ‘intelligence’ profile of a person. MI theory strives to provide educators and parents with a tool to recognize and nurture the different abilities of the child. It redefines the word ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’. It brings in new thinking towards nurturing excellence, creativity and genius. It emphasises that all children can learn and that it is the adults who need to know how to teach them.

THE 8 INTELLIGENCES IN THE MI FRAMEWORK Chitra Ravi (Founder and CEO, EZ Vidya), who has worked under Gardner on Project Zero at Harvard University, gives some pointers to parents to spot intelligences in their children. 1.Linguistic intelligence is the capacity to use languages, to express oneself, and to understand other people. Poets specialise in linguistic intelligence. But any kind of writer, orator, speaker, lawyer, or a person for whom language is an important 8

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cover story

Picture Smart

Body Smart

stock in trade, highlights linguistic intelligence. Does your child love to read and write? Does he enjoy solving word puzzles? Does he think in more languages than one? 2. People with a highly developed logical-mathematical intelligence understand the underlying principles of some kind of a causal system, the way a scientist or a logician does. They can manipulate numbers, quantities, and operations, the way a mathematician does.

Some children appear to be restless while studying; they need to take a ‘running’ break every 20 minutes. If your child is doing a cross-legged jig while you are revising his science lessons with him, understand that it is his way of learning. Is he body smart? Can he mime? Look at his facial expressions closely. 5. Musical intelligence is the capacity to think in music, to be able to hear patterns, recognise them, remember them, and perhaps manipulate them.

If your child is caught doodling in class, it is not necessarily a sign of disinterest - he is just ‘mapping’ the lesson out!

Does your child reason out why he needs to budget his pocket money? Does he like to pack his school bag in a particular sequence? Is he number smart? 3. Visual-spatial intelligence refers to the ability to represent the spatial world internally in one’s mind – the way a sailor or a pilot navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess

14 Parent Circle / March 2012

player or sculptor represents a more circumscribed spatial world. Spatial intelligence can be used in the arts or in the sciences. If your child is spatially intelligent and oriented toward the arts, he is more likely to become a painter or a sculptor or an architect than, say, a musician or a writer. Similarly, certain sciences like anatomy or topology emphasise spatial intelligence.

So if your child is caught doodling in class, it is not necessarily a sign of disinterest – he is just ‘mapping’ the lesson out!

If your child drums on the table or whistles during his lessons, or listens to music while studying, then it is this dominant intelligence at work.

4. Bodily kinaesthetic intelligence is the capacity to use the whole body or parts of the body –hand, fingers, arms– either to solve a problem, or to make or produce something. Evident examples: athletes or performing artists, particularly dancers or actors.

6. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people. It is an ability we all need, but it is substantial in teachers, psychologists, salespersons, or politicians. Anybody who deals with other people has to be skilled in the interpersonal sphere.8


cover story

People Smart

Music Smart

Does your child enjoy talking to other children and adults? Does he empathise with them? Does he understand ‘the right moments’ to approach people to get his work done? 7. Intrapersonal intelligence refers to having an understanding of the self, of knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how you react, what to avoid etc. We are drawn to people who have a good understanding of themselves because such people do not screw up. They tend to know what they can do and what they cannot do. They tend to know where to go, if they need help.

among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. Today’s society exploits the naturalist intelligence of people to distinguish between different types of cars, shampoos and the like.

THE IMPLICATION OF MI FOR A PARENT Says Chitra, “Every parent should nurture the native intelligence/s of her child. This is better done during the primary days, when the child still displays his natural propensities without inhibition. The parent has a great chance of observing his child at home, where the environment is less rigid and structured, compared to school. If the child is encouraged to do what comes naturally to him from early on, he has a very good chance of leading a happy and fulfilling life. He would make lesser mistakes in his choice of a career, as he would confidently gravitate to where his interest and intelligence lies.

If the child is encouraged to do what comes naturally to him from early on, he has a very good chance of leading a happy and fulfilling life.

Does your child know that if he wears his favourite colour green, he gets pepped up? Does he have an understanding of what tends to upset him? 8. Naturalist intelligence designates the human ability to discriminate

16 Parent Circle / March 2012

Does your child point out to you the difference between a camel and a dromedary? 9. A ninth intelligence is to be added to this list and that is Existential intelligence – sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

The parent can detect multiple intelligences in a child even when he is in middle school or in high school. But, a lot of spontaneity in that child would have died by then and much of the intelligence would have been pruned.”8


Intrapersonal Intelligence Best suited to be a career counsellor, consultant, criminologist, healer, futurist or trend predictor, personal counsellor, philosopher, programme planner, entrepreneur, psychologist, researcher, small business, owner, spiritual counsellor, theologian, therapist, writer, wellness counsellor

Interpersonal Intelligence Best suited to be an administrator, communications manager, customer service representative, human resources manager, marketing specialist, nurse, politician, psychologist, religious leader, social worker, teacher, trainer

BodilyKinesthetic Intelligence Best suited to be an actor, athlete, carpenter, computer games designer, crafts person, dancer, sports therapist, forest ranger, jeweller, mechanic, personal trainer, surgeon

Naturalist Intelligence Best suited to be an animal health technician, anthropologist, astronomer, botanist, environmental lawyer, farmer, forest ranger, gardener, geologist, landscaper, meteorologist, nature photographer, veterinarian, water conservationist, wetlands ecologist, wildlife expert

SHOW THEM THE MOON AND THEY WILL REACH FOR THE STARS! Best suited careers for an intelligence The MI profile of your child can guide him in choosing a suitable career path.

VisualSpatial Intelligence Best suited to be a 3D modelling & simulation, architect, artist, film animator, graphic artist, interior decorator, photographer, mechanic, navigator, pilot, sculptor, strategic planner, surveyor, urban planner, webmaster

VerbalLinguistic Intelligence Best suited to be a writer, poet, journalist, teacher, lawyer, librarian, marketing consultant, newscaster, politician

MathematicalLogical Intelligence Best suited to be an accountant, mathematician, statistician, economist, detective, computer analyst, computer technician, computer programmer, database designer, engineer, network analyst, physicist, scientist

Musical Intelligence Best suited to be an audiologist, composer, conductor, disc jockey, music critic, sound editor, music teacher, music therapist, musician, recording engineer, singer, songwriter, speech pathologist

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cover story

Self Smart

Nature Smart

EXTREME INTELLIGENCES The presence of MI is easily detected in both the learning-disabled and the gifted, as Gardner found out. A child who may have trouble reading may have a keen eye for animals and birds. A prodigy who reels off the square roots of three-digit numbers could be tone-deaf. The use of MI theory can help educators of both groups to build capacity in the child.

abilities. Their MI profiling is created and shared with their educator who incorporates it into her teaching. “Children with learning disabilities come with very low self-esteem,” says Swetha Chandrashekar, coordinator, Hydra Project. “With planned exposure to various activities like interactions with musicians, movement sessions, working with puzzles, art & craft sessions, field

allows children to approach a given task through their unique intelligences. In one session, the facilitator showed the children a drawing of colourful concentric circles and asked them to make a similar drawing. One child who exhibited Visual-Spatial Intelligence just picked up different colours and drew the circles intuitively. Another child measured the distances between each circle, outlined the circles in pencil first before filling in the colours. This child possibly possessed high Mathematical-Logical Intelligence.

We never tell a child to do anything in a ‘certain’ way. It is their unique approach that gives us an insight into their minds.

The Hydra Project in Chennai works with Vidyasagar (a voluntary organization based in Chennai that works with children and young adults with cerebral palsy and other neurological disabilities) to mentor groups of learning-disabled children.

An after-school activity centre, Hydra exposes the children for a period of 3 to 4 months to various activities. The children are observed for their preferences to certain activities, their approach to problems, and specific

18 Parent Circle / March 2012

trips to nature parks & photography studios, we are able to show them what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. This boosts their self-esteem and we have seen them improve significantly in other areas too,” she adds.

In another instance, a child who was given paper and a pair of scissors to make a collage, reportedly began to study the mechanics of the scissors. “We never tell a child to do anything in a ‘certain’ way. It is their unique approach that gives us an insight into their minds,” says Swetha.

She also talks about ‘Pluralism’ in administering the MI theory, which

A handmade poster is prominently displayed in the front room of Hydra.


The poster spells out simple classroom rules of cleanliness and etiquette. The ‘N’ of neat is a mirror image as it was written by a dyslexic child. “The dyslexic child was particularly surprised that I did not correct him, he was so used to constant corrections. My job is not to correct the child, but to help him learn by himself,” says Swetha.

INTEGRATING MI INTO TEACHING AND ASSESSMENT The child who is considered to be of average intelligence in school is, as mentioned earlier, inevitably tested only for Verbal-Linguistic and MathematicalLogical intelligences. He could turn out to be a really good surgeon with more dominant Bodily Kinesthetic and Interpersonal intelligences. In reality, people can bring in their various intelligences into any work they do. Fortunately, reforms in Indian education like the introduction of Continous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), may give schools an avenue to tap the MI of students and award grades accordingly. Dr Rajalakshmi Parthasarathy, better known as Mrs YGP, the founder-head of the famous Padma Seshadri schools in Chennai says, “We have always believed that every child has unique abilities. Our theme-based annual productions allow every student to be a part of the production in different ways. For instance, in our last year’s production, ‘Sri Gurubhyo Namaha’, the children were engaged in research, documentation, scripting, art, music and dance. This gave an opportunity for each student to apply his unique intelligences to the whole production. Recently, some students who were upset on having witnessed the flogging of a bullock, reported it to us. We encouraged them to do a project on ‘Our dumb friends’. Some students did a thorough study in two weeks,

researching this topic at the school library and on the internet. Others made charts, and oral presentations. Some produced a dance-drama. So a topic close to their hearts was approached in different ways,” says Mrs YGP. Applying the theory of MI in schools calls for an effort by the school, and it has to percolate top down. It would mean that The school should believe that any discipline requires MI and that any goal can be reached through MI The school will have to develop adequate resources and effective modelling for teaching through MI Teachers have to be coaches and facilitators and not mere content providers Learning has to be individualized. A topic, say ‘Parts of a plant’ can be explained verbally, or visually through drawings and illustrations, or by taking a walk in the park, through discussions and research, or in many other ways. The teacher should facilitate selflearning according to the child’s dominant intelligence A time should be allotted everyday for the teachers to discuss with each other, the events of the day EZ Vidya, the company that Chitra Ravi founded, helps schools by providing them with products and services that integrate the MI concepts. This framework, when applied in classrooms, triggers the different intelligences in a child, stimulates selflearning and self-discovery. “Apart from conceptual learning, we also focus on ‘living well’ – to be in harmony with the world and oneself,” she says. “Many of our science and math lessons start with a poem or a crossword. The teacher allows the child to approach a topic in the way he likes,” she says. 8

Busting the

myths

behind MI MI is not an educational end; it is an educational means to a stated goal. MI is not the same as a sensory system; MI is like a set of different computers in the brain, processing the various sensory inputs. MI is not the same as a discipline or career. A single discipline will require multiple intelligences. For example, a brilliant dancer needs both bodily kinaesthetic and interpersonal intelligence. A particular intelligence is required in several disciplines. For example, you must possess spatial intelligence to be an artist or a chess player or an architect. MI is not the same as learning style, it refers to a mental computer. MI cannot be measured; there is no official empirical measurement as yet. There is no curriculum to follow MI; a framework has to be evolved case by case according to what the society values. MI relates directly to performance or achievementoriented goals; a child who has Musical Intelligence need not necessarily become a vocalist or instrumentalist. She may use the aspect of music to study Sonography. Intelligence is God - given and static. In reality, intelligence needs the right kind of exposure to flower. Otherwise, it will wither.

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cover story

Multiple Intelligences

VS

Traditional IQ

Creates a profile after assessing different intelligences and abilities.

A single format test that assesses one’s Language and Mathematical abilities.

Was born out of a Dutch grant project of scholarly work on human potential. Gardner developed it while chronicling known facts about human cognition (through discoveries in the biological and behavioural sciences).

American psychologist Lewis Terman developed tests designed to measure intelligence quotient (IQ). IQ tests were commonly used in colonial times to measure performance success in public schools, to assess one’s ability to rule over the colonies, and as a military induction test.

Takes into account various cultural contexts and ethnic influences.

Terman was a strong supporter of eugenics (breeding to improve human race), and enthusiastically argued that his test results proved that “the intelligence of the average Negro is vastly inferior to that of the average white man”.

Is organic in nature and expands with nurture, exposure and experience.

Is static in nature. If you are born with an IQ of 120, it remains so

Every human, even those with retarded brain growth, the average person and the gifted ones have MI of value. In fact, the impaired and gifted have at least one highly dominant intelligence.

Has a limited and rigid range. Above 140 IQ is considered genius or near genius and below 70 IQ is definite feeble-mindedness.

FOR PARENTS Shirin Mammen, Coordinator, HRD, Vidyasagar advises parents to nurture the intelligences of their children REDUCE stress on high marks. OBSERVE without judgement. Let your child be. LET your child play naturally. BE an ‘intuitive’ parent. STAY away from narcissism – both positive and negative. Positive narcissism: “My wife and I are both doctors. My child should opt for medical studies only!” Negative narcissism: “I wanted to be a carnatic vocalist. I couldn’t, but my child

20 Parent Circle / March 2012

has to be one!” RESPECT your child as an entity different from yourself. DO NOT look for an ‘end’ for any activity. If he likes music, he need not be a stage performer. LET your child have a ‘happiness’ corner. Let him sing away his blues. DO NOT opt for any activity only for the sake of achievement. According to Gardner, Multiple Intelligences should be used to do good work – work that is deemed to be of high quality and which is socially responsible. He echoes Ralph Emerson

when he says “Character is more important than intellect”. By nurturing MI in our children, we can foster a new global renaissance, which calls upon everyone – the genius, the impaired and the ordinary to work together in their unique capacities.

A NATURALIST NAMED VIKAS Vikas Madhav Nagarajan, 12 years old, started an ecosystem conservation in the year 2007 to create an awareness about flora and fauna. As a part of this project, Vikas has produced a beautiful tabletop calendar featuring a variety of species of birds that he photographed on a day safari from Athirapally falls to Peringalkuthu dam. Vikas has undertaken personal survey trips to Wayanad, Megamalai, Kabini, Coorg, Sundarbans, Kodaikanal, Mukurthi, Perumparai and some parts of Palani Hills. He participates regularly in the ecosystem awareness programmes conducted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, the Tree Foundation and the Madras Naturalists Society. This young naturalist has even conducted quiz programmes for high school students. His ‘intelligence’ shows through the intimate descriptions of the birds featured in his calendar.


learning

Everyday Experiments! The following experiments are from the book The Agenda of the Apprentice Scientist by Nicole Ostrowsky, published by Universities Press. Over the next few months, we will be carrying experiments from this book. These experiments are intended to inculcate in children a sense of curiosity and a love of science, helped by lively characters: ‘labcoats’, depicting the scientists and ‘little net’, the apprentice. Encourage your children to do these experiments on their own, observe the results and discover for themselves. An explanation has been provided for parents to guide their children through this process of exploration and discovery. Further information is available at http://apprenticescientist.com.

Ready, steady, go!

How to make water climb.

Make a gentle slope by placing wedges under two legs of a table. Take a few round-shaped objects (balls, marbles, tin cans, etc.) and set them rolling down the sloping table top. Which object wins the place? Note down what you see: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________

Put a little water into a jar and add a drop of food colouring. Hook a band of absorbent paper onto a toothpick and hang it over the mouth of the jar. The tip of the paper should touch the water. Note down your observations at regular intervals: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________

“Life is a roller coaster; there are always ups and downs...unless you fall off.” - Anonymous All the solid spheres will reach the end at more or less the same time but the hollow objects (role of tape, ping pong ball, etc.) will trail behind. When the mass of an object is concentrated near its surface (as in the hollow objects), the object has a greater rotational inertia and will roll more slowly.

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“You must not be like blotting paper, absorbing all passions and emotions...” - Sri Sathya Sai Baba The coloured water slowly climbs up the absorbent paper. In fact, this paper is made from natural fibres that strongly attract water molecules: this is called capillary action, which partly explains how sap rises up a plant’s stem.

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www.parentcircle.in 21


learning

W

e all want a good memory, and children, especially so, need the gift of a good memory during exams. But the fact is, and this should be encouraging for students, there is no such thing as being born with a good or poor memory. People at worst have an untrained memory that just needs to be trained. When children become conscious of the need to remember, and what they need to remember, introducing them to methods which can sharpen their memory becomes easier. They need to know about the types of memory and the different aids that can be used to improve the process of remembering. Aids can be dropped once the retention of a particular exercise becomes automatic. Some children may even devise strategies of their own to remember facts and concepts once they become familiar with the basic aids.

WHAT CAUSES POOR MEMORY? Children may have a poor memory for various reasons. Let us take a look at some of them.

to study smart BY N ILANGO

information if nothing is done with this information in the mind. Working/short-term memory: If you focus your attention on a specific piece of information such as the colour of a car, it may become a part of working or short-term memory. Here, it survives longer than in the sensory memory as the information is accessed and used from here.

TYPES OF MEMORY The three types of memory are sensory, working or short-term memory and long-term memory. A brief look at each of them will help you understand memory processing better. Sensory: The information first goes into your sensory memory, where it is briefly recorded. The colour of a car passing by on a highway, an unusual looking tree, and a picture in a magazine – all these things will be quickly replaced by fresh sensory

22 Parent Circle / March 2012

Long-term memory: Long-term memory, on the other hand, is like a safety deposit box in a bank. Once something is in there, it is locked up tight. You can use it whenever necessary. Your child’s face is information permanently stored in your long-term memory. The key is to try and take lessons learnt from sensory memory to working memory or even into the long-term memory, depending upon the need.

1. Distraction. Children should eliminate distractions when they are presented with information that they need to recall. So, when they are revising, ensure that the TV channel playing cricket is muted. 2. Lack of focus or concentration. It is unlikely that children will remember a person if their focus is not on the person they are being introduced to for the first time. Likewise, if children dream of holidays during study hours, they will take a longer time to finish their lessons. 3. Lack of motivation. If children do not find a lesson interesting, they will not concentrate enough while learning or revising it. It is natural that they will forget a lesson they consider boring or dull. A parent helping with the revision has to package the lesson appropriately. Older children can be taught techniques that make learning fun so that it is easier for the children to register and remember their lessons. 4. Stress. Emotional or physical stress, or even the stress of not having learnt certain lessons, will temporarily affect memory. Teach your children to relax so that they do not forget whatever they have learnt.

TIPS TO IMPROVE MEMORY While learning, a child can use aids like Association, Visualization, Imagination


and Organization. A child could use any one, or a combination, of these to remember important points. Often, a 30-minute nap after studies is recommended. The child ‘sleeps’ on it and remembers the lesson very well. Let us now look at each of these aids individually and see how they can be used to sharpen a child’s memory. A S SOCI A T I ON : The ability to link something that you already know with the information that you need to remember is called association. For example, one may use acronyms wherever possible to remember points. Who can forget that VIBGYOR represents the seven colours of the rainbow in order? You may also use a combination of acronyms, phonetics and sounds to remember certain information. For example, ‘BHAJan by a Zebra’ works nicely to remember the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty. In ‘BHAJan by a Zebra’, B stands for Babur, H for Humayun, A for Akbar and J for Jahangir. ‘An’ has been taken from Shah Jahan and the zebra is derived from ‘zeb’ in Aurangzeb. A mnemonic like ‘ShahJ building the Taj’ is unlikely to ever make your child forget who built the Taj Mahal! Children must use associations that they can remember easily, and these can be humorous or hilarious. The difficult name Arnold Schwarzenegger can be associated with Arnold Swords and Daggers or even Aruvaal Somashekaran! The illogical connection can actually help your child remember the difficult name as he learns to associate it with the funny name.

Visualizing points in deep red, against a white background, helps to retain those points. Use humour and exaggeration to improve and enhance your child’s mental imagery. For example, Timur the fierce becomes Timur the timorous. Forget logic. The child could remember the capital city Helsinki by remembering a sole object in Hell – a sink, brimming over with fins (Finland). I MAGINATION: Imagine objects becoming smaller and smaller, dematerialising in front of you and re-materialising later and in a different place, assuming their full shape. Many siddhas could do this easily – they had mastered a level of physics and matter that is ‘unthinkable’. Suddenly, quarks and anti-quarks (the basis of matter) are so much more interesting. Let your imagination run with the different types of quarks and their names. Four different types of quarks are named below:

ORGANIZATION: It is the ability to logically and systematically categorize information in the mind's eye. Help children follow the 5-step memory technique to read and master a book: Preview, Question, Read, State and Test (easily remembered as PQRST!). 1. PREVIEW. The first step involves briefly glancing through the material to get an overview of the subject. The child should read the summary, introductory paragraphs, picture headings, tables, charts and so on. 2. QUESTION. In the next step, he should ask questions like – What is the lesson trying to convey? What people/ objects are involved in the lesson? Read the review questions at the end of the chapter to learn what information is necessary and should be retained. 3. READ. He should read the text till the end without taking notes. Then, reread the text, take notes and highlight the main points. 4. STATE. He should state the information he is learning and say aloud the answers to key questions. He should ask more questions while re-reading a chapter and read aloud the information he has noted. 5. TEST. Give the child a test to ensure that he/she has retained and understood the critical points. Frequent assessments will help your child retain concepts effectively. Organization, in simple terms, refers to a methodical study plan a child follows. This helps not only during regular study throughout the year, but also during revision before the exams. With these basic memory-enhancing tips, remembering lessons will no longer be a hard task for your child! N ILANGO IS A TRAINER OFFERING UNIQUE

V I SU A L I Z A T ION : Visualization is the ability to summon up a vivid and colourful picture in your mind's eye.

SERVICES TO CORPORATE HOUSES, ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS THROUGH HIS COMPANY, ACE PANACEA.

www.parentcircle.in 23


Learning the BY SHASHWATHI SANDEEP

R

esearch findings recently shared by the Indian Montessori Centre reiterated the effectiveness of a Montessori education vis-à-vis traditional methods of education. This was revealed during its annual conference (Maitri 2012), held in Chennai. The research was done in 2006 by Dr Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, and her colleague Dr Nicole Else-Quest. Children were tested for mental performance, academic abilities, social and behavioural skills. A psychologist by profession, Lillard surveyed children who had participated in a random lottery to attend a public Montessori school in Milwaukee. A total of 112 children had participated in the study. Lillard and Else-Quest tested two sets of children - one set at the age of 5 years and another at 12 years of age. The fiveyear-olds participated in a variety of tests, ranging from letterword identification to mathematics. They fared much better than their public school counterparts in all the areas; including the tests on Executive Function which tested their ability to adapt to changing rules, thereby increasing the complexity of

24 Parent Circle / March 2012

way! a situation. When it came to the 12-year-old students, it was found that they were on par with the public school students. The main positive outcome for the Montessori students was their abilty to write better essays than their public school counterparts. When it came to social skills, both the age groups of Montessori children were far ahead of the public school children. They displayed a greater sense of ‘justice and fairness’, interacted in an ‘emotionally positive’ way, and were less likely to engage in ‘rough play’ like wrestling during break. Besides Dr Angeline Lillard, her mother Paula Polk Lillard, and her sister Lynn Lillard Jessen also addressed the conference on the positive aspects of Montessori Method of education. Paula and Lynn Lillard have co-authored Montessori from the Start, a guide to help the young child. Lynn Lillard also serves on the board of directors at Montessori High School in Cleveland, Ohio, the first Montessori boarding school at the high school level in the United States.

PHOTOS COURTESY VRUKSHA MONTESSORI SCHOOL

spotlight


GIVEN BELOW ARE EXCERPTS OF PARENT CIRCLE’S INTERVIEW WITH LYNN LILLARD JESSEN. Which is the ideal age for admission into a Montessori school? The system, if implemented at home, can start right from the time the child is born. Entry into a school is generally preferable at the primary levels, but there could be exceptions. We had a young woman whose two sons were having trouble with the regular school and wanted both to join our Montessori school. I said that I could only take the younger one as the first son was about 11 years old and too old for Montessori. Then I changed my mind because I observed the older boy curiously looking around the office and enquiring about various facets. More than the age of admission, it is the interest and the curiosity of the child that matters. What happens after the children leave Montessori and go on to the regular high school? It is very easy for children to handle the high school syllabus and methods of teaching, once they are exposed to the Montessori system. I checked with my daughter Margaret, who was Montessori-educated earlier, on how she was faring in high school. She said that it was pretty easy, ‘they tell me what to do and when to do it’! In Montessori, you don’t give instructions, the children themselves decide. This way, they develop self-control and also gain a certain amount of independence in education. In the high school, as instructions are given to them, they just have to follow it, and they have no need to think for themselves.

You have been to some schools now in India. What do you think about the environment? I have been to a couple of Montessori schools here in Chennai and both the schools were very good. What matters is how the children are taught. When you go to a class, you do not look at the teacher but at the students. If they are treating each other with respect and if they are smiling and happy, it automatically means that the schools are good. It shows on their faces. Whenever parents come to my school, I take them to the older classes; this gives them an idea of what their children will be like in the future after being educated under such a system. I had also been to another school here in Chennai which I do not want to name. I entered the class and I looked at the children. They looked very depressed and some had forced smiles. The teacher was shouting at them and the children did not know how to react. This kind of an environment needs to be avoided. You have been a Montessori teacher for so many years. Can you tell us about your very first experience? When I was training to become a teacher, I was interning at a school. I observed one teacher who was very friendly and very gentle with the students and yet another one who was firm. I thought that the former teacher was a better one. I also had this idea that handling children was easy. Then one day, I was asked to manage the ‘firm’ teacher’s class and to my chagrin, I was not able to manage it even for a second. It did not take much for this teacher to control the chaos, when she walked in. She played music and the children calmed down and went on with their work. I learnt that day that children who had gentle but firm teachers were the happiest.

How do children cope with competition at high school? Children under the Montessori Method are not used to competing. Once in high school, they do not study to prove themselves vis-à-vis others; rather they study to test themselves on the knowledge absorbed. I learnt this from my daughter, when I thought she was over-burdening herself with the test grades. In another example, my student Katie went to high school after being Montessori-educated until the age of 14. In school, the Math teacher stated that he was actually a History teacher and did not know much about the subject. Katie then decided to study on her own from the text books she had along with other resources. That year, she was the only one who passed Math in the entire class.

www.parentcircle.in 25


special “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” MARK TWAIN

let’s get pushing

outdoors! boundaries BY SHASHWATHI SANDEEP

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

MARK TWAIN

26 Parent Circle / March 2012


O

ur children should be given the opportunity to explore, dream and discover. This will not happen if they sit forever glued to videogames, TV screens or computers. So, this summer, let your child explore and experience the thrills and enjoyment of adventure, through the myriad outdoor activities that are offered. These activities have an element of risk associated with them, so encourage your child to venture only into areas that are of interest to him. This will ensure that he follows instructions while having fun.

Horse Riding

HAS YOUR CHILD ever taken that pony ride on the beach? Horses are amazing and friendly animals and your child might want to learn horse riding and manage his horse independently. Horse riding is gaining popularity by the day and children as young as three years of age are getting to do this.

© www.aavishkaarindia.com

Benefits and Safety: This is not just a

depressed and the disabled. Known as Hippo therapy, it is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment. It utilizes equine (horse) movement as a part of an integrated intervention program for disturbed or disabled children. The movements of the horse have a direct bearing on the postural control of the rider. It sharpens the senses and promotes efficient motor coordination. The child learns to pay complete attention to the activity during horse riding – he will experience that fluid motion of riding, to the exclusion of all else. Often, the child will identify himself with his horse.

Jungle Safari

THE WILDERNESS ALWAYS excites children, particularly the idea of venturing into the jungles and suddenly coming face to face with animals. Such safaris can also be a family affair where you could accompany your child and camp out in the middle of the jungle.

fun activity. “The child learns to be patient and compassionate as she communicates with her horse. She also develops a sense of confidence when she rides a horse on her own,” says Kishore Futnani, Managing Trustee of the Chennai Equitation Centre.

Benefits and Safety:

“In horse riding, there are no hard and fast rules. The child has to follow some basic instructions of never looking down and to keep communicating with the horse”, he adds.

Safety is the first and foremost issue in this activity. “We ask the group going on a safari to wear colours that blend with the jungle surroundings. Colours like red and yellow attract the attention of the animals and should be avoided. We take them around in enclosed jeeps that are very safe,” says Jayanthi. 8

As a Therapy: Horse riding also has

been found to be a good therapy for the

“On safaris children get to observe animals at close range in their natural habitat and learn about them. They may also see some animals and creatures not known to them,” says Jayanthi N of Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Bangalore.

www.parentcircle.in 27


special

Camping

THE VERY WORD sounds exciting and if instructions are followed, this could make for a memorable experience for your child.

Benefits and Safety: Many

children go camping to enjoy being with their friends and to be temporarily free from their familiar routine. In the process they pick up life skills and become more responsible after this experience. “They learn to adjust to new people and perform small tasks,” says Sumitha Sundaram of Aavishkaar India, which conducts camps for school students. This is the only time when your child can be seen without any electronic gadgets, and be one with Nature. “We always instruct the parents not to allow their child to bring his mobile phone or even cameras to the camp. The whole idea is to connect with Nature. It is also advisable to pack light or else the child will find it difficult to take care of his bags,” she says.

Trekking

across uneven terrains, close to nature and with a backpack. It needs a lot of energy and considerable passion to undertake a trek.

well-maintained and the quality and thickness of the ropes should always be checked before starting,” Major Candade advises.

Benefits and Safety:

Parasailing

Rock Climbing

OWING TO PRE-CONCEIVED notions, you may hesitate to send your child for parasailing. Parasailing is not only a thrilling sport but it is a relatively safe adventure sport. It is also the gateway to aero sports. “The sheer joy of soaring in the sky hundreds of feet above the Earth does not need much training, and the sport is getting popular. It has been a family joyride for a long time,” says Lalit Kumar of Venture Adventure Club, Bangalore.

Trekking is a great way to bond with your child. Like rock climbing, it has to be done under proper guidance to avoid risks. “Always carry a first aid kit with you on the trek; you might get bruises. Sunscreen lotions, caps, water and snacks are a must. It‘s a good idea to bring along a swimming kit, as there might be water bodies in some places,” says Peter Van Geit of the Chennai Trekking Club.

Benefits and Safety: ROCK CLIMBING NEEDS considerable stamina and perseverence. Even the experts sometimes falter. Children must be ready for some tough times and risk. “What some of the activity centres have, are walls made for the purpose of rock climbing; but the reality is quite different. Rocks differ from place to place based on the topography of the area and throw up different kinds of challenges,” explains Major A S Candade of Wildertrail, a company organizing outdoor activities.

The only pre-requisite is that the child has to weigh more than 30 kgs and be physically fit. “Parasailing removes the fear of heights in a child to a large extent. When he is up in the air, it is a different feeling altogether. He will feel one among the clouds and will want to stretch out his hands to touch them; he will forget at what height he is,” says Lalit.

Scuba Diving

Benefits and Safety: Rock TREKKING HAS BECOME a common outdoor activity these days but is much misunderstood. Today, even the act of walking 5 kilometres along the beach or a few metres uphill is construed as trekking. It is not that simple. Trekking involves long, arduous walks or climbs,

28 Parent Circle / March 2012

climbing is an arduous task that builds the child’s stamina and increases your child’s confidence once he reaches his destination. “The activity has to be carried out under proper guidance as it is risky. You need to have appropriate rock climbing equipment of the best quality. These have to be

THE DEEP BLUE sea and the creatures living in it, big and small, always amaze the children. Discovery and National Geographic channels do provide interesting feeds, but the real thrill


comes for your child when he dives into the sea and experiences the underwater world in real life. There are a number of scuba-diving courses offered by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), specific to children. PADI also has centres in Puducherry and Bangalore.

Benefits and Safety:

The children are at first taught to dive in a swimming pool with the scuba-diving equipments. Once they are trained, they can safely dive into the ocean. “Scuba diving gives an opportunity to children to understand the underwater world better. It is a fascinating world with more than 1,00,000 species living in the deep waters. Smaller oxygen tanks and regulators are used for children when we train them for scuba-diving,” says Scuba Rob of PADI, Puducherry. PADI trainers also help children with the ocean diving experience, if needed.

Sailing

getting to feel the pulse of the wind and water. But there is more to the activity. “When a child shares the boat with someone else, he instantly learns teamwork. He becomes responsible, as he has to take care of the boat and the equipment that comes with it. The activity requires prior planning, and the child learns to pay attention to details while formulating the plan,” says Ashish. The only instruction the children are given is to wear a life jacket, which is mandatory.

AT V

(All Terrain Vehicles) for Children: ALL CHILDREN ARE fascinated by cars and bikes. This is where ATVs come in handy. The children get the feel of the wheel and it is completely safe.

Photography

Benefits and Safety:

ATVs are fun but they also teach you a few things. “We tell the child to wear a helmet during the ride. If they observe this rule at a younger age, they will continue to implement it when they grow up. We also instruct them to never put their foot down onto the floor while they are riding,” says Karthigeyan M of Wild Tribe Ranch, Chennai. The ATVs are safe as they are configured for slower speeds, ensuring greater stability. An ATV also has four large wheels, and is easy to manoeuvre.

GIVE YOUR BABY a toy camera and watch her mimic you as she observes you actually using one. Then when she grows older, give her a real camera that she will proudly hang around her neck. Watch her click everything in sight till she captures that perfect shot. So allow your child to explore this activity which develops observation, imagination and creativity.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: There are several other outdoor activities - river rafting, bird watching and even Go Karting, roller skating and biking for your child to explore. These are not only thrilling activities but also teach life-skills. So, go ahead and let your child experiment. Once they get beyond the baby steps, they will be asking for more!

SET YOUR SAILS and venture into the sea this summer! More and more children are curious about this sport and are trying their hand at it. “More than 50 per cent of the members of the Chennai Sailing Club are students, some as young as 7 years old. We have camps during the summer and you can see children cleaning their boats and getting set to sail,” says Ashish Mehta, an Honorary Member of the Chennai Sailing Club.

Benefits and Safety: There is

a thrill that comes from sailing, from

“First, do not force your child into photography; it has to come to her naturally. Very often, I see parents buying very expensive cameras for their child, which is not needed. Let them learn the basics, and gradually upgrade their cameras. They need to learn to respect the equipment first,” says Poochi Venkat, a well-known photographer. “The child has to experiment and take as many pictures as possible, that is how she will learn,” he adds. Your child has to develop at her own pace. So, stand by her and motivate her in this passion. There are a lot of career opportunities for photographers and your daughter might just turn out to be one!

RESOURCES

Instructions:

Aavishkaar, Chennai Wild Tribe Ranch, Chennai Wildertrails, Chennai Chennai Trekkers Club Venture Adventure, Bengaluru PADI, Puducherry Tamil Nadu Sailing Association Poochi Venkat (Photography) Chennai Equitation Center Jungle Lodges & Resorts, Bengaluru

044 42658628 96770 27706 044 26442729 96000 04509 77951 63591 98401 76457 044 25382253 99625 23204 92821 11676 080 40554055

MORE AT www.parentcircle.in

www.parentcircle.in 29


special

photography

Varun Thakkar

sailing

I believe that sailing has taught me time management, team work and to be responsible. My father is a sailor. I was introduced to sailing when I was six years old. It was only when I was ten that I realized I love sailing. Since then, I have taken part in many competitions and won many prizes. It is a sport for which you need to have great concentration skills and take quick decisions. Sailing prepares you for life. It’s hard to explain the experience in words. There’s nothing I like more, than spending my day sailing in the ocean.

Pratika Gopinath P R Niranjana

I was 11 when I first sat on a horse. It’s something I can

Photography is fun as there is

never forget. Horse riding has

so much to explore. You’ll start

taught me a lot of life skills,

admiring every little thing about

most important of them being

Nature and fall in love with it. My

patience. It teaches you to

days get interesting when there

be calm and patient with the

are migratory birds around and

horse. The best part is when you

when seasons change. Photography

communicate with your horse

taught me that waking up early

– it’s so relaxing! You forget all

is not as stressful as it seems. I

your stress. I may take it up as

don’t have a professional camera

a career in the future. But, right

as yet. But I’m very happy with the

now, I am just exploring this

way my pictures turn out. I don’t

sport and enjoying it thoroughly.

know when I actually acquired this

I have participated in many

interest. But I’m pretty sure that I’m

competitions. I want to continue

not going to let go of it

competing in bigger and tougher

anytime soon!

shows, and win.

30 Parent Circle / March 2012

horse riding


ATV

These youngsters love outdoor activities and share their experiences.

camping

Kavin D K I love riding the ATV. It is thrilling to drive the four-wheeled bike on rough and uneven roads. I enjoy it when I drift while riding, and when I put ‘Os’ on the ground. Drifting is when you apply the brakes at a turning and the bike also turns that way. ‘O’ is when only the back wheels move while the front wheels remain in the same position. It takes a while to learn these. But once you do, it’s great fun. I am also into swimming and football, but the ATV is my favourite!

K Dhanasekar Trekking is a fun activity and I enjoy this with my friends. It’s a relief from my usual studies and gives me a chance to explore new places. I have been on a couple of treks and it was adventurous. I had lots of fun with all my friends and made new friends, too. The organizers had done a great job each time and provided the best of facilities. I never felt that I was travelling with a bunch of strangers.

Niharika Satish My friend was going for this camp and I convinced my Mom to send me along. I was nine years old then. I truly enjoyed the camp and I keep going back every year. I have made a lot of friends in these camps and I keep in touch with them through chat. Camps give us independence to do what we want. With no parent instructing you or giving orders, you are given your own

trekking

space. That’s what I like about these camps. I have learnt to be a lot more independent. I look forward to the camp every year. www.parentcircle.in 31


health circle accounts for most URIs. Bacteria or viruses are transferred when a hand exposed to the pathogens touches the nose or mouth or by directly inhaling respiratory droplets from an infected person.

Cold calls again BY DR V SHREEVIDYA

I

s your child having a cold again? The upper respiratory tract, which includes the mouth, nose, throat, larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe), is vulnerable to frequent infections. Upper Respiratory tract Infections (URIs) range from rhinopharyngitis (common cold) to life-threatening illnesses such as epiglottitis, an inflammation of the tissue that covers the trachea. Viruses account for most of the URIs, which are usually self-treated. Symptoms of the common cold include sneezing, watery nasal mucus, sore throat, cough, fatigue and sometimes fever. Children may become irritable and complain of a headache and congestion during the initial stages.

HOW COLDS ARE SPREAD Person-to-person spread of viruses

a piping hot bath) which could make him vulnerable to cold. Any stress (particularly exam stress), inadequate sleep, improper nutrition, can bring down resistance to colds.

WHEN TO WORRY Incubation period varies from one day to 14 days. Most symptoms of URIs, including local swelling, redness, secretions and fever, result from the inflammatory response of the immune system to the invading viruses. A nasopharyngeal infection may spread to adjacent areas of the body, resulting in sinusitis (inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which are air cavities in the cranial bones near the nose), epiglottitis or pneumonia.

PREVENTION Ensure that your child washes his hands regularly to keep them clean. Cups and glasses used by infected children should be washed immediately, before another child gets to drink from it. Used towels, handkerchiefs and napkins should be washed thoroughly. Used tissues and paper napkins should be disposed off immediately. Doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, telephones should be wiped at regular intervals. If a child catches a cold, clean his toys. The child should avoid sudden exposure of the body to noticeable temperature differences, (like stepping into an air-conditioned room soon after

If the cold symptoms worsen after the third day, consult a doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics. It may be a bacterial infection. Your general practitioner (GP) or paediatrician is the best person to prescribe the right antibiotics. Vaccines are recommended for children to prevent serious complications from seasonal URIs. Never attempt antibiotics without a prescription. Initial allergic symptoms, mild throat irritation or low grade fever do not warrant anything more than home remedies and some decongestants. At the end of the day, remember to stay warm and take plenty of rest. This will ensure that the body directs its energy towards fighting the cold efficiently. Call a doctor when: the temperature is 100°F or higher; the sore throat worsens to hoarseness of voice; there is difficulty in swallowing; and nasal secretions turn thick and are yellow or green. DR SHREEVIDYA VENKATARAMAN IS A MEDICAL PRACTITIONER IN CHENNAI.

KITCHEN CURES A common cold has to run its course before the individual feels any better. As the infection is viral, there is little that medications can do to actually cure the condition. Natural remedies can help to facilitate recovery and provide relief from most symptoms. Lemon and honey mixed in warm water can be consumed twice a day. Vitamin C in lemon improves the body’s resistance and lowers the toxic nature of the infection. Saline gargles may also soothe an itchy throat.

32 Parent Circle / March 2012

Before going to bed, the child could have a glass of milk mixed with turmeric and ginger. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric may ease the symptoms of a cold. For a runny nose, he could inhale the vapours of turmeric or eucalyptus oil added to steaming water. The vapours inhaled cause a discharge of the mucus, thus clearing congestion. He should drink plenty of fluids (water, chicken soup and herbal tea) to prevent dehydration and keep the throat moist; and avoid colas and other caffeinated drinks.


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z z Ž teen circle

better

SLEEP! BY DR PRITHIKA CHARY

But few teens actually get that sleep regularly, thanks to the early-morning classes, homework, extracurricular activities, social demands, computers and other electronic gadgets. More than 90% of teens in a recent study published in the Journal of School Health reported sleeping less than the recommended nine hours a night. In the same study, 10% of teens reported sleeping less than six hours a night.

S

leep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. A brain that is hungry for sleep will get it, even when you don’t expect it, and this is particularly true for teens. When the teen does not get enough sleep, he is more likely to have an accident, injury and/or illness. Sleepiness can make it hard for him to get along with his family and friends and hurt his school examination scores, or his performance in sports. Most teens need about nine hours of sleep a night — and sometimes more — to maintain optimal daytime alertness.

36 Parent Circle / March 2012

There is a change in the sleep pattern of adolescents due to changes in the levels of melatonin produced by the pineal gland. This substance influences the body clock which is getting set into the adult mode. Adults need 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Teens tend to ‘wind up’ around 7:30 pm while adults tend to ‘wind down’ around this time. Teens then tend to stay awake till 2:00 am. This is physiology and is called a sleep phase delay and not impertinence! Asking a teen to share a bedroom with a grandparent can be disastrous. After the age of 60, sleep requirement is only for 4 to 6 hours and the sleep phase moves backwards leading to early bedtimes in the elderly. Sleep is important during the teen years as the growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland during sleep. Long

term memory imprinting also happens during sleep. During this phase of rapid learning by the teen and formation and fixation of pathways in the brain, adequate sleep is critical. The National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, USA) identifies adolescents as being between the ages of 12 and 25 years, and has prepared a report on their sleep problems. In the report, they state that insufficient sleep is not only harmful but could even be life threatening. Sleep deprivation could also lead to depression. Based on this, controversial as it may sound, we need to take a serious look at school schedules and parental expectations to accommodate the sleep needs of young people.

Changing sleep patterns in teens is associated with: A delayed sleep phase (a marked tendency for later bedtimes and rise times), which is associated with the onset of puberty. Shorter sleep, which is associated with increased levels of daytime sleepiness. A steep decrease in delta NREM sleep, which is also associated with increased sleepiness. Greater tolerance for sleep deprivation or extended wakefulness with maturation. 8


www.parentcircle.in 37


teen circle

•He should stick to quiet, calm

Development of irregular sleep patterns among many adolescents (sleeping very little during weekdays and accumulating sleep debt, and sleeping longer during weekends and partially compensating for their sleep loss).

activities before sleeping. Routine activities every night will make his body trigger the cues that induce sleep. He could try taking a shower or reading a book.

•Caffeine can hurt sleep, so he should avoid coffee, tea, soda and chocolate late in the day. Nicotine and alcohol also interfere with sleep.

If teens need about 9¼ hours of sleep to do their best and naturally go to sleep around 11:00 pm, one way for them to get more sleep, is for schools to have a later start time. Today, teens’ natural sleep cycle puts them in conflict with school start times. Most high school students need an alarm clock or a parent to wake them up on school days. They are like zombies getting ready for school and find it hard to be alert and pay attention in class. On the other hand, studies in the US showed marked improvement in classroom attendance and alertness during classes, when the start time was pushed back by an hour.

Some tips to establish adequate sleep

•Sleep hygiene practices are necessary, and should become a priority for teens to stay healthy, happy and smart. The teen should try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday and help the body clock get set. Even during weekends, he should stick closely to this schedule to maintain consistency. This way, a routine is set. The teen feels less tired as his body gets attuned with its natural bio-rhythms.

•Limit the teen’s after-school activities. Advise him to avoid hard studying and playing video games before bedtime.

38 Parent Circle / March 2012

•Naps can help the teen work more efficiently, if he plans them right. Naps that are too long or too close to bedtime can interfere with his regular sleep.

•No pills, vitamins or drinks can •Remove the television and the computer from the bedroom.

•Create a sleep inducing environment in the bedroom, and insist that the teen use the bedroom for sleep and rest only. The room should be a sleep haven - cool, quiet and dark. Darken the room in the evening and let in the sun when the alarm clock goes off. The body’s internal clock is controlled by light and darkness.

•The teen should finish his exercising (if any) and dinner (which should be light), two or three hours before an ideal bed-time.

•Likewise, he should schedule his homework and other activities, so as not to intrude into his bed time.

•He should avoid the TV and computer an hour before he goes to bed. Cell phones should be switched off, after 8:00 pm.

replace good sleep. The teen could try keeping a diary or to-do lists. If he jots down notes before going to sleep, he’ll be less likely to stay awake worrying.

•When he hears your friends talking about their all-nighters, he should tell them how good he feels after getting a good night’s sleep.

•Do not have an argument with your adolescent before bedtime. It can wait till tomorrow – when it may also be more reasonable on both sides.

In the interest of good health Impossible as it may seem, it is still possible to do all the above. Teens need to schedule more study time over the weekends, instead of late at night. They should spend more time outdoors with nature if possible, be physically active, eat sensibly and get the required amount of sleep. Then both health and performance can win. Sweet dreams! DR PRITHIKA CHARY IS A NEUROLOGIST AND NEUROSURGEON FROM CHENNAI.


www.parentcircle.in 39


tech talk

The ghost that stalks

cyberspace BY SHAIL RAGHUVANSHI

I

n 2006, Megan Meier, an insecure fourteen-year-old US schoolgirl, accepted a friend request on MySpace from a sixteen-year-old handsome stranger named Josh Evans. She exchanged messages with her ‘cutest boyfriend’ who, when she asked for his phone number, claimed he didn’t have one.

Though the Drews were not jailed, the incident reveals how cyber harassment is more real than virtual. What is more worrying about the unfortunate incident is that such crimes are being committed by youngsters in India, not necessarily restricted to metro cities, with many cases eluding the public eye.

CYBER HARASSMENT After a month of online flirtation (her parents supervised the correspondence), things took an ugly turn when Josh posted online: “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I’ve heard that you are not very nice to your friends.” Megan’s world fell apart as hate messages flooded her, calling her ‘fat’ and a ‘slut’. Josh’s final message that ‘the world would be a better place’ without her was the last straw. Believing she had been rejected by Josh and humiliated by friends, Megan committed suicide. Josh Evans vanished forever.

WiredSafety.org, the world’s largest online safety group, defines cyberbullying: “Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyberharassment or cyberstalking.”

CYBERSTALKING INVOLVES: That’s not the end. Six weeks later Megan’s parents discovered that ‘Josh Evans’ was an online persona created by their neighbour Lori Drew. Megan and Lori’s daughter had quarrelled and Lori wanted to check if Megan was saying nasty things about her daughter. Lori’s daughter and a friend knew about the ‘joke’ and participated in harassing Megan.

40 Parent Circle / March 2012

• cyberbullying in chat rooms, online sites • spreading nasty rumours on websites like Orkut, MySpace and Facebook • tracking online activities of the victim • sending abusive emails/messages • sending such mails to victim’s friends or relatives • creating a sense of irritation and fear in the victim

TEENS: A VULNERABLE LOT How do teens get involved in cyber crimes? Na Vijayashankar, a cyber crime expert and author of Cyber Laws for Every Netizen in India … ITA2000 and Beyond, says “Teens are attracted to laptops and internet. Being immature, adventure excites them and sounds like ‘fun’ to them. This ‘technology intoxication’ encourages them to commit mistakes.” Teenagers chat or message, forgetting that words can hurt in a virtual world, too. Sometimes, they post their personal informations online like address, parents’ credit card numbers and phone numbers, unaware that such details can be misused by online criminals. Cyberstalking among teenagers are rooted in failed friendships, jealousy, the need to find acceptance in a ‘cool’ group or the need to feel powerful without having to physically assault others. Take the example of the 15-year-old Mumbai schoolgirl who created a Facebook page against her classmate and abused her on it. This was because she had lost to that classmate in a competition. V Rajendran, senior vice president of the Cyber Society of India, says,“Most cyber crimes relate to cyberstalking,


data theft or e-publishing of obscene pictures online (Sections 65, 66 and 67 of IT Act). More than friends, the parents and teachers are to blame. Adults are too lenient with children and too lax on supervision (monitoring websites surfed etc).”

CYBERCULTURE It is a ‘User beware’ maxim in the cyberworld. Victims of cyberstalking are children and adults who are not aware of this. Therefore, cyberculture would include using safety tips like filtering emails and locking private information; knowledge of the minimum age to join sites like Orkut/Facebook. Be aware of the dangers of sharing information/emotions with online strangers and do not respond to unknown senders of spam/ pornographic material. True identities can be masked through fake profiles so IDs and passwords should not be shared. Users should read the policy guidelines of networking sites.

IS YOUR TEENAGER BEING STALKED ONLINE? Often, you as a parent may be the last person to know that your child is a victim of cyberstalking. Despite the misery, teenagers wish to stay connected with their friends and are afraid that parents may deny them their online privileges if they reveal that they are being cyberstalked. Without appearing to be invasive, find out whether your child stays aloof or feels unnecessarily annoyed. Are the children always online, especially at night? Do they minimize screens when family members pass by? Is your child making calls to or receiving calls from unknown numbers? Is your child suddenly facing sleeping or concentration difficulties? If ‘yes’, do investigate the cause.

IF YOUR CHILD IS BEING CYBERSTALKED Dr Mohana Narayanan, a psychiatrist in Chennai, says the best way to help a victim of cyberstalking is to “communicate with the child. Make your children feel that they will be taken care of and not just be taken to task. Build their confidence.” If your teenager is being stalked online, then: • do not make your child feel guilty. • contact the culprit and threaten him/her with police/legal action. If the harassment continues, do not contact the person again. • keep the messages and emails or take printouts as evidence. • contact your local police. • contact the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell. • close your child’s online account. Create a new account, if necessary, with a different name. Dr S Mohan Raj, a psychiatrist in Chennai, warns youngsters against ‘making friends with the friend of a friend’ online. “Children should be friends with people they know in real life. This way, the risk is reduced,” he advises.

YOU CAN HELP BY

• Talking to your children’s teachers, counsellor or friends. Try tracing this behaviour to incidents that may have occurred at home or school. • Provide ample warning by going online and find out cases where children indulging in cybercrimes have been arrested. A 10th Standard student from Ahmedabad was caught for hacking an online shopping website and diverting money to his account. He was arrested, sent to a juvenile cell and released later. • Taking your teen to a therapist.

• Explaining to children that harmless joking and bullying are two separate things. Explain to them the adverse effects of their actions on others. If the behaviour continues, deprive them of online privileges.

Dr Mohan Raj says teenagers with problems in handling anger may indulge in cyberstalking. He adds, “Negative behaviour will not disappear quickly. Always be alert.” 8

IF YOUR CHILD IS THE CYBERSTALKER When this happens, parents usually blame the society or themselves for not having instilled the right values in their children.

www.parentcircle.in 41


tech talk CYBERSTALKING AND THE LAW IN INDIA Juvenile cyberstalking remains under-reported in India except in a few cases where children have created nasty profiles or hacked into other accounts. Debarati Halder, an advocate and MD of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling, rues the fact that there are no provisions in the Indian Penal Code which can be called as ‘stalking law’. What is the punishment for juvenile cyberstalking in India? Punishments can be either a pecuniary fine and/or jail term depending on the nature of the harm. If the child perpetrator is about 16-18 years of age and is proven to be guilty of creating child pornography or general pornography or of sending obscene messages, then as per Section 67 (including 67, 67A&B that deal with obscenity, pornography and child pornography) of the Information Technology Act, the child and his parents are taken to court. The child undergoes punishment as per the IT Act and IPC, compatible with juvenile justice laws.

1

Precautions in the cyberworld Cyberstalking is active on educational and networking sites where people share information. You can prevent it by • monitoring your child’s access to the internet. Use an internet monitoring software if possible. • making use of internet filters to restrict access of your teenager to inappropriate sites. • checking your teenager’s friend list. • asking your children not to post personal details like address online. • checking privacy settings. • advising your child not to share passwords. • explaining why it is unsafe to post photos online • setting up a Google Alert for yourself every time your child’s name appears in a blog post on the net. Do make children aware of the fact that the internet is just as public as the street outside. To prevent cyberstalking from progressing to real-life stalking, let’s help our children help themselves with the above guidelines.

If the case is booked and goes to the prosecution stage, the case goes to juvenile courts where strict privacy is followed regarding the personal information of the accused and also the victim.

2

Have you seen children indicted in India? Many children and their parents think that law, especially penal and pecuniary punishment/fine, is not enforced in cases when the perpetrator is a child. I tell them a strong NO. Take the Delhi DPS case, for example, where a minor was involved in the recording of a sexual act with his classmate on his mobile and distributing it for profit. Even though it cannot be categorised exclusively as a stalking case, the child perpetrator was expelled and a case was booked against him. So, I always tell children that it is better for them to maintain their good reputation than to carry a black mark forever. Even though children under the age of 14 are rarely indicted, there are instances where such children have been taken into custody for severe offences like creating child pornography. How can parents prevent their children from committing or indulging in cyberstalking? Parents set the best examples for children including cyber activities. Don’t let your child act like an adult. Parents must monitor the child’s online activities and help him distinguish between what is ethically wrong and what is right.

3

Parents need to observe their children’s offline activities, listen to their frustrations and anger, and become a mentor. Once the children can vent anything to their parents, they will have less interest in involving themselves in criminal activities like stalking, as a mode of revenge. Parents must make them aware that cyberspace is not the place for such activities. It is better if the child logs on to the net in the presence of parents so that they can monitor the child.”

SHAIL RAGHUVANSHI IS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR AND POET.

42 Parent Circle / March 2012


www.parentcircle.in 43


values

The significance of prayer COMPILED BY NALINA RAMALAKSHMI

Poojyasri Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati, a saint, scholar, visionary and mentor of Advaita Philosophy, answers questions related to the act of praying.

Why do we pray to God? Prayer is the surrendering of oneself to God. It helps a person grow out of his own limitations, helplessness and the sense of insecurity. We surrender ourselves to the feet of the Lord realizing that it is the only way to touch the universal Consciousness.

What is the purpose of prayer? The purpose of prayer is not to demand or beg from God. It is not meant to materialize what is not material - I don’t have a job, so I want a job or I don’t have a child, so I want a child. Hence, we should guide our children not to demand or beg from God. Teach them to first thank the Lord for all that they have – loving family, food, clothing etc. Demanding or begging to fulfill one’s wants and desires will definitely limit our human efforts. It slowly leads to lethargy and dependency by making one feel that effort is not necessary and all that one needs to do is to pray to God to fulfill one’s desires.

44 Parent Circle / March 2012

Once, a young boy who had lost the use of both his legs literally dragged himself on the floor and prostrated before me. I was sympathetic towards him and said, “This is most unfortunate as you will be limited in your ability to go around and explore the world.” To this he replied, “Swamiji, I may not have legs, but God has blessed me with two hands which I use to create paintings. Now, I don’t need to go anywhere. Instead people from far away come to see me and appreciate my works. For this gift, I am thankful to the Lord.” He did not ask God for the use of his legs, he just asked God to bless his efforts as an artist! Encourage your children to pray to the Almighty to bless them so that they may achieve success in all their efforts.

How to Pray? Prayer involves three elements: the person, God (unto whom we pray), and the Prayer itself. God is not someone sitting somewhere far away from us. God manifests right in front of us in the form of this meaningful Creation. God is everywhere, in every form. In fact, everything is God.

Our culture introduces a simple and ideal form of idol worship that helps a person to connect with the Almighty, All-abiding Consciousness. I invoke this Universal Consciousness by visualizing an idol. But the idol is not my target. Through the idol I see the all-pervasive Almighty. For example, if I touch the tip of a person’s little finger, his entire body responds to the feeling of touch. Similarly, by worshipping even a small part of this creation, I am connecting with the all-pervasive God.

Please explain the various forms of Hindu worship. In the Hindu Dharma, there are five forms of worship: Puja: When performing a puja, we worship an idol with flowers and akshata (turmeric covered rice). The idol is made of stone that has its origins in the earth. The flowers and rice are products of this earth. So, Puja is symbolic of our worship of the earth. Abhishekam: When we do abhishekam, we pour milk, water, honey, curds and other liquids onto the idol. Abhishekam is symbolic of our worship of water. Homam: While performing homam, we offer oblations to the fire as part of various rituals. Homam is symbolic of our worship of fire. Japam: When we do japam, we chant mantras by turning the beads of a mala. Sound is involved. Sound is the 8


nature of air. So japam is symbolic of our worship of air. Dhyanam: Dhyanam or meditation is an internal prayer, a mental focus. There is no sound and no physical part is involved. In this form of prayer the object of meditation and the meditator are united as one. Dhyanam is symbolic of our worship of space. The five basic elements of creation are earth (solid), water (liquid), air (gas), fire (temperature), and space. Hence the five forms of worship are symbolic of the worship of every element of creation, which is but a manifestation of the eternal almighty Iswara, God. When we touch any form of creation, we are touching God. We invoke Iswara in the form of the 5 elements of creation and pray by chanting mantras and slokas.

What is a mantra? Mantra is a group of syllables or a group of words that together forms a shakthi, an energy. These were revealed by our rishis. Let us take the mantra ‘OM’, It consists of 3 syllables ‘A (Ah)’, ‘U (Oo), ‘M (Mm)’. Each of these three syllables creates its own energy. When the syllables combine to form the mantra ‘OM’ a total energy (shakthi) is attained. I am a part of this creation. I need to draw on the energy of the whole creation. When you chant a single syllable you draw the Universal Energy into a capsule. Hence chanting a particular mantra is very powerful since you are reaching out and touching the Universal Energy. To better understand this concept, let us take this example. There is a pool of water. You drop a small pebble in the center of the pool. Ripples are formed,

46 Parent Circle / March 2012

originating as small circles around the stone. These ripples continue to expand and travel to the edges of the pool. Similarly when you chant a mantra, the energy that you create expands, expands, expands and it touches the universe.

thoughts. We are able to completely surrender ourselves to the Almighty.

Should mantras be chanted aloud or in the mind?

Here is a story: In a little village there was a vacant plot where children used to play every day. One day the head of the village decided to build a Shiva Temple on that plot of land, and soon a temple was consecrated. Every day this gentleman did pradhakshina (circumambulate) around the temple.

There are two ways of chanting; one is to create a sound and the other is to chant internally, and both have different results. When you pray for universal benefit, you chant the mantra loud, thus creating vibrations that travel out. When it is to purify yourself it has to be within; you take the energy inside. Our Rishis or Seers, first purified themselves and realized themselves. Then they reached out to purify the society. So the purpose of prayer is to first purify oneself and then whatever the purified self sends out purifies society.

Why do we chant the slokas (Sanskrit prayers)? Sloka is a poetic form of prayer. Sloka is also a type of Mantra. A sloka remains a sloka until you believe in it and you chant it with faith and commitment. It then becomes a mantra. Just like an egg remains an egg, until the hen sits on it to hatch it, so also a sloka remains a sloka until you put in the effort to convert it to a mantra. A mantra or sloka when chanted in a temple or shrine is always more effective.

Why do I need to go to a temple to pray? We have specifically designated the temple to be a place of worship. So when we enter a temple we are able to leave behind our worries and other worldly

However if you grow to understand the all-pervasive nature of God then God is wherever you are and not merely restricted to a temple.

One day a young boy approached him and asked, “Previously, I was running around and playing on the grounds of this temple. Now you have kept a Shiva Linga and you are going around it. What is the difference between what I did then and what you are doing now?” The gentleman replied, “This is Bhagawan (God) and I am going around it”. The boy replied, “If you expand your Bhagawan to be your entire village, will you go around the entire village? What if you expand God to the entire country, to the entire earth, to the entire universe?” Now if you expand God to be the entire Universe, then wherever you are, you are one with God. By restricting God in your mind, you are restricting yourself. The Almighty is all-pervasive. Each and every form is an expression of the Almighty. Whatever you see, whatever you feel, if everything is God, then you will enjoy God in every moment of your life. NEXT: If everything is God, then why is this world filled with both good and evil?


www.parentcircle.in 47


discussion point

What is the right age for my child to have a Facebook account? Children above 15 years of age know what is good and what is bad. They will be able to sense the motives of others. Any person can influence a child under 15 by talking softly to him. This is dangerous and one can keep talking about it at length. There are exceptions, where even children below 15 years are quite intelligent and prudent. Fifteen years is probably the right age to start using Facebook. Abdul Malik, father of two children Children can start using Facebook when they can distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, and when they can fairly understand their responsibilities and the value of a quality life. It is the parents’ responsibility to teach values from the time the children are young. Ranjani Murali, Singapore I think the right age for a child to start using Facebook would be 10 years as children today are quite smart and intelligent. They are well aware of everything around them and can handle

Should children under 5 years be sent to day care centres? Does it affect them emotionally?

48 Parent Circle / March 2012

any situation. However, the computer should be in a common place so that the parents can keep an eye on their child. This is to ensure that their child is safe. Daya Kingston, Chennai There’s no way you can ignore Facebook. It sneaks into everyone’s mind and children are hooked on to the Facebook culture. Most parents are not even aware that their children have Facebook accounts. Parents should try to explain the pros and cons of Facebooking. My opinion is that until they complete their studies, they have to cut back on the number of hours they tend to be on Facebook and concentrate on their studies. Encourage them to act responsibly and set their limits on the time they want to spend on Facebook. Appreciate their judgment. This can be incredibly satisfying and helps you to bond with your child and build trust. Priya Kasi, Madurai As the mother of a nine-year-old daughter, I created a Facebook account for her and she has been able to connect with all her friends and some of mine, too! I share good posts with her and I always remember to ask her later if she has read them. Yes, there are risks. For example, she may tend to flip pages and chance upon

inappropriate information. But, I think progress has a flip side to it. We need to accept that. Kalpana Rajiv, mother of an 8-year-old In my opinion, the minimum age limit should be 21 years. Facebook is a tool which helps people connect with each other. Most of the time, friends separate after leaving college. They go to work and then lose contact with each other. After some time, you even forget them. This is where Facebook really helps. It helps locate old friends after a long gap and you can now catch up with them. Till the age of 21, children do not need Facebook. RV Ramanan, father of a 12-year-old The child could start using Facebook at 14 years. They would not be mature enough but you cannot stop them from using Facebook when their friends are using it. You have to give them the freedom and space they need. What you can do as a parent is to encourage them to take up sports or any other activity from a young age. The child will then not be tempted to use the computer, let alone log on to Facebook. Maithri J , mother of a 14-year-old Please send in your responses before March 15, 2012 to editorial@parentcircle.in with the subject line ‘Discussion Point’, or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor, Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India.


escee

© WWW.U B IQU ITENSE.C OM

nutrition

A

kristal

a day keeps the doctor away

BY ANASUYA J

T

he Indian gooseberry is a greenish yellow fruit that tastes sour and tangy. Its health benefits are so numerous that ayurvaids label it simply and profoundly, as the fruit that rejuvenates. “For day-to-day consumption, we recommend that the gooseberry (shade dried ones, lehyams and powder) be consumed when the stomach is empty. It increases ojas which is the subtle essence of living matter, the foundation of good health, mental sanity, and spiritual growth,” says Uma Raghavan, dietician at Cholayil Sanjeevanam. NUTRITION: The fruit contains Vitamin C, B, and minerals like phosphorous, calcium, Iron. It contains various amino acids, tannins and polyphenols, pectins and various other substances. BENEFITS: This wonder fruit n Rejuvenates. Has anti-ageing properties, keeps the body energetic and strengthens immunity. n Builds and strengthens body tissues. It is so good that it even strengthens the reproductive systems of men and women and keeps them in order. n Helps improve vision. n Strengthens respiratory systems. Children who are perennially prone to coughs and colds can reap benefits from eating the fruit. n Fortifies liver. The gooseberry eliminates toxins. n Fights cancer. Not only does it prevent cancer, it also kills cancer cells. n Balances stomach acid. It is a great digestive aid. It prevents inflammation and is useful for treating diarrhoea and dysentry. It has fibre value that can relieve constipation and is good for treating irritable bowel syndrome. n Improves heart health. It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. n Controls diabetes. It helps cells generate insulin. n Nourishes hair roots. It prevents hair loss and premature greying. RECIPE

Refined Free Flowing Iodised salt

Kristal = Salt Salt = Kristal

Spicy Gooseberry Snack

Ingredients: 12 cups of sliced gooseberry, 6 cups of sugar, ½ tsp jeera (cumin) powder, 1 tsp asofoetida, 2 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp salt. Method: Add the sugar to the sliced gooseberries and keep aside. After 2 days completely drain out all the liquid. (Store this sweet liquid in the refrigerator. Mix with water to make a refreshing drink.) Add remaining ingredients to the sliced and strained gooseberries and sun dry for a day or two. Store in closed container and refrigerate. Your spicy snack is ready.

ESCEE INFRASTRUCTURE (P) LTD. (An ISO 9001-2008 Certified Company) Manufacturers of: ESCEE Kristal Iodised Free Flow / Crystal Salt, No.37, Nelson Manickam Road, 6th Floor, Aminjikarai, Chennai - 600 029. Phone: 24808888, 24808834 Fax: 23742525 E: salt@escee.in W: www.escee.in


parent chef

FRUIT AND NUT MILKSHAKE MAKES 3 GLASSES

INGREDIENTS: Milk : 400 ml Sugar : 6-8 tsp Banana : 1 large Strawberry : 200gm Sapota : 1 medium Badam : 10 (soaked and peeled) Walnuts : 1 tbsp

METHOD:

as the Banana h ount highest am le ib of digest aking m s te carbohydra st t breakfa it a grea ws o sh search option! Re in ra ‘b are that nuts foods’.

Blend the nuts along with 2 tbsp milk to a fine paste and strain if desired. Blend remaining milk with fruits and sugar. Add in the nuts paste to the above mixture and stir. Serve chilled.

Beaten rice is fat, c or poha h and sod olesterol ium fre e. In addition , it is a great source of 11 es sential vitamins and particula minerals rly iron .

50 Parent Circle / March 2012

BY RASHMEE RAMKUMAR

CHINESE STYLE STIR-FRIED POHA SERVES 3 INGREDIENTS: Beaten rice/aval/poha : 200 gm Cabbage : 3 tbsp (finely chopped) Carrot : 3 tbsp (finely chopped) Spring onions : 5 tbsp (finely chopped along with the green stem) Spinach : 3 tbsp (finely chopped) Capsicum (all colours) : 3 tbsp (finely chopped) Garlic : 1 tbsp (finely chopped) Chilly flakes : 1 tsp Soy sauce : 1 tsp Pepper : ½ tsp Salt : to taste Sugar : 1 tsp Oil : 2 tsp

METHOD: Soak poha in ½ tsp soy sauce and required amount of water for half an hour. Strain and keep aside. Heat 2 tsp oil. Saute garlic for a minute. Add capsicum, cabbage, carrots, spinach and spring onions one at a time and stir-fry with ½ tsp soy sauce, salt and sugar on a high flame for 2 minutes each. Stir in the poha. Add chilly flakes and pepper. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot.


red conside a s are tr x E . s Sprout food r e d n o a as w tein t of pro e n k a t in s show ast ha d n a breakf l r initia ss “greate ne ed full sustain day.” e h t out through

PROTEIN PATTY AND BROWN BREAD SANDWICH INGREDIENTS: Flour : 90 gm Baking soda : ½ tsp Salt : ½ tsp Cinnamon powder : 1/4 tsp Butter : 110 gm Brown sugar : 100g Castor sugar : 40 g Egg : 1 Dates and figs : 50 g (finely chopped) Instant oats : 130 g Vanilla essence : 1/2 tsp

MAKES 5 PATTIES

OATS, FIG & DATE BARS MAKES 30 BARS

FOR THE PROTEIN PATTY: INGREDIENTS: Sprouts : 200 gm Sweet corn kernels : 2 tbsp Oregano : 3 tsp Cornflour : 1 tsp Chilly flakes : 1 tsp Bread crumbs : 5 tbsp Salt : to taste Oil : to shallow fry

METHOD: Pressure cook the corn and METHOD: Sift flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon powder and keep aside. Cream the butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Add in the egg and essence and beat the mixture. Add sifted flour, oats and dry fruits and mix till a dough consistency is reached. Wrap dough in cling film and place in refrigerator for half an hour. Preheat oven to 180°C. Shape dough into rectangular bars (approx 3’x1’), place on baking paper and bake for 15-17 minutes at 180°C or till brown. Cool bars on wire rack and keep in an air-tight container.

sprouts till well done. Add salt, cornflour and spices and knead into a thick dough. Shape into large patties and coat with bread crumbs. Place in refrigerator for half an hour. Remove and shallow fry with little oil on a tawa till golden brown on both sides.

TO ASSEMBLE: Toast 2 slices of

Oats is an exce lle breakfa st optio nt n as the high dietary in oats f helps to ibre make one fee l full f and lon aster ger.

brown bread. Place slices of cucumber, tomato and lettuce along with the protein patty between the bread and serve warm.

RASHMEE RAMKUMAR IS A CHENNAI-BASED NUTRITIONIST WHO RUNS HER OWN BAKING ENTERPRISE ‘SNOW FROSTING’.

www.parentcircle.in 51


check it out

D O GO ads Re r all fo E S AG Pintoo and the Giant BY SULABHA R DEVPUKAR

`135, Tulika Books

The Very Hungry Caterpillar BY ERIC CARLE

`105, Penguin Books This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little caterpillar that hatched on a Sunday. He has a voracious appetite. On Monday he eats through one whole apple, on Tuesday he eats through two whole pears and so on, till he is not a little caterpillar anymore! Toddlers love the repetitive poetic flow of words used by the author page after page. Soon, they will be counting along with you and repeating the days of the week as the little caterpillar eats his way through the pages and transforms into a beautiful butterfly.

52 Parent Circle / March 2012

This book is about the adventures of an eight- year-old boy called Pintoo. One day, Pintoo decides to take a short cut home, instead of his usual path. This leads to an adventure he could never have imagined. The path is dark and eerie and Pintoo loses his way. While searching for the correct route, Pintoo meets a giant who wants to eat him. Pintoo tries to trick the giant by telling him that his friend’s dog Bobby is more delicious than him. The giant believes Pintoo and they try to find the right path together. The story has been written completely from a child’s point of view and what a child would do if he comes face to face with a giant. The book has wonderful illustrations in watercolours by Ashwin Chikerur.

Rebels in Rajasthan BY SHAMIM PADAMSEE

`125, Puffin Siblings Vayu and Deeya receive a letter from their uncle Jadoo inviting them to visit him. But Uncle Jadoo is kidnapped by an evil Djinn and the children have to locate the seven keys that will free him. The children enlist the help of a magic talking window-frame as they set out to find the first of the seven keys. Their adventure takes them to the deserts of Rajasthan where they help save a prince and princess in trouble. This book is the first in a series of such books. The story is short and simple, and told in an engaging manner. The characters come alive through the narration. Children will enjoy reading this book as the theme is centred on something which they love: adventure. The illustrations complement the flow of the story.


The Whistling Monster BY JAMILA GAVIN

Bollywood Knights

`199, Walker Books

BY NICO RAPOSO

It’s not the end of the world BY JUDY BLUME

`241, MacMillan

`199, Penguin Books India This book is a compilation of ten simple stories from around the world, from India to Finland, from Canada to Botswana and Brazil. The stories are largely from folklore or from mythology. For instance, the story from India pertains to the birth of Lord Krishna. The story from Mongolia speaks of the fierce warring tribals, and how Gulnara, an ordinary maid becomes a warrior herself, only to bring about peace between them. Narrated simply, all the stories retain the flavour and colour of the place of origin. The illustrations are abstract and creatively done by Suzanne Barrett.

Every Indian is fascinated by the world of Bollywood and is ever so curious about the ‘inside’ happenings. In the form of a fiction, this book takes you into this glamorous world of glitter and paparazzi. Seventeen-yearold Raj Kapoor is the only son of Bollywood superstar Amit Kapoor, who is directing a film with the starlet Preeti Shabbir. After Preeti is almost killed on the sets of the film, Raj and his two friends Madhuri and Nagi set out to solve the mystery. The book hints about the gossips on the set, the catfights between actresses, the production process of a film - just about everything. Though the book is written for children, adults will also enjoy reading it.

A divorce can have a shattering impact on children and this book deals with how teens and preteens can come to terms with this decision taken by their parents. The story is narrated in first person by a 12- year- old Karen Newman, who has an older brother Jeff (a teen) and a younger sister Amy. Together, they witness the breakup of the marriage of their parents. Everyone is affected. Jeff runs away (he comes back later), Amy suddenly wants to share her bed with her older sister. Karen wants to bring about a reconciliation between her parents, so that everything will be alright again. Will her plan work? Can she bring her family back together again or does she have to learn to live with her parents’ decision?

www.parentcircle.in 53


viewpoint

Teen trouble: enough excuses, take responsibility On February 9th this year, a Class 9 student of St. Mary’s AngloIndian School stabbed to death his 39-year-old teacher for complaining to his parents about his poor academic performance. The fifteen-year-old boy killed Uma Maheswari, who taught Hindi and Science, in the classroom. Maheswari, a mother of two school-going daughters, was rushed to the hospital where doctors declared her dead. The boy, who hid in a toilet room, was handed over to the police. His classmates and neighbours said he was normally reserved. He was apparently inspired by ‘Agneepath’, a Bollywood movie whose theme is vengeance. The school, recognised under the CBSE stream, is preferred by middle and upper middle-class families.

A PARENT SPEAKS CHENNAI, AND MOST OF INDIA, woke up to the shocking story of a 9th grade boy stabbing his teacher to death in a private, upper-middle-class school because he imagined that she was ‘conspiring against him’ while reporting his lack of academic focus to his parents. Apart from this very obvious reason, media pundits and the cops contributed the following theories: 1. He watched the latest Bollywood movie ‘Agneepath’ in which the hero avenges the false charges against his

54 Parent Circle / March 2012

father and his subsequent murder by killing the people responsible for it. 2. He was given `100 as pocket money daily by his parents and therefore, ‘pampered’. 3. Our society is changing and students, school-children especially, are getting more expressive with their rage. 4. The school had ‘failed’ in its duty to impart good values to the boy. Before we make a sweeping generalization on all the extraneous factors, let us look within. One child having gone astray, perhaps because of insufficient parenting, does not really mean all children are bad. Pocket money cannot, movies cannot, the

internet cannot and poor schooling cannot ‘corrupt’ any child’s values and behaviour as much as insufficient parenting can. Parenting is not about breathing down your child’s neck and dictating what is right or wrong. It is about having qualitative, continuous conversations on what your experiences have been. It is about letting the child discover her own way of living; and reminding the child that you ARE there and WILL be there, no matter what. No parent can, of course, visualize the manifestation of a child’s rage to such a gory end, but the act of murder by this boy is only the culmination of, perhaps, a long series of events and experiences that he was subjected to. It could also be the result of poor communication between parents and child. ‘Did you eat?’, ‘Have you done your homework?’, ‘Why are you late?’, ‘Get off Facebook, will you?’ are NOT the communication we are talking about here. ‘How are you feeling?’, ‘Which part of your homework do you dislike?’, ‘Why are you not inclined to clean your room? ‘What was your learning from the movie?’, ‘What’s your feeling about the girls or boys in your class?’, ‘Are you attracted to any of them?’ – these are good questions that give you an opportunity as a parent to engage with your child’s development. Encourage


children to discuss their problems with you, allow them to seek clarifications and express opinions. If you do this, there are NO difficult or scandalous conversations ever with children. Even questions they ask in the wake of condom or sanitary napkin ads can be sensibly handled, without changing TV channels. Similarly, when children perform poorly in a subject, it does not mean they are losers. It only means they are not interested in that subject. And, perhaps, are interested in something else. So, when a teacher sends a report home saying the child is lagging in studies, the conversation with the child MUST involve possible questions like ‘Doing what else would give you joy?’, ‘What is incomprehensible about this subject?’ ‘Is something else worrying you?’ and ‘What is it that you don’t like about the teacher?’ Money makes people responsible. Not irresponsible. We have made wrong choices and decisions involving money and have learnt from them, so can they. If you believe that `100 a day can ‘corrupt’ your child, that’s a poor view you hold of your own creation. So, why should schools have a better view of your child? Let us instead review how our houses can become homes. Parenting is a twosome responsibility. And if you are having a bad marriage, be open about it. Do not fight. Share with your children the reasons for your disagreement and tell them individually how your relationship with them does NOT change though your relationship with your spouse is changing. Just imagine how boring our world would be if it had only scientists or only engineers or only movie stars or only cricketers. If we had children modelled exactly like us, how uninteresting our own lives would become. Parenting, therefore, is a great opportunity to build the next generation of global citizens. That’s why it is a responsibility that must be ‘owned’ and ‘shared’ by both parents. Being a parent is like being a good gardener or farmer. You always will reap what you sow. BY ANAND VISHWANATHAN (AVIS), A PARENT AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER

A SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST We have heard of such shocking incidents in the US, UK, Japan, Korea and China. It’s difficult to accept that it happened in our country. The root cause of this incident is the student’s poor mental health. When ignored, mental health problems can affect children’s learning, development, relationships and physical health. And now we know, it can even lead to loss of life. Students face mental health problems often. They have to deal with stress, worries about being bullied, fear of failure, poor parenting, loneliness, rejection, learning disabilities, concerns about sexuality, alcohol and substance abuse, peer and social pressure. Busy parents, believe that schools will take care of their children and create successful individuals. How can schools deal with a student’s problems? They can turn to the school psychologist for guidance. School psychologists are mental health professionals who help children overcome barriers to achieve success in school, at home and in life. They help identify, prevent or reduce the immediate and longterm effects of children’s mental health problems. Children thrive when they feel safe and get support. IAHP’s team of school psychologists offer free support to schools. We also send professionals directly to schools and help teachers become school psychologists. In addition, we offer orientation programmes to parents, students and teachers on education and life. Our helplines are open now. Contact 0 77080 00040 for support. BY DR B IMTIYAAZ (http://www.drimtiyaaz.com)

A TEACHER We cannot blame any particular person for this tragic incident. The teacher was just trying to remind him about his below average performance. But the boy didn’t take it too well. Parents must take the blame, too. Nowadays, if we even attempt to scold children for doing something wrong, parents blame the teachers. We were scolded too, in our time but we could take criticisms positively. Things have changed now. It is a rule to not detain children till the 8th Standard. In the 9th Standard, these children are unable to handle failures or criticisms. In the following year, they have to face the Board exams. They find it difficult to cope with the competition and whatever the teacher says is misunderstood. Teachers have to be a little strict with students who are not performing well so that the children realize that they have to study hard. BY R SRIDEVI, PRINCIPAL, KRMM SCHOOL

www.parentcircle.in 55


kaleidoscope

Summer cool with Pinehill Those who just don’t have the time to go shopping for clothes for their children, can now do so from their desk-top. Pinehill is a brand of clothes which is exclusively online. The company has taken the trouble to clarify doubts for hesitant online buyers on its website www.pinehill.co.in. They have provided an easy way to figure out the right size of clothes based on your child’s measurements. Pinehill has a warehouse in Pallikaranai in Chennai, and clothes are delivered the same day or the next day for Chennai residents. It has a range of 80 design collections, for children from 4 months to 8 years. Currently the clothes are available within the price range of `250 and `800. Expect more designs during summer!

An edible sand castle for your little one? There are sand castles and there are CDs waiting to be eaten… literally! ‘Just a Dream’ is a new cake shop recently opened at the third floor of the Express Avenue Mall. The cake shop specializes in designer cakes and theme-based cakes. There are cakes in the shape of a car, socks, a basket ball match and many many more. All the cakes are baked without eggs and are priced at `1,800 per kg. Apart from existing designs, exclusive design requests will be accepted and undertaken. There is no home delivery. Chocolates and cookies are also available and orders can be placed for wedding cakes.

56 Parent Circle / March 2012

New amusement park opened Yet another amusement park is now open in Chennai. EVP World is located on the Chennai-Bangalore highway. The highlights of EVP World are the Crazy Palace, an upside down building with a reverse interior which is 4 storeys high. It also houses a replica of the Khajuraho Temple in Orissa. The children can also enjoy a laser and multimedia show in water, which the park claims to be a world’s first. A screen will appear on the water which will play some music and dance. Apart from these, the park hosts some 80 rides and games.

CavinKare’s new UHT milk CavinKare has launched its ‘Cavin’s Pure+’ brand of Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) milk (normally available in tetra-packs). Innovative packaging technology developed inhouse, gives the milk a 120-day shelf life without refrigeration. Its UHT toned milk is priced at `20 for a half litre pack. UHT standardised milk and full cream milk are also available. Launching a new product or service? List it in ‘Kaleidoscope’. Send in the information to editorial@parentcircle.in


March2012_ezine  

Parent Circle, is a website and a monthly magazine, published by Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd., a Ramco Group Associate. Global exposures and...

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