My son Krish Kaushik turned 15 recently.
Here are 15 things I realized about raising a child.
1. What we do matters much more than all the words we use. Children respond to vibes, and not plain advice.
2. If ever a behavior modification is required, the most ineffective technique is shouting at them. What works is whispering. Tell them as if it is a big secret. A life hack that helps them.
3. Knowing what they like in the early stages is an utter waste of time. Their interests evolve. It will evolve to an extent that makes us uncomfortable.
4. What and how we talk to others influences them, even more than what we talk to them. Children are mimetic creatures trying to figure out the world rapidly.
5. Peers influence much more than their parents. Environment matters.
6. If they do not do well in studies, advising them on how to do better only makes things worse. What works is to make their study environment happy and hopeful.
7. Do not ever compare your child with anyone – even a subtle reference is dangerous.
8. When they have unhealthy eating habits, strict advice or restrictions turn them resistant. Instead, add healthy things to your diet gradually. Make it enjoyable.
9. Their internet behaviors are determined by the things that give them a thrill. Knowing it is good. But reacting to it in any way will make them act secretively. So play along. Talk about their favorite characters as if you like them. Your validation can make them comfortable.
10. Start giving them money and ask them to do accounting for cash expenses at home. It helps them to get a sense of dealing with money.
11. As Khalil Gibran says – “You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.”
12. Hug them whenever you get a chance as it creates enough oxytocin to live through hard days. Hugs build self-assured kids.
13. Explain things as if they are an adult. They may absorb probably far lesser. But they feel like they are treated as an adult adding to their confidence.
14. Talking to them about things non-judgementally can help them to build independent thinking. As we are ‘bigger figures’ in their space, our judgments significantly build their biases.
15. Whenever I talk to him, I remember this saying by Rabindranath Tagore – “Don’t limit your child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”