My Child is Not My Trophy

My Child is Not My Trophy

“Among the top five in the class, once again!” versus “Teachers, coaches and everybody, we did it again together! All efforts paved way for the great scores!!”

Which one sounds better?

I am sure we would all vote for the latter. Indeed, at times we cannot resist being a tad narcissistic about our child’s achievements but please don’t overdo it.

This ostentatious behavior is not solely the creation of millennial parenting. It’s been a way of life of sorts, back in our childhood too. In a room full of known and unknown faces, either a parent or a relative would unabashedly brag and say, “so recite the poem you just won the prize for” and the child would have to reluctantly give in to the eagerly waiting audience. How common was this a few years back, right?

This whole ‘showing off how great my child is’ thing has not bitten the dust yet, the stage has just shifted to the social media. While it’s human and quite real to get excited about our kids’ little achievements, the next time before you do, stop and think if you being boastful about your child? Because your child is not your trophy!







It’s understandable and natural for us as parents to be elated and full of pride about our children.

My chest balloons up when I see my 4-year-old ‘arabesquing’ at her ballet class but when I go on and on about it or Instagram it as #mylittleballerina, is when I cross my line from pride over to boastful and I just showed off my ‘trophy.’

It’s a constant struggle, I agree to stop yourself from being boastful. I am guilty as charged for this but promise to try and refrain the next time. My approach here should have been, “you’re doing a great job, but there’s so much more to learn.  Keep it up!” All of my tribe would agree, right?

The problem with showing off is that every child looks up to us (parents, grandparents or anybody else that they care about) for validation of their actions. It is important for them and they judge their behavior vis-a-vis our reactions.

So imagine the complacency that would creep into a child, when we as parents constantly engage in boastful conversations about what they did at school or soccer. Rather than offering self-validation in the form of “you did a top-class job” how about saying “it’s because you worked so hard.”

Though both mean almost the same thing, the latter phrase makes the whole ‘hard-work’ sound more enticing. Similar would be the scenario when our little guy/girl gets awesome grades.

Get a grip of yourself and say ‘hard work made it possible’ rather than ‘awesome job girl.’ This takes out the possible chances of self-absorption and places all emphasis on the vitality of hard work for achieving what they have achieved. Makes sense, right!

When you see your child is not even taking baby steps towards her project due early next week, your natural reaction…swooping and lifting your child out of her stupor. Again, leave her right there!

Yes, you heard me right! Allow her to get a slouchy grade. Would your pride in her go down? I’m sure not but she would surely learn to plan way ahead from next time.

Let us not try to bask in the glory of an  assignment turned in on-time (with our generous help, of course). Instead, let her learn to tie in the pieces together herself and on time. This would also be the right time to reiterate, that generations before us have always harped on the importance of learning from our utter failures.

Again, our child is not our trophy to be boastful about. Instead, we would want them to be self-sufficient and have the sense of self-efficacy around them.

Diverging from the issue at hand here, a different perspective of encouraging our children is gaining popularity these days. Recently, the whole idea of giving children a few dollars for getting good grades is doing the rounds. Though, I as a parent would try and avoid money as a motivating factor for my child to do something good, but a Harvard study proclaims that this works. And when Harvard says it works, it must be substantial. It’s just that I have not been so familiar with the idea of getting money for doing household chores or for getting good grades. If the study convinces you, might as well give this a shot.

I am writing this because the battle against ‘trophyfying’ our child touches many of us and it’s an uphill task of dodging it every day. The last thing I would want to do is be a narcissist and raise a narcissistic child.

Children learn every day, from every little detail around them, they would pick up from our reaction in a flash. We would want these ‘sponges’ to soak in the importance of hard work and learn to be grateful. How would that happen? From our actions and reactions, of course. Remember we are all in it together, trying to raise humble, generous, kind and accomplished children.

So, how did you dodge ‘trophyfying’ your child today? I took a baby step, I masked my excitement when my child could do a decent ‘dime plié’ posture and told her that’s it because she has been working so hard for this, and that she did it today and needs to keep up the momentum. But, I’ll not lie, I was immensely proud of her inside, which is fair!


Ananya graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s in Strategic Communication in 2018 and took to freelancing with blogs, articles, web copies for clients’ websites. When she is not fretting over a delivery deadline or running errands, she is trying to keep up with her hyper-active 4-year-old girl or indulging in a bit of self-love on the elliptical at Planet Fitness! She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a MBA in Marketing, from India.
Elisavet Arkolaki

Elisavet Arkolaki Answers Where Are We From

We are proud to bring to the you curator & creator of the amazing resource for parents How to Raise Confident, Multicultural Children and author of the amazing book Where Am I From? With stunning, one of a kind graffiti art, this labor of love that took two years to bring to life will help your child build their identity from the ground up. Elisavet Arkolaki has done a beautiful job connecting worlds by getting to the roots of the identity of every child.

Please meet our friend and super author Elisavet Arkolenki.

  1.   Tell us a little about yourself and your family. 

I am passionate about books, travel and inspired by global learning. I raise my own children in between countries, cultures, and languages, and I write to build cultural understanding and sensitivity in young children while they are still eager to learn.

I am originally from Greece, my husband from Norway, our first kid was born in Malta and our second in Norway. Fun fact when it comes to appearances is that we all look similar so you wouldn’t have guessed our cultural and linguistic melange (all four of us have red hair!) but we couldn’t be more different.

I speak Greek with my kids, my husband Norwegian, and as a common family language, we speak English. I come from a southern European culture where people tend to be loud and very expressive of their emotions, and my husband comes from Northern Europe where people tend to be more quiet and reserved. My schooling was in Greek, I studied in French for my Bachelor and I completed my Masters in English. I love languages and I am currently learning Norwegian.

  1.   Which countries/cities have you lived in in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?

    I was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and I used to spend the weekends and the whole summer breaks in the countryside. My fondest childhood memories are those of the school summer breaks; the warm sun, the Mediterranean sea, a bunch of kids playing out in a dirt road from sunrise till late at night. As an adult, I’ve lived in France, Spain, Malta, Thailand, and Norway, and I’ve traveled a lot.

Greece has been the place where my very essence of being was formed. In France, I discovered a very different kind of freedom; the freedom of existing outside the norms and peer pressure of one’s home culture. I was there that I was given for the first time the opportunity to find out who I truly was, once I had laid off all the cultural layers.

Then we have Malta, a place which I also consider as my home country. I lived there for about a decade, and this is where I met the love of my life. In Malta I met some of the most inspiring individuals, made close friends from around the world, I advanced at a personal and professional level, I got married, our first kid was born. It comes as no surprise that my blog is

Spain was a break in between two moves to Malta, and where my partner and I experienced the freedom of working home-based for the first time back at the end of 2008. Since our boy was born (2013), we’ve been living in Thailand during the European winters. Norway is my husband’s country of origin, our second kid was born here, and we have family living nearby. We plan to live in Norway for the foreseeable future.

  1.   What brought you to write the children’s book ‘Where am I from?’ and curate the guide ‘How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children’?

I feel that the reality of being multilingual and multicultural in societies where this is not considered as the ‘norm’, it may be interpreted in a less favorable way by our children, and they need our guidance to build a strong sense of self. Identity is very closely knitted with culture and when the cultures are so blended and the background so fluid, our children need our help to invent a positive identity of their own; an identity that is not defined by one sole culture.

Children don’t really start to ponder over identity issues until later in life but the roots of many of these are to be found in early childhood. I believe that my books help to create a foundation of normalcy and acceptance for our multicultural children during their early years.

Moreover, if we are to guide our children properly in this journey, we also need guidance ourselves. There is so much misinformation out there so I felt the need to do proper research, bring on the spotlight experts in related fields who really know what they’re talking about, and share it with our global community.

  1.   What current cultural trend disturbs you the most? How do you think we can work towards the betterment of it?

Elisavet Arkolaki

I am worried about the divisional climate that is on the rise, the tendency of separating people in between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Unfortunately this seems to be the trend in many countries around the world and this is why I felt compelled to write the chapter ‘The debate over multiculturalism and what we can learn from the Canadian model’ which you can read in the guide.

Tamara Yousry noted in her own chapter titled ‘Crossing the Deep Cultural Divide’ that “monocultural groups and teams are becoming a thing of the past. n today’s contemporary, globalized world, multicultural groups are the norm.”

People will keep on crossing borders, falling in love, having children, and we need to learn how to coexist with each other in a respectful and caring manner. Instead of looking at countries where integration is failing us and where the blame for that is put on multiculturalism, we can look up to others who are succeeding and learn from them.

  1.   What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up? 

In 2007 I lost someone very dear to me. At about the same time I lost my voice and had various diagnoses and symptoms in that body area but no doctor could find the source of it all. This lasted for about a year, that is till one doctor saw me more holistically, and talked about psychological trauma.

I discovered that the source of my symptoms was grief, and my incapability at the time to process negative emotions. After this experience, I learned that allowing myself to be in touch with emotions that can cause me pain and discomfort, acknowledging them, expressing them, and working through them, is not weakness but strength, and it’s a fundamental health care process.

  1.   Share with us one parenting hack that has made your children’s life easy.

Together with my husband, we instilled an interest in books, words and storytelling to our children from very early on. When the kids were too young or simply uninterested to follow a whole book story, we would just point at the images and talk about them.

All that mattered at the time was simply to open that book and create an enjoyable experience, even if that lasted just 1′. Our son started primary school this year, eager to learn how to read and write (they start at 6 in Norway), cause he now had the opportunity to decode by himself the system that makes up all these great stories he had been listening to. When we support literacy even before our child starts to read, the foundation is set for later.

  1. What projects are you working on next? 

I’ll be traveling to Malta for a book tour at the end of February, and I have one more children’s book coming out this year by the same publisher (Faraxa Publishing).

  1. What is one piece of advice you would give to children?

Never give up when you’re really passionate about something, and do give up when you realize that something you thought you loved does no longer fulfill you.

  1. Tell us three things that are on your bucket list? 

I would like to find more time for reading and writing and to be more involved with activities that promote literacy and multilingualism in our local community.

  1. What 3 books would you say changed your life? 

It’s hard to pin point 3 books. Books and words, in general, shaped my life. As a kid, I loved everything by Roald Dahl (The Witches, Matilda and The GFG in particular), Hans Hans Christian Andersen, and I absolutely adored the Pollyanna series by Eleanor H. Porter. Recently, I got to read an exceptional book that touched me deeply; ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi.

  1. Do you have any freebies for our readers? 

Yes, you can download the guide ‘How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children’ by subscribing to my newsletter

Elisavet Arkolaki is an amazing person and I hope you get to meet more world changers from around the world, here !

Girls Who Play with Boys are Not Girlfriends!

Girls Who Play with Boys are Not Girlfriends!

Play dates are NOT dates. Girls who play with boys are NOT girlfriends. And this Applies to boys as well. Why are we as parents not focusing on healthy relationship building between opposite genders?
I feel sad when people feel that it is okay to tease boys about how “cool” they are that they have a lot of “girlfriends” who play with them.
In Indian culture, boys who have more friends who are girls are proudly called “Kanha”, because Lord Krishna is known to be adored by many “gopis”. This is so detrimental as it instills UNEARNED confidence in boys and makes them feel that having MANY girlfriends is somehow COOL!
In Indian culture, girls do not get similar comments but I imagine the effect on them being the same when heard… That being desirable is essential to validation !
Why can’t we normalize the relationship between a girl and a boy?
On one hand we talk like this and on the other hand, we worry if our kids will end up “dating” way too early in life. A relationship is a HUGE responsibility and a person has to know that they are ready to take it on BEFORE committing to someone by calling it LOVE. And THIS too is a conversation you need to have with your child when the time is right.
The world we live in, it is so important to get that mind-shift and talk more to our kids (BOTH GENDERS) about RESPECT and how to treat those we care about. Which is why I talk in detail about instilling Gender Equality and Good Decision making, early in children in my Book.
And Caring has NOTHING to do with hormones or being in a relationship or the drama that comes with it. That can be done happily between two HUMAN BEINGS.
Let’s teach our kids to have healthy relationships with their friends (Boys AND Girls). Let’s encourage them to express their CARING in wonderful ways that empower them to KNOW that LOVE is beyond definitions.
That you can CARE for someone and NOT want to BE WITH them.
Here are simple things you can do with your child.


Here is a detailed post about teaching kids about gender equality and healthy relationship building.

Have you made this an important part of your daily conversation? A great age to talk about relationships with kids is between 8-10 years of age. Don’t wait for the school to do the work for you or kids to learn by their own experiences.
Keep your foot forward in your child’s life and teach them about respect. What are your tips for this?
healthy relationship building
spring break 2020

5 Great Places to Visit During Spring Break 2020

Spring break 2020 will soon be here, which means you’re running out of time to choose your vacation destination. Fortunately, you can take a quiz to find your ideal vacation spot, or consider these five spots make for great family vacations.

San Diego, California

You won’t find many spring break destination lists that miss San Diego, and for good reason! There are beaches and boardwalks, the zoo that sprawls over 100 acres, Seaworld, Legoland, and a safari park to keep family members of all ages entertained. Head just outside the city to hike if you need a break from the tourist spots. When you’re ready for a break, you can enjoy a meal at one of the city’s many restaurants.

Columbia, South Carolina

There’s no shortage of things to do in Columbia, South Carolina. Whether you want to enjoy the pairing of modern buildings with storied architecture or go kayaking on one of the surrounding rivers, you’re sure to be delighted. The city truly defines southern hospitality, which helps it stand apart from other spring break destinations. Everyone will enjoy everything the South Carolina State Museum has to offer with its exhibit and planetarium.

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

It may still be chilly in Wisconsin over spring break, but don’t let that stop you! Head indoors to the Kalahari Resort and Waterpark, an indoor oasis in Wisconsin Dells, the watermark capital of the world. The park includes rides, roller coasters, and go-karts. Park entry is included with resort tickets, or you can stay offsite at one of the many cabins and hotels in the city.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Try this destination if you prefer someplace a bit more exotic and warm for your spring break. Puerto Vallarta is located on Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Acapulco. The old town is paved with cobblestone, and you can enjoy Mariachi music in the shaded plazas. If you enjoy architecture, there’s always the Baroque-style Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also, the whole family can enjoy sports such as snorkeling, parasailing, and kayaking on the water.

Ogden, Utah

Most people want to head where it’s warmer for spring break, but if you’re not like most people, you might want to head to the mountains with the family and enjoy some skiing. The views in Ogden, not far from Salt Lake City, are gorgeous. Choose from Snowbasin Resort or Powder Mountain to ski before enjoying your evening meal on the charming main street.

Of course, any destination can make for a good spring break when you’re with your family.

Unique tips for Sustainable Living for a Green Planet

Unique tips for Sustainable Living for a Green Planet

During times like these, when the world is being hit by natural disasters and weather conditions continue to escalate to the extremes all across continents, the conversation on preserving our environment and making it sustainable becomes more pressing. It is important imbibe these tips for sustainable living environment.

As the climate changes and global warming continues unabated, we need to change our ways in order to conserve our resources. Our planet is depressed, and the sad truth is that we are part of the problem.

Sustainability is the key and it has become the motivating factor of many countries with regard to changing their lifestyle.

Tips for a Sustainable LIving for a green planet

Sustainability should be practiced everyday and can be made into a lifestyle. Below are 8 ways to do so to preserve our planet:

1.   Proper waste management

This remains to be the most common method of promoting sustainability. Manage your waste properly. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Segregate what has to be disposed off. This helps in minimizing the waste that gets dumped on landfills which saves valuable space.

2.   Grow your own garden

Part of having a sustainable living involves cutting down on the cost of your needs. To minimize your food expenses, you can grow your own garden. Not only will it help with your budget but it will also provide you healthier options. It will help reduce your carbon footprint and you can also enjoy some time outdoors.

3.   Plant more trees

Speaking of outdoors, another factor that will never be left out of any conversation involving sustainable living is about Nature. One of the basics of protecting our environment and going green is planting more trees.

Many businesses around the country are also promoting this cause. Real estate properties like the Part of Hamilo Coast’s sustainable efforts was mangrove reforestation. They continue to preserve more than 10,000 mangrove trees, which cover approximately 10 hectares of the estate, making it the largest mangrove area in Nasugbu, Batangas.

4.   Keep your utility consumption on track

Another good way of preserving our environment is by saving energy. Start at home and at your workplace. Unplug appliances and gadgets that are not in use or are fully charged, use refillable containers for drinking water, or shorten your shower time.

5.   Use less gas

Walk, ride a bike, use public transportation, or carpool to work or school. Cleaner air means healthier surroundings. There is also the option of alternative fuel sources should you choose to avail of them.

6.   Make educated choices on your purchases

Be informed, especially with what you purchase. Read the labels to know if you are buying something that will contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. Switch to energy-saving appliances and eco-friendly products.

7.   Reduce  the use of paper

Paper makes up for most of the waste we dispose off everyday. But now that nearly every transaction can be done online, the use of paper has decreased. Do everything online, and download software instead of opting to have packages delivered.

8.   DIY for a sustainable living

Minimize waste and expenses by doing it yourself. For example, you can make a homemade natural cleaner by using ingredients available at home.

To conclude, we only have ONE planet and WE are responsible to make the world a better place to live in. With small changes in our daily lifestyle, we can make a huge difference that surely impacts our mission. Simple tips for sustainable living are wonderful for a green planet for a better tomorrow.

Angelo Castelda works as a contributor for a news magazine in Asia. He loves to learn and understand diverse cultures and aims to share through his writing his experiences around the world.
Think of the Children When Deciding Custody

Think of the Children When Deciding Custody

When you go through a divorce, it’s easy to get caught up in your own feelings of hurt and devastation. But if you have kids, you’re not the only one who’s suffering. As trying as this time can be for you and your ex as adults, it’s often completely overwhelming for your children when you are deciding custody.

They may feel a complicated mix of emotions that range from grief to anger to relief, depending on the circumstances.

It’s you and your ex’s job as the parents to look beyond how the divorce is affecting you, and instead look out for your children’s best interests. How the two of you handle custody issues is one of the keys to making the divorce as easy as possible on your children.

Here are some rules the two of you should agree upon that will make the custody decisions go as smoothly as possible when deciding custody.

Holidays With the Children

Before the divorce, your kids may have built some special memories with each parent that center around the holidays. Rather than use the holiday times as a custody battleground, it is best in most situations if you and your spouse reach a compromise that allows the kids to continue celebrating them with both parents.

You can agree to switch off from year to year who will get to have the children with them on the actual date of the holiday. If it’s not your year to get the kids for a certain holiday, choose to celebrate it whenever you get to see them that’s near that date. The less of a fuss both you and your ex make about holiday visitation, the more relaxed and happy your children can be when it comes to adjusting to their new normal. The same goes for other special occasions and the regular custody routine as well.

Be Honest About Each Other’s Parental Fitness

Some ex-husbands or ex-wives who feel anger toward their ex-spouse make up horrible falsehoods about them in an attempt to “punish them.” They may try to use those falsehoods to try and tarnish the ex-spouse’s reputation with family and especially with the children. However, many people go even further and try to also give their ex a bad name with the court system.

In fact, many vindictive exes try to get back at former partners by seeking to have the courts declare them to be unfit parents so they won’t get the amount of child custody that they deserve. This type of cruel behavior doesn’t just embitter the ex-spouse, it also hurts the children terribly. Rather than risk causing extreme psychological damage to your kids, agree with your ex that both of you will be honest and above board when it comes to establishing a custody plan.

Address Legitimate Safety Concerns in a Legal Way

Sometimes, sadly, an ex-spouse does pose a legitimate threat to the safety of the children. If this is the case, deal with these issues in a legal manner. Report any suspected case of abuse or neglect to your state’s appropriate authorities. You may also want to hire a forensic psychiatrist from a group such as fpamed that adheres to psychiatric ethical standards set forth by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

A professional who works in the field of psychiatry and family law can conduct a psychiatric evaluation that will help to determine if your child’s safety is at risk. These types of evaluations are considered strong evidence in family courts.

Do Not Criticize Your Ex to Your Kids

Though it’s very hard sometimes to hold in your frustrations at your ex around your children, it’s usually for the best. Agree in advance that no matter how the custody issues are decided in the courts, you won’t bad-mouth your ex to the kids. Of course, if there are safety concerns, you need to communicate them carefully to your children.

Try to avoid projecting negative emotions about your ex-spouse to your kids because they may internalize those emotions. They may also have a difficult time maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents if the parents vent their anger at their ex around the children.

Divorce is extremely challenging for everyone involved. As hard as it is, you and your ex must remember to act like mature grown-ups in this difficult situation. The two of you can greatly lessen the pain for your kids and yourselves if you agree to follow this list of rules before the custody process begins.

Think of the children when deciding custody

4 Ways to Encourage Tolerance and Diversity in Your Child's Lives

4 Ways to Encourage Tolerance and Diversity in Your Child’s Lives

Children begin to notice differences like skin color and hair texture around the age of two, which means it’s important to start teaching your little ones about diversity and tolerance  early. However, it can be difficult to expose your children to other cultures if you live in a homogenous or isolated community. Here are four ways to encourage diversity and tolerance in your children’s lives whether you live in a big city, a small suburb or the middle of nowhere.

Engage in Culturally Diverse Media

Books, movies, and shows are a great way for your child to explore other cultures from the comfort of your couch. Media from all over the world is now accessible thanks to the internet, so take advantage. If your child is a good reader, consider showing television programs and movies in different languages with subtitles.

Talk About Other Cultures and Religions

Young children learn most effectively from their parents, so start a dialogue early about diversity and culture. Have casual conversations about different cultural practices, holidays and religions. Try pointing out churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious buildings when you’re driving with your children and discuss the different religions practiced there.

Raise Your Child Bilingual

There is no better way to introduce your child to another culture than teaching them a second language. Language opens the door to other cultures and societies by letting you get to know them in their own words. Consider enrolling your child in a bilingual early childhood center where they can be fully immersed in the language and interact with native speakers. Growing up bilingual may also give kids an advantage in other areas like math and music.

Participate in Cultural Activities

Whether you choose a pow-wow, soul food cook-off, religious service or a ballet performance, attending cultural activities with your child is an excellent way to broaden their horizons. While watching videos and reading books about other cultures is a great way to introduce them, nothing beats experiencing it for yourself. If your family travels for vacations, consider choosing locations where your child can experience unique cultural activities that he or she can’t access at home.

When teaching your child about diverse cultures, don’t forget that your own is important too. Take your children to your own cultural events, share recipes and stories from your ancestors and talk to them about your family traditions. You can also encourage them to share their culture and traditions with their friends and classmates at school.