Unlike other animals, Homo sapiens have one major quality – to act on our emotions. However, most of us choose not to do so. This is because we are guided or rather misguided, by our learned beliefs and values. Our pre-learned attitude gets in our way.


In earlier days, people used to do more physical work (pre industrial era). However, from last half a century, there has been more pressure on developing the IQ, or the mental work. So, over thousands of years, we kind of learnt that a leader is one who is physically strong or has an above average IQ.


Now, as we enter 21st century, a new definition of a leader is emerging. A good leader (whether it is to lead self or others) has to be a good communicator, a good team-worker, has good empathy, basically a people’s person.


As per Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence”, being emotionally intelligent means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and therefore one needs to learn how to manage those emotions – both of our own and that of others – especially when we are under pressure.


Pic Courtesy: Google


Emotional Intelligence integrates feelings, thinking and doing. All human beings have to feel, to think and to act upon things to survive in this world.


Emotional Intelligence, or if we say in educational terms, Emotional Literacy, comprises of beliefs, values and attitudes. It is changeable with time and experience. It is not fixed and definitely learnable.


As I mentioned in the beginning, people choose to behave in a certain way because of their learned beliefs and values. It has become more and more requirement of the day for someone to enable the Emotional Intelligence of people in general, by helping them to identify and learn to manage their belief system.


Emotional Intelligence is not a synonym for personality; it is how we manage our personality.


As per Daniel Goleman, there are four aspects of Emotional Intelligence:


  • Self-Awareness: Here you recognize your own emotions, feelings and how they affect your thinking and behavior, you know your strengths and weaknesses.


  • SelfManagement: You are able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiatives and adapt positively to changing circumstances.


  • Social Awareness: You understand the emotions, needs and concerns of others, pickup on emotional cues, feel confident socially and understand the power of group dynamics.


  • Relationship Management: You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team and manage conflict.


The synopsis of an emotionally intelligent leader can be: a person who can monitor his/her moods through self-awareness, change them for better through self-management, understand their impact through empathy and act in a way to enhance others’ mood through relationship management.


Workplace impact is not anymore just about Performances, Payrolls, Power, Positions or Processes. It is also, very much about People. It is about how effectively you deal with people above, below and beside you.


A leader with high Emotional Intelligence in the organization will lead to increased staff satisfaction, better understanding of customers’ needs, growth of an insightful and intelligent workforce. Emotional Intelligence is just not a trend, but an opportunity to educate, strengthen and transform yourself and people around you.


Author – Dipti Taluja (dipti@imageditors.in)




Dealing with Stress has become part of our daily chores.


When people reach out for help, they are often dealing with circumstances, situations, and stressors in their lives that leave them feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed. Many people feel that they have very little resources or skills to deal with the high levels of stress they are experiencing.


What are the causes of stress in our lives? Many famous thinkers would argue that we cause our own stress—all of it! That’s not to say that we cause the decline of our industries and the resulting downsizing in our companies, or the ills of friends and loved ones, or the fact that the school bus arrived 10 minutes early today.


Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. Everyone sees situations differently and has different coping skills. For this reason, no two people will respond exactly the same way to a given situation. Additionally, not all situations that are labeled “stressful” are negative. The birth of a child, being promoted at work, or moving to a new home may not be perceived as threatening. However, we may feel that situations are “stressful” because we don’t feel fully prepared to deal with them.


We are not the cause of all the challenges in our lives, but we are responsible for the way we react to them.


To put it simply, our lack of preparation for life’s challenges leads to an inability to cope with those situations.


Boom – Stress!


Signs and Symptoms of Stress Overload


It is important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are “out of control” or having an adverse effect. The signs and symptoms of stress overload can be almost anything. Stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, and everyone experiences stress differently.


Three common ways that people respond when they are overwhelmed by stress are:


  1. An angry or agitated stress response. You may feel heated, keyed-up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.


  1. A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.
  2. Both a tens and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and feel like you can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you may feel extremely agitated.


The following lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you might be to feeling stress overload.


Cognitive Symptoms:


  • Memory problems
  • Inability or difficulty concentrating
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious, racing, or ruminating thoughts
  • Constant worrying


Emotional Symptoms:


  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short-tempered
  • Agitation, inability to relax Stress & Stress Management
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness or isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness


Physical Symptoms:


  • Aches and pains, muscle tension
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness, or butterflies in the stomach
  • Chest pain or rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Shallow breathing and sweating


Behavioral Symptoms:


  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing)


How to cope with Stress?


Meditation that cultivates mindfulness can be particularly effective at reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Mindfulness is the quality of being fully engaged in the present moment, without over-thinking or analyzing the experience. Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindfulness meditation switches the focus on what is happening right now.



Ten Simple Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Each Day:


  1. As you awaken in the morning, bring your attention to your breathing. Instead of letting your mind spin off into yesterday or today, take mindful breaths. Focus on your breathing, and sense the effects of breathing throughout your body.


  1. Instead of hurrying to your usual routine, slow down and enjoy something special about the morning; a flower that bloomed, the sound of the birds, the wind in the trees.


  1. On the way to work or school, pay attention to how you walk, drive or ride the transit. Take some deep breaths, relaxing throughout your body.


  1. When stopped at a red light, pay attention to your breathing and enjoy the landscape around you.


  1. When you arrive at your destination, take a few moments to orient yourself. Breathe consciously and calmly, relax your body, then begin.


  1. When sitting at your desk or keyboard, become aware of the subtle signs of the physical tension and take a break or walk around.


  1. Use the repetitive events of the day (the ringing telephone, a knock at the door, walking down the hall) as cues for a mini-relaxation.


  1. Walk mindfully to your car or bus. Can you see and appreciate something new in the environment? Can you enjoy walking without rushing?


  1. As you return home, consciously make the transition into your home environment. If possible, after greeting your family or housemates, give yourself a few minutes alone to ease the transition.


  1. As you go to sleep, let go of today and tomorrow. Take some slow, mindful deep breaths.



We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is, play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.


Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it.


We are in charge of our Attitudes.

Let’s Listen and Talk, So They Talk and Listen

In these times of super busy life where both parents are working hard and the family size is shrinking; one grievance, as a counselor I hear the most is the lack of time for kids.


Managing jobs, household chores, kids’ studies, extra-curricular activities and socializing, parents are left with very less “quality” time to spend with kids.


And as these kids enter teenage, their priorities change… they want more freedom and more “me-time” and the biggest complaint we, as parents of teenagers have is, they don’t listen.

Teenage girl rolling her eyes in front of angry parents


However, we as parents need to do a reality-check. Spending time with our kids can be gratifying for both parents and kids. By doing that, not only are we able to gain insight into their lives, understand their issues and help resolve their problems, we can also establish importance of family values and inculcate a sense of belongingness.


Keeping a few points in mind, we can talk to kids so that they listen and listen, so they talk:


  1. Help your kids deal with their feelings


  • Listen with full attention – keeping your laptops and mobile phones completely off radar
  • Acknowledge with words and not nods and gestures – it’s more comforting
  • Help them name their feelings – name them to tame them


  1. Engaging cooperation


  • Give some responsibilities from daily household chores
  • Involve kids in decision making – e.g. buying a car, planning a holiday, etc.
  • Appreciate the effort
  • Clear instructions are very important – e.g. “pour yourself some milk and keep it back in the fridge, because if not kept back, milk goes sour


  1. Alternatives to punishment


  • Point out a way to help – explain clearly
  • Express your feelings – without making the kids feel guilty
  • Give the kids a choice – ask what they would want as penance
  • Allow the child to experience the consequences of his/her actions


  1. Encourage Autonomy


  • Let the children make choices
  • Show respect for their struggles
  • Lead them to give answers
  • Encourage them to share
  • Give them hope


  1. Praise


  • Describe what you feel – e.g. “it’s a pleasure to walk into your tidy room
  • Describe what you see – e.g. neatly lined books/ clean bed, etc
  • Give words to your description – e.g. “I am proud of the your organizational skills.
  • Let children over-hear when you speak positive about them


  1. Encourage


  • Lead them to situations where they can see themselves positively in a different way
  • Model the behavior you desire to see
  • Be a storehouse for your kids’ special moments


Loving mother with daughter

Our children know us and trust us. They learn from us. They look to us as role models. Children’s values, their habits, their likes and dislikes are most influenced by us as parents and its true that these qualities that will determine how successful children will be in school and in life.


Find ways to spend time, lots of undivided attention time, with your children.


“Speak with them, spend time with them and understand who they are – these are the keys for better relationship between parents and children.”


Remember the three T’s àTime + Talk + Togetherness” is the Super Mantra.



Emotions and Children

Have you ever wondered that is it just the intellect or something else that makes the children successful. Despite same academic results or similar education background some children excel in their goals more that the others, have you wondered why?


What is it that they do differently?


The answer is a balanced EQ.


The learning is driven by Emotions. There are enough scientific findings from neuroscience that show the importance of emotions in the process of teaching and learning. Emotions are an essential part in the learning process, so how can we foster them in the children?


Being emotionally aware, not only about themselves but others too, increases their understanding of life at a young age and is very helpful in later life when the have to face ‘real-life’.



How do you think Emotions effect?


  1. Neurobiologically, it is proven that emotions are only a response system based on our past experiences, which is attributed to our five senses. The brain cannot build memories or take decisions or engage in thought process without emotions.


  1. Researches in the field of neuroscience have discovered Emotions, as well as cognitive thoughts, drive the action we undertake to reach our personal goals. They are the steering wheel that helps in clear thinking.


  1. Without emotions, children may have certain knowledge, but they likely won’t be able to use it effectively when the situation requires. Emotions are responsible for the application of what children learn in school and use it in an innovative way when the real life situations come.


What can we do, as parents, as facilitators to increase their EQ?


Cognitive thinking provides a great a deal of information and emotional intelligence explains why the person is behaving in a particular way. As parents and facilitators, it is our responsibility to provide a feedback keeping in mind both the aspects.


  • Give choices. Choice, when provided in a structured manner, can motivate children and instill a sense of ownership over the learning process.
  • Help them take decisions. Rather than enforcing our decisions respect and give choice to take decision. Guide them with pros and cons, but respect their decisions too. These emotional connections will help students apply the content you teach in real life situations.
  • Create opportunities to solve open-ended problems.  Instead of enforcing your decisions, provide opportunities that allow children’s emotions to appear (comfortable or uncomfortable), along with opportunities for them to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Help them trust their own strength: Appreciate the effort that they put irrespective of the results that they get..
  • Communicate: This is the most important part of emotional well being of any relationship, especially with children. Listen and not just speak!


Emotional skills contribute significantly to an integration in the environment we live in. Happiness, Optimism, Compassion, Empathy and Love are all choices that can be taught to our children to become balanced human beings.


Learn to choose and teach wisely!


Happy Parenting!

Labeling your Child – The Negative Effects


How often do we find ourselves labeling our child as “the sensitive one” or “the scared one” or “the aggressive one?”

Are they jars on the shelves of our kitchen cabinets or files in our office drawers?

Have we ever thought what goes inside a child’s mind when we label them?

Let’s think of our childhood. Did our parents, teachers, siblings or peers ever label us? Do we consciously or sub-consciously still carry those labels? Our adulthood personalities are the results of our childhood upbringing and labeling.

Let’s take a case history of a woman who was unable to lose weight despite all dieting, exercising, fitness regime, she would end up eating more than required. This continued to happen for years, till she met a counselor, who could relate her binge eating to her childhood. She was the middle child; elder sister being 6 years elder to her and the younger brother was 8 years younger. She always felt that the other two got more attention from parents. She wanted to do everything possible on earth to get attention, until one day when some food was served which the other two didn’t finish, but she did for which she was appreciated and from that day whenever she finished her food, she was appreciated and the parents told her siblings, “she is a good girl, she finishes her food.” She associated food with being good and being appreciated. In her case, even the positive labeling stuck with her sub-conscious mind and she associated food with being good, being appreciated. She was then taught to disassociate and not only she managed to lose weight, but maintain it too.

She was lucky, but most of us live our lives with those labels stuck sub-consciously in our minds.

Let’s break that pattern; let’s stop labeling our children.

  • It is OK for kids to be scared…
    • They will learn to protect themselves.
  • It is OK for them to be confused…
    • It will teach them critical thinking.
  • It is OK for kids to be sensitive…
    • It will teach them kindness and caring.
  • It is OK for kids to be stubborn…
    • It will teach them persistence, commitment and determination.
  • It is OK for kids to be highly active…
    • It will bring them joy to be kids.


Label the behavior, not the child.


Labels can sabotage your child for the lifetime. It is scientifically proven that a child from age three to nine-ten takes parental pronouncements without questions and that becomes part of the child’s view of the world.

For example, one child had no interest in music, despite both his parents being musicians. He was always told, “he was so stupid that he can’t even remember basic “sargam”. For all his failures in life, he kept blaming himself as, “I can’t to do it, because I am stupid,” “my relationship failed, because I am stupid and I don’t understand.” One word, which the parents thought was small, marred his entire personality.



In another example, the parents were so obsessed with their only child, born after 10 years of marriage, that they ignored all the flaws in the child and fulfilled all her demands. This made the child become stubborn and she starting losing friends as she would leave the game, if the results were not in her favor. Slowly people started avoiding her. As she grew up, she was unable to distinguish between the right and wrong behavior. This resulted in many a failed relationships in all aspects of her life.

Labeling a child is incredibly destructive because of its impact on the child’s self-worth. Imagine, for a moment, a child who constantly hears that she or he is lazy, dumb, or ungrateful. Imagine a child who constantly hears that she or he can do no wrong – they’re the star performers, with no flaws.


Negative labels can destroy self-worth through shame. Positive labels can destroy self-worth through an overinflated ego.


It takes an entire childhood to develop a strong, healthy sense of self-worth. As a result, the negative effect on a child can start at any age. Follow these tips to avoid labeling your child:


  • Reflect on your childhood and how labeling might have affected you.
  • Ask your child the why behind the what.
  • Focus on the action, not on the actor.
  • Explain the reasons for your comments.
  • Ask your spouse (other parent), relatives, and friends to “call you out” when you label.
  • Apologize to your child when you label them.


Children change and develop but labels, unfortunately, tend to stick. This can make it hard for children to leave behind negative reputations and start afresh.


Let’s promise ourselves to keep labels for only jars in kitchen shelves or files in office drawers.

Let us break the pattern.

Let us label the behavior and not the children.



– Dipti Taluja

For Our Teens & Tweens in the Digital World

Continuing from our last blog on Digital World, we found a few tips to give to our Teens & Tweens, who are active on social media on the perils of sharing too much on the net.


To my Wonderful Tweens,

When I was young, I have made several mistakes. But, I am lucky. None of those are googleable. My mistakes are safe with me. But, are you lucky like me? Unfortunately, the answer is NO.  If you make any mistakes in your adolescent years or later, the chances are that it could leave a mark here on the Internet. As you are creating your digital footprint online, I would like you to be aware of these 10 tips for your safe riding online and offline.

  • To be online is like driving. 

Half of the children your age use social media. The Internet makes your life easy in several ways… just like driving. But, just like driving, you need to be educated on how to do it and you need to be careful. At the same time, you also need to be aware of the dangers caused by other people’s carelessness and arrogance.

So when you drive online, drive safely and defensively.

  • Colleges and employers will check your online profiles and behavior.

A few years back, the respected educator Chris Betcher said, “I can see a day in the not too distant future where your ‘digital footprint’ will carry far more weight than anything you might include in a resume or CV”. That day has come.

Soon you will start building your portfolios for higher studies. Keep in mind that your online behavior is also part of that portfolio. Build your online presence with the same sincerity with which you build your portfolio.

Your digital footprint is as important as your achievements.


  • When you are in front of that screen, you may feel powerful. 

In reality, you are much more powerless than the powerful feeling you get. The freedom that the internet gives you to do anything online looks very powerful. The fact that you are away from other people does not give you the super power to share anything you want to say about others. It keeps records.

If you do anything illegal online, law enforcement agencies could come and get you. And yes, there is proof for everything you do. The search engines and other online platforms do provide it to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The internet keeps records.



  • It is not just you, I should also be careful.

Be careful about what you post online. Your digital footprint will play a significant role in the opportunities you will get in the future. But, it is not just about you being careful. It is more applicable to be me as well. As a parent, I should be conscious of what information about you that I let the world see.

Parents are also responsible to keep a clean digital footprint of their children.

  • There is no actual DELETE button online.

Pressing the DELETE button is not an actual ERASE online. Even if you go great lengths to hide or delete your online activities, there are ways to find it out.

There are many online social media platforms that claim your posts disappear forever. If they were so reliable, how can we find some pictures and posts by your favorite celebrities on those platforms even after it expires?

It is not just the internet that keeps track of your activities, it is also your online friends.

Remember, there are no secrets online. So, take control of  your digital footprint.

  • Internet is not the place where you throw your frustrations towards a person.

No matter how mean a person is, please do not show your frustration towards them online. Being mean or spreading rumors about a person online is cyber bullying.

The simple rule of thumb is, if it is not right to say or do something in the real world, do not say or do that online too.


  •  Internet is for everyone.

That means, you will find all sorts of people out there. Some of them do things that you wouldn’t even be able to imagine. There are people who steal identities, steal valuables, bully others or harm others under the disguise of online friendships. There are people who could manipulate you to do things you wouldn’t be proud of. They could be sitting anywhere in the world, but could cause great damages to you and to your loved ones.

Do not trust any strangers you come across online, however beautiful, handsome or wise they may appear.

  • The internet is forever.

When you press that SEND button or PUBLISH button, it is ‘forever’. I am sure you know about that. It is you who should decide what legacy you want to leave behind.

Build a positive self image online. Who are you as a person? What are your qualities that make you yourself? Your online image should give the same or a better impression about yourself.

Haven’t I told you not to share your personal information with people you see on the streets? Please keep that in mind when you are on the streets of the internet too. Keep your private information private.

The internet is here to stay and hence your digital footprint too.

  • You get what you search.

Do you always search about a particular topic? Do you always watch a particular genre on youtube? What sort of games you play or download? Social media and phishing sites are keeping track of all these online habits of yours. This also becomes part of your digital footprint.

If you observe you will realise that social media offers you contents based on your online habits. So, even if you want to curb some of those habits, you will continuously get tempted by those offers.

Curb your tendencies and temptations online to have a healthy digital footprint.

  • I am writing this now because this is the right time

After a couple of years, it is possible that you might not feel like listening to me. You may feel that your friends make more sense than me. I won’t blame you for that because that is part of nature and growing up. So, before you reach that stage, it is my responsibility to make you independent to watch out for yourself. When I grew up, I didn’t have to face all this. I know I am also learning these things with you. But, we will do it together.

No matter what, I will be there for you.

If someone is troubling you online, please do not hide it from me. My approach might be different from yours when it comes to handling situations. But, we will discuss it and reach an approach you are comfortable with.

Even if you think you have made a mistake, come back and tell me. I might scold you, I might shout at you, I might cry for you. But, I will be there for you to support you, to love you and protect you.

You will understand the full meaning of many of the things I wrote here only when you get a little bit older. But, you will be able to figure that out by yourself if you start now with the basics of creating a clean digital footprint.

With all my love,




Source: Digital Footprint – As Many Minds.com 

Parenting in the Digital World


As a parent in this Digital and Tech Savvy age:

  • Do you find yourself to be technology constrained vis à vis your kids?
  • Do you feel tempted to spy on your Kids’ devices?
  • What do you think is better – To Monitor or To Mentor?

Do you often find yourself asking these questions – out of anxiety or fear – because you feel that you are raising your child in a culture which is much more materialistic, more sexualized, more violent than ever before?

But were these not the same questions our parents had in their minds, when we were kids? At that time they might have been comparing their childhood with ours. It’s a cycle – our kids would be doing this for their kids.

The question is how to smartly handle situations which are pertinent today and not compare the two different eras.

I am no parenting expert. Like you, I have learnt it “on the job” and would like to share with you my experiences and some tips to handle the situations.

But please remember these are just guidelines. Each child is unique and who better knows your child than you!


How to Handle the Digital world

Today we are all living in world that is driven by digital technology, almost everything is going “e” way. Practically everything is now connected to each other through digital technology.

Sharing a few tips to handle Tech Savvy kids in this digital age:

#1 To Mentor is better than to Monitor:  As it goes more deeper and is more effective. The kids must be more tech savvy, but as parents you have more wisdom. Communicate with them and try to understand their need to have a mobile or laptop. This could be for entertainment, information, socialization or needing personal space. Explain to them (age appropriately) why you are keeping a tab on their digital space. How much filtering you do at home, what happens when they use it in the outside world, so it is better to explain to them all the pros and cons in a healthy discussion, not scaring them.

#2 Have a set of Rules: Explain as there are laws and orders everywhere which have to be followed by each member of the society, similarly your home has certain guidelines which every household member will have to abide by. This explanation can be helpful, when your kids emotionally try to convince you, “all friends using it, why can’t I?”. Tell them every country or society has different rules.

#3 Model the behavior that you expect: Remember the rules in the society are same for everyone. Make sure you use your gadgets too in the slotted time (unless it is for work), and explain it to kids. Dinner time, or a small walk pre or post dinner (or any comfortable time as per your family time table) should be a complete no gadget zone. Have a focused conversation with a positive eye contact.

#4 Explore and Share Together: With the rules and tools in place, don’t forget to just go online with your kids.  Play games, watch videos, share photos and generally hang out with your children online.  Learn from them and have fun.   Share your favorite sites and download their apps.  See the world through their eyes.  And let them know your values and beliefs as you guide them on their way.


#5 Train them on Digital Etiquette: Both parents working, tuitions & extra curricular activities and on top of that peer pressure, has made mobile an integral part of our lifestyle, especially if you are living in metro cities. But before you give your kids their personal devices, make sure they know how to answer the phone, the correct salutations, the politeness in tone and make sure they know the rule for texting. Remember you are the single most powerful resource to help your kids get the best of digital world.

#6 It’s ok if you are not an app expert: Get your child to show you all the apps they want to use, ask them to demonstrate, and ask how their friends are using it. Then research about these apps, talk to other parents, read reviews, try using it yourself. Then explain pros and cons of the app before giving a thumbs up. Keep mentoring and give explanations for monitoring.

#7 Involve School: Check out with teachers, school counselors, and computer teachers to know about the new technologies.

#8 Plugged & Unplugged time: Make it a rule to have plugged & unplugged time slots for all digital devices, A smart phone in hand while doing homework is a complete no-no. Break study hours up into plugged & unplugged time for better output. Discuss the disadvantages of over indulgence, like if school works suffer, it will lead to drop in grades, which can further lead to self comparisons, negativity, mood swings and depression.

#9 Reward & Punishment (Encouragement & Deterrent): Encourage your kids with pep talks, more fun times together, a little extra digital usage time (or anything your child is fond of – just remember it should not become the only encouragement factor), whenever rules are followed. Also use deterrents like no device for a day or two (again it is situation based), if rules are not followed.


Eventually the children are going to make their own choices. With an open and positive communication, we as parents can be those little voices in their heads, which tells them respond and not react and ensure them of our presence – every time they need us.

Building a Positive Relation with your Teen

As a mother of a fourteen-year-old boy, and like most of the teenagers’ parents, there came a point when I started doubting my parenting style – why am I not feeling connected to my son anymore? Why, at times, he behaves like a complete stranger? Am I putting too much pressure? Am I being too lenient? Am I behaving in the same pattern as my mother used to, when I was a teenager?


This last, but the most important question, lead me to realize that most teenagers across generations all over the globe behave in the similar way and most parents across generations all over the globe have a similar pattern to deal with it. The intensity of yelling, not feeling connected, the increasing gap between the child and parent may vary across the socio economic background, but the basics remain same.


“Is this the right way of parenting”, frustrated one day, I asked my mother-in-law, and her answer made me think deeply about the way we “parent” teenagers. She said, “if you are a parent to a teenager, no style of parenting is right. The teenager will always think the parents are wrong. So, YOU keep doing everything in an emotionally stabled way, the rest will fall into the right place at the right time.”


It is very natural of teenagers seeking ways of independence from parents. There are so many changes taking place inside them – physical, hormonal, emotional – they are discovering themselves and confused, which means as parents we need to make a concerted effort to stay connected to them, not by invading their privacy but establishing patterns to communicate better with them.


From my experience, I will share some tips to be connected to your teenager. These, however, are just guidelines and no guarantee for a better relationship, because remember, it is us who will have to come to their level to make them understand. I am still learning.


When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet, if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change” 

-Thich Nhat Hanh


  1. Listen: As parents of teenagers we often feel our kids don’t want to talk too much. But the truth is they often want to communicate without saying much. Pay attention to the tone and body language. They won’t say, but we have to listen.
  2. Ask: Even if it is the same question, ask them everyday about their day, but do not bombard too many questions the minute they are back from school. Give some space and then ask about activities, lunch and friends’ well being. Remember friends are the most important part of their lives at this age.
  3. Don’t just advise, be there: The teenage mind doesn’t want you to solve his/her problem. More than solutions, they are looking forward for you to just listen. Ask a few questions and leave it to the child to think about best solutions. They’ll feel closer to you. This will also make them independent and give logical thinking to deal with problems.
  4. Go for drives together: Let your teenager decide the music channel or CD. Talk about his/her choice of music. You might not like it but he/she will feel connected.
  5. Reading together: If your teenager is into reading, ask him/her about the books he/she reads. Ask them to suggest some books to you. Try and read these books and then discuss the plot.
  6. Family Outings: Make sure to go on one regularly. Offer your teenager to bring with him/her friends once in a while, specially if you have a single child. It will bring happiness to them and they will feel important.
  7. Work out together: Ask your teenager if he/she will be ok to workout with you together. Go for morning walks together or play their choice of games like badminton, cricket, football etc. Even playing tennis together on Xbox or PlayStation can be bonding times.
  8. Watch movies or TV shows together: Show interest in movies and TV shows your teenagers watch and discuss about the plot. Do not criticize the show, instead discuss.
  9. Do chores with your teen: And do it together. Do not order or supervise. The teenagers do not always realize the importance of mundane household chores, so instead of telling them, “why didn’t you lay the table” rephrase it to: “thanks for caring, when you lay the table, you make my work easier.”
  10. Always be there for their events: Annual days, sports days, whenever your teenager is participating, try to be there. Your being there will boost the morale and he/she, may not say but, will feel loved.
  11. Hug them: Everyday – no matter how old you are, you always welcome a warm hug.
  12. Get Some lessons from your Teens: Tell them to teach you something – using an app, new electronics, your new mobile or laptop, a lesson on his/her guitar, a stroke of painting – anything they master. Believe me they’ll be more than happy. The sense of teaching their own parents will boost confidence and they will be connected more because they will feel you trust them.
  13. Ask them if you can be their friends on social media: Before you send them requests, ask for their permissions. This will make them feel important and they’ll be able to trust you. Promise them you will not comment on any post and keep it. Also do not tag them without permission.
  14. Text your teen: He/she may feel embarrassed if you keep calling again and again when they are with their friends. Instead text them to check where they are and when they will come back. This way he/she can reply without letting his/her friends know. The teen will feel more connected if you show respect for that time with friends.
  15. Do not complaint/nag always: We all make mistakes. Teens are learning new ways, behaviors and things everyday. More you will complaint/nag, less connected they will feel.
  16. Do not compare: Remember how much we hated when our parents/teachers/family compared us with siblings/cousins/friends. Do not repeat the same thing. Just think – what our right hand can do, the left cannot – so why compare them to anyone else. This goes for comparing them with you also at that age. I hated the sentence, which my parents repeated very often, “when we were your age, we never argued or we never disobeyed or we always listened.”
  17. Let them have their freedom: There is absolutely no need to be a helicopter parent. Dating, crushes, trying to bunk classes – these are all part of growing up. We all did that. Talk to them, set guidelines, for e.g. – if you allow for a party, talk to the parents in whose house is the party; check the guest list, but do not accompany them to the party. They will trust you completely if you give them freedom with guidelines. Even if they break the guidelines, talk to them instead of verbally bashing, they will not talk in future.
  18. TALK: Talk to your teenagers about sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. before they check out with their friends (which they still will, but for sure will have knowledge from a trusted source before).
  19. Keep Complimenting: Keep reminding them of how special they are. This will boost confidence in your relationship. Compliment them for even the smallest effort, whether it leads to the desired results or not. This will motivate to try further.
  20. Practice unconditional love: You can’t plan your teen’s life but supporting them unconditionally, no matter what mistakes they make, boosts them to take corrective measures.
  21. Be a Role Model: If you are on your phone checking Whatsapp while eating, do not expect them to put it down when you talk to them. Be the first one to follow the rules set, because the teenagers do not listen, they observe.

Happy Parenting!


Sourced & Compiled By: Dipti Khurana Taluja