Being a parent- Part 2

I was now reading about ADHD, GAD, OCD etc. I bought two books that my wife searched on net- “From Chaos to Calm” and “Explosive Child”.

The instances mentioned in the two books are very true. And I am quite surprised to find them so. What I felt about my kid was so wrong. Now I had some sense into what to change and how to go about for the change.

Coming back to the symptoms that defined ADHD or ODD etc., I felt each one of them to be very true. We as parents never hesitated to visit a psychiatrist since none of the counseling sessions seemed to help her.

With I busy working, my wife, all alone took the trouble and the pain to take my kids around the city visiting doctors, clinical pyschologists, counsellors etc.

Coming back to what and how the change could be brought in her approach and behavior, I realized that “Distraction” was a very effective tool. Kids with symptoms of behavioral disorders resist any change. They tend to continue to do what they like and any shift is not without the troubles. Requests won’t work and threats rarely.

As a parent we will never want the kid to have a bad mood when being cajoled into a new activity. So distraction as a tool is doing great.

In addition to distraction, instant rewards do wonders to lift their moods. A special birthday gift that is even a month ahead will be too far ahead in future for them.

We as parents have a long road to travel and yet to have in sight the milestone that will help my daughter work towards self-improvement. But we are not loosing hope.

An Open Letter to Mother Maya

Very well weitten. I have not read any of her poems but after reading what you write I feel like reading what she wrote.

Black Millennials

Dear Dr. Angelou,

Today you rest in paradise, and my feelings, dare I say it, are extremely selfish. I know you are at ease, enlightening the afterlife with your instrumental peace and glory … but I want you here… with me.

I do not recall the day I fell in love with you. Maybe it was in middle school, when I gazed at your lyrics in seventh grade English, unable to decipher the insight, but willing to feel the emotion with curious intensity. Or maybe it was in high school, when I began to explore literature and dissect the roots of Black culture and feminism. Perhaps I fell in love with you in college, when I was mature enough to grasp not only your lyrics, but the contexts which encapsulated them.

Yes, it was definitely in college! Your potent words gave me solace as I experienced subtle racism by the hands of classmates…

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Being a parent- Part 1

My first kid was born in 2002 when I was just 26 years old. I was yet to settle down in my life economically. Emotionally, I was well settled having the peace of mind that most couples are likely to enjoy in their 40s or even 50s. My approach towards parenting was akin to an entrepreneurial venture, where I believed more on myself rather than the norm.

My wife believed that with a kid in family, things will be different and our approach has to be the one that is pre-decided and manipulated. I don’t know if manipulation was a right word to use. But I am quite clear today, all parents have to act-out our behaviors and actions that help transform the kid to be more responsible and disciplined.

Am I not disciplined? Am I not responsible? I love my wife and respect my parents. I am outspoken but then the intent is never to cheat or hurt anyone. If all of this true, I believed that I had all the good traits that my kid would learn and adopt in her life.

But then why will Mahatma Gandhi write a letter to his son who was a rapist? My wife who is today an established Counselor and she says that kids when faced with a choice may not necessarily adopt what is good. The value as per her not always influenced by the role model. A kid may prefer to adopt values that are not desirable or acceptable as a society or a family.

When I hear this from her today, 12 years after, my elder daughter is already on a path that she has decided is right for her. If I am not biased then I look upon her being very explosive, adamant to get what she wants and addicted towards TV, Internet and games on mobile phones. Today, when she refused to have egg curry for dinner, I made her read the advantages of Protein on internet. She said, “Yes, I understand.” A few moments later my happiness was short lived. She did not eat the egg from the curry she was served. I was disappointed and did not argue further. However, I did not stop expressing my unhappiness. But I avoided the argument.

Later, my wife was making me read an article from a clinical psychologist titled “Empowering parents”. What I read was exactly what we experienced. Quite surprising that what I believed was a special problem with my kid. Its abbreviated as ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).

Being a first timer

A routine life with a quest to have something new and interesting to do is important. It helps as a positive disruption in the sense that it gives our mind a break from the effort we put towards our long-term goals.

With aging we lose flexibility both physically and mentally. When we read about fitness lessons, we are explained the importance of stretching and cardio exercises to have adequate toning and flexibility. Same goes with our mind. Our mind tends to get into an inertia and resists any small effort on our part to change it.

If above is a fact then trying and doing things the ‘First time’ is very important. They serve as boosters to us and make us feel happy.

My first time list:

1. Learnt to form plaits of my daughter’s hair

2. First 150 km cycle ride in 5.5 hours

3. 100 km cycling race at Ahmedabad Cyclothon compeititon in 3:35 minutes. Finished 60th amongst some 100 riders

4. First 10 km run while preparing for Airtel New Delhi Half Marathon

5. First 10 km walk in 1:28 minutes

6. Bullet ride to Ranthambore and return with onward journey to Ranthambore done in night.

7. First safari at Ranthambore National Park

8. Participation in Tiger census at Ranthambore National Park

9. First clicks with Nikon D 3100 that made me start loving photography as a hobby

10. Nainital being the first holiday trip post which it became a norm to visit atleast one new place in a year.

Beyond email etiquette

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Today emails are limited mostly to formal communication. Chat tools on hand phones and status updates on Facebook have taken over any personal written communication. Greeting card was a special way to connect and express even when wishing your boss/teacher on their special days. But that’s history.

Today when commenting in a group chat on Whatsapp or posting a status update on Facebook or on Twitter the choice of words, timing and intent is equally important. I am sure Google will readily throw up relevant content to educate on this but here I risk by narrating my experience without getting inspired or adapting from what is already available.

1) Avoid forwarding content you receive. It just adds to traffic on net and waste of time. A forwarded message on Whatsapp reaches all and no point you forwarding it again.

On Facebook share a viewpoint and take support of any video clip or image available.

Be original as much as possible.

2) Its not about publicizing yourself. Post what you feel but with a true intent to showcase your viewpoint. Whether people click 👍 or 👏 it should not matter. Most of them just browse and read very less. So its better they are spared from commenting to show agreement or disagreement.

3) Its not about finding your Best Friend. Its wiser to have friends who possess different qualities. Stay connected and in an effortless manner. There should be no obligation to return favors by responding to each other’s post. So better not to get too personal.

4) Look upon every action of your as a reflection of your true personality. What is posted or shared should not conflict with what we actually believe or do in our lives. This realization is enough to ensure the etiquette required.

What should change with New Government?

The New Government at the Center will have to cross the chasm from EXPECTATIONS OF DEVELOPMENT  to EXECUTION. For last three decades we saw the coalition governments that were mostly indecisive. Regional parties gaining prominence at National level. But the election results this year (2014) will be remembered for the times when Indians voted for party that had significant national clout and could deliver on what is required to run a country. Regional parties had small loyalty base in their respective states but could not deliver anything great for their respective states through their elected MPs (Member of Parliament). So its a bye bye for regional parties from the Parliament.

Few things that need to change and change very fast with New Government are:

1. Definition of “Development” in our country should evolve from basic needs like electricity, water and roads. It should in next few years be about better health, better education and more employment. In another decade or so it should be about income parity, agriculture development, R&D in emerging sciences etc.

2. Taxation structure should be skewed towards the businesses rather than employed. This can be achieved must faster. With more disposable income the Common Man will have an opportunity to make a true economic profit out of his working life.

3. Manufacturing in India has lost its edge but atleast get the best manufacturing companies in the world to set-up their units in India. We are atleast good in terms of low cost human resources. Efficiency and scale is already with China.

4. Sports infrastructure in this country should be overhauled. Its one of the best available options to get the poor to enter mainstream employment. We should de-link from the thinking that sports is for the rich and not for the poor.

5. Ignore the problems with neighbors like Pakistan and China. Better be silent and keep moving.

What to read and rely on?

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There was an article a couple of weeks back in Hindustan Times Sunday edition about “Digital Addiction”. I also watched a video titled “Look up” shared by one of my connections on Facebook. Both of the above talked about the distraction due to technology in our lives.

I also came across an article in Economic Times on how is marketing using Twitter to market its products. It also talked about the way it incentivized the users who recommended its products to others on net and amongst her circle.

Above developments make me recall what Levitt said in his book ‘People to respond to incentives’. I am quite intrigued by this behavior of the most intelligent and rationale human on earth. Its takes an instant for anyone of us to get biased for incentives.

Moving further, on same line of thinking, I am inclined to believe that anything that we read on net is not an unbiased content. This is critical since for some of us content on net is one of the mediums to gain knowledge and wisdom, if possible.

So when we realize that with every passing day the content we tend to believe to be universal is actually a smartly crafted marketing strategy, we are left with one of the options:

A) Use our conscience to qualify everything that we read on net, or;

B) Better stay away from net as much as possible and return to reading the holy scriptures likes of vedas, Koran Sharif, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwad Gita etc.

Atleast here the interpretations of them will be closely linked to our personal experiences and situations faced in our lives.