Meaningful Parenting- The world of hollow 'LIKES' ? Maybe/ Maybe not

Can we raise children to turn out to be responsible adolescents in this era of newly found 'narcissism' and 'power' to get 15 minutes of instant fame? Is there a perfect safety net? NO.
Are there guidelines to ensure the adolescent thinks once before embarking on ‘DANGER’  to their self? YES.


STOP YOURSELF  FIRST. Be the person you want your child to become. That way you ensure that the role model the child has in front of him is the responsible role model, the right role model. Children learn more by observational learning. They see more than they hear you.  If you are a ‘Selfie King/Queen’, it shouldn't surprise you if your child becomes a ‘selfie prince/princess’ and later become selfie-addicted teenagers.  The first school being home, the parents are the first teachers and what they teach form the roots. Be mindful of what you are teaching your child consciously or unconsciously.
Albert Bandura, who is known for the classic Bobo doll experiment, identified this basic form of learning in 1961. The importance of observational learning lies in helping individuals, especially children, acquire new responses by observing others' behaviour.
A role model is a person whose behaviour, example or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. The term "role model" is credited to sociologist Robert K. Merton, who coined the phrase during his career.

Be a consistent presence in your child's life. It wouldn't help much if you had no clue about your child's whereabouts. Much as they (the teenagers) would not like it, the truth is that your involvement and presence matters. Everyday life is more important that once in a while conversations. Engage in conversation with your children, know what they did the entire day, what activities and plans they have for weekends or some holidays. Guide them along as they go about their regular life. Above all, invest in having a fun filled family time so that they are not left with 'friends' only.

Help them see ' beyond themselves'. Help them build character and not only the ' personality'. Personality is far easier to read than character which takes a time to puzzle out. We do form opinions and make judgements about people being reserved, funny, extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident—as well as overly serious, reticent, lazy, negative, angry and shy. But character includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific—and often uncommon—circumstances, traits like honesty, virtue, and kindliness. Isn't it also important to emphasise on character building and shift the focus from outside to inside? How can you do this?

That will also happen when you emphasise and celebrate character more than outward appearance. For example- When you are dressed up for a conference and your daughter comes and compliments- "Wow Mum, you look awesome. Everyone  will be only looking at you." Now, if you swell with pride and smile and click yourself, you are only focussing on the external appearance. How about this- "Thank you, love. Am not sure how awesome but I hope I look neat and presentable. It doesn't matter who looks at me, what important that I am able to add some value in the conference and ensure my message reaches to the last person sitting in the room." It's the everyday messaging in innumerable ways that count.

Teach kids to value relationships. Only when they see you valuing relationships more than your phone, will the right message go. Try to drop your phone when your child comes to you asking for something.
In the 'screen world' that we live in, social media accounts are more active than human touch. Children don't get the opportunity to develop real, meaningful relationships. You as a parent can help your child to understand the value of human contact by spending time as a family and encouraging them to engage with other kids you trust.  For example- A family dining time should be devoid of any gadgets strictly. Weekend activities should be planned with family and friends doing more real things(hiking, biking, swimming, playing and the like)  than spending time on gadgets and play station.

Keep them occupied. The old adage empty mind is a devil's workshop' has never been truer. Have you ever noticed that when you are laying around, you tend to check your phone too often, reply to inane posts, and aimlessly fiddling around with your social media accounts? The moment you have work in hand, that the first thing you do is log off and drop your phone.  Boredom can definitely breed unwanted behaviour in you. Think about your child.  Try to create structure in your child’s day through a schedule of chores, after-school activities, homework, free time and family time.

Promote balance. There is limited opportunity for self-reflection if kids constantly post on social media and inundate themselves with technology. Information overload and excessive stimulation can contribute to impulsive and unsafe behaviour. Look at how your children are functioning overall. Are they responsible in school, how are they doing in academics and after school programs, what feedback do teachers have etc. Back home are they shutting off their phone and getting enough sleep at night? If not, encourage kids to exercise balance and unplug from technology.
All this will only happen if you engage with your child and be involved in his day to day activities. There is not much substitute here.

EDUCATION- Everytime and Everywhere.
Every time you educate your child, you arm him with tools or weapons to wield it at those times when risk-taking behaviours are thought upon.

  • Define negotiable and not- negotiable matters and safety definitely fall in the latter.

  • Restrict the use of cameras. Emphasis on experience first and then capturing the moment.
  • Educate about the beauty of photography and the responsibility and discipline that goes with it.Educate on healthy clicking habits. Mindless clicking is no art.
  • Educate your child on height, depth or speed. Most of the accidents have happened at a mountain cliff, near a sea or on road. Unless a person has skills to manoeuvre, one should refrain from experimenting with height, depth and speed. Read stories and do not refrain from discussing it with your child. Peer pressure can act as a big catalyst in your child experimenting with risk-taking behaviour. When your child sets on a trek or a road trip, be mindful in educating your child and his group about possible pitfalls.

In spite of this, things can go awry. Because there is no perfect safety net. But these guidelines will go a long way to ensure the adolescent thinks once before embarking on ‘DANGER’  to their life.

This thing about a device or a relationship you have is that you can be constructive or destructive with it. You can choose to be mindless or mindful about what’s happening. Coming to our little device and the way the little camera has barged into our lives, make a conscious choice to capture a moment in more meaningful ways and not necessarily acting out of narcissistic tendencies. Allow yourself to live richly through experiences first. The problem with selfies or cameras is that it definitely captures the moment but the emotions are only captured by the ‘Self’.

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. Bill Gates. 
And you are your child's first teacher.
And when you walk down that cliff to get that selfie to gather 100 likes...don’t risk your life. Just post that ‘I NEED ATTENTION’ and we will give you 1000 likes. But if you fell from the cliff, and hit the ground with your head battered into pieces, not a single ‘LIKE’ can stitch it back and infuse life back in you. That hollow is a 'LIKE'.

For more articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating and Positive Psychology please visit. Please drop in your feedback. It helps me improve at my craft and understand your perspective better.


  1. How true is this...It is easy to give kids a gadget then to personally spend time with them not realising that we end up making a big loss to us and to our kids.

  2. Exceptionally valuable information. Want to see more posts soon!. Wife's Choice

  3. Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up!.. preschoolers


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