We’re family. Make it a happy one
Family is the crux of human life. The foundation of our character is sowed by the individuals we live with. In her latest book Building A Happy Family, author Raageshwari Loomba Swarup, introduces you to your own inner child, helps you re-parent yourself, bring faith and trust back into believing ‘you are perfect the way you are.’ in her words, “The book shares that if we want a happy family, it has little to do with others but everything to do with the person in the mirror.” Excerpts from an interview…
Do today’s parents take parenting too seriously?
Would you believe, a research shows that the average number of hours that parents spend with their children has only increased over the years, contrary to what parents may feel or believe? It has grown from 7.3 in 1975 to 13.7 in 2010, even as the share of mothers and fathers working outside the home has risen. Yet, we parents think we are not doing enough and end up feeling guilty and at fault. So the answer lies not in more time but quality time.
Parenting is a tough job, how can we stay calm when things are out of hand?
Remember our anger cannot douse their anger, only our calm can. Anger depicts a person out of control—a person who is panicked. You want to come across as a confident parent who is in control and knows how to be a true leader. Your energy will create the vibe and attract your tribe. If you keep titles away, if you let go of insecurity, if you let go of ego and if you operate from a place of love and acceptance, then there is no better school than parenting. Children are our greatest teachers. They teach us the most fabulous lessons to live life, if only we observe them.
For us, parenting is about hierarchy, showing who is boss, and masking our insecurities in the name of disciplining. So let’s get rid of our own inner issues first. The more happy you are with yourself , the more happy you will be with your child.
How can we inculcate the values of family in our children?
By displaying them ourselves as adults. Do we treat our spouse/partner with utmost respect? Arguing is well allowed but do we do listen properly first or do we have the urgency to speak. Do we lovingly accept our spouse’s/partner’s personality or itch to change it? Do we celebrate each other? Do we love each other more when we make mistakes or go through failure?
A happy family is built when we rise through challenges and motivate one another with love. It’s important to tell one another that you love them the way they are. Children don’t listen you may think, but they are the most obedient beings, they observe all from their parents and become a version of them.
This atmosphere will build a family to cherish and hold on to for life.
Can there be one perfect parenting style/styles?
If you chase perfectionism, you are seeking rewards and awards, which will attract stress, comparison and anxiety. The journey is the award. You being a parent itself is the reward.
We have to let go of showing off our children, and we have to let go of this inner battle we have with other parents. Go in front of the mirror and affirm “I am perfect the way I am. I accept myself for the way I am”. Now when we build that inner faith about our own selves, the faith in our children will automatically develop.
What are your suggestions for young parents?
Be gentle with yourselves. The child loves you for who you are. Children never compare their parents, only parents will. Be a student all over again. Mindfully enjoy the practices I have mentioned in my book. Savour this journey and grow with your child. Be in no rush to make them geniuses. They are already geniuses and so are you. We simply have to tap into our ‘inner genius’ by enjoying the present moment through mindfulness.
How do we keep kids both aware and safe from the outside world?
Know the difference between awareness and addiction. For example, during these days of Covid, one has to be aware of the impact of the virus, hygiene rules and lockdown policies. Please get the information and follow it respectfully. But never make this situation worse by obsessing about every news story, watching every documentary, reading about the symptoms and then imagining how your body would react to it.
What do you think about online exposure of kids?
It is a modern-day phenomenon and we cannot escape it. So do not discipline children (especially teenagers) by force. Allow them their time. But we as parents must be under surveillance and regulation too. Do we have a timetable that we follow? Do we use the phone all day? On the dinner table? While children talk to us?
The phone comes across as more enticing because we adults are also glued to it, hence children are programmed to seek out these gadgets. On a deeper level, we all are seeking some connection and acceptance through these Likes, Followers, etc.
Mindfully bring that in its authenticity in our own lives. Indulge in mindfulness practises to build a strong emotional bond with the family.
How does a family become happy?
By never reminding each other about past mistakes. By forgiving oneself and others.
By not bringing unnecessary fear about tomorrow. By living in this moment with utmost sincerity, love and gratitude.
The most important influence on a child’s intelligence is the happiness of its environment.