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A Cross Cultural Perspective on Child Rearing – Student Blog – Ritwik Khurana

 

Parenting is regarded as one of the most challenging tasks for a person to take up. It requires patience, understanding, unconditional love and support. There is a quote that states “A single tree cannot grow a variety of fruits”, which implies that a person cannot possess a multitude of qualities to sustain a desirable life. But how does this translate to parenting?

There have been many stories of children who reminisced the times spent with their mothers and fathers, whereas there also have been horror stories of childhood abuse and parents who neglected their children. But overall, on average most children can provide a testament to having nostalgic and vivid childhood experiences in their adulthood. Parenting requires a person to possess the same multitudes of qualities as mentioned above, which proves this statement wrong. Humans are complex, are prone to lapses in judgement but are capable of possessing a variety of desirable and positive traits.

Universally, the challenges of Child rearing are very similar but differ in practice according to one’s culture. In todays Blog post we will try to understand the impact of parenting styles on Child rearing and mainly the cultural differences between Eastern & Western Child rearing practices. Diana Baumrind (1950s) revolutionized the existing thoughts on parenting by introducing 3 types of parenting styles, which are; Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive. Now let’s apply these concepts on Eastern & Western Child rearing. Countries like India, China and Vietnam are often recognized as truly Asian, because of their strong collectivistic values.

Indian parents are often typified as being “Authoritarian”, being too controlling and worried about their child’s future. This is often displayed through “High academic expectations” where these parents force their children to pursue excellence in studies and co-curricular activities. China also follows a similar model, barring cultural connotations. This attitude of parenting often stems from an excessive reliance on communal image and personal goals at the parental end, which harms the emotional and cognitive development of children.

The strength of cultural conformity and family bonds has even extended the authoritarian rights to neighbors and other adult members of the society. This often causes problems among the younger members of society, who require deserved autonomy in their youth. But on the other hand, the youth are usually well supported by their parents – emotionally & financially, until they can afford this autonomy on their own. Resulting in some members of this culture doing well for themselves. Which is not the case in Western culture.

On the other hand, a research conducted on American & Western parenting practices by Sandra Hofferth in 2015 discovered that America has higher proportions of poor and low-income children than other developed nations, and poverty explains more differences in parenting practices than family structure. It is slightly ironic, but can we infer this is as a reason for problems observed in Indian parenting, from the given statement? This statement gives us a reason to believe that the financial resources of a family in any cultural context, is the biggest extraneous variable in research conducted on Parenting & Child rearing practices. According to Hofferth’s research, the parents were performing well on average, but two aspects need improvement in American culture, as these cause a lot of developmental problems.

These are Poverty & Parental relations; Poverty and homelessness are the biggest causes of childhood abuse and exploitation in developed countries. There are many cases of resilience, but a lot of children succumb to their adverse circumstances. Strong Parental relations is a good indicator of peaceful family life, It is worth noting, moreover, that despite the preponderance of children living with two married parents at any one time, more than half of American children will spend some part of their childhood living in a household that does not include two biological parents who are married to each other.

This small overview has been presented to provide an insight into the commonly observed Child rearing practices between Eastern & Western cultures. The institution of marriage is highly regarded in the Indian culture and its impact can be evidently observed on child rearing practices in India. Whereas marriage in western cultures is often characterized as the “Next step”. It is very important to note, that when cultural contexts change the problems will also change. Countries like India & China, which have a higher density of people residing in an area, are prone to more collectivistic consumer-oriented parenting. Whereas North Americans are used to Individualistic consumer-oriented parenting. Here consumer-oriented refers to the impact of popular culture on Child rearing practices.

I hope you learned something today, and are able to take something home. Don’t get alarmed by these statistics, refer to the first paragraph of this post. Good Parenting can happen with patience, understanding, unconditional love and support!

For more Blogs on various Psychological Facets follow blog.iilm.edu.

By – Ritwik Khurana

BA Psychology

Decoding Careers in Psychology

This Podcast is for all the people who aspire to be psychologists and want to create a difference in people’s life. Curiosity is an intrinsic part of human nature. Many of you have grown up asking one basic question why? And as adults, we continue to question and ponder at things.

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Psychology and psychologists tend to apply the same universal curiosity to observe and examine the relationship between our environment and our behaviour. This has motivated many people to choose a career in psychology.

Today I will try to decode a few career options rooting out of this vast subject i.e. Psychology. Be it schools, colleges, hospitals or organizations everyone needs a psychologist Today. But before that let’s clear our minds with the role of a psychologist. What do psychologists do? Tomorrow when I am a psychologist what is that I’m supposed to do? Once your vision is clear following the path becomes easy.

As Psychologists we investigate human behaviour, how people think, learn, develop emotionally and socially. Not only this they help people build their confidence and self-esteem. Your job as a practitioner is not only to help people suffering from trauma, mental disorders and substance abuse related problems but also to bring about positive change in the society and environment.

A Psychologist’s role is to connect with people, nurture relationships, and help people build a strong sense of understanding with others and their inner self. Working with individual client’s psychologists can transform lives; understand the root cause of the problem and offer treatment contributing majorly to the well being of our society. This involves the major role and responsibility towards the profession.

You can work in universities and government agencies as well. Depending on your career goals you may opt to move into a speciality area that fires your imagination and promises fulfilling work.

One can begin with a Bachelors degree in Psychology which gives you exposure to various subjects like abnormal psychology, positive psychology; youth gender identity, emotional intelligence, organizational behaviour and many more. Once u develop an interest you can gradually peruse specialization in counselling, clinical, organizational, or child psychology which will open doors in almost every discipline be it hospitals as a therapist or schools as a counsellor or in organizations as a life coach.

The choices are so vast that you can choose to be a military Psychologist consumer, aviation or Forensic Psychologist. The fields are endless. You name a disciple and there is a need for a responsible psychologist everywhere. Rightly said this profession is interesting to pursue but one has to deal with utmost responsibility towards one’s clients.

Internships are an important aspect of a Psychologist’s career building. With continuous internships programs in hospitals and Ngo’s many students have mastered the art of psychotherapy and are practising making a difference in the lives of many people. You could be one. Get introduced to the subject and discover more about the Psychology behind a Beautiful Mind.

A Psychologist’s Guide to Coping in Uncertain Times

“Always Expect the Unexpected Because the Only Certainty Is Uncertainty”

Uncertainty in life has many forms. Changes at workplaces, change in priorities, change in rules and regulations. Even if things are safe right now you never know when they would change and you need to be ready to handle that change.

Change is usually not the problem; it’s the discomfort that often bothers us as we are so strongly attached to a particular outcome in life.

When certainty is questioned we usually have a fight or flight reaction and try to safeguard ourselves. Our brain prefers to find a sure shot outcome to the uncertainty we are experiencing. Research proves that anticipating pain soothes us to be calm than anticipating uncertainty only because we know that pain is certain. For example, uncertainty about getting a job is more stressful than actually losing a job.

Now, the question arises what should we do to tackle uncertainty in a way that it doesn’t impact our overall health and well-being.

This is very important for students aspiring to work with multinationals, professionals struggling with changing roles, people disheartened with their job.

  1. Firstly, don’t panic, remain calm and level headed. Living in uncertain times can be discomforting but you can control how to respond to such situations.
  2. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. Try changing the habit of ruminating on negative events of life. Why only visualize worst case scenarios. If there is a fear of not getting a job think of ways to enhance your skills. Think positive and believe in yourself. Remember it’s your life and you have the potential to change it.
  3. Add Value to your skills. It’s important to align your skill set to what is currently the need of the industry. Make sure you have those skills that the current time is demanding. Act upon it. Visualize possibilities.
  4. Market Yourself. Do not think I am asking you to boast about yourself; but how would people know your calibre if you don’t tell them about yourself. Get the recognition you deserve. Go for it.
  5. Ensure your profile is updated. Have an eye-catching LinkedIn profile. Express your interest in companies that you aspire to work with. What you post on your profile should be interesting in content and original in nature to attract organizations towards you.
  6. Focus on Financial Well-Being. One tip for life is always having a financial saving of at least six months worth your livelihood. This will be your support during rainy days and you’ll always have time to choose the best opportunity and will never settle for something less in life. Savings are very essential.
  1. Engage in Self care. Healthy routines are magical. Eat well, exercise regularly, just like body needs stimulation so does our mind and thoughts. So feed your intellect with good literature. Practice mindfulness, it makes life a better place and opens doors that you thought were closed.
  1. Risk is real and Fear is optional. Risk assessed is risk management. Understand the uncertainty take calculated risks and overcome your fears to innovate the new you.
  2. Control what you can. We often run for things that are beyond our control. Try making a slight change by focusing on stuff that is within your control. It can be as basic as setting your clothes a night before a strenuous day. Try comforting your days.

If you see your Today. Job insecurity is the “New Reality,” why respond or perceive it as Negative. It might offer better opportunities for your growth and career enhancement.

Take that Extra Mile and prove your worth. Show the world your True Potential. Don’t Stress and rather Invest in this time to uplift your skills and embrace the new shift that the Industries are offering.

This is the only way you can see the New Positive and Let go the doubt and uncertainty around. Be prepared to change with the times instead of resisting to a change. Life’s most treasured moments come unannounced. Instead of being threatened by unexpected outcomes we should learn that they can be hidden seeds of opportunities.

For best professional practices and how to deal with professional challenges follow my blogs on IILM Blogs and LinkedIn or write to me at megha.kochhar@iilm.edu

We at IILM train students to handle complex situations and be proactive professionals in every situation by focusing on multiple skill development, developing emotional intelligence. There is a Center for Emotional Intelligence at IILM University where training programs help students build self awareness, emotional regulation that helps them deal with uncertainty in personal and professional life.

ART THERAPY- DISCOVER YOURSELF

“Mirror is a reflection of our faces and Art of our Souls”

Art has the ability to change and transform lives, in profound ways. When words fail, we turn to images and symbols to narrate our stories. Through art we can reach out to people with our stories and find a path towards transformation and healing.

As they say there is a lot between the heaven and earth than just dreams. Art therapy has a therapeutic way of rooting the idea of creative expression that fosters healing our soul and leading us towards mental well-being. For years art has been a very communicative way to express our feelings. When we were young we would instinctively use painting, drawing, sketching to communicate and express our emotions, but as we grow, and maturity hits us we often forget the beautiful impact art had on our lives.

Through Art Therapy patients are provided with a safe place where they can explore not very pleasant feelings like fear, anger, aggression, unfulfilled expectations. Feelings that they would otherwise avoid to talk about. Rightly said “Art speaks where words end.”  The field of Art and artistic people has always intrigued me. It feels like artistic people see life through a very different lens. They have immense waves of creativity within and so they life seems so sorted and calm. I wonder how various forms of art give them so much of peace. I guess the only reason why their life is so peaceful is that it’s not humans, but a form of art that is communicated as a Peacemaker and Healer adding the Art Therapy to experience the solace within.

Going back to Ancient history, art has been one of the oldest ways to communicate through wall carvings, sculptures, and paintings right from the Indus valley civilization. It is seen that when a person is unable to speak about his pain, they resort to expressing their feelings through Art.

Healing is totally an internal process which has a lot to do with a sense of positivity and inner strength. Ask an artist and they will enlighten you about the therapeutic impact Art has on them. Art Therapy is a type of expressive therapy that enhances a person’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being through the process of creativity. By art we mean everything that stirs our consciousness and inner strength to challenge our mind. This is the process where artistic expression helps lots of people to develop positive feelings, solve problems, change attitudes, boost their self-concept and be more content with themselves.

Art is like a life saving jacket in a world that’s growing crazy. Art keeps you grounded in your roots. It has a meditative impact to develop patience in life. We have to make a choice today either “let Art enter your world or you enter into the World of Art.” Choice is yours to discover the artist in you.

Remember friends Art is not a skill, but an expression and it really does not matter if you think you cannot draw or create. It’s an outlook towards life, which can be seen in the form of a new hobby, learning music, anything that keeps you occupied and for which you feel the desire to create time and it’s  so becoming a part of your life in spite of the busy schedules you have as it heals you from all the stress that you’ve been carrying  as a baggage of life.

It’s practically applicable and as a life skill trainer and therapist, I have seen my students experiencing the magic of art therapy in their lives.  A group of IILM students took this initiative to apply this therapy for the first two weeks and shared such positive results in their level of expression, understanding of situations. One common response was that they learnt to respond rather than react in stressful situations.

Art Therapy gives people medium to express their feelings and problems and tread a happier life that is real and serene in nature. Art as a therapy has proved to be a powerful weapon to combat illness and spread well-being. It allows you to be yourself with no Form and that’s the Beauty. So let’s join hands together to inhale positivity and exhale creativity.

To connect on knowing more about the profound value and benefits of art, colors and visualization therapy write to me on megha.kochhar@iilm.edu

Awakening Digital Media in Remote Areas

The advent of digital media has been nothing short of a revolution for our country. In recent times this importance got highlighted during demonetization and now with the Corona crisis staring at our face. This has also vastly affected our social relationships and the way we perceive issues.

Every technology has its drawbacks when used to generate negativism and disorder. Unfortunately these are the perils of our times and in spite of existing safeguards there are implications which have ominous consequences. Though, we have embraced the digital world with open arms, however, it cannot be said for the common man.

It needs no emphasis that more than 70 percent of the population our country resides in the rural areas. Has this population changed its ways and thoughts to imbibe the rudiments of digitization? The answer would not please us. We are still a developing country and cannot measure up to the standards of countries such as USA, Japan or France.

What then should be the way out? The first and the foremost are related to the reach of media. We need to have internet connectivity to the remotest areas which may involve a large amount of expenditure. A way out could be to develop a cyber hub in each village which should be maintained by the district administration and people could flock there and use the mobiles with the available internet connectivity to transact any kind of business or information related activity. It is noteworthy to see that PayTM and such like platforms have been a great force multiplier towards paperless transaction. We need to build up on these existing platforms and extend their reach to the remote areas of the country.

Broadband highways need to come up and get established in a phased manner. The common man needs this technology to augment the agricultural base of the country and build up the resources of our country. The path is long but can be tread upon if the correct impetus is there. I am reminded of a famous quote,

Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional”.

Explore Life within You-

” I have always believed  success, in life, is most easily measured by the number of days you are truly happy.”  Our mindset and optimistic attitude towards life decides everything we come across.

Standing at the edge of human existence, a realization dawns on us that how temporary and uncertain our lives can be. To make our lives more fulfilling we need to create the right mindset which encompasses positive thinking. Think positive and positive things will happen.

Unfortunately we block our energy fields with negative thoughts. You don’t need to know the future as it is in your own hands. There comes a time when you need to have absolute faith in oneself and be sure, destiny will unfold your true path and purpose in this lifetime.

It is therefore extremely important that we channelize our energies to create positivity around us to make our work and life more fulfilling and motivating.

The present environment if has put restrictions, it has also opened up our inner doors of self reflection ,where we need to reflect upon ourselves in ways that we can decide what can be the path of our lives, which manifests in our well- being that would impact our personal and professional relationships as we are spending maximum time these days with ourselves and our family.

When we are going through a difficult situation and feel like running away from it, all we need to think and do is to replace that thought of ‘running away’ with the thought of ‘finding a way’. Let us use this difficult situation as a platform to take an extra step of faith in our lives. Let us take off and face the situation and move towards creating a positive change.

Let’s talk about a handful of simple practices that can be helpful in being more decisive and give direction to positive thinking.

  1. Create Realistic Expectations for Yourself

The problem lies when we expect from others and somewhere hold others responsible for what we desire in life. When you set realistic expectations from yourself and fulfill them it gives you strength to be self reliant in life. Eg. Develop a skill for which you are responsible, create happiness for yourself. Don’t wait for someone to make you happy.

  1. Never compromise on Values

There should be at least one strong value that you possess that you have never compromised on. End of the day it gives you inner strength and satisfaction.

  1. Don’t accept fear as a part of life

Conquer any one fear of yours. The more you run away the stronger the fear gets. Face it and kill it.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Enjoy every moment of your existence. The way you speak to each person, what you eat, what you smell, every breath of yours enjoy it. Imagine if there was no tomorrow. Live each day as if it is your only day to give to the cosmos. You will realize a sense of enthusiasm gushing in pushing you to do so much in life.

  1. Value Relationships

This is what you have earnt in life so value your personal relationships and nurture your professional relationships. Honesty in work and loyalty in relationships take you a long way.

   “Optimism is a happiness magnet”

 See what kind of people & situations draw

      Towards you. This will be a clear indicator of how you view yourself.

“  “Be the change you wish to see in others”