This blog has been contributed by Samarth Uchil . His mother Jyoti joined our parenting program when he was 12 years old.
"Welcome to our society. You will be judged on what you wear, your taste in music, what you look like, how you act and your belief system - Enjoy your stay."
I recall my Chennai years as the happiest years of my life, where my life revolved around my friends from school and my building. Chennai was a huge change for me as I had lived my entire life in Mumbai. Another huge change, was me shifting to a co-ed school. It was the perfect learning platform at the perfect time of my life - Puberty.
This is supposed to be the most awkward phase of any kid's life. To me, it was all fun and games. Waking up early, cycling to school, making excuses for incomplete homework, pen fights, book cricket, playing during the break, waiting for the last period to end only to go back home, play the sport that was in season, study, eat, sleep and repeat. Life seemed simple.
Little did I know, life was made simple for me. My mom apparently had this life hack - A Parenting Group.
We didn't know much that happened in their circle other than the obvious fact that us kids (The Guinea Pigs as we call ourselves) were the centre of discussion. Normally, any kid would have a problem with the fact that their parents were discussing problems related to their kid with others. For me, it was much worse; as I was the kid with coloured hair, which had more gel than required, definitely a bit socially awkward and was average at academics. And I knew there was no group or therapy that would fix my style, the way I carried myself or my grades.
It was only once I moved out, I understood the work my parents had put into me, and how much of the values they instilled in me, which play an important role in my day to day activities. We all know the world we live in is chaotic and most parents equip their kids with tools to tackle it. My parents on the other hand, cleared the chaos that existed in my head. They let me follow my own belief system, respect myself in order to respect others, equipped me with morals to stay on the right track, discuss problems openly, never questioned my choices (however unorthodox they were), and always pointed me to the right direction instead of shoving me into it.
This is where I believe parenting plays an important role. We live in a society where questioning adults (Parents or Teachers) is shunned upon, which has developed a double standard, where kids are expected to become engineers and doctors, and fall under the bracket of being a good disciplined kid as demanded by their parents. However, how many Parents ask themselves what kind of a parent they would like to be, as kids are only a reflection of how they have been mentored.
I don't really blame parents though. We have books and classes - a system that we are meant to follow from day one that guide us onto our own path. However, a vast majority of parents aren't gifted with a rule book that tells them how to parent and tackle the various problems and questions from their kids. This is where a Parenting circle/group will play an important role. Getting an outside point of view from different parents on how to solve their kid's problem and how to tackle questions without being vague.
To sum up, the parenting circle influenced the way in which my parents raised me, it shaped my childhood, and today, I carry with me all the values and lessons that I learned as a teenager and I shall pass them on to the generations that follow. Through my story of how the parenting circle made an impact in my life, I would like to thank all those who were a part of it. And to all those parents reading this, be a part of the parenting circle, it will definitely help shape your child's life, and make their childhood a memorable one.