Engineer Turned Educationist Ritika Subhash on Urban Parenting, Children’s Emotional Intelligence & More

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All the urban, metropolitan and working parents out there, you all would agree that life in the city is all about juggling different roles. Isn’t it? Urban parenting, especially for parents with corporate jobs is a different ball game and we all could definitely do with some support and lots of understanding! Trust us, you are not alone.

So, we caught up with Delhi-based engineer turned educationist Ritika Subhash. She is currently the Director of schools at Mangahigh.com, author of children’s books and she also runs her own parenting platform, momfairydust.com. And what we found after the conversation was some really interesting insights on urban parenting and donning different hats in life. We’re sure there’s a ton you can take away from here. Read on!

First of all, how did you turn an educationist from an engineer? And eventually, how did you become a children’s book author?

Writing was never in the plans. Not when I studied engineering in Delhi, not when I went to do my Masters in Information systems in Texas, and certainly not when I was living the life of a high-flying consultant in the U.S. It was only when I decided to move back to India in 2010 that I moved into the personalized education-technology sector. I suddenly felt responsible for providing the children with not just a direction in their educational journey, but also for giving wings to their imagination and creativity. This yearning became even more pronounced when I had my own child in 2014. That is when I started making up stories to put him to sleep. The stories started sounding good to the both of us and I started penning them down. That’s how it all began.

We know that you don multiple hats. How do you manage everything together?

I took a break from the field of education technology when my son was born. Somewhere in between, I started my own parenting and wellness website www.momfairydust.com and started focusing on my fitness. I also did a storytelling certification and started taking story-sessions for children. This was a truly eye-opening experience for me since I could see first-hand the impact that stories have on children. I still continue to write stories and books for children. Over the years, I have realized that the fear that keeps us from maximizing opportunities is largely self-created and not real. It took time and a lot of mental conditioning, but it really worked for me.

You have written on children’s emotional intelligence, tell us a bit about that.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions, as well as to recognize the emotions of others. If we can equip our children with emotional intelligence, we are truly giving them the strongest foundation possible to build their lives on. There are many aspects that parents and educators must focus on to build children’s emotional intelligence- building emotional vocabulary, building an atmosphere of trust and non-judgment, creating mechanisms for children to share their thoughts in ways that suit personality type.

Advice for working urban parents in the city who are into corporate jobs, trying to manage both kids & work.

I can fully empathize with parents who juggle multiple roles at home and at the workplace. It is never easy. But as parents, we must remind ourselves daily that when it comes to relationships, we have to work hard at them and bring to them the best of us, not what’s left of us. Some things that worked for me, and might help others include talking to my child about my schedule. It takes a village to raise a child, so don’t try to be the do-it-all-myself superhero, which is just an image that you think you need to live up to. Try and make arrangements with family, friends and neighbours who can step in to provide company and comfort to your child on a daily basis.

What’s your opinion on punishing kids? If parents want to teach them right from wrong, how should they do it without being harsh?

The best way I found to tackle behavioral issue was to make my son aware of the consequences of his action. I think what largely works for me is first controlling my own emotions by doing whatever it is I need to. Sometimes, it means I go to the other room; sometimes it means sharing that I am very upset; sometimes it means stepping in my son’s shoes and just letting the moment pass. It is challenging but possible to do.

In this day & age of internet & social media, how much exposure is okay for young kids?

Parents must monitor the content and duration that children are using the internet for. Please do remember that it is your responsibility to be the adult in the relationship and set rules of the house. Do note that the rules also apply to you too, otherwise no child is going to follow through. For adolescents, the parents will find it hard to monitor or control internet usage, especially if rules have not been set early on. As for duration, even if the child is going through educational content online, I would not recommend giving more than an hour a day access.

Image source: pexel.com

Lastly, any advice for parents in the city, is there any set formula for best parenting?

Absolutely, not! Every household is different. Every parent is different. Every child is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, one thing that remains common for most parent-child relationships is that it is the closest and the most selfless one there will ever be. If you can start treating your child as an emotionally capable and potentially limitless person, you will start respecting their individuality and the gift that they bring to this world.

We hope you got some amazing insights reading this one!

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