CHENNAI: Ever heard of a course for parents on better parenting? It’s ironic that one of life’s most crucial roles - parenting — requires little qualification. And it’s not like people train and upgrade their skills on the job. “A majority of people here in India have this mentality that if they attend a class on parenting, it must be because they are failing at it,” says Kesang Menezes, one of the founders of Parenting Matters. The group that has been slowly and steadily weaning Chennai’s parents to the concept over the last 11 years have managed to coach over 2,000 parents. And the eight-member team of certified parent educators covers everything from a two-year-old refusing to eat to a 22-year-old with a partying addiction.
“We started out as just a group of three moms searching for ideas and parenting knowledge beyond ‘where can I take my son for a karate class?’” Kesang laughs. And after many rudimentary meet-ups and workshops conducted on request within schools and corporates - the non-profit eventually flew down a trainer from Los Angeles’ Centre for Non Violent Parenting and Education for professional training to help others. These days they are heavily booked every month with a minimum of 10 workshops, or even a full fledged 10-week curriculum put together by these super moms! “Although we don’t work in summer, all of us are parents ourselves you see,” Kesang smiles.
Between schools, kids centers, corporates, neighborhood gatherings and even coffee shops calling them in for a session - the members tell us they have had their fair share of dads join in over recent years as well.
And surprisingly enough, one of the most often asked questions is ‘how do I deal with my in-laws and prevent them from interfering in my parenting?’ You have to crack a smile at that. Well whatever your parenting method - here’s a space for you to gain some fresh perspective for the road ahead. God knows, getting a promotion is tough if your five-year-old is responsible for the appraisal!
No more Force Feeding
- Parenting Matters’ next workshop is titled ‘Ending the Food Fight, Getting the Attitude Right’
- Kesang throws us a curve ball. “With all the bribes to eat and the quantity determined by the parent, often the child is not given the independence to understand whether their stomach is empty or full,” she adds, “leading to a general disconnect with the body”. The workshop will also highlight the benefits of a family meal, which according to studies, includes a rise in everything from confidence to academic performance.
- The workshop will be held between 10 am and 12.30 pm on Tuesday morning at Ashvita Nirvana in Besant Nagar. Contact 9791088189 or log on to parentingmatters.in