Children are like a delicate bud, just nourish them, nurture them and they will blossom into a beautiful flower, spreading their fragrance around them.

Just let them be, and you will find them growing and exploring in their own world. Kids observe their family members (especially their parents) and register everything in their subconscious mind and later behave like one. It is very important for us as adults to set a proper example in Infront of our children and improve our style of parenting so that we raise our kids as better human beings.

Kaveri Purandhar, Outreach Editor at SheThePeople.TV speaks to Joy Christian Johnson, who is a child psychologist with over 12 years of experience and is currently based in Mangalore, on how we can be better parents. She did her Masters in Psychology and additionally, she’s done a certified licenced course in Child Development. She is currently a full- time mommy and during her free hours, she updates herself with articles and news from her field, gives guest talks and helps people who need assistance and directions via social networking. Her motto of life is, ‘Go for it, no matter how it ends, it is an experience.’

Joy, please tell us what is that one important aspect which we as parents need to focus on while parenting?

These days due to busy schedules we engage in small talks and can see the drift between parents and children. Communication lays a strong foundation and as parents, we need to focus on our communication and make our children understand that we are interested to listen to their talks, be involved in two way communication and always free to help when needed.

We parents sometimes mistakenly ignore or overlook the “hidden disabilities” in our own kids, can you please throw light in this regard.

Hidden disabilities are not visible outside and limit a child’s movement, senses, and activities. Since they are invisible, they can lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions and judgments.

As parents, we need to focus on our communication and make our children understand that we are interested in listening to them.

When parents come to know about their child’s hidden disability, it takes time for them to accept the fact and are in the denial stage. If parents don’t take immediate steps chances are that the child can be misunderstood in social gatherings and punished at schools. The parents will have to stand up for their kids and will have to advocate for their child until he or she is able to self-advocate. These days if any child is hyper the kid is labelled as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and that is WRONG. The child is assessed based on red flags of certain signs and symptoms and hence we shouldn’t label child without any formal assessment.

A few hidden disabilities which I would like to mention are, ADHD – child shows signs of hyperactivity and lack of attention , SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) – child’s senses are over or under-stimulated, LD (Learning Disabilities)- child has difficulty in reading, writing and maths, Childhood depression and anxiety.

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These days we find a lot of cases related to bullying, to what extent it can affect a child psychologically and what measures can be taken to avoid such situations.

Bullying can shake a child’s confidence, make her or him aloof ,quiet and make one to have low self-esteem thus effecting the child psychologically . As parents we need to encourage our kids to share their daily school activities and let them know that they needn’t deal with all school matters alone but encourage them to get help and teach children to defend themselves in times of emergencies.

Schools can take a few initiatives in order to minimise bullying-

  1. As part of the syllabus, students must be taught positive communication skills.
  2. Encourage discussions about bullying in classroom.
  3. Conduct workshops teaching kids the skills how to handle bullies through role play and other techniques.
  4. Schools should have an established system of psychologist and therapist for a child to get immediate help and counselling should be available for kids.
  5. Schools should have strong punishments for bullying.

Books play an important role in language and communication and social and cognitive development. Picking the right book for the appropriate age, and the tone in which we read are two main factors to keep in mind.

Most of the kids love stories. Can you please tell us the significance of storytelling for kids and also some tips to make the art of storytelling more realistic?

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Books play an important role in language and communication and social and cognitive development. Picking the right book for the appropriate age, and the tone in which we read are two main factors to keep in mind. Modulating voices, using animated expressions and actions with picture aids, as do puppets, having a two way communication captures little minds.

You have been associated with kids for a very long time, so that one advice which you would pass on to all the parents out there.

Accept the child for who he/she is by encouraging the child to give his/her best. Each kid is unique, born with special gifts and as parents we must not put pressure on their little minds with unrealistic goals and instil our desires upon them because it can impact their mental health. Our kids aren’t trophies but they are little human beings with emotions. We need to handle them with care and love.

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