We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

Do you notice yourself getting more and more impatient with your children?

Human nature is such that we are always craving for more. In our teen years, we are constantly craving for freedom. In the 20’s, we look forward to having fun, getting a good job, buying the newest gadget and more. When we reach our 30’s, we think of traveling, marriage and buying a house.

So this vicious circle of always wanting more never stops. Growing older doesn’t necessary help this process BUT growing wiser definitely helps put things into perspective.

Accept it or deny it but one of the most important reasons we get married is to procreate. A few honeymoons later, everyone begins to think of having children. One of the biggest mistakes most adults make today is listing ‘Having Children’ in their checklist of duties to do. Oh and believe it or not, some of us can’t wait to put a ‘tick’ on that box.

Children are truly a blessing of God and as their parents it is our duty to nurture them with love and care. During pregnancy, we tend to be very cautious and take care of every little detail of our daily routine. We do everything that would NOT harm the baby. And when the baby enters this world, we become even more careful and protective and do everything to care for this little being, who is totally dependent on us.

But as parenthood progresses, we tend to take our blessings for granted. We are overcome with impatience and feel pressured by our changing lifestyle. The journey of a happy couple to new parents and then to being responsible and hands-on parents can be a bumpy one sometimes. In the quest to be perfect parents, we often want to be in control of everything and that is when things seem to fall apart.

Real Reasons Behind the Growing Impatience with Our Kids

We lose patience easily and become extremely intolerant towards our kids. We begin to expect them to behave like adults, forgetting that they are still children because they are not so little anymore.

 

Some reasons why parents tend to be overly intolerant or impatient towards their children are:-

Multitasking

We often want to have control of everything happening around us and prefer to multitask than to delegate. Women especially are known to be great at multitasking but how good are we at managing the stress that comes with it. In the quest of controlling everything, we tend to be intolerant and neglectful towards our children and tend to respond to them only after our work is completed.

Marital Issues

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children. Reduce impatience with Children

In most marital problems and arguments, it is an innocent child who bears the brunt. We need to vent out our frustration somewhere, and children can be those soft targets. The age and maturity of a child doesn’t matter. Whether it is a small child or a teenager, the effect of our anger and anguish is always negative.

During a heated argument, we don’t raise our hands on our spouse because that would be physical abuse and no one wants to be accounted for domestic violence. Instead, we lose our cool on the kids and raise our hands on them (because no one looks at this as child abuse).

Financial Stress

The slowing economy, job cuts and inflation can put pressure on any household. This in turn leads to making us impatient and agitated, and we tend to lose our mind at the kids more often, when things get out of control at home. If you sit back and think about it, children are not affected by these socio-economic factors because they don’t have an understanding of it, and at the end of the day they are only being what they are…children!

Work-Home Balance

Trying to maintain a work-home balance can be very taxing, when there are children and/or other family members involved. Finding a good helper, a caring nanny or the right daycare can be very challenging for most parents.

Long working hours and work-related stress takes a toll on most individuals. Worked-up individuals then carry forward their frustrations and agitations to their family. Parents either tend to snap at their children or ignore them completely, while trying to deal with their daily problems.

Competitive Nature

Parents these days are very competitive and want their children to excel in all aspects of life (which is not ideally possible!) We tend to overlook one very important thing – whether our child is enjoying the learning process or not.

Structured learning post-school hours can in fact bore a child and make him less interested in learning newer things because anything monotonous is never appealing. We need to start letting our kids plan their learning and play time according to how or what they feel that day.

Of course that doesn’t mean we let them play with gadgets all day. We can help them with their choices and steer them in the right direction, which will empower them to make correct decisions as adults.


Phone Anxiety/Gadget Addiction

We have gotten so used to sliding, swiping and switching from one page to another that we think we can use this flipping technique to shoo away our kids too. Children need care, attention and time and we cannot just slide them off like a notification on the phone. As parents, we need to pull the plug on gadget addiction and re-focus on our children.

Selfishness

Some parents refuse to let go off their pre-parenthood lifestyle for their own selfish reasons. They arrange for play dates to get their children off their back, enroll them in back-to-back classes to have less of them to deal with, spend the weekend shopping or dining with friends (while the kids are back home).

The fear of losing out on fun with friends often makes parents neglect their kids over the weekend, which in reality is a time for family-bonding. Striking a good balance between having a social life and spending time with family is important. Choosing the former over the latter can have devastating effects on our children.

We must remember that our negative behavior towards children can have very damaging effects on them. It can result in:

Childhood/teenage depression and anxiety (which usually carries forward in to adulthood)
• Susceptible to bullying
• Lack of motivation and goals
• Low self-esteem and self-confidence
• Become social misfits or introverts
• Addiction to drugs, alcohol, gadgets and material pleasures

Let’s hope to make a few changes in our lifestyle and re-think our priorities. In a few years, when our children have gone away to acquire an education or for better work prospects, we will be left longing for them.

Let’s not make them long for our genuine love and affection as children. NOW is the time to spend their best years being there for them, so that when they go away, they have a reason to come back. NOW is the time to listen to them, so that when they grow up and need advice, they know where to look for it.

The best use we can make of our love and time is to INVEST it in our CHILDREN!

Understanding the Duality of Our Child's Identity

Understanding the Duality of Our Child’s Identity

We bring to you the fascinating Niyati Desai-Kadakia. During the day, Niyati runs her tech start up – Nulern. She is also an expert packer-of-lunchboxes, kid activity coordinator, chauffeur and PTA enthusiast. At night she moonlights as a story-teller, spinning tales to answer the darnedest questions posed by her twin daughters. Her stories are mostly inspired by her own experiences of being an immigrant student and then a first generation Indian-American mother. Her stories focus on questions, concerns and feelings children have as they are being raised by parents who grew up in a different culture than theirs, which encourages them to create their own unique identity that is whole and complete.

She founded KidzBelong to meet a pressing need to have picture books address needs of children of immigrant families who are particularly vulnerable to feeling marginalized and different.

Niyati holds a B.S. in Biochemical Engineering from USC, B.A. in Literature from Scripps College and M.A. in Biotechnology from Columbia University. In the past, she has worked as a scientist in several biotech start ups and innovation centers, that specialize in Brain Health and Drug Delivery. She has lived in 3 countries, 5 states and 8 homes (although not all at once) with her husband and daughters. She currently enjoys life with them in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

(A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away), I came to the US from India, to study for my bachelors. I met my husband, Niraj, during my under-graduate studies and we noticed that we laughed at each other’s’ jokes, when others around us didn’t and we liked the same movies, so we decided to get married.

Soon after we got married, we found every chance to camp, backpack, binge on TV shows and make moderately edible food together. Although all that was a whole lot of fun, we proceeded to bring twin beautiful girls into this world – Nivedita and Niharika. In our sleep deprived state, we went on to live in 3 different countries, 5 states and 8 homes. We continue to camp, backpack and binge on tv shows – we just do it with our 10-year-old daughters now. Life has never been more fun.


Which cities have your lived in/ visited in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?

It is virtually impossible to pick a favorite city. Each place that I have lived in has so many beautiful and cherished memories that picking one out of them would be unfair.

 I have liked living in the following cities:

Baroda, Gujarat, India – this is home for me. I grew up here, went to school here and learn ow to ride a bike here.  I describe this city with the words – home, roots, security, family, food and love.

Los Angeles, CA – I studied here at USC and Claremont. I also met my to-be husband here. I grew from a girl to a young woman here. It is also the first city I landed in as an immigrant student when I came to study in the US. So this city always brings back a lot of emotion. I describe this city with the words – studies, competition, immigration, homesickness and letters.

New York City, NY – I did my graduate school here, at Columbia. I decided to get married in this city – and have some beautiful memories from here. I moved on from being a young woman to a wife here and made some of the most important decisions in my life in this lovely city. I describe this city with the words – love, marriage, energy, immigrant crossroads.

San Jose, CA – I lived here soon after I got married. I was getting used to getting called someone’s wife. This is also the place where I started my professional life as a scientist and worked in several biotech startups in the bay area. I earned my first paycheck here and learnt what a 401K is here. I describe this city with the words – married life, natural beauty, adventure, money and profession.

Philadelphia, PA – My husband and I moved here, while my husband studied towards his business degree at Wharton. My twins were born here. 2 Biotech startups I worked for also got acquired while I worked for them here – so lots of activity here! I became a mom in this city and will owe a lot to the hospitals that helped my preemie babies. I describe this city with the words – motherhood, chaos, prayer and family.

Bombay, India – My family lives in Bombay, so this city is (sort of) home for me too. We also moved to Bombay with our daughters to try-out moving back to India. Although we enjoyed our life there, we could not settle down professionally and returned back to North America. I describe this city with the words – immigrant decisions, homesickness (but homesick for the US), citizen for the world, identity crisis and dual culture.

Toronto, Canada – My kids went to kindergarten in this beautiful city. And started elementary school here. I describe this city with the words – diversity, acceptance, home and friends.

Denver, CO – We live here currently and love the mountain that surround us. My daughters move from elementary to middle school in this city. I started my own startup here and am trying to manage being a mom-entrepreneur. I describe this city with the words – mountains, parenthood, entrepreneurship and family.

What brought you to what you do?

I run an online learning startup – Nulern. Nulern enables live, 1 on 1 learning in lifestyle based skill sets with globally accessible, vetted experts.

Since our family has moved a lot, we felt the need to start an online learning platform that makes learning proactive and removes restrictions like geography, time and location from accessing wonderfully nurturing experts in skill sets that are under-represented in our current learning environment, like music, language, cooking and art.

What is one aspect in raising multicultural children do we need to be MOST aware of ?

While raising multicultural children, I most emphasize on the empowerment of having a duality in the child’s identity. While it is easy and often natural to select one or the other definitions of identity for a child (I am Indian or I am american etc), it is important to emphasize the completeness in also having more than 1 identity (I am Indian, American and canadian etc)  and still being whole, complete and unique.

My daughters have 3 passports and while they often talk about patriotism in confusing terms, I encourage them and those around them to see them as complete individuals without any 1 patriotic leaning or cultural heritage, but more than 1 heritage and still have a wonderfully complete and complex identity.

What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up?

I learnt about how money works much later on in life and wish I had learnt those lessons when young. 🙂

Share with us two parenting hacks that have made your/child’s life easy.

My husband and I set rules that we never break – there is almost no argument in our home because of these rules (no phones around family, no tv on weekdays, read 30 min before bed, no shoes in the house, in bed by 8:30 etc).

We always sit together and eat for dinner (this enables us to connect as a family and talk about what is happening in each of our lives).

We write letters to family abroad (helps with practicing how to write a letter for kids and helps them keep in touch).

Door are never locked in our home (enables us to be open and receptive at all times)

We emphasize that school and grades are not everything.  Believe it or not, this has helped them look at life quite differently.

What projects are you working on next?

I am the co-founder to an online learning startup – Nulern. I am consumed with that.

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

Be good, kind and useful. Everything else is extra.

Tell us three things that are on your bucket list?

To hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim.

To backpack across the country.

To maybe one day, meet the Dalai Lama.

What 3 books/movies would you say changed your life?

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

The living Gita by Swami Satchidananda

Where this is love, there is God by mother Teresa

Millionaire next door by Thomas Stanley

‘It’s a wonderful life’ movie

Green for life – Victoria Beutenko

Do you have any freebies for our readers/listeners?

Buy one get one 1/2 off (non-amazon orders only)

Readers can place orders on kidzbelong@gmail.com or call/whatsapp 720-899-2590/or my PMing of FB/Instagram

You can find & connect with Niyati on social media here —

https://www.facebook.com/KidzbelongBooks/

https://www.instagram.com/kidzbelong/

Make sure you pick up copies of Niyati’s books to read to your child to help them understand the duality of their identity.

Also, be sure to grab a copy of our bestselling book for you for practical tips to better parent your multicultural child to thrive.

 

Understanding the Duality of Your Child's Identiy

7 Simple Ways Children Everywhere Can Enjoy the Festival of Holi

7 Simple Ways Children Everywhere Can Enjoy the Festival of Holi

 

Holi, the festival of colors will be here soon and like most of us for me preservation of our culture is imperative. Staying miles away from homeland can be sometime challenging, but It is utmost important for me to pass on our cultural values to my children. While we can’t do much about it, We can try to feel festive by doing following activities with our children .

What Is Holi?

Holi is a celebration of good over evil. Holi signals the retreating of winter and the ushering in
of Spring. With it comes the vibrancy of Spring and all of its alluring colors. Hence Holi is also known as the Festival of Colors.

Read about all the powerful and amazing LIFE LESSONS children learn by celebrating this colorful festival.

Activities To Do With Children During Holi:

Looking to celebrate Holi this year with children? Here are seven interesting activities to do with children on the occasion of Holi.

1.) Holi Powder:

Use Holi powder to introduce early-learners to colors and textures. Every color has a particular
meaning in Indian culture. This is the colorful powder that makes this celebration so exuberant and fun.

Set some rules about not targeting anyone’s face, only the arms. Also make sure to get Holi powder that is anti-allergic, skin friendly, washable, and non-toxic. You can get Holi Powder from Amazon or local Indian Grocery Stores.

2.) Water Balloons, Water Guns:

Every child loves water play. Get them some water guns to play with Holi colors onto each other.
And they are great accompaniments to a Holi celebration.

3.) Books To Read On Holi:

Multicultural books are great ways to teach children about the festivals. So read a book on Holi with them.

I highly recommend “Let’s Celebrate Holi “ by Ajanta chakraborty and Vivek Kumar.
With beautiful illustrations, the book walk you through how Holi is celebrated with family, friends, and neighbors!

We also loved reading ‘Celebrate Holi With Me!’ (From The Toddler Diaries) by Shoumi Sen.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541027833/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_r-.HCbY009065

 


4.)Enjoy Some Holi Crafts With Kids:

We have planned a week long Holi celebration in our family. So we definitely look for crafts and games to play with kids. These activities are great for reinforcing the words used in the celebration in a fun and engaging way .Like my children learned about Pichkari, Gulaal and Holika by doing these fun activities.

You can follow our PINTEREST World Celebrations board here for MORE ideas – https://www.pinterest.com/raisingworldchildren/world-celebrations/

I find the Holi Celebration Activity Kit by Culture Groove very useful as they have included Holi Crafts. Songs and dances , puzzles, Holi words games and Holi flashcards in it. You can get a FREE and downloadable Holi celebration activity kit here culturegroove.com/Holi.

(My Children had so much fun crafting Pichkaris)


5.) Make Some Amazing Foods:

No Indian Festival is complete without mouthwatering foods. So make some popular Holi dishes like Gujjiyas and Thandi ( the Indian milkshakes) with your children. You can find a kids friendly recipe of Thandai in the Culture Groove Holi Activity Kit. And also find a easy Gujjiya recip here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_s0597AYYg

6.) Holi Music And Songs For Kids:

Our family loves music. Holi music has a way of transporting you to India and enhancing your celebration. Children learn about the festival very quickly through these fun songs and dances. Here are some of our favorite song videos that we enjoy the most.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp8p3wYzhTo&t=66s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2JZG5AW3hU
https://youtu.be/OOBW5gXzKXE

7.) Celebrate Holi with family and friends:

Enjoy the beautiful festival with family and friends by visiting nearby Hindu Temple or Cultural Centers. Check their websites or Facebook pages as most of these organizations host various Holi Events. Or you can host a Holi Party at your place to celebrate this colorful festival. Don’t forget to dance to the best Holi songs from Indian movies.

Don’t forget your camera or phone to capture all the Holi fun. And be ready to cheer everyone by” Holi Hai”!!

If you are wondering how to celebrate Holi, here is a guide for really simple ways children eveywhere can celebrate Holi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nupur Biswal : A mom, wife, STEM Educator, children book reviewer ,blogger she loves to balance every role. With a educational background of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and 10 years of working experiences as a software professional, she is passionate about teaching children coding and also share her love for STEM education with others. She organizes STEM activities in her local library during holidays and also conduct STEM clubs as a part of her daughter’s after school activities. You can follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nupurbiswal/ and her personal blogging page on Facebook “ Love My Game” https://www.facebook.com/Lovemygam/ where she regularly shares STEM activities and children book reviews with other parents and teachers
We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

The Webster dictionary has many definitions for the word “family”. For me the one that held true for most of my life is “Family: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”.

As a kid I was not comfortable being alone in the house for long periods. Though it mostly never came to that as there was always family around. Many a times I tried to get over this seemingly silly hang up but then consoled myself I don’t really need to as we had a full house.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m no longer the sacredly kid that I was. You see, now there is no way I can avoid being alone at home and even look forward to some alone time.

In a few sentences this is the evolution of Indian families over the years. This transition might be common across many cultures but few would have been as drastic as ours has been.

What does family mean to you? It does not matter how close you are to yours but we need to go that extra mile to give our kids that strong sense of family.

Families come in varied shapes and sizes. The most weird thing is, other peoples families always seems to be way better than your own, which is mostly not true.

For me a family is this group of people who always had time for each other with wholehearted dedication.

THEN:As the saying goes “It takes a village to bring up a child”.

This was most Indian families for you once. We grew up in a household conisiting of grandparents with a healthy sprinkling of aunts,uncles and cousins thrown in.

There were ready playmates those cousins your first friends. With no dearth of people ready to meddle in your life, you were never left alone. One persons problems were tackled by the whole clan.

Even with the over indulgence and continuous sense of being watched family was what you would return to at the end of the day.

New mothers never had to face the dilemma of how to do and what to do, there were always a hand to help. Every aspect of things had a listening ear. Overly patient grandparents with their own life experiences were a treasure trove of guidance.

Like everything this package came with its drawbacks: over interference, over indulgent kids difficult to discipline and not getting independent, to name a few.

NOW:The change in family dynamics over the years has left the family units some what fragmented.

 

Today’s Indian society is mostly nuclear families with busy parents and limited communication with the extended family. These families see much less conflict of interests leaving breathing space for each other.

Kids in this generation are more self-sufficient and open to change.

The Drawbacks: how to give kids strong roots along with the wings?

A sense of family and belonging that children learn from sharing their life and space with an extended family. Children growing up in nuclear families do not get exposure to that extra love and warmth.

What is really sad is Children completely missing the life experiences and stories from a whole generation.

HOW FAMILIES ARE BUILT:

Living together makes a family but strong roots need a deep rooted value system. How do we teach our kids the value of families? One of the foundation bricks that make a family strong is tolerance.

There will always be someone in a family who will think and act unconventional.

Everyone’s threshold of tolerance is bound to be different.

What might be a non-issue for one person might mean the world to the other.

Every person’s reaction to a similar situation might differ.

You might be a multitasking genius while some other can barely accomplish one thing at a time.

The basic comes down to each pillar of the family unit not being alike. What matters is love, tolerance and unconditional acceptance with a slight nudge in the right direction.

Children and especially teenagers should have the confidence that families don’t judge, they just help each other become happier and better version of themselves.

KEEPING IN TOUCH:

The bane of recent times is being busy. Everyone is juggling a million things, some doing a better job at it then the others. Being so occupied leaves us very little time and patience to keep in touch with even those who matter.

The simplest solution is make time. Remember those important dates of family members. Not all communication has to be long. Drop in simple messages or short calls.

Loosing touch with family is the main reason for widening gaps overtime. Distances might make the hearts fonder but will definitely leave relations strained.

Let your kids see you make those efforts. Don’t wait for the other to take the first step, go ahead and initiate communication  you won’t regret it.

Even in a deeply materialistic world giving someone your time is still precious.

FAMILIES GIVE ROOTS AND WINGS:

I believe my parents gave us siblings both roots and wings. We are not afraid to encounter the new while staying true to our beliefs.

This is what I look forward to passing on to my children. Children need strong roots so they can fly.

A big tree rooted in the ground can withstand any storm while weeds just float.

Have small family traditions, holiday celebrations. Talk to your kids about your own childhood, delve into your own background to give them the understanding that family is there to support them and not arrest their flight.

I’m positive I may never approve of all the life choices that my kids will make but i want them to know that whatever they encounter there is always family to count on.

There are friends and friends like family but there will be no one else like family .They accept you just the way you are.

They might judge you at times, drive you crazy and there are phases in life when you run away from them .

Family inundates you with emotional baggage but it is the anchor that ties down a ship to prevent it from going astray. Even when they might throw you to rough sea at times.

Today life is fraught with too much exposure and trying to overcome distances can be hard. So it becomes a task to make sure the familial bonds are strong enough to stand the tides of time and circumstances. But the first step is to ingrain in our kids the value of these family bonds and all else just follows.

Do you live in an extended family or a nuclear family?What steps do you take to make your kids understand the significance of family?

The Importance of Teaching Kids to Stay Connected to Family

No More Mean Girls! Raising Strong Women Who Do Not Judge

No More Mean Girls! Raising Strong Women Who Do Not Judge

As a parent, it falls on us. To raise boys who respect girls.  We are aware of this need. But do we remember that we need to be raising strong girls who are respectful? Who grow up to be not judgemental of other’s choices and situations?

International Women’s Day is a wonderful time to bring this home! Raising women who celebrate other women.

I have seen it. You have seen it. Every so often, we come across women who don’t understand our choices. Their snark comments and sly compliments leave us gaping and disheartened. What reels us more though is that this person is a woman.

At an early age, we see it in play-yard bullying. As we grow, we see it in our “frenemies”, when we get older we see it the judgment of our #momlife. In India, we see it from older women. A subtle condescension of our way of life when compared to the hardships they have endured. Women very easily forget that they have been girls.

I saw a video recently, that said that girls are as aggressive as boys and that aggression only grows emotionally, with age. It is only more visible in boys in physical action. In girls, it’s all about how to manipulate and vent on those closest to us. Namely the friends. And this is actually true!

Counter Mean Comments

This is so important to teach our girls, the effect that their words have on those around them. Mean comments, back handed compliments and snark responses are so potentially harmful. A great way is the toothpaste method. You take a tube of toothpaste and ask them to take out some onto a plate. When they do, ask them to put it back. When they respond helplessly, explain to them that this is how words are. When you say things that are unkind, it leads to a mess and that cannot be  cleaned up no matter how much you desire or are sorry.

Ask your girl to compliment other girls as often as they can. Building others up and appreciating what other’s have is so very important to teach. Ask them to think about what they are going to say. Is it kind? Is it a compliment? Is it respectful? It is necessary to say? If not, it’s better to keep their comments to themselves.

No other time than now, to make sure our girls comprehend the ever lasting effect and consequences of words said in haste or spite!

Avoid Being Territorial

Girls, are very territorial. There is something innate within us, which protects viciously that which we consider OURS. Probably an instinctive thought that is a big part of our make up. This may be why we tend to feel threatened when our friends make new friends. But we need to impart to our girls early, that they need to be kind and nurture those we consider close to us.

A great way to do this is to be as social as possible yourself. By this, I do not mean parties every weekend but be friendly to every single person. Build your community with friends, acquaintances and strangers alike, caste, race, religion aside. The more our girls see US being open to new relationships, the more they open they will be.

Recognize Frenemies

Not everyone is a best friend. Little girls tend to think that every person they play with is their best friend. Specially if you have a people pleasure on your hands, who loves being the center of attention. This is what allows them to let slide a lot of mean comments passed by their so called friends. Relational bullying is the worst kind and our girls need to be able to identify that early. If your child is one, recognize and act on this instantly!

That comes from how we talk to them. Treating your daughter like a princess does not mean giving her the world. It means, teaching her to respect her herself and expecting nothing but kindness from those who surround her. And being okay with letting go of those who do not. I have spoken in detail about maintain friendships and teaching little kids to handle bullies in my bestselling book Strong Roots Have No Fear.

 

Be Mindful of Insecurities

Not happy enough. Not thin enough. Not fashionable enough. Just not enough. These insecurities make us do a lot of weird things. Women, from the time we are girls, are often fearful of losing what we have. We need to counter this by letting our girls know that they can depend on themselves for their happiness. Jealousy is possibly one of the most dangerous things to harbor within.

A wonderful way of this is to cheer for others in their joy. Often, parents seeing other child succeed worry about why their own child is not doing the same. Verbally. If instead of that, we rejoice in the success of others and use that to positively inspire us our girls will learn to do the same.

Breathe, Assess Before Reacting

A book I read recently, “Men are Waffles, Women are Spaghetti” spoke about how when women react to something, it is a reaction with a lot of history behind it. That women minds are intricate webs where everything is connected to teach other.

That really need not be the case. When some supposed infraction happens, we need to first see if it really has anything to do with us? Was the decision one for the person’s personal gain/needs or was it some way to hurt us? And even, if it was going to hurt us, is this really going to matter in 5-10 years time? This silly thing that someone has done that will soon become a thing of the past?

How do we impart this to little girls? By making them understand practically why they weren’t invited to a birthday party or a play date or why they aren’t getting something they really want. By focusing their thought process to think logically about they WHY of a situation. To teach them to see  the other side of a conversation or situation.

Often, when we grow we harbor resentment and use it in consecutive situations. That just leads to lot of build up.   Not every battle is worth fighting. Not every situation needs a reaction. Also, when you see your child being overly emotional about something and that time, bringing up other topics, make sure you bring their focus back to the situation on hand. Talk to her about how precious her tears are and how important it is for us to be mindful about what we are crying about.

Participate in Healthy Conversations

Everyone talks behind you. Again, this is an innate thing that happens between people. Not just girls. But there is a difference between gossip and unhealthy conversations.

Vents what happened to them and works on a solution to figure out how to better handle the situation. Unhealthy gossip is where people talk needlessly about other people’s lives, passing on rumors which are probably untrue or saying vicious things about someone just because they have been wronged in someway.

How do we teach young girls to not do that? When your child tells you something, be practical in your response to it. Divert their attention to how to better the situation the next time instead of calling up the other child’s parent and being aggressive. Recognize when children are being children and the consequence of your own actions before acting out.

Also, make sure your child knows the importance of keeping a friend’s secret. And that before passing on information, to be a 100% sure it is true. For a misplaced rumor is damaging and it all comes back to you.

Stand Tall

People, not just children are most susceptible to peer pressure. It all begins with what other kids have and just never ends.We need to teach our girls to be able to own their choices. To stand tall for themselves and for others, if need be. That we don’t need something or have to do something, just because another has it. Our actions are based on our family’s needs and the circumstances unique to us. This also helps build empathy and understanding of others, for everyone has their issues.

Give them ample respectful answers for things they are teased about and let them know we as parents stand behind them a 100%.

Make sure you read to them stories of friendship, love, caring and kindness.


 

If we want to raise girls who do not judge other, we need to first and foremost stop judging other women and celebrating them. Let those small things go and fight for what’s right.

What would you add to this?

Raising Girls Who Grow UP to Be Women Who Do Not Judge Other Women or Be Mean

7 Ways to Empower Your Child Against Sexual Predators

7 Ways to Empower Your Child Against Sexual Predators

I am neurotic about predators. When my kids started preschool and when they go to out for activities to the park or for classes, I’m constantly on the look out to protect them. To look for people who may not be “safe” or are  “over friendly”. This is not just a fear thanks to the vivid, disturbing news we are exposed on a daily basis. It stems from memories.

At the age of 11 living in Madhya Pradesh (India), I opened the door to the  postman and he asked for a glass of water. When I got it for him, handing it through the grill(thankfully) at the door, he caught my hand and held it to his crotch of his pants, then kissed it and smiled. Even at that young age, I knew that was wrong and ran to my mom to tell her. He was put in jail for a day before his wife came to plead for his life and he was released.

When I was 14 and used to walk home from school in Kuwait (Kuwait) with my mom a man used to often follow us all the way home in his car.

These are just two of the many experiences I’ve had personally. I don’t say this to scare you. Of course, it was scary and still leaves me feeling icky. These events taught me at an early age, that there are many deranged people out there.

While these are some of my worst memories, I think somewhere it made me hyper aware and at the same time stronger, knowing it’s not to be taken seriously. Maybe I got desensitized to it all (not a good thing). In India and Kuwait, there is an unsaid acceptance and allowance of such behavior. That is food for another discussion.

But this is why I’m a strong advocate that the conversation begin early so that children be able to recognize such behavior, understanding that sometimes even people you know are capable of horrible acts. Mind you these things happened while my parents were close. It is not the act but the reaction that carries significance.

My son is 8 now but I have been having conversations with him about personal safety since he was 4. Specially because he has always been an extremely friendly child who loves to make “friends”. Now, so is my two year old daughter. And I worry about their friendliness making them easy prey. On the other hand, I never want to them to lose their happy demeanor. To be too scared to say Hi to strangers. We need people who are friendly to make the world a warm place to live. Who aren’t scared to be the first one to break the proverbial ice. So how do we do it?

pexels-photo

The below conversations we have at regular intervals in my household becaus for children repetition is very essential. Every child is different. You will find it useful to use the below as baseline to start a dialogue essential for proactive thinking. To start talking about this disturbing topic is the first step.

No Secrets Within Family

I believe this is the most important thing kids need to remember, in their early years specially. Of course there will be a time when their life is their own but when they are young they are to know that while they don’t have to tell their parents every single thing, it is wrong if someone, specially an adult tells them to keep a secret. My parents have always have open dialogue. There absolutely nothing I feel uncomfortable talking to them about. This I think is what helped me just go and tell my mom, ” The postman took my hand and put it on his pants. ” immediately after it happened. One should never feel fear in telling their parents anything.

I always say that no topic should be barred from discussing with kids, specially when they see something on TV (adults kissing) or hear something that may possibly confuse them about issues.  Listening and letting them ask questions, no matter how uncomfortable that are answered as you may see fit is a great way to make sure kids trust parents.

“It’s Mom Dad’s Job to Protect You”

I write this because, I have often read, predators scare kids by saying “Stay quiet or we will hurt your mom/dad/family” or “Don’t tell anyone or I will say you did …. so and so” . Please re-iterate to your child that it is YOU who are supposed to protect them and that you trust them. And no matter what they do, they can always come and tell you.

Your body is off limits
No one and I cannot emphasis this enough, No One should touch them inside their shirt or skirt/pants. Or kiss their lips. With some people being extra cuddly, it is okay that kids understand that saying no if they feel uncomfortable is just respecting their body. This is one of the reasons why I too personally always ask children for hugs. They can always be taught to show their respect and love in other ways. It means a lot more when it comes from them than mushing them anyway.


Permission is Must

We all tell our kids they should ask before going anywhere but many a times we forget to tell them not to walk off with a friend to an unknown place. They should always play where you can see them and they can see you. They should understand walking off into the horizon behind a balloon or ice cream cart is Not okay. Going to a secret exciting place with a friend or some adult they know is not okay. They should always ask for permission from the person in charge before going anywhere.

Define Stranger

In the beginning, when I started this conversation my son asked me, ” Who is a stranger? ” And then we went on to discuss who all are considered family, friends and people we just meet once in a few months or a year. It is important that kids understand the definition of a family’s boundaries and relationships.

No Helping Strangers

It’s important to be nice. Say hi to strangers. Smile at them but remember to explain to your child that they are too young to actually help an adult. Many children feel very grown up in being able to do something an adult asks them to do. They are in a constant hurry to prove themselves or please others. So if an adult who is a stranger says,” Can you help me with … ” they are to respond with, ” Sure. Let me go ask my parents/teacher first. “

There is Enough at Home

Kids are greedy by default. It’s not their fault. They are drawn to that extra piece of candy or toy or whatever is their favorite thing.  And many times we parents exploit this honest response by making lot of activities incentive based. But at the same time every child needs to know that their parents can provide everything for them. They do Not need to ask or take anything that any other person offers them in return for something.

Shout, Run away & Assault

Like honesty is the best policy. I believe running away is the best policy in any dangerous situation. Children need to know that when they feel uncomfortable, their first response should be to shout out and run away. If someone does try to or successfully does grab them then nothing is off limits. Nothing! You are allowed to hit, punch, bite, scratch and most importantly scream. We even practice the volume level at home.

 

Fear is not the solution to anything. The world is scary. The only way we can live is being constantly cautious. As adults we now are naturally so but we need to enable our children to do the same and know what to do in any given situation.

Have you already had this conversation with your child?

What age did you start?

Are there any other things you would make sure they know?

Let me know in the comments below. Keep the conversation going with your children, stay safe!


Hows & Whys of Using YouTube Safely for Kids

Hows & Whys of Using YouTube Safely for Kids

Yet another dangerous challenge is doing the rounds on the internet. A mom finds videos on YouTube that tells kids to do harmful things to themselves or others through MOMO Challenge. I have known for quite some time that YouTube if not used in limit has the potential to be very harmful to kids and their mindset. At the end of the day, it is a tool to be wielded by the person holding it. As a gadget or as a weapon.

Using YouTube as a Crutch for Education and Baby Sitting

It happens often with new parents and it was with me also. When he was small, I let my son watch the fun animated videos on YouTube. Keeping him occupied, it was super convenient for me to work around the house or just do my thing. Soon he was watching kids unboxing videos and being adamant that he wants the same toys. He was so attracted to it all!

We observed the change in his behavior just in time, I think. Ask him to stop watching and he would revolt!

We decided to stop giving him the device then. Any videos online were watched only once a week, or as a treat for doing something that we couldn’t get them to do otherwise. Till the day I saw him watching a video on YouTube-Kids where Spiderman and Elsa were pregnant and talking about babies. I went online and found that this was very common where toys would talk about adult topics.

That was the last time we let kids have Youtube in their hands.

From then on, any video would only be streamed on TV and only those that I had researched.

youtube harmful kids safely

Affect of Online Propaganda As Kids Get Older

But it doens’t end there. Even with those videos streamed, the advertising certainly become a bane during shopping as kids request for things that we have never even heard of. It breeds materialism, at such an early age. Instead of advertising to parents, now stores have direct access to little children. Which is why we need to talk to them early about having enough and buying only what we really need.

But it isn’t only toys. The propaganda can go in deep.

One day, we were driving around and my son, then 7, spotted a political poster. He repeated verbatim the negative campaigning we had seen on YouTube before you can skip ad.  We had laughed over how often those ads keep coming up, but it had not occurred to me how much of an impact they were having on my family’s vision of the world we lived in.

Here was my son repeating something he had no idea about, without any proof himself. How horrendous it is to have the whole coming generation blatantly influenced so negatively!


 

The Many Ways YouTube is Harmful To Kids

Idle Time Consumption

In the  time a child could be creating or discovering the outside or their own thought processes, they are busy consuming content that may or may not be productive towards their growth.

Instant Gratification

YouTube gives you what you want at the click of a button. It gives them a false sense of adrenaline rush to get what they want the moment they want it. Life does not work that way and this is disturbing.

Dangerous Hidden and Not so Hidden Propaganda

As seen with the recent discovery of the MOMO Challenge and earlier when they were showing adult content through kids’ videos, these challenges and trends will keep happening again and again people find ways to influence children in a disgusting or subtle way. Some ways are clearly obvious, others not so much.

Peer Pressure

In a time  when we want them more than ever to be able to stand their ground in the face of external influence, we let them watch videos of advertisements of kids playing video games or unboxing toys or just playing pranks. And of course once, they start looking up to a certain YouTube star, they want to use what they are using and doing.

Unregulated CONTENT

In a time when we should actually be very cautious about what we let our children watch and the age rating of something, instead we let them have a gadget and watch whatever their little hearts lean towards. Which can possibly have anything within. It is so unfortunate though now, that they let free on a platform that is totally unregulated, with videos being uploaded every few minutes.

Distorted Thinking

The constant instant gratification and change in video watching as they scroll through different topics makes kids unable to learn to focus. They learn way more than their little minds can comprehend and that leads to distracted and distorted view of the real world.

Reality TV for Kids

This is my personal peeve since I do not approve of any reality television. Even though most people know it is scripted, to show people in such a vulnerable and bad lighting in the guise of popular television is just sad. It makes us all so cynical of the world view for it is real life but people play games with each other’s emotions for money or fame. And what is YouTube but reality television for children.

Emotional Impact

As I mentioned my personal experience, I could visibly see my son’s behaviour change for the worse and it was clear to me the impact the incessant scrolling was having on him. And I believe that goes a long way to show the impact on any child for the above reasons. When they do not get their fix, they retaliate violently, which only grows.

Eye Strain

Very recently people have come across the harmful effects of screen time. Recently when getting my son glasses, the technician said get the expensive ones that help against gadget use. My answer was that my kids do not use gadgets that much yet.

How to Use YouTube Safely

No Personal Account for Kids

Please do not give little kids their own accounts. Yes, it avoids your personal account being flooded by kids videos but it is totally not needed for kids to feel in ownership for YouTube account. The moment kids feel in charge, they start watching whatever they feel like.

Clear Your Browser History

We are adults who sometimes click on things that are inappropriate. And that leads to YouTube showing videos that are similar in the suggested video section. Make sure to clear your browser history to ensure kids do not end up even watching a thumbnail that is inappropriate.

Make Kids Watch YouTube on TV

Anything they watch should be streamed via television through chormecast, roku, apple etc where everyone can see what is being consumed. Stay close and monitor often what kids are watching.

Make a Playlist

This is tedious but very important for your child’s safetly. Go through every video you plan to let them watch and make an approved playlist of the videos.

Talk to Kids About What to Watch and how to behave online

No matter how safe you be, it could still happen that they go to someone’s house and watch something inappropriate. With my son, I have told him he goes to people’s house to play, not to watch TV or play videos games. So when someone suggests to watch TV, it’s time to go home. Also, I have talked to my son about how important it to to behave appropriately online as it is just like in real life. With cyber bullying rampant, it is so much more important for kids to know early how to be online.

Download Control Apps

Mcafee safe familyDownload this or any other app to keep an eye on what your child is doing online. You can track all your devices. My husband and I have the app in our phones and we can check which sites they are visiting and which videos they are watching on YouTube. You can block the sites from the app too.

Enable YouTube Safety Mode on computers

Go to the bottom of any YouTube page and turn Safety Mode on.  (Learn how).  Safety Mode won’t catch everything – even YouTube acknowledges this – but it will prevent some unsavory content from younger eyes. For example, with Safety Mode turned on you cannot watch the video titled “Call Me Maybe (Dirty Parody)”.  The other nice thing about Safety Mode is that user comments are not immediately visible.  You have to specifically click to view them.  This is my favorite feature of Safety Mode.  Sometimes the video itself is fine, but the comments are rude, mean, and totally inappropriate.

Set a Time or videos Limit

As with everything, moderation needs to be promoted within children to impart self control. Make sure they know not to exceed 20 mins of time or 3 videos or a pre decided limit.

Make Videos a Treat

In my home, video watching on YouTube on television is a treat that they get as a bonus when they achieved something.

Use outdoors, Books and Streaming sources Instead

All the things you find easy to do with YouTube, can just as easily be done with books. The local library and book stores are wonderful resources to provide your child for endless wonderment. All the shows your kids so love are easily available on Prime Video or Netflix or for free on PBS Kids or Disney. Create a love in your child for reading or let them spend time outdoors.

 


Don’t Fall for ” YouTube-Kids is safe “

No matter what, Youtube or any platform that is not controlled by moderators is open for unsafe content being uploaded onto it. In different ways. So make sure you do not give kids access to your gadget or online videos in the false notion that it is  safe.

The only safe way for kids is to be constantly vigilant on what they are consuming, searching for what is appropriate content online and then making sure our children have only limited use.

What tips would you add to this? Comment below and share with other parents.

 

The Many Ways YouTube is Harmful & How to Use it Safely

Kids' Mundan in USA Vs India: Simplifying the Tradition of Tonsuring

Kids’ Mundan in USA Vs India: Simplifying the Tradition of Tonsuring

“Oh! Your kids are going to be born with lots of hair.”, said anyone to whom I cribbed about the acidity I experienced while pregnant. “I would rather have them come out bald.”, I would remark.

And sure as sunshine, they both were born with a full head of baby soft, fine hair. As they grew, their hair got super curly and thick and I started dreading the Mundan ceremony.

The process where you shave off all the baby’s hair at 7,9,11 months or 1 year or 3 years.  They say it ensures thicker, fuller hair coming but has a lot of basis in traditional medicine too. What is ideally supposed to happen is that you take the baby to your native temple, the priest performs the ceremony, your family is of course there, you shave the baby’s head, wash it, apply haldi to it and then the hair is submerged in the water body near said temple.

Tonsure In USA

With my son, I was a new mom. So, going to India for the traditional Mundan ceremony was out of the question for me. So, on my mother in law’s suggestion, we kept it simple. When she visited a year later, we took him to a local barber shop, got all his hair trimmed off and then she took the hair with her to India. We prayed at home and wished him well. It was easy, no fuss.

Mundan in India

With my daughter though, it was hell on earth. The Indian barber came home, and seeing his scary razor I asked for him to use a trimmer. His trimmer was so much more worse. My daughter hated being made to sit still at 7 months. She cried and screamed as his horrid trimmer buzzed loud in her ears and then her hair was cut uneven because of course the trimmer wasn’t sharp. The whole family was crying with my little girl as she raised hell. It took a good hour to get it done.

If I could go back in time, I would just make sure to take her to a professional salon vs someone another suggests.

With all my experience in the past years, I’ve seen that kids, my kids have always had a better experience doing traditional things where I have known where to go through personal research.

I do not say, do not go the traditional route. I would however encourage you to keep things simple. Trim off the hair when and where the kids are most comfortable, at an older age and make sure to do the rest with a complete heart, having faith in the fact that no matter how you do something, the intention of giving your child the complete experience will stay true.

Have you had a Mundan or Tonsure done for your kids? Is this something you would consider doing? Have you had the traditional ear piecing ceremony done for your kids?

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons

How Harvest Festivals Celebrate Change in Every Sphere

How Harvest Festivals Celebrate Change in Every Sphere

Why are harvest festivals celebrated at all? Does it really matter if we mark this time of the year?

Makar Sankranti is the time when new harvest is gathered. Not just that, it heralds the onset of new seasonal change, marking the end of harsh winters and welcoming the blossoming spring season. A slight rise in temperatures, warming and stirring the soul is what marks Sankranti. In fact, it’s not just makar Sankranti, every harvest festival marks a season of change.

It highlights change of weather, change of crop, change of some kind! And change is good! Change is inevitable and so we should learn to embrace it, whole-heartedly, with the right spirit and nothing better that embracing this change, right at the beginning of the year!

I will not talk about how the festival is celebrated because we have already shared all about this season here – Each culture brings about their share of festivities with this harvest festival and so do we, the Bengalis. We make the customary “khuchudi” with the first rice of the season, served with chutney and fried fritters to go along. Apart from that our range of sweets like “pithey” and “patishapta” all flour based sweets, made with “nolen gur” or date palm jiggery, is often the staple dessert menu on this D-day.

What I love most about the festival is that, I embrace the seasonal change and gear up my spring wardrobe slowly and steadily. The house looks and feels warm with the warm morning sun. The beautiful warmth of the streaming sun rays just makes the house glow with a magical spirit!

I remember the entire household décor would go for an overhaul. My mother would vacuum the heavy carpets and curtains and seal them in bags, stuff them in box beds, bring out the lighter curtains, followed by our light upholstery to mark the idea of living with change, while staying the same!

Small superficial things, would often undergo change around us, with slight change in routine too. For example, play time getting extended in mornings (provided there was no fog), a new school routine with more serious tone of work (post the large winter vacations) and less holidays to merry make. Although, in some way, we would feel sad, but the weather always told us to stay hopeful as another change would bring us a new routine!

For instance, for Bengalis, Sankranti is soon followed by “Saraswati puja” or popularly known as “Basant Panchami”, marking the full blown season of spring, dotted with blooming flowers and greenery everywhere.

My mother would often tell me that change to some, can get quite overwhelming, but when you celebrate it, it becomes a happy event and thereby, the change seems more welcoming and seemingly easy!

That’s why celebrating seasonal festivals is good, because it cleanses your mind and soul, and somehow preps you well for the upcoming change in season and maybe, even a routine.

That’s why even though, I don’t do anything more elaborate with these harvest festivals, but still I try and create a different aura at home, to make it feel different that before!

Even I see my son, responding well to the change via festivity of some kind. He looks forward to a different menu, different home décor, maybe a temple visit or visiting some festival related event or simply gathering with friends and family, to spread the cheer! The sheer joy and twinkle in his eyes are more than enough to convince me, that I am doing maybe something right, to make him feel happy!

After all, as parents, we need to create happy memories, to strengthen a happy solid foundation for our children. This will serve as the impetus for their solid growth in the future years! So to me, as a parent, seasonal festivals like harvest festivals are the perfect platform to teach them to value and embrace change, of any kind!

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons

International Best Seller – Strong Roots Have No Fear

Childhood is a country in itself. And the same rules of immigration apply. One needs to observe their culture, learn their language and imbibe traits from them to help build a sense of community. With the belief that if we raise children with a strong value system, we need not fear for their future,  I bring to you Strong Roots Have No Fear.

I am a global citizen, raised shuttling between countries and now parenting children who are American by birth. An Indian writing about challenges every parent faces in our ever evolving world. A Third Culture Kid, I understand first hand what it means to be raised on the borders of multiple countries and cultures.

In this book I have given simple strategies I’ve learned from observing mothers around the world and my own childhood to help raise kids who are confident and have a global mindset early.

This small book made BIG waves around the world by being named TOP 10 among thousands of entries at the Author Academy awards.

Chapters in the book include –

Being an Empowered Parent
Channel Big Emotions
Imbibe Multilingualism
Motivate Self Reliance
Cultivate Talent Within
Balance Technology
Impart Self Moderation
Instill Gender Equality
Counter Bullying
Prepare for Tragedies/Predators
Infuse Your Heritage
Celebrate Diversity
Ingrain Racial Equality
Mantras for Travel
and more …

In short this book includes simple, easy to implement ways in which you can use your child’s strengths to intuitively, be mindful about –

** Raising Confident Children
** Building a Global Mindset

An easy read, this book uses the Author’s experiences as a multicultural child herself and parenting journey to empower multicultural families like her own to raise awareness about important values every child needs to grow strong.

PRESS FOR THE BOOK

Bicultural Mama – Celebrating Best of Two Worlds

Momspresso – India’s Best Parenting Portal

Fantastic Feathers – Book Review & Travelogue Blog

Simply T Nicole – Motivational Speaker

MomTinCulture – Parenting Blogger & Author (Because I Promised )

My Baby, My Books & I – Book Review Blog 

Amazon Reviews (40+)

ABOUT THE BOOK – Strong Roots to Live an Empowered Life

I want for my children is to be safe. And strong. With good behavior and decision making skills to boot, with a lot of kindness sprinkled on. To be rooted in their values, no matter what storms blow across their life. Strong Roots Have No Fear – talks about raising children with a confident and global mindset.

I can only assume you are nodding your heads in unison. Yes, we want our children to excel academically but more than that, we want them to win at life. Not in the getting a trophy kind of way but a, able to find the silver lining in every situation or being a culturally aware kind of way.

Do you worry about your child’s future?

Of course you do. You are a parent. That means fears are a part of your life every single day. Wondering how you will teach your kids to navigate this elaborate maze called life.

I often hear comments of trepidation, “Oh! Wait till they hit their teen years.” or “Some day they are going to forget everything about our culture. ” or “This generation is so spoiled.” etc. and I wonder why are parents doubt the values they are providing their children?  Sure, the kids will have a phase of rebellion and self discovery but that does not mean they will never find their way back. There is no guarantee for tomorrow but to be so negative in your own mindset hampers your child’s vision of themselves.

Having high expectations of our children may hamper their growth but knowing we believe in them will help them stand strong no matter the struggle. And life is so full of struggles, right? While we cannot control our kids future, we as parents sure can create a solid foundation for our children to grow into. Giving them their history to anchor them, their present to grow into and their future to look towards with joy.

When I was young, my mom constantly talked to me about being good, manners, being strong in my choices and a LOT of that had a big effect on many decisions I made later in life. Decisions that were life altering. The lessons my parents taught me and a lot they didn’t, form the crux of all that I have achieved in my life. All the decisions that taken timely saved me in my darkest moments.

That is partly why I started writing about the many challenges parents face in balancing current cultures and their own heritage.  To have one space where parents can go for easy answers or relatable content. That mission grew into what you are reading today, a magazine for parents by parents because we all can after all learn from each other.

Empowering Children to Thrive in a Multicultural World with Intuitive Parenting

Strong Roots Have No Fear

Over the course of the past 8 years, I have come across few simple strategies that negate all the current mumbo jumbo surrounding parenting. All we need to do is trust our instinct and make sure the kids grow rooted within prepared for the many challenges an ever evolving multicultural world will provide.  So how do you give your children strong roots?

  • By providing them sound start in their early years.
  • Teaching kids to stand tall in face of life’s milestones.
  • Imparting the vision to make good choices.
  • A global mindset that helps build awareness within.

To that end, I bring to you the very first book that talks in a most straight forward language about all the above in great detail with tips of everything below. Parenting our children with a strong, culturally aware mindset enables us to be optimistic about their future thus removing a lot of the fear associated with an unknown tomorrow.

In the book you will find

  • The confidence to be intuitive as a parent.
  • Introspection towards mindful living.
  • Timeless strategies to impart a positive mindset.
  • A global approach to nurturing your multicultural family.
  • How to be culturally sensitive and rooted within self.

While the book is aimed at parents raising kids aged 0-10, most of the timeless life lessons in it are applicable to any age really After all, most of us can use reminders of what to do with bullies, how to deal with self doubt, increasing self empowerment, being aware about the world with an open mind etc.

Most importantly, it is not a “one size fits all” solution. It is a – “here is the fabric and ideas, get creative with your own dress” solution to parenting everywhere.

You can find out what people around the world are saying about my writing here. Signing up gives you tons of freebies and also keeps you in the loop as to the progress of the book. 

You can find ALL my work in one place here or get a taste of what the book includes HERE.

I’m passing on all that I have implemented and learned over the past years, so you do not have to ask anyone the question, “What tips would you give me to make sure my kids grow strongly rooted in values, right from the beginning?” .

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends. If you would like to support the growth of this book, you are welcome to join the Strong Roots Book Support Group here.

Don’t Forget to Tell Your Friends or Pin This Post for keepsake. After all sharing is caring!

strong roots have no fear


Raising Confident Kids with a Global Mindset - Strong Roots Have No Fear

Are Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal the same Indian Festival?

Are Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal the same Indian Festival?

It is the time the days are on the coldest and when first harvest of the year is done in most of the parts of India where the food grains are worshiped in different ways. Are the festivals of Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal basically the same? Celebrated on the January 13th and 14th respectively and for the same reason, different states of India celebrate these auspicious day in different ways. Rejoicing in the fruits of harvest.

How can you tell who is celebrating which one? Make sure to save this so you can reference back to it later.

Well, firstly different people call it by different names.

Lohri in Punjab

Celebrated by Punjabi Indians on the 13th of January, this day is marked by a bon fire, colorful clothes music and dancing. Popcorn, sesame, chikki are enjoyed.

You can find out more about this festival by reading the complete celebration here.

Makar Sankranthi 

Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14 January every year.This particular festival is celebrated by many more states, in different ways. This day is marked differently by the element of traditional prayers and kite flying.

Delhi and Haryana – Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked specially on this day. One brother of every married woman visits her home with a gift of some warm clothing for her and her husband’s family. It is called “Sidha”. Women used to give a gift to their in-laws, and this rituals called “Manana”. The recipient will sit in a haweli (main palace where men sit together and share hookka). Women go to haweli to sing folk songs and give gifts.

Rajasthan and West Madhya Pradesh

“Makar Sankrati” or “Sankrat” in the Rajasthani language is one of the major festivals in the state of Rajasthan. The day is celebrated with special Rajasthani delicacies and sweets such as pheeni (either with sweet milk or sugar syrup dipped), til-paati, gajak, kheer, ghevar, pakodi, puwa, and til-laddoo.

Specially, the women of this region wear black as it absorbs heat the most and observe a ritual in which they give any type of object (related to household, make-up or food) to 13 married women. The first Sankranti experienced by a married woman is of significance as she is invited by her parents and brothers to their houses with her husband for a big feast. People invite friends and relatives (specially their sisters and daughters) to their home for special festival meals (called as “Sankrant Bhoj”). People give out many kind of small gifts such as til-gud (jaggery), fruits, dry khichadi, etc. to Brahmins or the needy ones.

Kite flying is traditionally observed as a part of this festival.On this occasion the sky in Jaipur and Hadoti regions is filled with kites, and youngsters engage in contests trying to cut each other’s strings.

Pongal

Celebrated in Tamil Nadu, this is a grand festival of four days. Day 1 marks Bhogi Pandigai, Day 2 is Thai Pongal, Day 3 Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal is celebrated on day 4. The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.

Here is a detailed description of the four days of celebration.

KHICHERI

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand

This same festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing. There is a compulsion to bathe in the morning while fasting; first they bathe then they eat sweets such as til ladoo and gud laddo (known as tillava in Bhojpuri). At some places new clothes are worn on this day. It is said that if you do not bath on this day, you will fall upon bad luck the rest of the year. Khichi is prepared.  Kite flying  and (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery) are found in the songs sung on this day.

West Bengal

In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known Poush Parbon (It falls on 14 January on the Western calendar.) All sections of society participate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and ‘khejurer gur’ (date palm jaggery) and known as ‘Pitha’ . The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of Sankranti.

So you see, even though celebrated for the reason, the colorful states of India each celebrate this day in numerous different ways and on different days. Observing the celebrations is a great indicator of the heritage of a person and what part of India they belong to.

Did you know this about these festivals? Do you know any more differences? Feel free to share the same below

 

Being Creative in Teaching Kids About Indian Culture

Being Creative in Teaching Kids About Indian Culture

At Raising World Children, we are on the constant look out for world changers. People who are trying in small or big ways to make the world a better place. Today, we meet Ajanta Chakraborty, a fascinating woman of wonder : choreographer, author, you tube content creator, teacher, mom and much much more !

1. What exactly do you do?

I am the co-founder of Culture Groove  and Bollywood Groove

  • Culture Groove publishes bestselling children’s books and has an educational kids YouTube channel.
  • Bollywood Groove teaches 30+ dance & fitness classes in Chicago to kids and adults.

2. How did you come about this passion/profession?

A techie by profession, I worked in Silicon Valley for 7 years before realizing that my true passion was to spread the joy of Indian culture! In 2011, I quit my job to pursue Bollywood Groove first and then Culture Groove and have never looked back.

3. Tell us about your family.

My husband, who is also the co-author of our Maya/Neel book series, and I live in Chicago with our 4-year-old son. Other than the usual trucks and light sabers, my son has developed a strong interest in our work. He is officially a YouTuber helping his mom teach about India! The funniest experience is watching him trying to sell our books at various events 😊

4. How many places have you lived? How has that affected your world view?

I was born and raised in the small city of Bhopal in India. Since then, I have lived in Vancouver, Canada for education, California for work and now in Chicago.

Living in multiple cities has given me the unique immigrant lens of learning, comparing and picking the best of two worlds. It also opened my mind to not only embrace diversity but also strive to make it a norm.

5. What do you think are three biggest struggles most parents go through teaching kids about Indian culture?

  • The lack of quality and fun content. A lot of the content is either superficial – they provide very little actual knowledge or they are too boring for kids to engage in.
  • The lack of non-religious content. Believe it or not, there are lot of families like ours. They want their kids to learn about the cultural aspects without religion.
  • We have to accept that kids of Indian origin around the world are growing up in a different environment than someone in India. No matter what we are trying to teach them about our culture, it has to be done in a relatable manner. The 100% immersion is not the right approach for every kid and it’s hard to find resources that adhere to that mindset.

6.  How do you suggest parents encourage kids to follow their passions?

Don’t impose your dreams on them. Let them navigate the world at their own pace and in their own way. We are supposed to give them wings and watch them fly. Teach them the importance of finding joy in their everyday life. My parents did precisely that I am incredibly grateful for that.

6. Please tell us about your vision to teaching kids about the world.

We have a 3-fold mission with our work:

  • Help raise multicultural kids irrespective of their ethnicity and background. This extends to adults as well!
  • Help kids connect to their roots.
  • Help kids of color to see themselves in literature and media.

This is exactly what has driven us to teach a unique combination of dance and culture classes to 200 kids every year; to write children’s books exploring festivals, places and cultural concepts of India; and finally to create a free learning resource via our YouTube channel.

8. What are your three top advice to parents?

  • Read, read, read to your kids! It is such a wonderful way to open up their minds.
  • Teach your kids that there are many ways to live in this world – try new foods, explore a different festival, do something that helps them experience the diversity in this world.
  • Constantly reinforce the message of standing up to discrimination, intolerance and bias because of who they are. Proactively help them gain pride of their origin, their orientation, and anything else that the society boxes them in.

9. How does one raise multicultural kids today in an ever evolving world?

I believe it is actually getting easier. With technology bringing the world closer together, we now have more opportunities to learn about each other. Even in places where there is an environment of intolerance, I see parents and educators working ever harder to ensure that the kids grow up with an outlook of acceptance.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL

10. Do you have anything exciting for our readers?

We produced 8 books in 2 years so there is always something exciting 😊 Our latest book is about Delhi and Taj Mahal and it recently hit the Amazon bookshelves. But we are equally excited about our videos. We add one new video a week and there is so much more coming in the way of learning about Indian languages, festivals, food, clothes etc. We request parents and educators to help us spread the word about this free resource and to join us in our mission: CultureGroove.com/YouTube.

Let’s Raise Multicultural Kids!

Click here to join parents raising multicultural children on Facebook !

Click here to buy Ajanta’s Latest BestSelling Diwali Book right NOW! Makes a great Diwali gift. 

How Can You Be Creative in Teaching Kids about Any Culture. Meet Ajanta Chakraborty, woman of wonder.

 

The Many Lessons Hidden in the Varied Origins of Diwali

The origin of Diwali is a wonderful way to explain to children, how good always conquers evil. The many stories that form the foundation of this world celebration, are a lesson in life about how to always stand true when faced with difficult choices. You may be surprised to learn, Diwali is celebrated across different sub cultures of India for various reasons. And thus, holds an extremely special meaning in the lives of many. Contrary to popular belief, not all Indians traditionally follow the same Hindu culture and yet, Diwali is  one of the most auspicious days in the lives of many. People from different parts of India celebrate this day for different reasons.

North India

Lord Ram, the most beloved prince and son is sent to exile by his father because of a promise he made to one of his wives (granting any two wishes when she wants). Laxman, his devoted brother chooses to go on exile with his brother and sister in law Sita. After years of hardships, Sita one day sees a deer she desires and on her behest Sri Ram and Laxman go after it. She consequently gets kidnapped by Raavan when she crosses the Laxman rekha (a spellbound line made outside their home to keep her safe by her brother in law). Ram and Laxman slay Raavan, saving her with the help of Hanuman an ardent devotee of Sri Ram. They all come back home to Ayodhya (on Diwali) among great pomp and show only to send her into exile all on her own when a citizen of the city raises a question of her purity after living with Raavan for so many years. She goes into the forest where she brings up her two sons. After years, when his sons cross his path in battle, Lord Ram goes back to bring his wife home. She in turn chooses to go back to Mother Earth instead. The Return of the Pandavas: Another story about the origins of the Diwali is within the great epic ‘Mahabharata,’ it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the five Pandavas (brothers Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva) appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

South India

In South India, Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. Narakasura was a demon drunk with power stole the earrings of Aditi (mother of all Devas) and kidnapped 16000 women. The Devas were unable to stop him and so they went to Lord Vishnu to reincarnate as Krishna, so as to destroy the evil demon and save the women.

Marwaris and Gujratis

Diwali is the new year time for Marwaris and Gujaratis.  This is when the merchants close the accounts of the old year and pray to the goddess of wealth that the new year should open with even bigger increase of trade.  Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti as this is the day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil. Thus, many regions pray to Goddess Laxmi (giver of weath) on this day. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, emerging from a feud between the gods and demons, who were tangled in a race to obtain the nectar of immortality. Consulting Lord Vishnu in this pursuit, they could successfully churn the nectar of immortality from Goddess Lakshmi, who chose Vishnu to be her companion, consequently Lord Vishnu carried goddess Lakshmi to the heavens.

Jains  

To the Jains it marks the day after Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. He was released from his worldly body on the night of the full moon. So the people of Pavapuri, where he attained nirvana, lit lamps in their doorways as a symbol of their guru’s enlightenment.

According to Myth Gyan , Mahavira attained Moksha at the dawn of the Amavasya (new moon). He was cremated at Pawapuri. It is believed that many Gods were present there illuminating the darkness. But the following night was pitch black.

So people illuminate their houses in order to symbolically keep the light of their master’s knowledge alive.


Sikhism

This day for Sikhs celebrates the release of Guru Hargobindji along with 52 Indian kings who were imprisoned along with him at the Gwalior fort by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1619. This day is thus also known as Bandi Chorr Diwas (meaning the day of freedom).

Nepal

Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and the Indian states of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The five-day festival in these places is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.

Arya Samaj

It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when the 19th-century scholar Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj, attained his nirvana. Dayananda’s great mission was to ask humankind to treat one another as brothers through practices of nobility.

http://localhost/raisingworld/2017/10/12/easy-diwali-family-problems-home/

Historically 

In history, this day is celebrated as the coronation day of One of the greatest of Hindu kings, Vikramaditya. He was crowned on the Diwali day. The legendary emperor, who may have been a historical figure or based on one, is thought of as the ideal king, known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Thus, Diwali became a historical event as well.

And thus, this day is celebrated across five days,

1. Dhanteras. 2. Choti Diwali (Naraka Chaturdasi). 3. Badi Diwali (Laxmi Puja). 4. Naya Saal (New Year). 5. Bhai Dooj. Many today, celebrate this day the whole month as the only time to rejoice available is on weekends. What is your reason to celebrate?

What does this conversation about origins of Diwali teach kids? 

  • Love your family.
  • Support your loved ones always.
  • Stand by what is right.
  • Freedom is a birth right.
  • Choices have consequences.
  • Women should be nurtured.
  • Every woman has a right to make her own choices.
  • Above all, be loyal.
  • Be careful about spending and save.

Do Not

  • Think ill of others.
  • Let ego get in the way of your relationships.
  • Disrespect those you care about.
  • Make decisions in haste.
  • Be selfish or greedy.

4 Secrets To Living Your Life Happy and Stress Free

4 Secrets To Living Your Life Happy and Stress Free

Stress, anxiety and depression are terms that were not really heard of until a decade ago. The word ‘stress’ was  used in a very generalized way to express being tired of something or doing something. 

Today, we know ‘STRESS’ as the root of most ailments in the world. Yet, we as humans allow it to permeate into our daily lives. Living stress free is the ultimate goal! 

Self Assessment With Gratitude 

Do you wonder why the people around you are always agitated? Do you pause to think why your kids seem so perturbed?

‘YOU’ could possibly be the reason of their behavior. Our mood swings, our anxiety over trivial issues, our anger  are all seen, felt and reflected.

Most of us are guilty of that but isn’t it a little unrealistic to expect others around us to be positive and happy? Now really, if you’re having a bad day and have not managed to smile all day, would you really blame your spouse for not being there or not talking two sweet words to you, while YOU are sulking and drowning yourself in negativity.

SOLUTION : Kick starting our day with a positive and clear mind will make us and the people around us feel joyful and content. Showing gratitude to our spouse and children will make their entire day. Learning to let go off small issues to maintain peace in our relationships, goes a long way. We can pray, meditate, listen to some soothing music, practice yoga or take a walk to keep all those cynical thoughts at bay (or rather away!)

Set Realistic Goals 

Most students and their parents dread that time of the year when the exams and results are declared. Sleepless nights, racing thoughts, and anxiousness takes over. Then comes the D-Day and what happens after that? Doesn’t life just go on? Unfortunately, these days we also get to hear of people ending their lives over not meeting their family’s or their own expectations. Sadly, peer pressure is taking a huge toll on children and adults alike.

Years ago, when I was going down in the elevator with my neighbor’s high school goer, I asked him what he plans to do after his high school. With a dejected look he said, “I am very passionate about cricket and want to play cricket for India. But my father has said that I should only think of engineering and nothing else.”

I was really sad to see his despair. That day I promised myself that when I become a parent, I would let my child follow their passion and always support them in their choices within reason. I really wish that all parents could understand their children’s feelings, goals and aspirations better.

SOLUTION : We are seeing a generation who are coercing themselves to go beyond what is achievable. That doesn’t mean we should not aim higher or aspire for the better. But we should also learn to set realistic goals and work towards achieving them. We need to focus on giving our cent-percent and stop worrying about the outcome and result.

Step Out of The Rat Race Of Life

A few months ago an Indian movie called ‘Hindi Medium’ had released. The movie was based upon a metropolitan couple, who did not have a great command over the English language but wished to send their daughter to an elite International school. They wanted her to be everything they were not. The movie further depicts their dejection and the turmoil they go through, to ensure a guaranteed admission of their child into a prestigious school. It was a great movie but I thought it was a little far-fetched.

To my surprise (rather shock!) when I came to India for a vacation, I realized that the issue addressed in this movie was actually a reality. Conversations with friends and family pointed out to one common thing, i.e the competition is way too much.

Children attend school all day and have numerous classes planned out for the remaining hours for the whole week. Do you think kindergartners really need to attend extra classes for general knowledge, football, swimming, etc.

As if this wasn’t appalling enough, I had a friend tell me that she is going crazy trying to get an admission form for her 8 month old son. I asked her why is she fussing over school so soon. It seems like the norm to apply for kindergarten admission is when you are pregnant or just deliver your child (believe me, I was as surprised as you are reading this!) Fast forward to two weeks later, when I met her she seemed relaxed and content. She finally acquired an admission form from the school she plans to send her child to. He starts school in 2020!! I rest my case.

SOLUTION : Back in our day, we attended school and everything else was learned, absorbed or picked up from our daily lives. We increased our general knowledge by reading newspapers and encyclopedias. Swimming meant time to go to the beach. Most activities were unstructured and that was the best part about it. Today, even learning a new sport or language feels like an ADDED STRESS to the child because it has to revolve around his/her and the parents’ busy schedules.

Remember We Are Being Watched


As adults we stress over finding the right partner, getting married, paying the bills, having kids, raising kids, getting a high-salary job, making the perfect house and so much more. We need to realize that habitually stressing over something might be rubbing off on our kids and the people around us too.

Unknowingly, this may affect our kids and they might imbibe it into their subconscious. The repercussion of this is that they will grow to be adults with a low self-esteem, no self-worth, have anger and anxiety issues, and will be dismissive of life.

Every parent in this world only wishes the best for their child. Pressurizing kids to overachieve might seem what’s right for now but it actually does not enable them to be self starters.  

SOLUTION : The focus needs to be on encouraging and appreciating our children for their efforts, for pushing them towards self-learning, for teaching them to rise above every shortcoming and to accept failures as a part of life and move ahead. We need to stop cushioning them and allow them to fail or fall back in a few of their endeavors. And unless we lead the way, how else would they learn to take responsibility?


A few marks up or down or a few thousands here or there, will not matter in shaping us to who we become eventually. Scoring a 100% or raking in a six-figure salary CANNOT guarantee a stress-free happy life.

Being content and grateful with what we have and being confident of ourselves, while accepting our flaws, will definitely make us appreciate our lives more.

Stop the fuss, eliminate the stress and enjoy the adrenaline rush of this wonderful roller-coaster called LIFE. For we can all get on this ride only ONCE! And if you’re still not satisfied, then remember that ‘stressed’ read backwards is ‘desserts’. So go grab a bite or a whole cake…whatever makes you feel better!!

Secrets To Living A Stress Free Life Easily | Stress Free | Family Life

 Minali Bajaj-Syed is an Indian, born and settled in Kuwait. Having lived in Kuwait, India and the United States, She has had the opportunity to experience a diverse set of cultures. She thus, considers herself a global citizen. She is always learning, evolving and trying to spread some positivism. On most days, she is a mother to two kids and a food blogger on Instagram @cinnamon_cardamom
What Maayeka Really Means To An Indian Girl

Raising my Indian Daughter Differently

The Indian value system is quite complex. On the one hand they have great core values like parents always standing by their children in every life situation and promoting joint family living situation. On the other hand every Indian Daughter is subconsciously taught that our contribution to society is valuable only in the context of wife and mother.

Being from a moderate yet conservative family, My life was not an exception., My parents tried their best to raise me well by providing for my many needs. I was happy with the choices they made for me.

To their credit, they tried to keep themselves update with the ever changing society norms. I was blessed with a perfect family with full of love and joy but there was always a subtle criticism involved when it came to some of my behavior and attitudes.

Even the best parents will yell at their daughters if they are sleeping past 9 a.m, laughing out so loud or being to social  in the crowd because they think it is not appropriate.

” What will your future in-laws think of you and the way we have raised you “ was a frequent lament!

My Story

When the marriage topic was began for me at age 23, I felt I was in a different world altogether. I saw a completely different side to my mother. There are other families where getting married gets discussed when the daughter  turns 21. I guess it’s fine, at the least you were be free for 21 years, sort of.

Yes, my in-laws are so sweet and caring and I never felt feared being myself around them. Initially though I cared for them because “in laws are your own family now.  They come first and should get all the love and respect the second you become a wife. “ Thank god after some days I realized they really deserved it all for treating me like a daughter.

It’s like they were not only worried about society but also the future family I was going to get married. Our story is not unique though and unfortunately, many girls get influenced by this thinking. There are other families where getting married gets discussed when the daughter turns 21. I guess it’s fine, at the least you were be free for 21 years, sort of.

Raising My Indian Daughter Differently 

Girls are taught to take up as little room as possible in this world, not just physically, but also in the way they speak, laugh and assert themselves. When I had my daughter I decided to parent her differently.

    • If my daughter wants to play cricket in the street with boys, if she loves to climb trees or to laugh loudly or be boisterous, I will never stop her. I will trust my kid forever.
    • I will wish to stand by her side in all situations. I will not accuse her of bringing shame to my family whenever she does something unreasonable.
    • I will never ask her to put her passions and dreams on the back burner for getting married.
    • I will not ask her bear a  child within the so-called time limit of 28 years.
    • She will be valued for the same reasons as every son for their intelligence, strength, creativity and passion.
[bctt tweet=”Indian girls are taught to take up as little room as possible in this world, not just physically.” username=”contactrwc”]

If the parents like us don’t see our son and daughter as equal then how will the society see and treat our girls equal? Especially during the marriage phase, I don’t want to intimidate my daughter and make her feel that her husband’s family are so different and she have to convince them in each situation. I need to teach her what marriage is all about and how lovely it is to be getting married and taking care of the family. Naturally she going to be an endearing daughter in law.

I want her to know self-love is the best thing she can do to herself. It is the greatest love of all. To show respect to everyone and their feelings regardless of their age is a basic quality she should never give up.

With these values she will surely grow to be of strong character. What else do you think I can do differently to empower her? 

Raising My Indian Daughter Differently www.raisingworldchildren.com #indianparenting #india #indianvalues #parenting

Sindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.