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BYJU’S Parent Club: Raising mentally strong children during turbulent times like the pandemic

Team StoryWeavers|June 20, 2022, 11:13 IST|

BYJU’S teacher Tarana Thakurdas flagged off the third edition of BYJU’S Parent Club earlier this month along with several parent bloggers and influencers from all over India. The webinar explored ways in which parents can protect the mental fortitude of their children and foster a positive mindset in them. 

“Raising mentally strong children is so important in today’s world, especially considering how fast-paced our lives are,” Tarana said, while kicking off the session.

She added, “As parents and teachers, we are juggling between our families, work and parenting, plus trying to get things done around the house. Children, too, juggle many emotions, hence keeping them mentally and emotionally secure is a challenge… but more necessary than ever before”.

Optimising potential

The interactive webinar had several meaningful exercises, and provided parents a platform to share their learnings, advice, vulnerabilities, failures and successes. In one such instance , Tarana asked the parents to draw up a list of their personal strengths and weaknesses. This exercise in self-introspection yielded interesting results. “The answers reveal that most people find it very difficult to think about themselves,” Tarana explained.  “More often than not, individuals list a higher number of weaknesses than strengths. If one really thinks about it, just because we are good at something, it does not mean that we can’t get better. Strengths are also areas of improvement, and so there is no such thing as a weakness. It is only about elevating ourselves from one level to another and optimising our potential,” she added.

Shun negative labels 

One must change negative labels into positive by being sensitive about the vocabulary we use with children. Tarana elaborated with some examples. “We want our children to be better, so we correct them when they are doing something wrong. But, in doing so, we often use negative labels. We casually say sentences like ‘you are so messy, clean up your room!’ This can backfire and reinforce negative traits in children. Instead, say something like – “Your room is such a mess. Could you please clean it up?” In this case,children won’t feel the undue pressure of labels on them, and we can further develop their confidence by removing negative labels altogether.

The power of creativity

When children learn to listen to themselves through creative activities, they begin to look at learning in a new, uninhibited and imaginative way.

“Traditionally, people look at creativity as ‘possibility thinking’. However, unless one has the right paradigm to look at the world, creativity cannot be maximised. It’s very important to have a growth mindset,” Tarana said during the webinar. 

She cited American psychologist Carol Dweck’s coinage of the terms ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’ to describe the underlying beliefs that people have about learning and intelligence. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, having a growth mindset among children is essential for success as there is no limit to learning. Growing means learning from our mistakes and failures as they provide us with valuable lessons and help develop problem-solving skills in a more creative way. 

Back to school 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused abrupt and profound changes in 2020. Two years on, schools are gradually re-opening. “We need to understand that this will be a very stressful time for children,” Tarana stated. “They have been stuck at home and are used to a very particular lifestyle, so the new adjustment could be a scary prospect. We need to give them more information about real-world happenings, talk to them about what the pandemic is and make them aware of what post-pandemic life could be.”.

Another method of keeping children safely buoyed during this difficult time is self-motivation. The webinar helped parents identify energy boosters that work for themselves and their children, such as yoga, swimming or creating art and emphasised on the importance of relying on them to maintain a healthy and positive mindset. Parents also learned to spot energy drainers such as dependence on social media, worrying about things outside our control, general negativity and other such unhealthy thought and behavioural patterns. 

The BYJU’S Parent Club session culminated after the floor opened up to parents who exchanged stories of their own personal learnings, trials, failures and successes. With a focus on the ‘new normal’, the October edition helped parents explore the myriad ways in which children can grow mentally and emotionally and come out stronger, creative and more resilient.

About the Author

Toyoja believes that kindness goes a long way. Having worked with some of the country's top news publications in the past, Toyoja values the importance of honest and responsible storytelling. When she isn't working, Toyoja enjoys spending time with her family, listening to history-based podcasts, watching true crime documentaries, reading, painting, exploring the outdoors and spending time with her pets.

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