1. I have a 7 year old daughter and she loves her Barbies and princesses. Initially I did not pay attention to her playing with these dolls, but lately I have realised that she has become obsessed with beauty. She always insists that she wants to apply makeup when we go out. She has even started judging beauty by how fair a person is. How do I get her to change her thinking? –Abha Singh, Mumbai
Since she looks up to these princesses and derives her concept of beauty through them, try to shift her focus to the dusky ones like Pocahontas and Jasmine from Aladdin. Try using story telling methods to explain to her that beauty comes in all shapes and colours. Emphasize on inner beauty and intelligence. Help her identify other games/hobbies she finds interesting and slowly shift her attention to that. Create new role models for her, especially ones that don’t follow the standard norms of being “beautiful”.
2. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. Ever since my son was born I have been very busy with him and have barely given any time to my daughter. This has caused her to develop a slight dislike for her brother. They fight for almost everything and constantly keep yelling and hitting each other. I have tried to reason with my daughter and tell her that she needs to be the mature one but that has had no effect on her. What do I do? –Ruhi Matreja, Mumbai
This is a tricky situation for you. It is common for the elder sibling to often feel left out when the younger one is born. Although it is important for you to be with your son most of the times, it is also equally important for you to give time and attention to your daughter. Try to include your daughter in activities you do with your son. Over the weekends when you give him a bath ask your daughter to be in the bathroom too. Play some games together so as to make her feel wanted too. Sometimes you can also give your daughter some simple tasks like feeding her brother, combing his hair etc, under your supervision. This will help them develop a closer bond with one another.
3. My son is 8 years old and very disobedient. We both are working parents and hence get very little time with our son. He is most of the time with the caretaker. He does not follow through on any instructions or rules and does as he pleases. Us shouting or punishing him does not seem to bother him at all. What do I do? –Neha Kulkarni, Mumbai
Being working parents it can get difficult to give enough time to your child. Try to spend as much time together as a family over the weekends as possible. Play some games together, plan picnics, watch movies etc. Give your son small tasks to do while together and appreciate and praise him when he does them correctly. If it is something big, you can give him a reward too.
Gradually you can start making a to do list for him that he has to finish over the week. If all tasks are done satisfactorily you can reward him over the weekend. This way he will follow through on all instructions and feel like a part of something.