13 reasons Why!

TV shows have always been considered bad for kids and the old school of thought promotes banning them for children. But some new age shows are emerging with meaning that help bring awareness to topics that were otherwise taboo. And we sure can say that India needs some change in this regard.

The popular show among teens “13 reasons why” has caused a stir among parents, internationally and in India too, wondering if it’s appropriate for their children to watch it. It may seem a little overwhelming, especially for sensitive children, however, its bringing t everyone’s attention a very serious, yet neglected issue among teens – depression, ending with suicide. It’s a teen’s narration of events in her life that led to her committing suicide. In the wake of the new show, parents are rightfully obligated to speak to their teens about it and this could be a great start to discussing such a delicate yet important topic.

Robert Myers., child and adolescent psychologist, believes it’s important to tackle these issues smartly and delicately. If the teens are already watching the show and the parents bring up the topic, a teen’s first reaction to it is one of defense. A parent has to ensure that they don’t broach the subject with negativity, instead treat like any other discussion.
Moreover, during any discussion relating to depression, a parent must refrain from using any fearful tone that would send the child on a guilt trip and eventually lead him to going into a shell. The teen must know that the parents trust him/her and will stand by his/her side come what may. That foundation of faith is essential for any child to open up about his feelings and confide in his/her parents. On the other hand, including your own life-examples could help establish an empathetic relationship and make the teen feel comfortable.

Furthermore, parents are unsure about how often they should talk about it. Robert Myers is certain that just talking about it once won’t suffice but at the same time, bombarding them with facts and statements about depression every now and then is ineffectual.

It may seem difficult to find the right mix of all ingredients to perfect parenting and it’s quite impossible to draw up a recipe, however what salt is to food, communication is to parenting. You can skip some things but always be there to talk to your child and listen too. Shows like these could be treated as blessings in disguise that are helping people discuss depression more openly with the hope of helping their kids stay away from it or in some cases overcome it. But that also makes us wonder, did we really need a show or a book like “13 reasons why” to share such things with our teens? Why were we waiting for someone to give us a push for something as important as depression? Some food for thought, maybe?

This blog is based on the article –


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Calm Parenting!

Children are amazing at aping and all parents certainly are aware of that! And hence all parents are so cautious of their actions and words because they never know when their children will pick the same and reproduce it most unexpectedly! Well, it’s not just your actions they are watching. Your anxiety too is at the risk of being aped by your kids.

Anxiety breeds anxiety!

No solution has ever been found by taking the path of anxiety. In fact, it could only add to your problems. Parenting sure is a challenging job; perhaps the most tedious one, to have ever existed. And unconsciously, anxiety sets in. But what’s more dangerous is that the same anxiety could be passed on to your child.

Now when a parent is faced with a situation at home, the first reaction to it is the most important; which is bound to stay in your child’s mind forever. If a parent takes a minute to first calm himself/herself before addressing the child regarding an issue, the panic level of the situation is minimized to a great extent; thereby making way for one to actually resolve an issue with an effective solution . And we all know that wouldn’t have happened if things had heated up.

How a parent deals with a problem eventually transforms into how a child deals with one. Kids are kids. They are supposed to make mistakes, they are supposed to goof up and annoy us. But parents are adults. And taking a minute before reacting is what any adult must do, thereby ensuring children turning into calm adults as well.

Anger is usually caused by a feeling of disappointment when a child doesn’t do as he is instructed to. A parent feels accountable for every mistake a child makes, which is unfair. An adult is solely responsible for how they react to a mistake, not for the mistake. The minute a parent understands this distinction, things get calmer. One cannot ensure that a child does everything right all the time, its plain impossible! But what’s possible is one’s behaviour towards the child that could in fact influence his/her action the next time around. A child who is not blamed and reprimanded for every little mistake is actually motivated to try again and perhaps succeed too!

Well, this goes to say that the trending “keep calm” slogan is something we all must really put to use, especially while parenting!

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Goofing up is OK!

Children make mistakes; all the time! They fall down, they spill things over, they forget chores, they mess up at school and so on. And they are always expected to apologize. Because we want them to learn to say sorry. While that’s not incorrect, it’s incomplete! The only way to ensure children learn to accept mistakes and realize it’s not the end of the world, is to apologize when you are at fault too.

Psychologists have observed that children absorb, absorb, absorb and then reproduce all of it. Unfortunately, one can’t tell when the reproduction happens, and when it does it might be too late to reverse the learning. Children are observant of every little thing they see and are watching all our actions. And without our knowledge they are picking up nuances from our behaviours.

When children make mistakes, they feel embarrassed, guilty and scared. Hence, when they see adults make mistakes and accept them, it reduces the fear of a mistake. They start to see that mistakes are common, and could be made by anyone; adults too. Apologizing for a mistake and moving on gives them the courage to do the same.

At times, parents are worried that if a child makes a mistake and is subjected to name-calling by other people, it could damage the self-confidence of a child. It could, but temporarily! Because how you deal with it at home could decide whether the child can gain his/her confidence back.

The more attention you give to such details, the more aware you will be of your child’s feelings. However, it’s important to simplify things for your child so he/she doesn’t believe that every mistake is a disaster! While they shouldn’t be ignoring mistakes and moving on like nothing happened, they shouldn’t also be collapsing after having made a mistake. Picking them up, moving ahead and regaining confidence – an essential process for a child to grow into a strong adult.

So, if we behave as strong adults and showcase sensible behaviour, we are helping in building a strong, confident generation.

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Let’s get real!

Motherhood brings in a whole new change! It comes rushing in with bursts of joy and love! And unfortunately, in the case of 90 percent of Indian mothers, stress comes tailing behind. Stress caused by the pressure to be a perfect parent!

While the pressure to be a perfect mom is a global concept, surveys have revealed that it’s more common in India due to various factors. Motherhood sure is huge step, that kicks off with the pregnancy, distinct changes in one’s body and then comes the baby; that’s when it’s supposed to be a true celebration, but often is accompanied by a nagging pressure to be good at it.

Clinical Psychologist and Counsellor Varkha Chulani says that there is indeed nothing like a perfect mother. There are no fixed rules or norms one could follow. The pressure is felt when one believes that one must not make any mistake. Now that’s highly impossible right? Humans are prone to making mistakes, in any realm of life and fortunately, making a mistake is not the end of the world. And she adds that, the more natural and instinctive one is, one doesn’t falter much.

To add on, Dr Uday Pai, past president of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, says that in India, one of the main reasons for increased pressure is the fact that a mother is bogged down by two sets of grandparents. Contrasting suggestions from each set of grandparents increase the level of stress for a mother, especially a new mother, who is already dealing with her own issues.

Surveys brought out various fears new mothers face right from not looking good post pregnancy to not feeling confident about being a good mother; from wondering what is right for their baby to worrying about not having time for themselves.

Furthermore, with the number of articles and tips the online world has to offer, a mother is left feeling bewildered! Who can tell her what is right and what is wrong? Now, this is where psychologists believe that a mother must follow her heart, her definitive instincts and step into the world of parenting with a positive attitude.

The key to positive parenting starts with the mother feeling good and confident about herself. Bodies ought to change and will change! But with a healthy lifestyle, one can always go back to being how they were before pregnancy. Meanwhile, the focus should be on eating well and feeling good. And with respect to being perfect moms, its valid to be worried. Even Dutchess Kate Middleton had similar fears. But getting over them, and going with natural instincts is the key to being a REAL mom, which hold more value, right?

The blog is based on the following article –


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Heartache for Sale!

Why do we sell our old stuff? To get rid of junk, maybe! To avoid accumulation of unwanted things over the years; to be able to make place for new things to come along. Imagine doing all of the above for your broken relationships! Get rid of the heartache, move on and make place in your heart for a new relationship. Weird, but oddly satisfying right?

Vietnam has its own market for heartache , allowing people to discard the things given by their ex-lovers. It’s a sign of moving on. After having gone through a heartbreak, people find themselves depressed and unable to carry on with their daily routine. They said this market acted as a closure for them as it helped them dispose all the stuff they could no longer bear to look at. They also found it oddly relieving to see that there are so many others who have gone through similar break-ups and that gave them strength to move on easily.

This market is of significant importance in a place like Vietnam, where till just a generation ago, arranged marriages were extremely common. This concept of heart-ache and moving on is a symbol of the change over the past few years and how with the use of social media, dating and break-ups are no more rare.

Social attitudes have changed drastically with the country adopting western country norms, almost replicating the situation in India today.

Dating is common, so are break-ups! And moving on after a break-up is essential! It avoids baggage being carried on to new relationships! And as a concept, this is a treat to psychologists and counsellors. However, the question here is – why are there so many break-ups? Why is the youth finding it difficult to hold on to relationships? Of course social media has a huge role to play here!

With the number of options available online, everyone always feels they could get better, they could find someone better. Rising expectations and the greed to always find “the best”, cause people to lose interest in the current relationships with a continuing search for better ones. And it’s time the youth halts for a bit to understand themselves better and aim at having more successful relationships!

Having said that, today, the trend is to have several relationships before finding “the one” and it sure is healthy to have access to a heartache market. The bottom line is – emotional baggage of any kind is dangerous! So in case you don’t have access to such a market, set up one for yourself – your very own junkyard. And start afresh !

The blog is based on the following article – http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/11/05/17/heartache-for-sale-at-vietnams-ex-lovers-market

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Digital self-harm

Suicide, self-harm and self destructive activities have been observed over the years and unfortunately, have become so mundane to hear and read about. People are taking lives at an alarming rate, yet reading about it is not so alarming anymore. But what has caught everyone’s attention recently is the new killer – digital self-harm; because harming oneself physically is just so passé!!!

To even think that there are new ways of self-harm, is so disheartening. “Digital self-harm”, or “self-cyberbullying” is a behavior where adolescents/teens post mean things about themselves anonymously. This concept came into light with the suicide of a 14 year old who sent herself hurtful messages on a social media platform and ended by taking her own life. A study showed that nearly 6% of people who took their lives were victims of digital self-harm prior to that.

What’s important to note here is not the absurdity of the whole idea, but the reasons that compel adolescents to do so. A survey revealed that boys too were a part of this but apparently for different reasons. They confessed that it was to be funny or to get attention, whereas the girls took to digital self-harm because of depression. The underlying reason for either of the genders is to get a response or to be acknowledged. This leads us to wonder what is missing in their lives, at home or at school, with parents or with friends; that begets them to take such steps.

This also gives us a hint that adolescents have to be handled very delicately yet smartly. They have various needs at different levels, and when some needs are unmet, they could lead to extremities like self-harm. Being there for your child, observing his/her behavior and establishing a strong foundation of faith is so essential for him/her to know that they can approach you instead of social media ,in times of distress.

Providing a child with basic physiological needs is not enough. A child has emotional needs that have to be catered to. An effective and trustworthy two-way communication between parents and children is enough to bring down the rate of depression among children. The actions caused by children sure are shocking, but what’s more shocking is the reason behind them. And as parents, you can only pick up hints, gather clues and solve the puzzle for them before it’s too late.

Let them know you are there for them, come what may. And this needs to be conveyed in behaviour, not with mere words. Furthermore, this needs to be communicated to them at an early age, not “last minute”, when they have turned into adolescents!  Hopefully this would help the next generation progress towards finding new ways to live rather than reaching out for new ways to die!

This blog is based on the article –

Deccan Herald page 6 – 1st November 2017 – Digital self harm alarmingly prevalent in teens: study – http://www.deccanheraldepaper.com.

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Children approaching parents

With suicides among teens and children at an all time high, parents are troubled with one question; why don’t kids come to us when they are upset? We could have perhaps worked on it better! Well, ideally, that’s true. If children did approach their parents in times of difficulty, appropriate guidance at the right time could ward off major damage. But despite being most familiar with parents, there must be a reason why children fail to approach them when needed. And this fortunately, is something as parents, we can definitely solve. The problem and the solution lie within us! The problem being our behaviour or reaction to past issues discussed by the child and the solution being to reverse those reactions and attempt a better one the next time.

The article lists some of the situations where the parents need to be cautious. Let’s take the example of a 12 year old coming in to share his experience of infatuation. The first impulsive reaction the mother gives is one of anger and betrayal – how could my child turn out to be like this? But the solution here is get down to reality, comprehend that it’s normal for every child to have such feelings and to acknowledge and respect them. Respect, being a key word here. The child needs to feel validated. And if his self-respect is hurt in front of his own mother, there is very little chance that he would approach her again. Similarly, feelings of shock, authority, or obsession from a parent / parents could push the child away from them.

Parenting sure is a challenging job, and there is no one book or guide that’ll give us the tips we need. However, there are people (professional counsellors) who could help parents handle such situations. It is essential that the parent is well aware of a situation and conducts himself/herself well because that is exactly how the child will react to it. Every action by the parent evokes a reaction from the children. And for children to feel secure, respected and loved, a sufficient amount of trust and faith needs to be established by the parents.

A great family is one where kids share not only their happy experiences but the unhappy and scary ones too .Being able to cry together is essential too. And it’s important for parents to provide such a platform to their children, hence ensuring that when kids really are in trouble, the people they’ll look up to first would be their very own family.

Let’s strive to make each home a happy home but also with an outlet for sadness, fear and confusion. Let’s help the world get rid of blue whales and make way for happy dolphins. And happiness sure does begin at home!

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One at a time, please!

Stress! Yes, there it is again! The notorious, dreaded and recurring phenomenon. Ranging from children to adults, men to women; all of us have experienced various levels of stress and with each passing day, the goal remains the same – to identify different causes of stress with the objective of eliminating it from our lives. And today’s article draws a link between procrastination and stress.  One might have observed that humans are always after something they don’t possess, whilst perhaps overlooking the green grass in their very own backyard. Similarly, Lithuanian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik states that the mind mulls over unfinished tasks, quite often forgetting about finished tasks, and that lingering thought transforms into stress.

The idea originated when she heard from waiters that they couldn’t remember orders once they were complete. However, the incomplete ones stayed with them longer. She extended her observation by giving a set of children certain tasks. And during few of the tasks, they were interrupted. It was observed that the children weren’t able to remember all of them, but the tasks that remained incomplete due to interruptions, were very easy to recall. This is how she reached her analysis of stress being caused by incomplete/unfinished tasks. The stress is rarely caused by a large amount of work done or completed, but more so by a certain task that’s yet to be done.

The key to freeing oneself from such stress is to do one thing at a time – so simple, yet so onerous to implement! Multi-tasking is almost like breathing today. We find it hard to start one job, give it full attention and complete it. The greed to get more done at the same time often leaves us with some unfinished business, thereby leading to higher levels of stress.  Apart from compromising on productivity, we are also at a risk of recalling the unfinished task time and again.

Doing fewer things is not the solution, but getting things done on the basis or priority and one at a time would help sort things out in the mind. And peace of mind leads to better quality of work and of course, a better quality of life!

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Expectations too high at the workplace?

As we have been discussing suicides among children, it’s also important to pay attention suicides among adults. We may all be aware that a failed relationship is a prominent cause for a suicide, but have we wondered what the other causes are? According to a recent survey, 50% of the people who seek help online are suffering from work-related stress or depression.

Work is worship; agreed! But it could also lead us to the gates of hell if not dealt with appropriately. Pressure at workplaces, the will to keep growing and the fear of not being able to do so are causing individuals to reach a breakdown or in worse cases, succumb to depression! Not able to find happiness leads to absenteeism which in turn leads to fear of losing a job. The ordeal of having to go to a workplace you are not fond of can be quite traumatizing in the long run. Rising expectations by bosses and employees too, are causing employees to go into depression.

Psychologists say that all of the above could be handled by ensuring a work-life balance. It may sound clichéd, but it sure still holds good as one of the best ways of ensuring a fulfilling life. The minute work starts to lead in the race, life is left behind. Literally. Laws may need to be altered at workplaces but helping employees stay happy and content is not only beneficial for the employees, but to the company as well. Productivity of employees solely depends on their well-being.

If school is second home for children, an office is one for adults. A major part of the day is spent here and any stress experienced here will subsequently show up in all other spheres of life.

What’s more worrying is that interpersonal relations at home too take a hit. And any demanding job will not be able to give a person the time to sort things out. And the cycle of stress just continues.

Hence, isn’t it better to manage time and attention effectively before we reach that stage? Dedicating time to what’s important and urgent at the moment can help prioritize things. Keeping work stress away from home and vice versa consequently improves things at both places! Being mindful about how much time work is taking away from you in a day and to judge whether it’s worth it, is the key here!

Some are lucky to have dream jobs, some aren’t. But all are capable of being happy in their workplaces with just a little attention and mindfulness. So the choice is ALWAYS yours!

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Rubber duckies to Blue whales!

For a change that drastic, something drastic must have happened right? Probably not! With parents terrified about suicides amongst children, each one is striving hard to dig out every possible reason that is pushing a child to take such an extreme step. Earlier there were reasons (if one may call it that) to end a life; however invalid it may have seemed to others. Heartbreaks, failures at school, poverty… etc. But today, parents who say they have given “everything” to their kids too end up losing their children. While looking for something huge and noticeable as a cause to such behaviour, what has emerged as a winner from research is a very basic concept – poor communication between parents and children.

As shocking as it may seem, it most certainly is that essential too. After having provided your kids with “everything”, maybe it’s time to just make sure that you too are there for them; in every possible way. Constant critiquing, unrealistic expectations, academic pressure etc could be underlying causes of one wanting to end their life. As quoted by a child who attempted suicide 17 times, the aim was not to end a life; but to end the pain.

It’s important to comprehend that “pain” is a relative term and however irrelevant it may appear to be to us; it is valid for a child. To validate his feelings and understand his pain is crucial. And when that doesn’t happen he looks for other options, sometimes, suicide!

With World Mental Health day being celebrated three days ago, the hope is that people take a step forward and acknowledge mental health issues in children too. Acknowledgment is only the first step to solving it. If parents identify an issue and vow to resolve it by asking for help, they are perhaps preventing a tragedy that was waiting to happen!

So, to all parents out there, you may feel you are doing everything right, and of course, one is never dubious about the intentions of a parent; but never forget communication is a two-way street and it should seem right from both ends for it be ‘effective’.

So even if you feel everything is “fine”, it’s better to look at communication from another angle; hence making sure everything always remains fine. Parents are ready to go any length to protect their kids from the big bad blue whale and when it could be doing something as basic as improving communication, why not start now?

This blog is based on the article –


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