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VOL 3 | ISSUE 11 | `60

march 2014


Kiran Bedi

Help for SLOW


Parenting Single father by choice SUBSCRIPTION COPY. NOT FOR SALE

Expert View: Psychiatrist Dr Anand Balan 1

editor’s note CH















Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Nalina Ramalakshmi




“We each have our own pie and it is whole and already fully baked. It is up to you to label your slices. Yours might include career, partner or romance, kids, health and friends.” - SAMANTHA ETTUS, best-selling author, radio host and speaker


recently came across an article in the Huffington Post by Samantha Ettus in which she questions the way we women have been measuring ourselves and trying to have it all. First, she says, it is impossible for anyone to ‘have it all’. Next, she recommends that we leave all the ‘juggling’ to circus professionals as this only causes insanity. Thirdly, she throws out the idea of ‘work-life balance’ by saying that ‘perfect balance means two things are equal on either side’ and this only leads to frustration. Instead,according to Samantha, if you consider your life as an already fully baked pie, sliced and labeled based on your current time commitments, even if you don’t have complete control over the time allocated to each slice, you can at least control the goals you set for each slice. You may have to devote 40 hours a week to work, 10 hours a week to taking care of an elderly person and so on. However, you get to decide that ‘me time’ is for yoga or meeting friends and ‘kids time’ means reading together or just chatting and just accomplishing these goals can give you the sense of achievement and fulfillment that you crave. March 8th being Women’s Day, our special ‘I’m a Mom, I Have a Life’, features moms from different walks of life who talk about their slices of pie. ‘It’s Just Me and My Child’ talks about the challenges faced by single parents and how they handle their slices of pie. Why study History? How to handle your fussy eater? Read on to get answers to these questions and more! We want to know what your children have to say. So, encourage them to participate in our anniversary contest by voicing their thoughts and opinions in words or pictures. See page 41 for details.

Would love to hear your feedback. Mail me at FIND US ON

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Nalina Ramalakshmi, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Nitya Varadarajan Assistant Editor Chitra Satyavasan Senior Editor-Copy Desk Shashwathi Sandeep Content Coordinator Asita Haq DESIGN Creative Head Rangashree Srinivas Chief Designer Thiagarajan R Graphic Designers M Ravisankar, Dhivya Gopal PRODUCTION Senior Consultant S Venkataraaman ADMINISTRATION Office Manager Sheeja Sasindran Office Assistant S Thirumalai SALES & DISTRIBUTION Vice-President M R Jayakkar ADVERTISING General Manager S Visalam Manager G Suresh Kumar CIRCULATION Manager C Ganesh SUBSCRIPTION Officer S Saravanan MARKETING Executive Dolly Preethi Martina M PUBLISHED BY Nalina Ramalakshmi, Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd., (A Ramco Group Associate), 8/14, First Cross Street, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020 PRINTED BY Canara Traders and Printers Pvt. Ltd., Type II/33, V.S.I. Estate, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041 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. Entire contents Copyright @ Shri Harini Media Pvt Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation in any language in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Requests for permission should be addressed in written form to Shri Harini Media.

mailbox INTERESTING INSIGHTS I am an IT professional and a parent. I am getting a number of insights on children’s growth phases and behaviour-related issues, all of which are very useful. In the past, whenever we had doubts about these, we could only ask our parents or our friends. But now, after reading Parent Circle, we are confident of becoming better parents. SANDEEP THALLOORY


NEED FOR SLEEP The article ‘Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?’ (February 2014 issue) is an eye-opener for all teachers and parents. Children who face board exams do not sleep for more than 5 to 6 hours a day. The reality is that children can survive with little food and no exercise, but all children need sleep. I would also like to add that television viewing significantly relates to lack of sleep.

Vasanthi Suresh Baabu

The article ‘5 Tips for Working Moms’, in the February 2014 issue, gives useful ideas to moms for managing their day-to-day lives. Articles like these will help working women tide over the pressures at work, at home and in one’s family. They are the utmost need of the hour. Priya Rajseshan

CAMBODIA, WITHOUT AIR FARE I enjoyed reading ‘The Beautiful Ruins of Cambodia’ (February 2014). I am 75 years old and I cannot make a trip to Cambodia with ease. But reading this article gave me the feeling of stepping on the golden soil of Cambodia, thus fulfilling my urge to visit the place. Kudos to the team for writing about this historical wonder!



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ONTHEWEB a reader asks When can I start taking my babies for long outings or movies? Sandeep T, dad of 10-month-old twins. There is no hard and fast rule about taking babies on outings, and when it should be done. A successful outing with an infant depends a lot on the clothes, toys and food that you carry for them, and their temperament. Some babies are reserved and intimidated by new places; others love outings and will easily attune themselves to their new surroundings, as these outings expose them to new and exciting experiences. Sometimes, babies can also behave unpredictably when it comes to new experiences. Be prepared and deal with this calmly. As a parent, you just have to adapt to your twins’ evolving social skills and learn to cope. More than this, your mindset is important. If you are conditioned to think that the outing will be disastrous, it will end up that way. But if you feel happy and optimistic about the outing, it will be a fun outing for all of you. Remember that it is all in the mind. Also don’t forget to take your sense of humour with you. Going to a friend’s house or a beach or a park is fine for a 10-month-old, but a movie is not advisable. During formal gatherings like engagements or weddings, try to sit at the back, so that you can slip out easily if either of your babies becomes restless or starts crying uncontrollably. Take turns with your spouse in taking the baby outside to settle him/her down. MINI RAO, PSYCHOLOGIST

parenting feature






A single parent cannot double up for the missing spouse. But if the bonding between the parent and child is ‘doubled’, the outcome is positive and rewarding.

ven happily married couples find that parenting is no cakewalk. Single parents, in many cases, struggle particularly in handling their environment. But there is a silver lining. Many single parents have understood the importance of completely relating to their children, and are leading fulfilled lives with happy children.

Navin Rolands who has his own business, loves travelling with his teenaged daughter. “We go together on picnics along with her friends and their parents. Often it is just the two of us on an outing or trip. For instance, once a month, a trip to Bandipur is a must in our plans. Both of us love wildlife.”

Says Simar Sukhija, a single mom and an entrepreneur from Delhi, who runs nail salons across the city, “I cannot explain the wonderful relationship I have with my daughter, now 8 years old, in a few words. We live life to the fullest. We go out together and thoroughly enjoy ourselves. We keep no secrets from each other.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my son’s childhood,” says Capt. Divya Sharma who separated from her husband soon after pregnancy and left her job as a commercial pilot to be with her son. “I have grown along with him and my life has a new meaning because of him. I clearly remember our first international trip. The destination was

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wellness feature


eaters BY


Between the ages of 3-7 years, many children are found to be picky eaters, though it is not uncommon to find older children refusing to try out some food because of a simple prejudice. Quite often, it is the surrounding environment that creates picky eaters – so modify the environment and get your children to be less fussy about what they eat.


f picky eater issues are not addressed appropriately, it can lead to various health problems as children grow older. For instance, if a child likes to eat only cooked white rice and always ignores the chapathis on the table, because chapathis need to be chewed on more, it is likely that this preference for soft foods will not help strengthen his teeth! Picky eaters, if they choose junk foods over nutritious foods, can develop nutritional deficiencies. Sometimes, picky eating can become a vexatious behavioural problem.



PARENTAL PRESSURE: Children start eating meals by themselves when they are 3 or 4 years old. This period also marks the start of food battles between moms and children. Come meal time, parents

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become watch-guards to the child. The constant nagging to make children empty their plates, or take a second helping, puts the child under pressure to perform. Pressure makes any activity un-enjoyable. When the child has to keep trying to match the expectations of his parents, the joy of eating diminishes. Eating becomes a ‘task’. Often children start gagging or throwing up. In the end, the child sticks to ‘familiar and safe’ foods, refusing to try out new things. However, they happily eat food brought from outside, or given by the neighbour

– where there is no pressure whatsoever by the parent ‘to clean the plate’. (Strangely, moms tend to be very particular when it comes to food cooked by them being thrown away and less fussy when the food is obtained from elsewhere!)


MONOTONOUS FOOD: Some children do get a little bored with the same kind of food over a period of time and want a change. They want to see a variety of foods in the form of different cuisines, colours and flavours. Children’s taste buds constantly evolve with age, but this pointer is often missed by the

learning feature





Why do we study History and other liberal arts? How can you kindle your child’s interest in History, and guide her if she wants to explore this subject? And what career opportunities does this subject provide? We speak to different history enthusiasts for the answers

SUBHADRA SEN GUPTA Author & history buff Why History? History gives us our identity, our lives, our roots. What would we be if we didn’t have a family history? It is from where our hopes, dreams and aspirations begin. Also, it teaches us what’s right and wrong, if we are willing to learn the lesson. If today there are no colonies, no slavery and if no one has dropped an atom bomb after Hiroshima, it’s because we have learnt from it by studying History. Without the knowledge of history, we cannot progress. Let me give you an example. When our leaders sat down to frame India’s Constitution, 10 ParentCircle / March 2014

they first studied the Constitution of other countries. If they didn’t know the history of these countries, they wouldn’t have done so. Take Gandhiji’s satyagraha, ahimsa and religious tolerance that gave us freedom – it began with his knowledge of Jainism, Ashoka and Akbar. He then inspired Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, who used non-violent protests with great success.

Difficult curriculum Actually, quite a large number of children like History. I know, because I meet children all the time at schools. They find the curriculum difficult. The problem is that History is taught badly in our schools. Our

textbooks are difficult, and children need to absorb many facts. When you recreate a civilization that goes back 5,000 years, it does get complicated. Children may dislike the subject in school, but they love historical fiction, films and TV serials. History is about people and when we tell stories, children love it. ‘Ideal’ way to teach history In India, our textbooks are developed by university professors who are not in touch with children and are full of theories about what children ‘must know’ without any sense of what they like or how much they can comprehend. If textbooks are developed by school teachers in collaboration with writers, illustrators

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