Random House India Posts

Gouri Dange “More ABCs of Parenting”

Gouri Dange “More ABCs of Parenting”

Gouri Dange

There is a poem that I have pinned on my refrigerator. “Children Learn what they Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte. Here it is, copied from this link: http://www.blinn.edu/socialscience/LDThomas/Feldman/Handouts/0801hand.htm

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

I was reminded of this poem while reading Gauri Dange’s More ABCs of Parenting. I liked reading it. There is sound advice, based on plenty of experience. Her book is like a handy Dr. Spock, but for an older age group of children. She discusses issues and challenges of child-rearing without ever talking down to the parent or making them feel guilty. She presents a reality and suggests ways in which the situation at home can be managed. It is a patient and sincere voice that comes through. But at times her exasperation with modern day parenting is expressed sharply as in her chapter on parents multi-tasking. For instance parents checking their emails, talking on the phone etc. Basically doing everything else while physically being around their children but ostensibly absent. Gauri Dange refers to it as “hollow communication”. A lovely phrase!

Gouri Dange is a writer and practising family counsellor based in Pune and Mumbai, India. She is a columnist and contributes regularly to articles in the papers and social media sites. Her blog is http://gouridange.blogspot.in/ and her email id is [email protected] .

The chapters in the book are short, precise and quick to read, but packed with information and insights. It helps to have an anecdote associated with every word discussed. May it be bullies, death, older parents, studying abroad etc. Each chapter is bracketed with a headnote about what to expect in the chapter, followed by a boxed note on do’s and dont’s. Very useful!

Dr Barnali Bhattacharya says it well in her foreword to the book, “Parenting is an art!” How true!

Gouri Dange More ABCs of Parenting Random House India, New Delhi, 2013. Pb. pp. 268 Rs. 199.

From the eye of my mind, T G C Prasad

From the eye of my mind, T G C Prasad

A friend of mine, who has an autistic child, was discussing the lack of good and reliable literature on autism. Not necessarily about what is autism, but how to sensitise the community about what it actually means, understanding an autistic individual and the amount of patience, love and time it requires from the primary caregivers. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in Rain Man was probably only a small step in the direction but that was many, many moons ago.

Late last year, Random House India published T.G.C. Prasad’s From the eye of my mind. It is about eighteen-year-old Mallika, an autistic whose special skills lie in word games and being a voracious reader. She possesses a phenomenal memory but lacks all sense of context. The book is about Mallika’s agitation at the thought of her beloved older brother, Ananth, getting married and bringing a stranger into the house. A distressing thought for Mallika. It is a story sensitively told by the author, who minutely documents the characteristics of an autistic person, the worry that her parents have for her future and how it impacts their decision in bride-hunting for Ananth.

This is a book worth reading, sharing, discussing, using extensively in schools or programmes for autism. Of course it does have a Bollywood-like ending and could do with another round of proofing, nevertheless — read it. Here is the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fiction-book-on-autism-From-the-eye-of-my-mind/401970173220062 .

T.G.C. Prasad From the Eye of my Mind Ebury Press, Random House India, 2012. Pb. pp. 306 Rs. 299 ( Also available as an eBook.)

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