Lina Ashar, Chairperson, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited chats up with The Insider on all things parenting, on the heels of her latest book Drama Teen- A Cool-Headed guide for Parents and Teenagers! A book for parents as much as it is for teenagers! Read on:
The book is based on a lot of scientific research like neuroplasticity etc. Could you in brief inform the readers of all the research undertaken for the book?
We believe in developing our own curriculum and have been constantly researching for the past 20 + years. We have a team of people dedicated to this cause. Also I am a great believer of personal development, so I make it a point to participate in interesting courses. I have attended The Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, A course called D’Martini in Australia and Abundance 360.
After your first book 'Who Do You Think You're Kidding'- was this a lot harder to write or easier? Why? Take us through the motivation of writing this one and it process.
It was a lot easier to write the second book ‘Drama Teen’ as I had gone through the grind of writing my first book.Writing is also all about discipline you have to make time and sit down and write. I was at Billabong High International School Bhopal, interacting with a few of our teenage students who were sharing their pain points while interacting with parents and while giving them solutions for their pains points I got the idea of writing a book that would address both Parents and Teens.
What do you think sets this book apart amongst a host of other parenting books?
Most books address only one audience, the unique thing about this book is the format. For each topic I write to the parent and then the teen - giving them a chance to step into each other’s shoes and therefore bridge the generation gap. A book on dealing and transforming teenagers is a challenge. Chances are that most parents who reach out for this book have mindfully parented their children to the best of their ability making all the same human mistakes most parents will make. I write this book to help them understand their teens. I hope many teens read this book to become aware of what changes their brain and bodies are going through and therefore avoid some of the pitfalls most teenagers will go through.
This book is intended for parents as well as addressed to teenagers- how has this organization helped in making the book more comprehensive?
Since the book talks to both parents and their teens, it is like a complete package, as it helps both the parties involved (parents and teens). What I am giving is not a strategy but more of a change in perception; often, what is seen as an exertion of control by a parent is more about care and protection. Our perception of life is the key to how we feel about a given situation. It boils down to my favourite quote by Wayne Dyer, an American self-help author and motivational speaker, ‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’
What according to you is the best way of parenting- is there a straitjacketed answer to this? Do you think it is culturally conditioned?
There are 4 basic parenting styles and I talk about this in my first book ‘Who do you think you are Kidding’
The authoritarian parent likes order, discipline, neatness, routine, and predictability. Children of such parents find it difficult to form meaningful relationships with anyone later on in life. This is because the first relationships in their lives did not culminate in anything meaningful. Such children usually lack self-confidence and stay away from their parents when they become adults.
Authoritative parents are democratic and believe that children should have a say in what is happening in their lives. They listen to what their kids have to say. While encouraging independence, they set the limits and consequences for the actions of their children. While stating expectations for the children, these parents ensure that they don’t pressurize them to perform. They motivate them so that they perform their best. These parents are warm and nurturing.
A permissive parent is usually nurturing and warm but also one who refuses to set limits for the child. They discuss things with their kids, give them choices, and ask for their opinions but they do not set consequences. They encourage free thought without putting much thought into their own actions. They are rather laid back and relaxed when it comes to parenting. They do not demand things from the kids and expect the kids to find a regulation system for themselves. At times it seems like it is the child who is controlling the parents.
A negligent parent does exactly what the term says: neglect his children. A parent may become negligent due to many personal, emotional, and social reasons. The parent may be an alcoholic or unemployed or just too scared to take responsibility of the child. Children of such parents do not have much respect for their parents. They lack role models and turn out to be disillusioned in life. They are more likely to engage in anti-social activities.
There is no straight jacketed way of parenting however the most effective parenting style is Authoritative parenting as you can see from the description shared. Parenting style depends on how your parents were treated as children and yes it is culturally conditioned.
What changes in parenting styles do you notice amongst today’s parents?
These days in most cases since both parents are working, parents have a lot of guilt of not being able to spend time with their children. Hence they have become lenient with their children. These parents provide for all their children’s needs and wants even before the child asks for it, children thereby think they are entitled to everything without wanting to work for it.
What three tips would you like to give to parents for effective parenting?
With technology taking over our lives in the 21st century, it is important to parents to:
- Spend time with their children, without any gadgets around.
- Help your child build a positive life story right from the beginning.
- Teach children empathy and the importance of giving.
Lina Ashar's conviction to offer an education which sets the child as its centre led her to start her first preschool in Bandra (Mumbai) in the year 1993 with 25 students. The journey from one Kangaroo Kids Preschool to a network of Kangaroo Kids Preschools and Billabong High International Schools across 29 different cities in India as well as in Dubai, Maldives and Qatar has been a phenomenal one. Lina’s unique approach, injection of potent solutions and radical processes to ensure that the quality of education is improved was instantaneously well received and noted. Lina has been promoting and practicing 'topic based learning' since 2002, something that the Indian media lauded the Finland education system for, very recently.
Lina has been extremely passionate about creating a purpose of learning and allowing children to be thinkers, innovators, problem solvers and to orchestrate experiences that will result in their overall development. With an intention to spark human greatness in every student, Lina was the first in the Indian education industry to introduce a learner centric methodology and introduce innovative ways of learning by providing an integrated activity and theme based learning.