With a little help from my son – Dr Shelja Sen


Typical scene at home-

Mum: “Anya, do you think you would like to wear something else rather than that same old jeans?”

Nishat: “Mum, its alright. Let her wear what she wants to wear.”

Mum: “Nishat, I was talking to Anya. Can you please let me do my job as a parent? Anya, can you please change your jeans?”

Nishat and Anya exchange glances and roll their eyes.

Mum (by this time becoming aware of the time and getting a little flustered): “Enough of that, we will be late. Change your jeans now.”

Nishat: “Mum, do you think you need to put it another way?”

Mum (trying to do some deep breathing): “Nishat, can you stay out of it?”

Anya (with a nose for drama): “I think he has a perfectly good point. Lets hear him.”

As a parent I am going through an interesting phase I had never factored in my scheme of life. I am being advised on my parenting of my 11 year old by my 15 year old son! At every step!

“Mum, I wouldn’t say that if I was you.” “ Mum, that strategy of yours really does not work. Trust me. I should know”, “I remember you saying that to me….nope…didn’t work!” “Mum, at this age what kids need is….” “Mum, I don’t you think you remember what it is to be 11 years old.”

The best is when he looks deep into my eyes and says, “Is this supported by research too?” Our attempts at showing and touting the top research are like a flimsy joke in the family now. (Sigh)

The best thing is that he is spot on most of the times. He is like a mirror – sitting there and calmly reflecting. …

Once, expecting his “wise comments” I took my daughter to another room to “have a talk with her” to have him shout out – “ I can hear you” so I tried lowering my volume a bit “I can still hear you.” So I stormed out of the room and told him in a steely (read hurt) voice, “So you think I am not a good parent?”

He smiled warmly at me, gave me a hug and said, “You are the best I know. Just think you could do with some help!”


(Shelja Sen is one of the founders of Delhi’s Children First. She is a Family Therapist and works with children)


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