4 Beliefs For A Successful Learning Environment At Home For Children

The education establishment promises to make diamonds out of our unpolished children. The best future is guaranteed for the child to get him/her enrolled in a school/app. In the midst of all these cacophonies, a parent might want to consider setting up a successful learning environment at home for children. If at all, I want to share our beliefs for making one for our unschooled twin daughters.

Children Learn, On Their Own

The underlying principle of the Indian education system is didactic – Children are to be taught. The education establishment carries the responsibility of teaching the children. The assumption being that the children are no good if left to their own. We, parents, have also subscribed to these assumptions and executions.

The history of human civilization shows that schools are of a recent origin. Forget it, irrelevant in today’s times. There are self-taught women and men irrespective of going to schools. Forget them, unrelated to our context. Children miss out on their childhood and being children, having fun for the sake of schooling. Forget it, the lure of cracking entrance exams is more enticing. Forget all these.

Who is the most curious person you ever met? Who is the person most open to picking up learning from any and every experience? The person who wants to experiment with stuff and doesn’t lose courage despite failing? Your own child, previous to his/her schooling, that is. The children get much less credit, rather no credit, than they deserve for their learning.

The children have the capability to learn wherever/whenever/however/forever. They have no desire to remain untaught; rather have the potential to be self-taught. They can well carry the responsibility of teaching themselves, should there be an expectation, should there be an enabling environment. They have the willpower and the application to self-learn.

Children can and will learn, on their own. This is the first belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Parents Teach, On Their Own

We, the adults, are world conquerors, super-achievers, supremely confident. We are the proud products that the world looks up to, of the education establishment. However, when it comes to our children, we are nowhere up to the mark. We are better off handing over our children to the education establishment at the earliest.

I am expected to do anything and everything, but not expected to teach my children. I am taught to do anything and everything, but not taught to teach my children. How is this possible? I am not able to get the irony. I am made to think that teaching children is the most complex of all tasks and it is better not done myself.

Well, the most important aspect of learning is questions and not answers. What’s important is that the child’s curiosity and inquisitiveness gets an open environment. What’s important is that the child gets secure and positive surroundings to question, try out and fail. Learning will emerge as a by-product of this meaningful learning environment with parent’s involvement.

Parents and children are most comfortable with each other. They are better off teaching each other and growing up together. Apart from rocket science, there isn’t anything that a child can’t and won’t pick from the parent. A parent’s word carries the most weight for the child to focus on, get motivated and learn along with.

Parents can and will teach, on their own. This is the second belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Assessment Is Redundant

The children learn and the parents teach. But, who will validate? Who will certify that the child has learnt and is learning? As always, the education establishment carries all the aces here. We are made to believe that unless the child is assessed i.e. the rote exams, there is no learning happened.

If Covid-19 has done any good, it is to take up the veil of utterly unneeded school and board exams. The exams are cancelled for the last two years. Last heard the children are doing well without the assessment. If the pandemic can allow the children to learn well, without the exams, the parents can as well do that task.

Children do not need a mark sheet to tell them that they are literate. They can read a book and do their math of counting and sharing. They can make an adult go speechless with their questions and can go on a nature walk themselves. The children are hands-on, open to experiences and have empathy for nature and fellow beings. That’s enough proof that they are learning.

Assessment is redundant, over-rated and uncalled for. This is the third belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Time Spent With Children Is Time Well-Spent/Well-Invested

The modern world has instilled in us that adults are better off working – professionally and domestically rather than spending time with children and teaching them. Adults have to earn money and resources to invest in their children. But, they cannot invest themselves – their own time and efforts. We work so damn hard for the sake of our children, but not with our children.

This, in fact, is a larger theme than parenting. For it affects every adult’s life and what s/he perceives it to be – a rat race/going around in circles or pursuit of self. Leaving the scope for a later time.

I can invest in my child – time and efforts, directly, not just through money. This is the fourth belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

A Successful Learning Environment At Home

To be honest, it doesn’t matter, successful or not, it is a term open to personal interpretations and a lot of other factors. But, the journey of the learning environment at home for children is surely enriching and constructive for all the participants. This topsy-turvy ride is laden with many self-doubts and I have shared my beliefs that keep us going with our unschooled twin daughters.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Parent’s Involvement Is A Must For A Meaningful Learning Environment For Children

Learning environment for children is everywhere. No matter what, children are going to learn – intended/unintended/anything in between. However, one ingredient is a must to ensure that the child’s learning is worthy, meaningful, and lifelong – The parent’s involvement.

The children go to school. They are exposed to a plethora of digital learning material. There is hardly a time available between their busy schedules. However, all this learning will be unproductive, pointless and lacking without one essential component – The parent’s involvement.

The schools don’t expect parents to play a role beyond paying the fees and turning up for Parents Teachers Meeting. The education establishment is perfectly fine with playing a saviour of a child’s destiny. The new-age apps are no different in their treatment of parents. However, none of these will deliver without the parent’s involvement.

What makes the parent’s involvement an indispensable element for a meaningful learning environment for children?

Classrooms Are Obsolete And Digital Is Not A Panacea

What’s the memory of your parents/grandparents of going to school? What’s changed between then and now? Apart from the usage of smart devices, what’s the difference? We say that the children have to be prepared for the unforeseen challenges when they go on to become adults. Yet, they get more of the same in schools that’s been going around for decades – classroom teaching.

Ok, the digital learning/apps are supposed to be the redeemers. They claim to shoulder the responsibility of preparing the children for the next level. However, what’s the difference between them and what the children get in schools? It is just a digital impersonation, cut-copy-paste of physical in a digital avatar. Nothing novel or path-breaking to aspire for.

So, what could be the difference? What could be the cutting edge intervention for children? The parent’s involvement. One might wonder – What could a couple of humans do for the better learning of their child when the mighty education establishment is not delivering? Is there really a scope for parents to impart learning to their children?

Well, the focus is not on giving answers to the child but on the quest for answers. Rather, the answers are not of any essence at all. What’s important is raising questions, exploring together, trying out assumptions and getting to answers is a by-product, if at all. Surely a do-able task for parents.

Learning Happens 24*7

The classrooms and the apps presume that there is a given time, a pre-defined format, a set template for a child to learn. They assume that learning happens for each subject in a silo and that, it has to be a standardized static rote. The net result – an unprepared child facing the world that has no resemblance to what s/he was exposed to in the classrooms/apps.

The learning for the child happens with each experience and every interaction, intertwined for each subject and topic. The learning for the child is a 24*7 real-world phenomenon, the whole lot wrapped up together in an unwieldy mess – which a child is perfectly suited to make sense of with her/his unique interpretation.

Withholding a child’s learning to a specific framework only limits the infinite potential of a child i.e. learning wherever/whenever/however/forever. There is no alternative to the parent’s involvement to ensure this.

Parents And Children Understand Each Other Best

For the task that is the most important to you, whom would you back? Your own self. For the task that is the most important to a child, whom would s/he be most comfortable with? With one’s parents. The most important task is, of course, learning. Yet, the child has to make do with unknown teachers/faceless apps as a learning environment; and parents focus on secondary/tertiary tasks.

It is a no-brainer that the child would learn the maximum from the parents. The parents can teach the maximum to their children. The stakes are the highest for the participants – parents and children. They are best suited to each other knowing the other person inside out. They know each other’s pace and customized personal requirements.

What is the meaningful difference between how our parents and we were taught and our children’s teaching? The education credentials have improved over the last couple of generations. Yet, the parent’s involvement has remained static in the participation of children’s learning.  The responsibility of a learning environment continues to be with the patronizing classrooms/apps.

A Meaningful Learning Environment

In the above scenarios of the archaic education establishment, 24*7 learning in a reassuring environment, what/where/how would you trust for your child to have a meaningful learning environment? With the parent’s involvement or impersonal and pretentious classrooms/apps?

Parents might be unprepared for the task on hand, but they can adapt/rework and make amends. They have the incentive to improve for the sake of their children. What’s the incentive for the education establishment to get better? Apart from self-preservation and maximizing returns, that is.

We, as adults, know that learning is the most important aspect for a child. We, as adults, also know that for imparting learning, for decades, classrooms have ceased to deliver any tangible benefits to children. Their digital avatars, the apps, aren’t any better.

If the children are to have a meaningful learning environment, there is only one way – The parent’s involvement.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Exams Cancelled: Adults Failed, Not Students

For the second year running, the school exams are cancelled in India. This year, even the board exams got cancelled. With no exams, there isn’t scope to ask questions to students. So, let’s try asking some questions to adults: The Government, the education establishment and also us, the parents.

Online education/online learning works, why not online exams?

Ever since the schools were shut down, the Government, Central and States, have been very enthusiastic about online education/online learning. Umpteen statements have been made that no learning loss has been ensured to students by the seamless transition to digital teaching mode. The claims say that the students are doing well, as they would have done by physically attending schools.

Now, the question to be asked is that if online education/online learning has been so successful, why can’t the same success be replicated for online exams? No, this is not possible. Why would that be? It will be said that there are issues with infrastructure/connectivity/integrity and all. It will be said that online exams are not feasible for every student.

Agreed, online exams do not work in India. Well, then how does online education/online learning work in India? If online exams, even as a concept, do not have a presence in India, how can online education/online learning have a real-life application? If online exams are looked down upon as a bane, why a diametrically opposite treatment for online education/online learning as a boon?

What did the education establishment do for a full year?

COVID-19 is sure to be blamed for exams postponement and cancellations in 2020. But in 2021 also? Even after one full year? When the emergency strikes without notice, we are unprepared. We say – what to do, we are helpless? However, when the emergency continues, even then do we continue to be unprepared? Even then, do we say – what to do, we are helpless?

Surely, the Government authorities and the education establishment that control the destiny of students as know-all didn’t assume that the pandemic will vanish in a month or two or even six months/a year. They are THE people expected to be with foresight, with immaculate judgement, with advanced tools to guide the country’s children.

So, what was the scenario planning that the education establishment did for one full year? What were the multiple options considered for the students? What were the considerations, trade-offs, alternatives basis the levels of the pandemic across the country for school and board exams?

Well, after one full year, we got the same answer – school and board exams cancelled, as they were last year. Did the education establishment do any homework at all for the last full year?

Everything moves on, why not the exams?

Between last year and to date, everything in India has got a move on. The country has wobbled across various stages of lockdown all throughout. The IPL, cinemas, bars and nightclubs have also opened, shut down again and will reopen shortly. However, one aspect has remained steadfast – The schools are shut the whole time.

As a country, we come up with paradoxical solutions. The safety of the children is the topmost priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By locking them inside and making everyone else free to their will. The future of the children is the second priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By cancelling school and board exams and continuing with everything else as normal.

The school and board exams are for a short duration, unlike school reopening. If the school and board exams are so important, that they are claimed to be, why not consider shutting down everything else for a week to ten days so that the exams are done and dusted with? Why can’t the country stand still for a brief time so that the students can write their exams in the mean-while?

If the nation has a hard lockdown, all of us would remain home compulsorily. Won’t we remain home for our children to write exams safely? Why can’t the Prime Minister of the country ask the citizens for this small contribution?

Why school and board exams can exist ONLY as a rote festival?

Are school and board exams an end in itself or the means to an end? If they are means to an end, which they are supposed to be, they can surely go beyond the three hours rote festival. Why can’t the education establishment come up with even a single alternative to exams in its current format? There can be multiple avenues to gauge the learning and the application of the students.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. COVID-19 lockdown called for online education/online learning. However, when it came to school and board exams, rather than desperate measures, we chose no measures, with exams cancelled. Is the three-hour rote festival so sacrosanct that we would rather not have exams in any other format?

The Adults Failed

Well, adults are not supposed to give exams. Also, our children are not taught to question the adults. What’s the bother?  No answers required for any of the above questions or whatever.

The Government and the education establishment get away with their shameful and irresponsible failures and we, parents, remain spectators.

The nation continues failing her children. School and board exams are dead. Long live school and board exams.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Learning Environment For Children Is Everywhere

Our soon-to-be seven-year-old twin daughters do not go to school because they are children. So, what about their learning environment? How/Where/When do they learn? Well, they learn from each experience/interaction, all the time, all around them. Unschooling doesn’t mean that their learning is compromised in any manner.

I am not talking about any abstract concept when I say that the learning environment for children is everywhere. Parents are much better at imparting learning than what they are made to believe. More so, we grossly under-estimate a child’s innate capability to grasp and soak up learning by believing that learning can happen only in a certain environment.

Learning Environment For My Daughters

Plants. Nature-walk. House-hold chores. Vegetable shopping. Playing with mud. Yes, with seeds, too. Cooking. Positive screen time. Krishna Fruit Juice Centre. Number Recognition Activity. Stone Collection. Of course, in-house numerous art and craft sessions. Visits to parks and lakes. Trips and events with Dirty Feet. Language Games. Indian Wedding. Rangoli Making. Anganwadi Visit.

Anything and everything. Anywhere and everywhere. Anytime and every time. Activities done multiple times and also, one-off.

If one believes that the children are better served with hands-on experiential learning, what would be the logical extension? Omnipresent learning environment with parental involvement. We have seen ample evidence that the twins learn at each experience, every interaction. I might forget the reference in future, but they don’t. I might forget what I taught them, but they won’t.

Reading books to daughters is an integral part of the learning environment but by no means the only part. It is just one among many. We don’t leave our tasks to give the girls a monologue. Rather, the children get interwoven with the job-on-hand and their learning becomes a part of the narrative, at their pace. And, nothing digital, please.

For us, the learning environment has been diverse physical locations and contexts. We give a free hand to the curiosity, the urge to explore, the inquisitiveness of our daughters and that’s about it. They ask questions, we try answering. We raise queries, they try guessing. Together, we make assumptions, put it into action, see the output faltering and that’s the learning, for them and also us.

Rocket science and medical science would not be amenable to the above. But, it works for logical reasoning and common sense, numerical capability and literacy, real-life application and critical thinking. For passing on life skills to children, the omnipresent learning environment is a sure-shot winner.

The Power Of Unstructured Time

We are made to believe that a packed schedule is a must for a child’s learning. The child has to be up to something, have to be engaged and taught for her/him to learn. For us, adults, learning has to be tangible, assessed and proven that the child has learned. We assume that learning requires a structured environment, certified instructors, certain pedagogy and more of the same.

Well, somehow, the children did not get the message. Not until they become well-meaning but misdirected adults themselves, like us. The children are blank slates and they pick up from whatever, wherever, whenever they question, do, see and are told in that order. The structured time believes in exactly the reverse order, with major, if not all, stress on instructions to be followed to the rote.

Unstructured time exposes the children to different ways of using their minds and bodies. They are not told, not expected to memorize and reproduce what is. Rather, they try and figure out what isn’t, what can’t, what won’t followed by what might and if they are lucky enough, they also learn what is. And, this remains with them for the rest of their lives.

The adults yearn for the unstructured time of their childhood. However, when it comes to their children, they are all shackled up in structured time in the name of learning. We need to give our children and ourselves a break for the unstructured time – for this is when the memories are made and lifelong learning happen.

The Barriers And The Belief

There are, of course, many barriers to the belief of the learning environment for children is everywhere. However, when the child will show in action/put in words what they have seen and perceived in any of their interactions, it will reinforce that you are on the right path. Each experience with the child has a value beyond anything that a classroom can ever teach. And, the child surely learns.

I am not an educator. I have no empirical data/study to back up my belief. My wife’s and my hands-on experiences with our twin daughters show that they are learning – intended/unintended/not even thought in our wildest dreams with each interaction and we move on to the next experience.

What are your thoughts on the learning environment for children?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

School And Board Exams Are Dead. Long Live School And Board Exams.

The Prime Minister of India is the lead decision-maker. The Who’s Who of Cabinet Ministers is participating. The Supreme Court of India is keeping a keen eye on the proceedings. The country is awaiting the result with bated breath. Finally, the result is out: The school and board exams have been failed, meaning cancelled.

The decision is termed ground-breaking by an adulating media. The Government of India gets full marks for considering the safety of children as paramount. All the stakeholders congratulate each other on the quid pro quo. CBSE, ICSE and the State Boards get busy conjuring up convoluted assessment criteria for the formality of passing the children.

So, from the perspective of children and parents isn’t the cancellation of school and board exams good, rather great? Well, it depends on how one perceives the difference it has made to the lives of children and parents, and as I see it, the difference is zilch, not even minimal. Yes, the kids don’t have to go through the drudgery, but apart from that, what’s the change?

Entrance Exams Matter

What matters for the admissions to the under-graduate courses of all hues: Entrance Exams.

What makes children and parents lose their night’s sleep and hard-earned money respectively: The coaching for entrance exams.

Where’s the money to be made by educational institutions/coaching centres: Entrance Exams.

What gets advertised in media as success stories of children: The performance in entrance exams.

Who’s the current deity of the Indian education system: Entrance Exams.

With so much control and power wielded by entrance exams, school and board exams were anyways on the back-burner. Ask any child/parent from 6th/7th grade onwards on what is the focus in the coming years and the answer will be: Entrance Exams. Yes, passing in school and board exams is mandatory with some crooked %, but that’s about it.

So, with a situation like this, how does the cancellation of only school and board exams help a child? Has JEE been scrapped? Does NEET go anywhere? Is there any change in CLAT status? Or for that matter, the plethora of entrance exams conducted separately by each of the private universities? Nope, no cancellations for any of these.

Does cancellation of school and board exams mean that children won’t have to go out during COVID-19? Well, they will have to go out – To write the entrance exams. Some novel coronavirus is this – it affects kids when they go out to write school and board exams, but is utterly harmless when they go out to write entrance exams.

If the Government of India/Supreme Court of India is so concerned about the well-being of children, why not cancel these entrance exams too? They won’t, they can’t. They understand that currently, the foundation of the education fiefdom is entrance exams and not the poor yesteryear’s star – school and board exams.

School and Board Exams Are Redundant

One might feel that the above narrative is needless nitpicking about the cancellation of exams. Rather, this shows the correct pecking order in the Indian education system and it is time that school and board exams are called out for what they are: An old relic with no significance/justification of its continued existence, out of sync with the changing times.

School and board exams have had no innovation ever since. It remains a celebration of a child’s excellence in rote learning. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to come up with options for the incompetent and futile ritual of yearly exams. Rather than coming up with alternatives, their cancellation conveys that we cannot look beyond them.

Now that they are cancelled, does any child/parent/school/board/education expert miss them? No. Has the cancellation led to any adverse impact on the future of anyone/anything? No. If something is not missed, if its absence doesn’t lead to any undesirable outcome, was it really serving any purpose for anyone at all?

This is not to say that entrance exams are any good. It is another case of the cure being worse than the disease. However, let’s take one step at a time.

Let’s agree that school and board exams were/are no good. As there has been a precedence of two school years without them, it is time to build on it by coming up with alternatives and not going back to the old junk. A flight of fantasy, anyone?

Long Live School And Board Exams

Knowing the Indian education system, its proclivity to control and resist change, it won’t be long before the school and board exams will be back.

Last heard, CBSE has come up with a brainwave of two Board exams for 2021-22. What else? The purposeless and aimless saga of school and board exams continues. Ministry of Education is all for striving to be renamed as Ministry of Examinations.

What are your views on this subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

How To Apologize To Your Kid

After the discussion on why to apologize to your kid, it is time to put it into action. So, here we are: How to apologize to your kid.

It is not a child’s play to apologize to your junior version. A casual sorry tossed at the child can do utmost harm than any good. The after-effects of a botched up/slapdash attempt at trying to make up with a child can linger on and create havoc with a child’s and parent’s lives. So, beware and think over before saying sorry. It matters how to apologize to your kid.

As is the case in most aspects, there are 101 ways to screw up apologizing to your kid. However, the correct way is limited to just one. So, here goes the list of don’ts and at the last – a single do to apologize to your kid.

Apologize To Your Kid Personally

There will, normally, not be a tag-team action from the parents to hurt the child. It will be a case of one parent taking a lead in sledging the kid and the other parent trying to douse the fire. The one, who ignites, has the responsibility to put out the blaze with the child.

In the most Indian scenario, the mother tops in frequency at taking it out on the kid but the father does the maximum damage. Now, this is a problem on hand. The Indian culture does not expect the man to clean up the dirty linens he has left behind. So, more often than not, the father behaves like the man that he is and not as a father that he should be. Meaning, he does not apologize to the kid.

I have learnt from my personal experience that the mother apologizing on behalf of the father serves no purpose. I have also learnt that the well-meaning relatives – grandmothers/aunts can apologize as a substitute on behalf of the rampaging father, but again, it is a fruitless exercise with zilch benefits. The accountability to apologize to your kid cannot be outsourced to anyone.

The child has to be apologized to by the parent who has hurt the child. If the offender is a father, he has to learn to be a man – Learn to own up to his child and say sorry.

Do Not Seek Forgiveness

The parent does not know what he/she has made the child go through. There is no way to know what the young mind has endured in the frenzy that the so-called adult has conferred on the poor kid. Limit the damage by expressing regret and don’t try to over-do the repair job.

More often than not, the slinging saga shall be repeated by the parent and the kid will not at all find amusing at the second/third time – the forgiveness drama. The try at generating the positivity vibe is good, but if you are so good, then there would have been no need to apologize in the first place. So, stay put.

A plain vanilla regret to the child will suffice and not an overkill of pity/mercy/amnesty.

To  Apologize Is Not A Learning Opportunity For the Kid

Of all the ways and means to screw up an apologizing job, the worst is to treat it as a learning opportunity for the kid. No, it is not. You have made a mistake and hence you have to own up. Do not apologize as a ploy to try and teach a kid the benefits of apologizing, how to apologize etc. To do this is the heights of hypocrisy/pretence from the parent.

If the parent can’t do any good to the child, at least he/she should not further the harm by the apology deceit.

Once An Apology Is Tendered, Give The Child A Break

Ok, great, the parent has apologized to the kid. So, what should the kid do? Jump with joy and hug the parent. Maybe/maybe not. He/she has the right to sulk and be in a bad mood for the time he/she chooses.

Please do not rush the child and expect the regular behaviour to resume ASAP, even if you have apologized. You have not done a great favour to the child by apologizing, you have just done what you brought it upon yourself by shouting at the hapless kid.

You Apologize For Your Behaviour

An apology can go into details/finer points, but limit it to yourself. Do not try to intertwine the child’s behaviour and try to make him/her responsible for what you did. Similarly, do not try to bring in extraneous circumstances as an excuse. This is not called an apology but passing the buck. It is not a nice thing to do.

How To Apologize To Your Kid

As soon as you realize you have hurt your child, immediately and honestly own it up. Say – I am sorry for what I did/said. I have hurt you and I should not have done so. I am sorry.

It is easier said than done. I just keep telling myself that whatever else I do/speak about is going to worsen the situation, so keep quiet and apologize.

What’s your say on how to apologize to your kid?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Why To Apologize To Your Kid

Parenting involves tasks: planned/unplanned, routine/one-off, joyous/miserable, silly/mature. No task is lesser than the other or more important than the one up next. However, some of the tasks never get the attention they deserve from the parents. One such task: Apologize To Your Kid.

One might feel there is something wrong here. The child has to learn to apologize (this is an acceptable topic in parenting discussions). After all, the kids are always up to something that they should not be doing. The kids have every reason to apologize though they won’t. Saying sorry and owning up needs to be taught to kids and can be spoken about by parents.

But, a parent has to apologize! That too, to the child!! One’s own child!!!

Parents Make Mistakes, Too

The basic tenet: Humans make mistakes. When humans falter, they own up and express regret. Now, it so happens that parents are humans too. If humans can make mistakes, so can parents. If humans should/are expected to apologize, why not parents? Why would apologizing to one’s kid be a taboo subject?

The issue seems to be with popular culture. Somehow, somewhere, the thinking that has taken roots is that the parents do not make mistakes when it comes to their children. The parents have the best interests of their children in mind and actions, so whatever they do/don’t do has to be/is fine. The parents are next only to Gods, rather even more than Gods, for they are living Gods.

Well, parents, as mortals, can end up taking out their frustrations at their children for no fault of theirs. The child could make a tiny mistake, but end up hearing an earful because the parent had a bad day at the office.  Or even worse, the child did not do anything wrong but he/she was the only one the parent could take it out on.

The kid wants quality time and attention from the parents, but they are into their screen time. The child wants to voice/share his/her feelings/aspirations, the parents are busy with their rat-race/lives. Or, the parent is actually trying hard to do some good/worthwhile for the child, but the child has some other ideas.

At the best of times, even if the intention is right, the execution can go horribly wrong. And at times, even the so-called right intention gets misplaced/mistimed/misdirected. The parents can get it wrong – transactional/strategic/behavioural/plain bad luck. Who’s the adult in all these? Who has to own up? Why invoke notions of parents as holier-than-thou?

Doesn’t the child deserve an apology?

Change The Narrative

The social/professional life requires an adult to own up if he/she has goofed up. Yes, high and mighty, powerful and influential, gets away without owning up. Somehow, the parenting seems to mirror this real-life scenario. The child can be intimidated, is helpless to snap and vulnerable to be taken for a ride without a helmet. In short, no apologizing required by the parent.

Do we see examples of a public apology by parents to their children? Do we get to hear about private apology by parents to their children? Leave aside public/private apologies, have we known about our grandparents apologizing to our parents? Most importantly, have we ever been apologized to by our own parents? A resounding No. There is no precedence of a parent apologize to his/her kid.

Come on, he/she is just a child. The kid won’t even remember tomorrow what happened today. My parents did not apologize to me and I turned out fine. What’s the fuss? Well, the child has the full range of emotions and does have a strong memory than he/she gets credit for. Moreover, isn’t there that tiny reminiscence wherein you feel your parents could have done better?

In nutshell, the chequered past/misplaced notions cannot be the reason for junking an upright behaviour. If a certain aspect needs a change in thought and application, so be it. The logic that it has not been challenged till now so it’s fine, is outrightly flawed and makes us Neanderthal. Lack of sensitivity on parental apology to children is a sure-shot candidate for this distinction.

Apologize To Your Kid

Parents feel that they have every right to an apology from their children. They might as well learn to give one back – an honest regret.

Parents try hard to make their children decent human beings. They might as well accept that they too are humans enough to make a mistake when it comes to their children and raise a hand to it.

Parents want to teach owning up and saying sorry to their children. They might as well walk the talk by owning up and saying sorry themselves to their children.

It is a fundamental right of a child to receive an apology from the parent, as and when the parent – the human screws up. (Coming Next – How To Apologize To Your Kid).

What’s your say?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.