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Sara Chats: How to help your child deal with abnormal times, with psychologist and acclaimed parenting voice- Dr. Tanu Shree Singh

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Bookosmia Spotlight

Hello lovely people, Sara here. My chat with Dr. Tanu Shree Singh couldnt have happened at a better time. A positive psychologist and known voice on parenting, she outlines clear steps on how parents can help their kids in living through an unfortunate time. I would think all these apply even now, as there is no semblance of normal life through COVID times, isnt it?  Tell me what you think.

Sara Chats: How to help your child deal with abnormal times, with psychologist and acclaimed parenting voice- Dr. Tanu Shree Singh

Sara: Congrats for the success of your brilliant book ‘Darkless’ which deals  with the emotions of a child whose mother is undergoing a grave illness. How should a parent broach difficult subjects like death, illness, separation to a  child?

 

Tanu:  Fear can be debilitating for children, especially when it rises from a situation like parental illness, or any other major change that increases their vulnerability. Our first instinct in such a situation is to want to protect the child by keeping the truth from them or creating tall tales. Though we assume they will not understand, hiding the truth rarely helps. Instead, keep the following points in mind to guide a child through difficult situations with empathy, care and honesty:

 

Honesty matters. Children have a built-in lie detector, so it’s best not to lie to the child or hide basic information. Whatever the situation, share information in age-appropriate words.

It is okay to not know the answers. Some questions have no clear answers, but don’t avoid them. It is okay to not know, and even better to address and accept the uncertainty together.

Help the child deal with their emotions. Acceptance of emotions is an important part of healing and promoting resilience. Let the child know all emotions are acceptable. It is also essential for them to know that bad things can happen in life and it is no one’s fault. Learning how to cope and manage their feelings is what will make the difference.

Routines are important. Routines give a sense of security to the child. A consistent schedule and familiar faces create a sense of normalcy. Stick to regular patterns, from bedtime to school routine, as much as you can.

Plan for fun. The child does need a break. Sometimes we get so caught up in managing problems that we forget that children need doses of fun. Try to schedule some free time with the child.

Seek help. Life gets overwhelming when illness or a huge change takes up all our time and energy. In such situations, we need to be vigilant and seek professional help as needed.

 

Ultimately, the heart and mind have an enormous capacity to heal. All we can do as a parent, is to be there and help the child learn to see love, grow resilience, and be reassured that letting the light in can help them through dark times.

 

 

Sara: What should a parent tell a child to help them deal with their fears-fear of falling, of losing someone or something, fear of reptiles, monsters?

 

Tanu: More than telling it has to be a conversation, it has to be about finding answers together, being scared together and most importantly being there for each other.

 

 

Sara: Your insightful and witty book ‘Keep calm and Mommy on’ talks about how parents face day to day dilemmas with their children. What do you think is the biggest challenge for parents today and how best can they navigate it?

 

Tanu: Parenting is not about one challenge! It is a whole army where the strategy changes everyday. I think the biggest issue is to not succumb to peer pressure of what an ideal child or a parent should be.

 

 

Sara: Tell us about positive psychology in parenting. What does it mean and in what way can it shape the life of the parent and child?

 

Tanu: Positive psychology is about recognizing potentialities, strengths of character and working with them towards a more fulfilled life. In parenting,  it is about instilling positive discipline and helping the child work with their  character strengths towards contentment, mindfulness and over all a happier life. The principles when studied and applied can help build a better relationship not only with others but with self.

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About Tanu: Dr. Tanu Shree Singh is an Assistant Professor in Psychology. She completed her studies in Positive Psychology, a relatively new and promising  branch of psychology devoted to cultivating contented, happy, fulfilling lives. She extensively writes on issues related to parenting and has been published  in leading online dailies and communities. Her approach to parenting, rooted in her academic background, draws heavily from her experiences as a parent and a mentor.   Her passion for reading and getting more children to read led her to set up two libraries in Faridabad and Tirthan Valley. She also supports 13 other libraries in Himachal. She is the author of Keep Calm and Mommy On, DK Indian Icons: CV Raman and has contributed tothe anthologies Flipped and I’d rather read. Her latest books are Darkless and Mummy’s Glasses.

 

 

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