A Parent Quotient post from a couple of weeks ago-When your tween finally gets online

By a strange fluke of fate, a tab entered the home a couple of years after I had declared the home a no gadget zone and disposed of the iPad. The offspring took to it like the proverbial duck to water, squawking excitedly to add verisimilitude to the scene.  He was two years older now from the time he had been introduced and then surgically separated from the iPad. Surely that would also mean a trifle more responsible about his time, and there were always benefits to technology, I thought. He could download apps which would help him with studying, watch videos on competitive swimming that he trains for and not to mention videos on topics relevant to the syllabus he needed to study. He, obviously, had other plans. Before I could blink, he had downloaded WhatsApp and Instagram and was hard at work informing the world at large about his arrival into cyberspace. While I rushed to put privacy controls in place and learning his password by heart for supervising purposes, I wondered how, as a parent I could introduce him to the joys of online social networking but simultaneously ensure that he stays clear of the very real and tangible dangers of social networking.

Here are ten tips that could help you keep your kids safe online.

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My Parent Quotient post for last week: Making sure your child eats right

One of the mainstays of making sure that your child is strong and healthy is by ensuring he or she gets a proper diet. Given these are growing years, everything that a child eats is important in terms of energy for activities and to aid muscle and bone growth. How does one make sure, as a parent, that the child gets a right balance of healthy eating that provides him or her enough energy and nutrition to fuel activity, studying and growth, as well as provide the child with enjoyable, healthy food that curbs the very real and present danger of childhood obesity that seems to be an epidemic these days? Here are some things you need to keep in mind.

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My Parent Quotient Post for the week: Sorting out your tweens wardrobe

The offspring has a wardrobe that is bursting at the seams. Most of the clothes, like the wardrobes of most adults, are either outgrown or so old that he’s done wearing them and has no desire to wear them, or clothes he simply doesn’t like and ergo will not wear come hell, high water or a high pitched maternal command. This results in a situation where he has been recycling the same three to four t-shirts and shorts on a loop. It was time for firm action, and this meant gritting them teeth and getting down to reorganising his wardrobe. Easier said than done. This is task one normally does every couple of months, given seasons change, and full sleeves shirts and t-shirts need to go into hibernation when summer comes upon us and the quick dry t-shirts and shorts emerge from the back of beyond during the monsoon, only to the uncomfortable realisation that between this monsoon and the previous one, he has outgrown them so much so as to render them unwearable.

Here then, are some tips to get your tween’s wardrobe into ship shape.

Read the rest of the post here.

There is no substitute for practice.

As a parent, your journey is never that of yours alone. It is always thinking twice, as a wiser person than me once said, once for your own self and again for your child (or children as the case might be). I was recently approached by HP to do a short video with them on the principles I live by and what I try to pass on to my son.

It was something that resonated instantly, because, as a parent all one does is try to pass on what one has tried and tested as a never fail formula. It is a formula that I have arrived at after much trial and error and realised, contrary to my natural tendency towards sloth, that nothing comes easy. My motto has always been try and try again, practice, revise, do it over and over and over. There are no short cuts to  anything. He knows this through his swimming, he puts in hours and hours of intense practice every single day, he needs to learn this in his school work. This is something I try to teach the offspring and this is what I speak about in the short HP video.

Take a look.

My Parle G Post from last week: Sleeping on time

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Sleeping on Time!

Posted by Kiran Manral

shutterstock_160257086__1430307341_115.110.88.165

As your child grows and is challenged with the demands of increasing studies, extracurricular activities and socialising with his or her peers, you will find that the one thing that does get sacrificed at the altar of trying to fit it all in a single day, is sleep.

Children are staying awake later than they should be, and struggling to wake up in the mornings because they haven’t had their 9.25 mandated hours of sleep that is essential for their rest and growth.  Lack of adequate sleep can be detrimental in many ways, the obvious ones being inability to focus and concentrate at school the next day and by hindering repair and growth of the body. Sleep boosts the immune system, aids recovery and improves energy levels. Moreover, lack of sleep can lead to headaches, grumpiness, which in turn can lead to a negative fallout on social behaviour, moods and concentration.

But this new trend of falling asleep later at night and getting up late in the morning can be blamed completely on the change in the pre-adolescent brain which begins to secrete melatonin much later at night than they did when they were younger. Nonetheless, you can as a parent, try some winding down techniques to help your child to fall asleep earlier, so that he or she gets his or her complete quota of sleep? Here are some tips.

Read the rest of the post here.

My Parle G Post this week: When your tween gets online

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When your tween finally gets online!

Posted by Kiran Manral

shutterstock_233031544__1430307390_115.110.88.165

By a strange fluke of fate, a tab entered the home a couple of years after I had declared the home a no gadget zone and disposed of the iPad. The offspring took to it like the proverbial duck to water, squawking excitedly to add verisimilitude to the scene.  He was two years older now from the time he had been introduced and then surgically separated from the iPad. Surely that would also mean a trifle more responsible about his time, and there were always benefits to technology, I thought. He could download apps which would help him with studying, watch videos on competitive swimming that he trains for and not to mention videos on topics relevant to the syllabus he needed to study. He, obviously, had other plans. Before I could blink, he had downloaded WhatsApp and Instagram and was hard at work informing the world at large about his arrival into cyberspace. While I rushed to put privacy controls in place and learning his password by heart for supervising purposes, I wondered how, as a parent I could introduce him to the joys of online social networking but simultaneously ensure that he stays clear of the very real and tangible dangers of social networking.

Read the rest of the post here.

Letter to my mom for Indusparenting.com

Letter from Kiran Manral to her mother

Dear Mom,
I have a confession to make. I’ve turned into you. The realisation dawned upon me, as most realisations do, not in a calm, let’s get this thing done with manner, but the rather unpleasant manner that sledgehammers have when they connect with cranium. Bang. And followed by splintering realisation.

It happened the other evening when the offspring, or the apple of your rather jaundiced grandmotherly eye, was raising the usual dead in his efforts to amuse himself around the house, leading to clear and present danger for the unwary occupants of the premises. “YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” I thundered, with all caps and exclamation mark of course, and added, “Or else,” for good measure, leaving it at that.  Then it struck me, like a sudden squeezing of my intestines with a cold clammy hand. Your voice had become my voice. But my offspring, unlike the me of yore, has no fear of the implicit threat in the “Or else…” and looked back with barely a flicker of fear. “Or else…wot?” he asked.

Read the rest here

My Yowoto post for the week: When I became outdated re music

Music Then And Music Now

The one where I mistook Wiz Khalifa for Burj Khalifa

The child is segueing swiftly into a manling. The shoulders are broadening, the hips are narrowing down, the puppy fat has made its way into the land of distant childhood memories and the jawline is getting into the defined realm territory which will be mandatory in the future if he needs to be granite-jawed in the way the romance novels state a respectable romantic hero should be. But I digress.

The fact of the matter is that he is changing. A slight shadow on his upper lip has him scurrying to experiment with his father’s razor behind a locked bathroom door emerging suspiciously fuzz free and angelic, denying all wrongdoing vehemently until I pop into the bathroom and discover traces of foam drying awkwardly in the washbasin. He checks himself out in the mirror one gazillion times a day and constantly eyes the marks on the wall put to measure his progress upwards in centimetres in the vain hope that he would have suddenly sprouted a couple of additional inches after a night of deep sleep. He has also, heaven save the world, been caught flexing a fledgling bicep and admiring it in the mirror.

This advance into potential teendom has not gone unnoticed. Along with it comes the gut wrenchingly horrifying realisation that as a parent you automatically don’t quite cut it in the coolness quotient. And nowhere is this more evident as in the case of music. The boy is listening to more music than should be considered legit. But then legit is a debatable point, given that there is only so much world and time a young boy in secondary school and a competitive sport can free up to devote to the act of listening to music.

Very often, I find him singing lyrics which, in gentler times, would have had me scour his mouth out with toilet cleaner. “Mamma,” he will squawk, much offended when I raise angry objection, “Bud dat’s d song, I’m only singing the song.” I sigh and retreat. This is karmic butt bite for when I publically embarrassed the mater by singing George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex,” in tones loud enough to have the dead wake up from their graves from the neighbourhood cemetery, and the neighbourhood aunties purse their lips disapprovingly.

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Of the Summer Crop–My Yowoto Post this week

Of The Summer Crop

The one when the brat had to get a haircut…

The offspring had a haircut last week. Now why is this momentous, you might ask validly? After all, in the 11 years that he has been on this planet as a part of the race, he has contributed on a bimonthly basis to the flotsam of the snipped hair on assorted salon and barber shop floors.

But this was a haircut with a difference. For one, this was one in which he was accompanied by the pater. For another, it is the summer upon us. Let’s put things in perspective here. For years and years, I have been the sole adult responsible for the grooming of this child, and I am an indulgent parent. I allow him to sit in the barber’s chair, the cape snugly around him, dictating terms to the person in charge of shearing him to presentable in public levels. “Cud liddle frum d side and liddle frum the top and keep dis part longly.”

This often has had the unhappy consequence of him emerging from the salon with his hair gelled to gravity defying levels in a vain attempt to make himself look taller, never mind that I look at him and wonder if I should have just thrown the money I spent into the waste paper basket given that barely a millimetre seems to have been reduced from the circumference of his foliage.

Read the rest here.