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5 ways to get your parents in your team

Read on as Psychotherapist Sheena Kalia helps us crack the code of getting parents in our team...

We blame our parents for anything and everything, from the name they gave us to our least favorite feature of ourselves; we’ve all taken our parents for granted at some point. And yet, there are times when we dread them and are scared to confide in them. Let’s face it, parents can be both – difficult to approach and easy to target!

But does it have to be that way? Why should it always be our word against theirs? Why can’t we be in the same team as our parents, even if we have to agree to disagree on certain issues?

1. Communicate honestly 

It may be tricky to initiate a conversation with your parents when you have a bad news to give, like bad test results. Or you need a permission that you know is difficult to get.

At such times, pick the right time and words to bring it up and more importantly be confident. Don’t equate yourself with your failures. You are a combination of your hits and misses. Failure is just something to learn from and your parents have gone through their share of it too. So if you genuinely take responsibility for it, the conversation will be a lot easier than you thought.   

To do this you can –

Learn something together. Take a language class or learn a sport. Pick something gender neutral so the entire family can come together and learn something new. Irrespective of how well or badly each of you perform, you will learn to help each other out.

2. Keep the humor alive  

If you are planning to emulate that morning Pooja scene from DDLJ where Kajol gets her permission by offering morning prayers, you my dear have not mistaken! Do not underestimate the power of humor. Keeping humor alive is important for any relationship but so is knowing, when you need to get serious about things. Humor does not mean you can have a casual approach to life.

An adequate dose of fun never hurt anyone, provided you take responsibility when you need to. It will only improve your relationship with your parents and you will both be able to take things in the right spirit.

To do this you can –

Plan a family movie night. It could be a popular film that everyone is watching or a comedy that will be a mood lifter! You can even take turns between each family member to pick the movie of the week.     

3. Share the load

Helping out parents with the daily chores is one good way to bond with them. It shows them that you are responsible and involved. It is important however to help out consistently and not just when you need something from them.

Make a schedule that suits you and your parent and use that time to share the load and bond. It could be a simple cutting of vegetables or washing the car, just do it so you learn to function as one unit. Also make sure you use this quality time to strengthen your friendship.  

To do this you can –

Cook a meal together, do gardening or laundry. Just make sure you all get together and do the job as one unit. It can be the weekend activity you all bond over.   

4. Get parents involved

Reaching out to parents and having a heart to heart is a fool proof way of getting them in your team. They love you and if you involve them in your matters, they will be there for you.

Involving parents in your life breaks down any possible barriers that time and age may have built between you two. You will be surprised how much you can draw from their experiences and advices. 

To do this you can –

 Go for a walk together (I’d say boating but let’s not get poetic). Walking together can have a calming effect and bring out a beautiful side of your relationship. Make it an important practice.

5. Step in their shoes

If you find that you are repulsed by your parent’s ideas or rules then give it a thought before you react harshly.

May be their thought process and believes come from a different conditioning and a different time. So however difficult it seems, be patient and try to step in their shoes before you judge them. Try to see things from their perspective and you will be in a better position to resolve mutual disagreements. The moment you try to accommodate their feelings you will see you have solved half your problem.  

To do this you can –

 Start a family book club. All of you can pick a book (libraries have multiple copies, plus there are e-books) and read it through the week. Every weekend you’ll can get together and discuss the book, its characters and the plot. This will also help you all understand each other’s perspectives towards life.


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A man’s tale of surviving parental rejection…

It is never easy to deal with rejection but it is the worst when it comes to surviving rejection from a parent. Here is a tale that will move and inspire you all at once...
Ritika SrivastavaTeentalkindia Counsellor

Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.”  Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War.

The above may be just another quote on rejection but it perfectly sums up the life of a man who turned his adversity into an opportunity. Himanshu Shady is someone who not only survived parental rejection (his father chose to walk away from the family when Himanshu was a young boy) but also turned his suffering into a beautiful children’s art project.

Himanshu learnt to deal with the wounds that his parent’s separation had caused, with much heart and art. His art projects; Bombay Underground that supports independent publishing and the Dharavi Art Room, where he holds art classes for the underprivileged kids from Dharavi make a beautiful survival story about dealing with parental rejection.

Rejection they say can be a blessing in disguise; quitting a tough job can lead to a dream job, a break up can lead to your life partner. While that is largely true, how do you deal with rejection when it comes from a parent, and for no fault of your own! Here is Himanshu’s story of surviving parental rejection in his own words…

Putting the art in heart

Art can be therapeutic, and a great medium to vent pent-up feelings. Himanshu, who was always good with drawings, pursued Fine Arts from the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. “Some of my art work still has those references because the vacuum still exists and it keeps resurfacing in my work. Even though it’s not exactly a painful memory anymore, I don’t think the incomplete feeling ever goes away. However, what is nice is that one learns to deal with it,” he says.

Channeling anger     

It is natural to feel angry when we feel dejected, and while you must not bottle your feelings, it is important to know how to deal with them. Himanshu agrees; “I am a conscious citizen of our country and am angry about things that are wrong with our system, but I keep that side of me outside my student’s life. I try to channelize my anger into constructive things like my art. May be the fact that I chose to teach kids has something to do with what was missing in my childhood, so maybe that’s the good that came out of it.”  

Uprooting and leaving

There is nothing more painful than being uprooted from one’s home. Himanshu tells us; “I spent my entire childhood in Vasai but the place had so many memories of my father that we’ve just not gone back. Even though I like the peace and greens of Vasai we never went back because the people there favored him. So I had to uproot myself and move away. Once my father left we had to leave home because of the court’s notice and because we weren’t that economically strong. My mother was left alone to take care of us. We were isolated as a family.”

The shadow follows…

Rejection is a part of growing up but when it comes from a parent and its shadow follows you around – “People treat you badly because you come from a different background. So you tend to find a different space to escape into and eventually that space becomes your whole world. Any human being tries to find a comfort zone. Once I found that place in my work it gave me the positivity I needed.

People made us feel that we were not like other kids, and I’d like to believe we turned out better if not like others, not that anyone is bad. So the shadow of my father’s doing followed us and influenced how others treated us. But that is what I believe made me inclined towards what I do now. So maybe it doesn’t totally cure this impact of a messy childhood but one finds ways to deal with it like I found mine.” Himanshu quips.

Friends were family were friends

They say when we lose something, we are meant to find something better. With that faith intact, Himanshu found some good friends along the way. Speaking fondly of them, he says; “I must point out, what I missed in my personal family I found in my other family, my friends, who have all helped me along the way. So I was really lucky to find this extended family that was different from what was given to me.”


If letting go is important then that is precisely what Himanshu did with his father’s name. “I make up stories about my second name. I don’t use my father’s surname because it is just a reminder of so many negative things. Plus I don’t know the language or culture associated to that name. In fact people from that sect have bothered us so I just don’t have positive memories attached to it. Earlier I was uncomfortable telling my story, now I have come to terms with it.”

On Dharavi Art Room and Bombay Underground

The lack of a father figure and positive influence in his own life drives Himanshu to fill that vacuum in his student’s life, with lots of love and art therapy. “With my students from the Dharavi Art Room, I make sure they get the exposure through us and meet the people that teach them something. With this Art Room I’m just trying to create a space where we all can learn and share something. I don’t know if I’m making a difference but the fact that they come here without the pressure of any attendance means that they are having a good time so I hope that I am a tiny factor that will affect them positively”

“Bombay Underground (BU) is active in terms of its association with people. We have rented a space in Dharavi so it has become a nice entity of its own. Initially it was pretty irregular, considering my own life has been irregular. But BU is still into independent publications. So a lot of people dealing with their own troubles can vent out, because that space is always open through Bombay Underground,” Himanshu concludes.

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