Tuesday July 16, 2019

Parents Need to Act Quickly to Handle a Child’s Fears, Says Maneka Gandhi

Gandhi's earlier books include "Sanjay Gandhi" (on her late husband), "First Aid for Animals" and "The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names", among others

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Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr

There is no limit to the imagination of children, especially those below five. But not always what they see or feel may leave a positive image in their minds. And it is to guide not only children but also parents on how to battle such inner fears that Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has once again donned the hat of a writer wth a new book, “There is a Monster Under my Bed”.

“The book gives parents a new way of looking at overcoming a child’s fears so that they can talk to their children. If ignored, it may seemingly appear to go away on the surface but the fear will remain in some form forever. Parents need to act quickly to handle childhood fears,” Gandhi, 62, told IANS.

Maneka Gandhi has written many books on a variety of topics. How did this one come about? Gandhi said her granddaughter Anasuyaa was the inspiration.

“One day she (Anasuyaa) came up to me and said she is afraid that there is a monster under her bed. I had to quickly act positive and responded how lucky she is and I also would like to have one. Its then I realised why the book needs to be written,” Gandhi said.

Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children, Gandhi said, adding the book has been to make parents aware about how to deal with such situations.

“A child is a newly-hatched baby they is discovering the world while growing and I think genetically they primed to be afraid of what they don’t understand…

“If we can immediately explain them like in darkness you can see the moon, stars and hear the owls then they can get rid of fear,” she explained.

The 47-page book, illustrated by Snigdha Rao and published by Penguin (Rs 399), deals with common childhood fears like dark rooms, lightening, clowns, injections and even shadows.

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Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children,  Pixabay 

“Believe it or not most children fear clowns. And of course, the space under one’s bed which is perhaps the most frightening part. Sometimes, children have difficulty in putting their feet down at night and going to the bathroom because they think something will come out from their bed,” Maneka Gandhi pointed out.

The book is a handy guideline for parents on how they can turn a scary thought or moment of a child into something positive. A bonus is the beautiful, bright and colourfull illustrations that the children can enjoy.

Although, Gandhi hasn’t included child sex abuse in the book, this didn’t stop her from talking about it and accepting it is another form of fear that children often encounter, especially within family.

“I haven’t brought that angle in book because what I wrote in this book is fears of mind that is an actual thing that has to be told to parents. And what we have done in this ministry is that we have made a helpline, childline and email. We respond very quickly to such complaints,” she stated.

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Maneka Gandhi also mentioned that her ministry, for the first time, made it mandatory print details of child sex abuse and about ‘good and bad touch’ at the back of every CBSE book.

Asked about her next book, the minister said she is writing one on flowers.

“My next book would be about different varieties of flowers as today’s youngsters are not much aware of the names of flowers,” Maneka Gandhi said.

Gandhi’s earlier books include “Sanjay Gandhi” (on her late husband), “First Aid for Animals” and “The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names”, among others. (IANS)

Next Story

Kids Who are Mocked by Parents at Greater Risk of Becoming Bullies

Constant criticism affects the self-esteem of a child, especially when done by parents

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Derisive behaviour is a unique form of parenting that increases the risk of adolescent children adopting inappropriate anger management strategies that increases their risk for peer difficulties. Pixabay

Dear parents, please take note. Kids who are mocked by parents are at a greater risk of becoming bullies and its victim too, researchers said, stressing that many bullies come from hostile, punitive and rejecting backgrounds.

According to experts, derisive behaviour is a unique form of parenting that increases the risk of adolescent children adopting inappropriate anger management strategies that increases their risk for peer difficulties.

“Constant criticism affects the self-esteem of a child, especially when done by parents. Children tend to feel inferior and lose their sense of confidence. This affects their relationship with parents, making them more vulnerable to various other forms of bullying that happen through their peers.

“Due to hesitation in seeking help, children end up enduring bullying. This has a long-term negative effect on their psyche and overall personality development,” Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital in Delhi, told IANS.

Kids, Parents, Bullies
Kids who are mocked by parents are at a greater risk of becoming bullies and its victim too. Pixabay

Derisive parents use demeaning or belittling expressions that humiliate and frustrate the child, without any obvious provocation from the child. These parents respond to child engagement with criticism, sarcasm, put-downs, hostility and rely on emotional and physical coercion to obtain compliance.

Published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, the study in which researchers followed 1,409 children (aged 13-15 years) for three consecutive years, emphasized on the emotional underpinnings of peer difficulties.

It was found that derisive parenting fosters dysregulated anger in adolescent children. Increases in dysregulated anger, in turn, place adolescents at greater risk for bullying and victimization.

Dysregulated anger is indicative of difficulties regulating emotion, which typically results in negative emotions, verbal and physical aggression and hostility.

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The behaviour of parents as well as other close family members towards children does have a lasting impact on their personality and mental development, said mental health expert Prakriti Poddar, Director at Poddar Foundation in Mumbai.

“Subjecting a child to insult, mockery or derision creates a wave of repressed anger and frustration in the child. Imagine a child telling a parent or another family member about an incident or about his/her understanding of a subject, and the parent responding by mocking or belittling the child! Now imagine, if this happens regularly. Not only will the child lose trust in the parent and stop confiding things, he/she will also grow into a vexed and confused personality,” Poddar told IANS.

“This child would not be confident about himself, will have repressed feelings of frustration and in a way will also start normalizing the behaviour of insulting of belittling others. This creates problems with peer adjustment and might lead the child to start victimizing or bullying others. kids develop in response to their environment, therefore, when their environment is toxic or negative, it breeds self-harm,” she added. (IANS)