Advising vs allowing to self-manage

One day my daughter came to me and said that none of the kids in the apartment block were playing with her. I thought it must be just one of those days that something happened and that she had probably had an argument with her friends. But then, more such incidents occurred and made me think thoroughly. I decided to take an action!

Like other parents, I tried various methods to convince her. Sometimes, I would scold her and the other kids; at other times, I would suggest other options.

To my surprise, I saw the kids forget and play along nicely until the next such quarrel.


As time passed I realised that these methods were not enough. So, I decided to learn more about “Parenting Skills/ methods”.

I started self-study with the book, “Out of control” by Shefali Tsabary and discovered what a treasure chest it is! I would even go so far as to call the book a “Bible for parents”. This book turned out to be an eye-opener for me. It is a must read! I started practicing some of the practical solutions the respected Author has provided in the book.


I would like to share one of those with you. The solution suggested is simple and you will experience the change in your interactions with your child, immediately.


Whenever your child comes to you agitated or with a question to which you don’t have any clear answer or annoyed with some of his friends or tired after completing homework or any other similar situation, you explain and clarify matters to him/her, considering him/her as your neighbour’s child and not yours. This way you detach your ‘status/esteem’ factor (or expectations) that you may have connected with his/her behaviour unknowingly; and, you are then able to connect with your child through understanding his/her feelings. With this, you also learn to handle the situation as a conscious parent. Thus, you will see that you become strong by not providing a solution immediately, but by letting the child handle the situation. It turns out in a better way and your child learns too.


As I started talking to my daughter, about the problem she was facing with the other children, as though she were my neighbour’s child, my agitation subsided, we were able to look at the situation not just from her viewpoint but also from that of the children who were being ‘unfriendly’ to her. She realised that everyone has good days and bad. She was learning to fight her own battles, non-violently of course.

It may sound strange or cliched. But, do try it! It works wonders! I have tried many a time and realized the change in me as an individual.

It has helped both my child and me grow not just as individuals but also as a family. It has taught us how not to jump to conclusions and extended our connections with our neighbours and friends.

By Jyoti Nerkar

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