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‘Be a friend to your child’

| | in Sunday Pioneer
‘Be a friend to your child’

Neelam Katara tells SHALINI SAKSENA that today’s parents need to instil confidence in their child so that he can talk about anything without being censured

For Neelam Katara, parenting is all about being a friend to your child. She tells you one should never differentiate in bringing her up our sons and daughters. She talks of the Ujjawala Yojana in this context. It is all about mahilaon ke liye LPG. “As if, only women cook. Why not say, men can also cook since LPG makes it easy? The difference is so stark,” Katara points out.

Girls, she says, need to be told that while there are no restrictions on them if they want to go out late at night, there is need to take precautions. “We need to tell them that in an ideal world, everything is good but we don’t live in an ideal world, hence, the need for safeguards,” she opines.

Katara wants parents to instil so much confidence in children that they are honest and confide in them when in trouble. A friendly parent is must so that a child can come home and tell them that she has a boyfriend. “Children are growing up much faster. One can’t force them to do things. They won’t listen to you just because you are their parent. Had I not been a friendly mother, I would have never known what was happening in Nitish’s life. I knew he wanted to marry Bharti. He had shown me the expensive watch Bharti had given him. I told him he should not have accepted such an expensive gift,” Katara recalls.

Basic ground rules need to set but parents need to be aware of what is going on in their children’s life. Children need to be given space. They need to be told that they should listen because you are right and then show them why you are right. You have to be a full-time parent and yet not be intrusive. Ask him what he is doing, if he is happy, why, if he is sad, why?

“I sometimes feel I neglected Nitin. I had an ailing husband when Nitin was in college. He lost his elder brother and father within just 18 months. I had to hold myself together and couldn’t afford to have a breakdown. Then there were all kinds of outside influences. People would tell him ‘tu toh bahut bolta hai aur tere bhai ke saath aisa ho gaya aur tooney kucch nahin kiya.’ I told him that he needed to tell these people that his mother was looking into what needed to be done. I had to, of course, convince him why we were doing things in a certain manner. Because of the values that he was given, he understood that the path may have been long but was the correct one,” Katara says.




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