Q. Please give us a brief introduction about yourself.
Trupti Natekar: Sure, so like you know I’m Trupti Natekar and I have been actually a media professional, for nearly 8-10 years. I was into advertising and marketing. And post that I decided to take a break and then that’s when I kind of started learning about psychology. So that’s where I kind of got myself certified as a behaviour counsellor. and I have done a course called cebt.
That’s how basically I was kind of interested in knowing about what goes into the human mind, okay, and so then when I became a mother I was kind of more, you know
Wanting to know how to go about being the, with the good parent, not the ideal parent, but a good parent, so yea. You know I can raise, you know very well sounded and a very reasonable kind of child. So that’s how I got into this course and then eventually, during the course of time, you know I met a few people and we came together and we realised that there are so many questions which a parent has in them. Okay . and they do not find a correct answer or correct guidance or they can share their experiences and that’s how we kind of initiated this beautiful project called as pathfinders, a parenting journey. So I have the co-founders with me in this initiative. So that’s kind of about me.
Q. Can you tell us more about your programs and your initiative in general
So basically in different age groups of a child, there are different things that happen with a child and eventually with the parents. So when the child is very young, say you know 4 years to 8 years. So they are going through a lot of tantrums, they throw a lot of tantrums.
So We have designed a workshop called as triumphing the tantrums. Okay, so how the child is throwing a tantrum and the parents are equally throwing a bigger tantrum. So how to control that, and how to come to a middle ground. That is one workshop. The second, another workshop is when the child hits teenage, so the child becomes a teenager now, another bomb that gets exploded into the house. So we have a workshop, named as calming those hormones. Because what happens is basically its an ageing hormone which is going on that is why it is causing all these changes in the behaviour. So how to calm those hormones and be a friend to your child, right. So that is another program. Plus we have children specific workshops also where we are not only covering the sex education bit in that but we are also trying to establish gender neutrality, where we are asking, we are teaching the children to look beyond gender and not fall into the stereotypes and saying that boys only love blue or the boys are the strongest, girls like pink, they always you know, yea boys don’t cry, yea so all of this. We have two separate age groups. So for one age group which is from 5 to 10, we have something called breaking pink and blue, and for 10 and onwards, we have something called as beyond gender. Plus we have something called as media literacy, so which is basically how to overcome social media, all the social media challenges which all parents and teenagers experience.
Q. So why do you feel it is important for parents to learn about parenting at the early stage of the child?
A: We are not going to teach about parenting, but we are just giving them an opportunity to explore a different perspective. Or to understand a different perspective. Because every parent has, you know we are no one to say that your parenting style is wrong or you no something. So we are just saying ki, to take a step back, maybe something is going wrong, maybe some, some usage of words, your tone, your actions, okay all of that we are trying to communicate to them because many times what happens, we as parents, now you know are 30 years 40 years, we have, we come with our own condition, okay the way our parents have raised us, okay how we were with them, our siblings, so all those conditions, we also have as an adult, and so what happens is, either it goes, okay this is the way I was brought up, there’s nothing wrong. So I’m gonna teach the same thing to my child. And the other thing is ki o, I was brought up in this way, you know, I was never given this, I was never given that opportunity, I was never given toys, I was never given for the extra-curricular activity, so load your child with all of that. So what we are again trying to establish is, come to a middle ground. Don’t overdo it, obviously, don’t under do it. So that’s how what we are trying to talk to parents and communicate with them, how important it is to communicate with your child. I remember the first time when we started this initiative we actually only five parents coming in. because the first workshop that we announced was sex education, okay the moment we started the conversation, we started the presentation, they all were like, we know we could just see the experiences and the jaw-dropping everything we were talking. they were like after the workshop was over, they were like, we didn’t know that we have to speak to our child like this. We didn’t know that we have to do so many things with them. We thought ki, hum toh aaram se ho gaya, humko toh kisi ne baat nahi kiya tha, parents ne toh Kabhi bola nahi tha, we were like, okay it happened so bachcho ke saath bhi ho hi jayega. So these are the very weird experiences. Then Sometimes lot many parents when they come, they come, they kind of, they kind of especially the woman, open up, a lot, a lot, right. So it becomes actually one on one counselling also, so we have to tell them its okay, we can talk about your particular mother-in-law topic later on. Okay. we get parents who are like, they have two children, so they have attended for one child and they are like, we have to come for the second child also. Because one age group we have attended now second age group we have to attend. And this is very overwhelming also when they kind of message you or they call you to say thank you so much. We are so close to our kids now. We can see the dynamics changing in the house. Things are much calmer, you know. Earlier it was we were shouting and yelling much going on in the house. But now it is okay, even the children they know, when we had a workshop and the children were like, we don’t know what you have done to our parents but we are, (thumbs up) they do this to us. So it’s nice, it’s been a great experience, post and pre workshops. So it’s been good, yea.
Q. What is the reason a child is more influenced by peers or social media. And then their parents?
Trupti Natekar: it depends now if the parent is a very involved parent. In terms of a not nagging parent, nagging level of involvement. But involving in terms of giving enough space to the child, but at the same time knowing what the child is going through or understanding. Then it is okay, the child generally does not tend to get influenced by anything. Majority of the times we have seen that because the child is not eating, tv dekhte hue kha leta hai, tv dekhte hue. So all the electronic nannies which are there, like social media, your tv and all of this. They cause a really, you know. The child kind of loses the thin line between reality and fiction. Then they start thinking that, o, this is what is real. So, that is how they get influenced. okay but if the child and the parent have been in good communication. The communication channel is open with the child, the child will not get influenced, that’s for sure. at least they will come and tell you. tell the parents something like this happened, but I reacted like this. Okay, so it happens also but is all up to the parent and the child. Honestly. Today’s kids are like, they are super fast, they know practically everything okay. If you see, if you have observed, even the one-year-old will be operating a smartphone very easily okay. One day we had to do some research work. So we actually we had to travel on a school bus. We took permission from the school and we were sitting on the school bus. And the amount of heavy-duty discussion happens, it’s amazing to know. They were discussing the latest music, what is happening in the bay, Beyblade world okay. So it is, so it is just fantastic, they know everything, but sometimes I feel it is a little bit half baked knowledge okay. So maybe the parents also need to have this conversation with them. Get down with your 5-year-old child, or become 10 years old along with your child. And understand, maybe you’ll come to know, they are just knowing the upper part, get into the crux of the matter. Tell them ki o, you just know this much. The whole story is this
So what happens is that the child knows that yes, my parents are open to my kind of discussions. They are okay if to discuss you know, anything basic things, you know. They want to discuss the end of the war, infinity game. It is fine. Okay, it is fuelling their imagination at the same time.
Q. So do you think children nowadays are more informed than decades ago one?
A: Yes, definitely to answer your question. Children are definitely exposed.
Q. What creates a depth of understanding between the parents and the children?
A: The fact that the parents think that they are parents. And the children are children. This is the biggest gap that is found. I’m not saying parents stop behaving like this, but they should form a balance between being a parent and being a kind of a friend okay. So they should have a balance the child should know ki if I when im going to overstep a certain boundary, the parent is going to get affected. And if I have done some goof-up but I need some consolidation form the parents or you know, I need thee, I need, I need to be understood. The child is thinking like that, then the parents should become a friend, and if you do not do this,then the gap kind of starts increasing. And initial years it is still manageable, but as the child becomes a teenager, okay, is it attains puberty and all, so they have started their journey from being a child and an adult. So it becomes, so they are also trying to establish themselves as an adult. So they are trying to understand where they actually stand in the whole family. They are trying to become responsible. So in that, if you constantly keep on nagging them or telling them, putting them down or scolding them. Or trying to control them, it’s not going to work. They are going to, they are jusT, it’s like a rubber band. The more you are going to stretch it, one day it is just going to snap and you’ll not know what has hit you. And then the parents become, you know like the, I don’t know what has happened. You know, he was so quiet and demure child and now suddenly it’s just banging off the doors. You’ll not understand, and all that is happening. But it is your own doing.
Q. How important is sex education at the early stage of a child?
A: A good question, because a lot many times parents do. you know like i said. We have two age groups, so even for sex education, we have two age group. One is the junior sex education, which we call as step up. The first step with sex ed. So, in that, it is from 5 years to 8, 9 years. And second is step up with sex ed which is 10 years onward. So initially even 5 years, parents are isn’t it too early? So we are like, yes it is you know. But we are not gonna talk about, you know about complete entire picture of sex right. So we are gonna talk to them in a very age-appropriate way because the child is born curious, you know, so they want to know each and everything. So sex education and especially parents being the most reliable source of information. They should talk to their child. And basic things like holding hands or kissing, you should tell them, you should talk to them that this is something, which is an expression of love. There’s nothing wrong in it. But again it happens between, two parents, it happens between mamma and daddy. They are in love with each other, okay. They are married to each other. So you explain to them properly. Make them understand the importance of all these things. And not make it frivolous or don’t hide it. Then it becomes very curious right. Even for the higher, you know the higher age group, teenagers and all, very important because they will get exposed to sex education in terms of porn, right then they will get exposed in terms of, becoming abusive you know because they also get in, they also have their own crushes. Then they see movies, okay. Then they want to have their girlfriends and boyfriends. They want to go out on dates. So in this how important it is to tell them without consent nobody can touch you. Right.
Q: Three funny incidents that happened in your workshops?
A: the funniest thing that i can remember is, I remember we were doing this children workshop okay. We have this cutouts of a girl and a boy okay. And we said that ki okay now you describe the main parts you know, we were asking them what are these parts called. They said the main parts. I said, no. you have to give me a specific name. So they said peanut peanuts. We were like what. I thought first I did not hear correctly. Peanut peanut. I said okay okay it’s not peanut, its penis. But that was like really hilarious.
None of the other incidents come close to this. But I remember one parent actually, you know, the parent actually had tears in his eyes. So I was like, that time I didn’t ask because the class was going on, the workshop was in session, but I could see the tears. So after the workshop, I asked, why what happened. I don’t know how im going to speak to my child. I’m so worried.
no, I was like oh my god, this. So these are the kinds of situations I’ve come across so, yea that
Know I can’t remember the third one, I am sorry. I think I’ll just one or two incidents, that’s it.
Q: So you mentioned about co-founders also, so can you tell more about that. Who are the three co-founders?
A: so right, I have three you know the co-founders with me. One is two of them, Poonam Khurana Avani bhutta. They both are eductors. They both come with the educational background of
Nearly two decades. They run a general knowledge and a gentleman centre in Borivali, by the name of kids domain. And the third person is Beejal Chawla, so she is also a parent and she is a friend of mine as well. And she comes with a very, a holistic background. So she is a bleve, she is a spiritual believer and she believes in the power of positivity a lot. So that has, so that kind of gave us a very different approach to this entire workshop. So we wanted somebody who, you know who also is a parent but has a very different perspective towards making, certain thing understand. And then put up them with the education and interacting with the children background and me with my professional background being a counsellor.
Q: Three important things that a parent should create to you know have a healthy relationship with the child.
A: one is, be a listener okay. That is very important because if you are not listening to the words, not only the words, even the body language of your child. You should be well aware of this, because then only, if you are listening then the child will talk, but if it is also always the other way round, that you are talking the child may choose not to listen to you. Okay, so be a good listener. Then be consistent, okay parents, don’t change as per your convenience. Okay, right now you are in a hurry, rush to go somewhere, so achcha achcha you watch tv while having food okay. Or you want the child to eat healthy food, so okay you bribe them saying that ki achcha you eat ghar ka khana right now, I will get you icecream for you. So don’t do all those things. So be in a consistent, consistent parent is also very very important. Okay, and the third and the most important thing is to, you know, just be in a real self, okay. So just be real, don’t suddenly become different because you are a parent okay. If you are a fun-loving person, by nature, you know, be like that with your child. Don’t become suddenly strict, no not required, okay just to enjoy with your child. Be real, you are real, the child is always mimicking the parent. Always. So if the child knows that my parent is like for him or her the child will feel like that only.
Q: So instances, where you think the parent is wrong.
A: Okay so like I said earlier, there is no parenting as such. But a, one of the main instances is when parents do something, the difference is when they want certain things to be done their way. Okay, so yea. They become controlling. Lets, for example, I will give you, for example, you know, teenager right. As I said, is trying to become, establishes his own identity. Right. At that time, imagine you have to go for a family function, okay. The teenager comes out wearing denim or a t-shirt or a jacket. The mother freaks out, okay. What is this? You have to wear a kurta, you have to wear a traditional theme. So, you know, these are the, what is the need, the child is coming with you, enjoy the company, enjoy the moment of togetherness. Learn to choose your battles wisely is my advice to parents. This is not the battle where you need to waste your energy in. okay, so then the child will be like, I cannot decide also what I have to wear also. Okay so then the child will choose ki, am not coming. And then again you will get, you never want to come with us. So it goes into a loop. So my advice is to choose your battles wisely. Okay so fine, you are comfortable, we are comfortable, let’s go. Then sometimes you can always, you know, like I have seen, a lot many times. I believe, so many WhatsApp messages are also floating. This is for birthday parties okay. Where parents are, you know, they go with a return gift. The child gets a return gift okay, but also during the various games during the birthday party, every child is ensured that there is the gift. Why, it is okay, if the child does not get a gift or, does not win that particular activity, its, it’s perfectly fine. How will the child realise that something called failure also? It is okay if you come second, it is okay if you come third. It is okay if you are not in the first ten also. The important thing is that you have attempted it. You have, you went for that particular thing. But parents are forgetting that, because it is there sometimes I feel like, their own you know, you know, achcha I got this opportunity, but I have given to my child, so let my child prove it now. So these are the various things now, I feel like parents should learn to control themselves. right. let the child be at times.
Am not saying that constantly listen to your child, because sometimes the child is not, not in that, you know great frame to understand what is good or bad for them. But let the child also, respect the decisions of the child. Have conversations, okay tell them that, okay I understand your point of view. But i choose, respect your decision. But I choose right now, that you listen to me. So the child knows ki, okay so somewhere I may, I have not thought of it properly. But my parent at least heard me out. They respect my opinion, so that, when the child becomes a teenager, these conversations will be better. And there will not just be banging of the doors. So you have to kind of do all these things right from the beginning. Don’t get into the tantrums. Because the child is crying, throwing things. Don’t get into them. Learn to say no, and make the child also understand why you have said a no. so the child needs to know your no. these are a few things which I think the parent should and rest parent should come for the workshop.
Q: Can you tell us about your eureka moment.
A: so actually you know, for me the eureka moment has been happening in different phases of my life. Maybe I can just connect the dots, and so actually what happened was when I was a child okay, my parents were working right. So there were many times when you know I used to have a lot of questions right. Because I was always a tomboy kind of a, I used to be always kind of a, so I used always kind of boys. We used to have a kind of fun relationship. But many times, eyebrows were always raised. Ki Trupti Natekar, you know, always with boys and kind of stuff like that. So I used to always used to, wanted to know ki why it is like this you know. Why do we, because I used to see my brother also hanging out with girls and stuff. And these used to be very normal for me. So that question never got answered. I grew up with so many questions in my mind right. So when you go to college, you feel like you are stud so you feel like, you know all the questions. But never got the answers there also. And you know when I got started working you know, I remember my first interview with times of India and the boss asks me ki what is the reason for you to join advertisement. You have done chemistry, you are a chemistry major. I said I just feel like you know, advertising is all about reactions, right. It is again, again chemical reaction right. What happens now, what kind of reactions you give. So I think I was always interested in knowing what is how humans think. Okay what actually gives rise to certain reactions. What are the different answers that can be expected, not expected? So if I look back, I somehow felt like I was trying to do this course. So okay when I became a mother, I honestly wanted to be able to answer each and every question which my son will ask me. I wanted to be a very aware parent. Okay, but so in this thing, I said ki let me do this course and which kind of really helped me, right. To understand human, in a much better way. Understand the various complications. So, throughout this whole journey, I met the right people. Okay, I got the right situations in front of me. Which I felt was you know kind of pushed me also towards, forming me this, this brilliant initiative. And especially talking about sex education kind of you know, I remember my father, I was telling him okay this is the workshop I do and all. And my father was like, you talk about all these things? You know, we have a small video on my, you know pathfinders page also we have put up. My son out of the blue he is explaining the entire process of menstruation. And he is all of 7 years old. And he is like if I see any girl na, any patch on her skirt I will give her my jacket. And so, my parents were like, you know he knows everything right now only. I said see, that is how it helps. So that again kind of really gave me a good boost. I said ki, yes we are doing that. We are working on the right track. So these all have been my eureka moment honestly.
Q: One word that describes your childhood?
A: Fantastic, too memorable. I can go on and on with the adjectives.
Q: One book that you recommend that parents should read?
A:It’s not actually for parents, per se. But I think everybody should read this book which is ikaika which is a Japanese secret to a long and happy life. So it, it kind of gives a very different perspective towards how we should live our lives. So that’s one book I can recommend. Otherwise parenting books to each its own. Everybody is an excellent parent according to me.
Q: One crazy thing you did as a child.
A: so me and my friend you know, so at that, not that time now also not many young lovers used to come okay. So I and my friend used to hide behind this tree. And the moment we used to see a couple coming, we used to throw pebbles at them and scare them you know. Because they used to come thinking that it is very quiet and nobody over there and peaceful. Nobody will disturb them. And we used to do all these things. So that is the one crazy thing that we used to do.
Q: Very controversial question, who is a better parent? Father or a mother
A: so, so be the mother, I would always say. But no, I think it’s ideally, I have nobody has to ever answer this question. I really hope so. And it always has to be a perfect balance. So that I can, no perfect answer I can give to this.
Q: One song you like the most?
A: Sanju, kar har maidan fateh. I really find it very inspirational.
Q: Last question. So what is a unique quality an Indian parent has?
A: that they are always there. They are always along there. No matter where, you know Indian child will go, an Indian parent will always be there for the child. No matter how old the child becomes, but the parents will always be there.