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Dipta Joshi interviewed Tara Sharma, well-known actress and parenting talk show host, on balancing a career with raising children

What is your parenting philosophy?

I don’t subscribe to any particular parenting philosophy. As I always reiterate on my show, ‘Each to her own’. Every parent needs to find and follow a philosophy that works for her. While we hope and teach our children to develop into sensitive and caring adults, we cannot judge others for the way they raise their children because every situation and relationship is different.

You have been writing, hosting and co-producing the Tara Sharma Show since 2010. How do you balance work and home?

While my work is hugely important to me, my children are the priority. Since I didn’t want to spend long hours away from them in their early years, I worked on creating something that allowed me to do that. The show started as musings from my diary as a young mother and everything I did for the children became part of research for the show.

In fact, the first few seasons had the kids sauntering into the show, and it gelled perfectly with the show’s format.

Parenting has become more complex than ever before in urban India. How do you cope with its many challenges?

Our generation gives ourselves more importance than we deserve. I don’t think parenting is more complex now than what it was for the earlier generation as they too had their own struggles. And just like they did, we too will find our own way of meeting the challenges of parenting. I don’t believe I ever was — or am a perfect parent. I would like to quote from my latest blog: ‘A little bit of a Monster Mum emerges and it does not take away from the loving, otherwise balanced, Mum that I hope I am and we all are.’

Being part of the glamour television industry has its perks and practical irritations such as increased media scrutiny. How do you prevent your children from becoming spoilt brats?

I am very much in the middle zone where people recognise me but I don’t get mobbed by fans. The Tara Sharma Show is an honest, humorous and helpful programme on parenting. I can’t do it without my kids being on the show and this makes it easier for people to relate with the issues we discuss. Making them a part of the show enables me to spend more time with them. But in the last few seasons and going forward they will be seen progressively less on the show as it has evolved into a platform to discuss parenting issues with people from all walks of life and my own family is less in focus. Again this works well as the boys are older and busy with school and extra-curricular activities.

Are you strict about rationing time for gadgets/ video games and eating junk food?

My personal opinion is that while addiction to technology is harmful, it cannot be ignored totally. So it is with gadgets and video games. I believe in moderation, not denial. Fortunately if my kids have the option of choosing between football and gadgets, they will most often opt for football. I believe our generation is more fascinated with gadgets rather than our children. Junk food is quite another issue. We try to keep it to the minimum.

In India, fathers often don’t play an active role in day-to-day parenting. Do you see this changing?

I don’t believe gender equality is about getting your husband to do the exact same thing that you are doing for the children or necessarily getting up in the middle of the night to change nappies. In fact, I wanted to ensure that my husband sleeps well at night if he has to leave early for work the next day, just like on the days I had to leave early he would. My father was a very busy author/playwright but still made time for us. Likewise Roopak works long hours on weekdays but reserves Sundays for the children.

Today with the growth of double income families and women accepting roles outside of their traditional ambit, men are getting increasingly involved with parenting and raising children. Of course, progress toward gender equality and parity is always helpful.

What is your parting advice to parents of young children?

I always say ‘Each to her own’, and no one should judge another parent as everyone’s situation is different. So I try not to give too many tips or advice on my show but encourage people to share and discuss, taking away what works for them. But if I had to give general advice it would perhaps be to think out a situation well. You don’t need to feel guilty if you’ve been stern with the children. It is important to understand that you did it because the situation demanded it. My advice to parents, especially mothers, is to do what makes them happy because that will ultimately make your children happy.

Tara Sharma is a well-known actress, host and co-producer of The Tara Sharma Show, a weekly chat programme on parenting and child care and women and children issues aired on Star World India. Born and raised in a family rooted in the arts — her late father, Pratap Sharma was an award winning playwright, novelist, documentary film-maker, narrator and actor in his own right. Tara has acted in over 20 films, television shows and advertising shorts. In the midst of shooting for Season 5 of The Tara Sharma show she shares her experiences of raising two boys Zen (8) and Kai (6) together with entrepreneur husband Roopak Saluja.

 
Summer vacation forms an integral part of every child’s life owing to the conclusion of a fruitful educational year, facilitating a gap of two months. Yet, children are found to while away this time indulging in pointless pursuits such as staying indoors with their video games, leaving parents worried about the lost time. Certainly, time is precious and children need to utilise this time more wisely to productive causes. For the children, it is the best time to learn new things that they do not have the time for during the academic year. Listed here are three ways to spend summer vacations in a productive way.

 

1.  Enlist your child in a sports activity

During the school academic year, children are too caught up in their assignments and homework to indulge in recreational activities - sports being the prime example. Indulging in a sports activity inculcates a balanced set harmony between physical fitness and mental dexterity, something that individuals have to harbour within themselves. There are added emotional benefits for kids who participate in sports - experiencing challenges that help them develop confidence and learn about the world, learning to deal with winning and losing and how to accept both with grace. Besides, their confidence is boosted as they push the boundaries of their capabilities. Hence, it is always wise to encourage children in taking up a sporting activity.

 

2. Enroll your ward in a summer camp

 Vacations are the prime time to enroll children in summer camps - with children having ample of spare time that needs to be dedicated in sharpening their skills.  Summer camp forms a special kind of commune where kids congregate to have fun. Within the pulsating environment of the camp, children develop a sense of independence as they try new adventures away from home. Summer camps are known for providing a safe environment where children gain self-confidence as they learn new skills. Camp is also a place where children develop a variety of social skills (e.g., communication, and conflict resolution ability). In short, the perfect place for children to learn and grow in unison.

 

3.  Enshrine the art of holistic living in your child

 Modern advancements and the detached, clinical temperament enshrined in modern age humans may have its salient points, but is detrimental for a growing child. In lieu with decreased social relations and moral values, children are lagging behind in concentration, tolerance, patience and so on. They require to be nudged back into the world of humanity - through learning spiritual practices such as Yoga and meditation. By channelling the inner self through these holistic practices, children can develop control over their mind, which ultimately helps in improving their concentration power. This in turn proves to be a great aid in their academics, alongside veering into the path of becoming a better human beings.

 

As we progress ahead in life, it is important to impart valuable lessons to the future inhabitants, and help them understand the impact of their actions on humanity at large. Summer vacation can prove to be a time of fruitful exuberance if parents choose most of the above mentioned activities for their children to reap benefits from.

The author is Vinay Goyal, director SRS International School.

 
Swami Vivekananda said of Education: “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man…”

To become divine (or great), man must give up suspicion, jealousy, conceit and learn to work unitedly for the common good. Courage, faith (in oneself and in God), patience and steady work, according to Swami Vivekananda are the way to success. He said that purity, patience and perseverance overcome all obstacles.

Having moral values and learning is just building having a strong root; for the body, having a healthy root will help in having healthy leaves and branches. A famous quote says “if wealth is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost something is lost; when character is lost all is lost”. This is the reason schools have introduced a subject called moral science so that moral teachings can be disseminated among the today’s modern children. Inculcating a sound moral base is becoming a tougher challenge day by day.

Students today are so much into studies and games but somewhere moral teachings becomes compulsory as it gives them a proper shape and direction as how to act or react during various difficult situations. Moral values need  to be inculcated in all age groups especially in young children as it is said young minds are empty just as a plain white sheet so whatever mark we leave the impression remains for years. When it comes for a teacher to inculcate a moral base in their students it takes a lot more as teachers are the ones who shape our thoughts and mind to a large extent.

Moral education means an ethical education that helps choose the right path in life. It comprises some basic principles such as truthfulness, honesty, charity, hospitality, tolerance, love, kindness and sympathy. Moral education makes one perfect. Education is not aimed at obtaining only a degree, it includes necessary value based teachings which result in character building and social improvement too.

It is the need of the hour that schools today should include the concept of hidden-curriculum which refers to the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment. It helps to reinforce the lessons of the formal curriculum but many schools neglect it. They focus more on language, subjects and marks. For example, on one hand a school may publicly claim and ensure that it’s education policy and practices are formed in such a way that all students succeed academically.

 

 

At the same time, it can be observed that the students of the particular school are contributing to undesirable behaviors whether it is bullying or cheating on exams. This type of education will barely help a child to face life situations like opinion making, decision making and right course of action. To curb this problem, schools should adapt and offer special classes, seminars, and workshops with an expert counsellor under the guidance of educators who can help in incorporating ‘values' lessons into the curriculum in order to foster well-rounded personality development in children.          

Our society today is much advanced, much better than it used to be but what if the people of a society are not well mannered?  With rapid urbanisation and modernisation, the moral values of people are degrading day by day. An individual is not able to trust anyone be it their relatives or friends. Trust, integrity, love, and brotherhood all their feelings are fading away with time. It is the moral values that teach us to share and make new friends at school but today, children are taught not to trust anyone and make less of friends.

There is cut throat competition everywhere be it schools, colleges, offices or any talent competition. In today’s materialistic world, people are jealous of each other’s progress but rather than being suspicious and envious one must support and co-operate each other and work unitedly for the common welfare. In this industrialised era, most of the parents are working because of which they spend less time with their children due to which they lack moral values and are not able to differentiate between what is wrong and right.

 

 

The present scenario needs to undergo a radical change as the country’s future depends on its children.  

The author is Sumit Tomar, director of Vedas International School based in Sohna, Gurugram.

 
Today's highly competitive education system makes the students more stressed out, which affects their mental development. Consequently, they stay away from physical activities completely. The overall outcome of this type of schooling is that the upcoming batches of graduates and professionals have poor stamina and weak physique.

 

Besides, the lifestyle followed by children these days makes them inactive as they spend most of their time indoors watching television, computer and playing video games. Schools should include sports in their curriculum along with academics as it goes a long way in building the child's character and personality. Engaging in sports helps build strong friendships by bringing students from different schools, communities and backgrounds together. Sports and academic learning complement each other - the key is striking a balance.

It can be said that they replicate the two sides of the same coin. Sports are not played only to maintain physical stamina, but also to inculcate discipline and determination to win.

Playing sports alongside academics is a must for the all-round development of the student. These days, several sports scholarships are offered to children from underprivileged background to boost their motivation and self-confidence. Sports teaches how to deal with competition and how to cope with both both winning and losing. This kind of balanced learning process highlights the impact of physical education on the child’s social, mental and moral development in addition to physical skills.

 

A good sportsman learns valuable skills such as leadership, maintaining teamwork, and team spirit. Sports trains the students to face defeat with a smile and remain humble even in victory. It also makes the mind healthy by justifying the statement, “a sound mind resides only in a sound body”. The various benefits of engaging in sports include:

Healthy heart - Cardiovascular health improves as the heart pumps more blood. It reduces the chances of heart attacks and cardiac diseases.

Reduces obesity - Childhood obesity is a big concern today because of the food habits and sedentary lifestyle of children. Engaging in physical activities helps burn calories and boost metabolism. Students who are regular players of any sport are naturally fitter and healthier as compared to others.

Improves immunity - Indulging in regular exercise and sports makes the body immune to many diseases.  Playing sports results in sweat production that helps remove toxins.

Makes bones stronger – It helps to maintain bone density and strength. Sports helps to reduce the chances of osteoporosis.

Increases energy – Engaging in sports helps one become stronger and active which will help him to achieve his other goals​ faster.

 

Live longer – The chances of living longer increases by 10 percent. The risk of chronic diseases is lower among physically active people.
   

Teaches teamwork - Working towards a common goal with different players, coaches and members, helps to communicate well and play effectively.

 

Helps to build leadership skills – A player is surrounded by competitive team and role models while playing. His decision making skills and actions are improved while competing 

Sports reduce stress & depression - Engaging in sports helps reduce the levels of stress hormones in our body. At the same time, it stimulates production of endorphins which are natural mood lifters that can keep us away from stress and depression.

 

Sports improve sleep habits - Sports and other forms of regular physical activities improve the quality of sleep. Sleeping better can improve our mental outlook for the next day, as well as improve our mood because a relaxed mind is a rejuvenated one.

 

Boosts our self-confidence - Regular exercise while playing sports can boost-up confidence due to which a person is motivated to give his best. Strength, skills, and stamina increase through playing sports, which improves self-image as well.

Sports should be introduced in schools with complete sincerity. A healthy and strong body is not possible without sports and physical activities. There is a famous saying that “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy”, so make sure that your child does not become the next jack with a dull personality

The author is Sumit Tomar, director of Vedas International School, Gurugram.