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MD's Note April 2013
Arpita Bansal

As an entrepreneur and a parent, I am often asked about work-life balance. I tend to think of parenting as an art – it is subjective and varies with every parent-child equation. There's no one way of doing it, and each one's expression is equally valid. At the same time, life has taught me that when you have your priorities sorted out, choices become easier and decision-making becomes a less time-taking process.

Gone are the days when parents were authority figures more than anything else, and there was a strict hierarchy is the household that was followed by all. The new generation of children born in the late nineties and in the 21st century – an entire brigade of very 'techsavvy' kids – are smarter and more aware than their counterparts of the old era. And now that children have evolved to this stage, I think the parent-child relation has followed suit.

Take, for example, my own teenage daughter. I have always been more of a friend to her rather than trying to exercise rigid control. We openly communicate and I have moulded our relationship in such a manner that today, my daughter can come and discuss any matter under the sky with me. At the same time, I also make an effort to have her involved in matters related to my work and personal life to whatever extent possible so that it is a two-way communication path.

When it comes to control, discipline and rules, the most appropriate method I have discovered is not through
stringent dos and don'ts but through setting an example. The foundation of discipline is built inside one's home and children will emulate their parents first. I see a lot of parents who exercise the 'no means no' rule – but in my home, the 'no' is followed by logical reasoning and that in turn makes my daughter understand why something in particular is not allowed. It also gives her a chance to analyse how adults think and to differentiate between right and wrong. And, of course, the biggest reward for this whole process is that there are no lingering hard feelings or sense of injustice.

At a time when crime against children is increasingly coming to light and statistics have begun to narrate horrific stories, concerned parents must realise that being a good friend to your child is far more important than being a strict disciplinarian or doting parent. If your child cannot approach you in his or her time of need, then what good are all the extra trophies, high marks or designer clothes? Open channels of communication are the most precious gifts you can give your child. Let's not neglect this most basic of parenting skills while pushing them to perform better and better.

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