Parental Involvement

Parents’ role is irreplaceable. June 1st observed as the Global Day of Parents is a day that recognises this critical role parents play in nurturing their children.

To mark this day, Dr Prithika Chary, our senior neurologist and neurosurgeon, has penned two poems which capture the essence of childhood and parenting.

Happy reading and a very Happy Parents Day!

Wails & smiles, bibs & napkin soils,
Secure at mother’s breast,
Her touch & smile pure delight.

Building blocks & tearing socks,
Climbing stairs & hugging bears,
Nursery rhymes & pantomime,
Bandaged knees & bedtime whines.

Tasting, touching, seeing, hearing,
Running, cycling, jumping, hopping,
Crèches & colds, and biscuit crumbs,
Fears & faints & painful tums.

Days will fly as time rolls by,
Never to return once gone by,
We need to be there to care & share,
To see those eyes with wonder stare.

It is crucial for parents to be fully engaged with the child from conception to the age of 7 years during the first growth spurt of the brain. At this stage, the brain is like a sponge & open to learning. Parents & teachers need to get this period right as lifelong subconscious programming occurs now & determines his/her personality as an adult. Fathers also need to bond with the child at this time. Our primary needs as humans are safety & security & love & belonging. If this is imprinted in childhood, it creates a confident, happy, & contributing adult.


Adolescence

Parental Involvement

Chocolates & ice creams, lipstick & face creams,
Freaking out & staking out,
Making out & dropping out.

Ponytails & pigtails,
Cocktails & mocktails,
Pictures & lectures,
Strictures & censures.

First love – thrills, chills & spills,
Soaring high over the hills,
Sunbeams & daydreams.

Appointments & disappointments,
Graduation desperation,
First job aspiration.

Fist fights & sweet kisses,
Daredevils & near misses,
Dad is a terror, Mom is a pest.
I know it all, I am the best & my friends know the rest.

It’s New, it’s Special, it’s Only ME,
No, no sweetie, we have been there too.

The second growth spurt of the brain takes place in adolescence between 12 & 25 years of age. During this time, the emotional amygdala is hyperactive – this is why teenagers are thrill seeking, risk taking, aggressive, moody & reactive. Instant gratification and activity in the brain’s reward centres make them vulnerable to addictions. The prefrontal cortex or the rational brain responsible for judgement, reasoning, evaluation of consequences of actions & analysis is just developing. Hence, parents & teachers need to step in from time to time and do the guidance the prefrontal cortex does. Don’t blame teens for their behaviour. They are undergoing tremendous changes in hormones, body image, sexual awareness, & brain development. It is confusing & challenging – they need to be acknowledged & understood. DO NOT BE YOUR CHILD’S FRIEND; you have to be there for them as a parent, supporting, guiding, disciplining, loving, caring & inspiring. Most of all, you must walk the talk & be a role model & lead by example behaviourally manifesting the very behaviour you expect from your child.

Dr. Prithika Chary

Dr. Prithika Chary
Senior Consultant Neurophysician, Neurosurgeon & Epileptologist
Department of Neurosciences, Kauvery Hospital Chennai
Founder and Director at EPICENTTRE