The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, December 8, 2002

Parenting no child’s play
Priyanka Singh

Make Your Child a Winner
by Pradeep Kapoor. Rupa. Pages 258. Rs 195

Make Your Child a WinnerAN American wit once said: "When I had no child, I had six theories on how to bring up children. Now I have six children and no theory." Truly, parenting is not the easiest thing in the world and doesn’t come naturally. There are no thumb rules here, only instincts. The concerns of a parent are as valid as these are varied and the fears are not exaggerated as the experiences of childhood often have a direct bearing on how a child’s personality shapes up later in life. A scarred childhood may make for a social misfit.

Pradeep Kapoor addresses these concerns and gives bounteous guidance to parents in a manner only a professional, in this case a pediatrician, can. He doubles as a clinical psychologist, backing his explanations with case studies and covering special types of children, including a problem child, an abused child and one suffering from inferiority/superiority complex.

He works on the basic premise that every child is a winner and underscores the role of a parent in making a child an achiever. "If a child gets a nurturing environment he/she develops into a winner… If faced with failure or rejection the result is a collapse of confidence and withdrawal from the struggle towards worthwhile achievement," he says.


It is of paramount importance—and that’s probably the crux of good parenting—that children should grow up feeling good about themselves. A self-assured child already has a headstart in life and the maturity with which a child would deal with situations as an adult has its basis in the formative years.

Temper tantrums, a child’s fears, homework, fear of school, friends and hobbies, among other things, have been discussed in the book, which is a psychological treatise on parent-child relationship rather than a handbook on off-hand tips on parenting.

Kapoor asserts that yelling at children is counter-productive, but at the same time he doesn’t undermine the importance of saying "no." They must be allowed to make independent decisions and undue restrictions should not be imposed on them. He also warns that ridiculing a child in front of his/her friends could have a debilitating effect on the child.

He suggests a parent equate "energy" (reaction) to money. For instance, if a child spills a glass of milk by mistake, you shouldn’t shout for even you too can make that mistake. However, if it was deliberate, think of the cost, which is negligible. The only issue worth dealing with here is the indiscipline of the child, in which case a warning should follow.

The contents under "Every child is Unique," "Good Parents Communicate" and "Smart Parenting" are especially informative and present an insight into the world of children and parents.

Quoting tanner, he says it is possible to predict the adult height of a child with an error of plus/minus 4 cm by doubling the height of a child at two years or by multiplying the height at three years with 1.87.

Parenting is forever, but the author, understandably so, restricts his advice to dealing with adolescents and under.

Parents must work towards providing a child with a strong value system, emotional stability and an unbiased perspective. Jim Bishop’s quote—"Raising a child is very much like building a skyscraper. If the first few storeys are out of line, no one will notice. But when the building is 18 or 20 storey high, everyone will see that it tilts."—is a clear indicator of what slack parenting can do.