GUJARAT: Hasmukh Patel has a unique mission in life: provide free counselling to parents so that they can raise their children with love. For this purpose, the DGP and Managing Director Gujarat State Police Housing Corporation launched the ‘Parenting for Peace’ programme in 2014.
This programme has trained over 3,000 volunteers who in turn counselled over 40,000 parents across India. The programme has become a study course in Gujarat Vidyapith, a deemed university, and it already has around 60 students.
‘Parenting for Peace’ provides free counselling to parents who wish to mitigate conflict with their wards. The three-month course with a systematic syllabus covers like good parenting, impact of media, and good and bad touch.
Experts say a child’s personality is moulded by childhood experiences. If their problems remain unresolved, the traits may amplify and create psychological problems later in life.
Iti Shukla, clinical psychologist, says children should learn life skills and self-awareness at home and school to manage their feelings and themselves. “Most kids don’t have proper avenues for their energy and aggression. Getting involved in some form of sports provides natural channelisation,” says Shukla.
Patel explains how the programme started. “A few years ago, I wrote a letter to my friends about this subject. In response, Bhavnabahen Pathak from Lokbharati Sanstha at Sanosara in Bhavnagar district sent a booklet by the late Manubhai Pancholi aka ‘Darshak’, titled Vishvashantini Gurukilli,” he says.
Before that, Patel was under the impression that his idea of linking child violence and terrorism was original. “But it had been done 50 years ago in this booklet. I felt it must reach every household, and we translated this book into Hindi, Marathi, and English, and translations in more languages will follow,” he says.
Neha Shah, mother of two kids in Class 5 and 8, says punishing a child makes matters worse. “Children have to be presented with positive and negative fallouts of a situation. Parents need to be tactful, and guidance from such a course will help.”
Consultant paediatrician Dr Unmesh Upadhyay says that parents tend to harbour great expectations, and scold or beat their kids if they can’t live upto it. “Internet and media exposure along with parents’ busy schedules does not allow for proper monitoring. These factors lead to conflicts, which is where our course can help,” he says.
Patel says a child learns from what they see and feel. “Violence creeps in if a child experiences violence in childhood. As parents and teachers, we are unaware of this because we are trained to be pilots from a plumber. Let us all work to give our children a loving childhood,” says Patel.