Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: Who Do You Think You're Kidding? by Lina Ashar

Title: Who Do You Think You're Kidding?
Author: Lina Ashar
Publisher: Random House India
Pages: 304
Price: Rs 299
Genre: Non Fiction / Parenting
Rating: 10/10
Format: Paperback

‘Who do you think you’re Kidding?’ happened to me at the right time. I am a mother to an 18 month old toddler and almost-obsessed about creating right environment and providing enough opportunities to our son. Learning, education, parenting techniques, discipline, etc., are the buzz words that rule my thoughts and rock my world these days. Every parent would agree that parenting in this day and age is far more challenging than it was for the previous generation.

I am a book person. When I seek knowledge beyond the scope of Google, I pick up a book. I feel there is a dearth of good parenting books in India. There are several books from foreign authors but we need books that address issues and concerns specific to our country.

In ‘Who do you think you’re Kidding?’, the author, Lina Ashar, enunciates several concerns and challenges of new age parenting and offers solutions from her experience as an educationist and a mother. Children today have to deal with excess of everything – exposure to various media, information, competition, consumerism, to name a few. They need support and guidance from their parents to deal with them. And for that, parents themselves need to break out of their traditional approach to parenting and move with the times.

Here are a few takeaways from the book:
  • The kids of today are being bombarded with information through TV, Internet, Radio or Outdoor. There is no getting away. With technology influencing every facet of life and education, a child cannot live in a vacuum. It is imperative to teach children to use technology with prudence and responsibility.
  • It is important to develop a child’s self-esteem, which in turn depends on the kind of messages they receive from others about themselves, especially parents.
  • Intense competition is taking over the joys of childhood. Children should not be made to bear the burden of their parents’ unfulfilled ambitions. They should be allowed to choose their own path with support and encouragement.
  • A parent or teacher should incorporate a child’s interest area to make learning interesting and fun.
  • Whatever be our parenting styles, we should be aware / conscious about its implications on our child.
  • Role of a father or a mother in the life of a son or / and a daughter; and how we as a father or a mother can improve our relationship with our child. The book also cautions about the pitfalls of gender stereotyping.
  • Understanding the differences in raising a son vis-à-vis raising a daughter equips you in helping them realise their potential and encouraging them to try different things. It is not the same as gender stereotyping.

Many more such issues as challenges of early years, the beginning of learning, left brain vs. right brain, transition years (tweens and teens), exam anxiety, career choices, etc, etc. have been packed into 300 pages.

This paragraph (quoted from the book) best defines what the author attempts to achieve:

"Increasing levels of competition, reducing paradigms of space and time, evolving sources of information and entertainment, changing moral, social, and religious values is leaving us with an unknown future. The dilemma that every parent and teacher faces today – ‘How do I use the tools I have to prepare children for a future that I don’t know anything about? How do I prepare them to resolve issues that have not yet risen? What is parenting in this age of digital revolution and globalization?' These are the questions I seek to answer in this book."

There are no hi-fi fundas or tangential jargons in this easy-to-read book. Every parent will find resonance of their concerns in this book. The book is peppered with witty yet relevant illustrations to support the points, and very relatable examples.

A few words of wisdom from the author (quoted from the book):
“The advice I give parents is to keep opening windows of opportunities for their children – sport, musical instruments, theatre, dance, everything – and allowing them to decide what they like and want to pursue.”

It is certainly a must-read book for new age parents!

Here’s an interview of the author which will give you more perspective on the book.

Review Book courtesy:
Random House India

Image Source: Random House India

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