Monday, January 25, 2016

Education series (1/7): Looking at Learning, from Learner's Perspective

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid. - Albert Einstein
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever". - Mahatma Gandhi

As very aptly M.K.Gandhi had put across, Learning is a life skill & one must remain a learner (student) all through his or her life. We all agree with the importance of learning, as this helps us in gaining knowledge, adapting to the changing environment by acquiring new skills, we grow as a person, we are able to transform & improve our life by applying the knowledge we acquire through the learning process.

Knowing the importance of learning, there is no wonder that we come across numerous quotes on learning by great men & women, all over the internet. But if one looks more deeply, one can find almost all these quotes are from the perspective of learning, as a skill/attribute/necessity. For a change, through this blog-post let us take the PERSPECTIVE of a LEARNER. The objectives of this blog-post are [1]. to provide valuable insights of a Learner [2]. application of these key insights for enhancing the learning process (effectiveness & outcomes).

Looking at Learning, from Learner's Perspective:

Note: Educators refers to - parents, teachers (virtually anyone who is involved in imparting knowledge & skills). Learner refers to - students (children, teenagers & adults), virtually anyone who is involved in the process of learning & acquiring new knowledge & skills.
  • Interest: Paul Silva of the University of North Carolina refers Interest as "Knowledge Emotion". A learner with interest is characterised by a emotional state of high engagement, sense of being energised & captivated. At a cognitive level, an interested learner pays closer attention, processes information efficiently, engages in critical thinking. At a behavioral level, an interested learner works harder, persist longer & displays self-regulation.
In summary, Interest has the power to transform struggling performers, & to lift achievers to a new plane.

     Application areas for educators: 
  1. Make an Interest Inventory of the learner. (a). Provide an environment for exploration for the learner to experience & engage in various activities. Through this exploration, the learner will discover his area of interest & will get engaged into deeper learning. (b). Through standardised Psychometric test or DMIT test, the predisposition interests of the learner can be understood. Armed with this valuable insights the educator can groom the learner into their area of interest, taking them to higher planes of learning.  
  2. Make learning interesting. (a). To capture the learner's interest & to maintain it, the learning materials should be presented in an interesting manner. The material appeals to the interest if it is novel, has calibrated complexity (not to hard not to easy) & is comprehensible. (b). Learning can be made interesting, by connecting the dots between academic world & the real world. The educator can make use of mentor-mentee interaction, experiential learning, exploratory trips, DIY (Do It Yourself) concepts in their teaching methodology. 
  3. Help in developing interest. Young learner's are oblivious to the wide gamut of subjects/activities, due to their limited understanding & exposure. At this early stage of growing up, educators can play a crucial role in developing the learner's interest by exposing them to new experiences, grooming them in these domains etc. However, the educators should be mindful of walking the fine balance of exposure vs imposing their own interest (wish/dream) on the young learner's mind. An educator should always remind himself, their primary duty is to nurture & allow the learner to blossom to their full potential. 
  4. Help in maintaining interest. (a). The learner while encountering challenging & complex learning materials, can feel low in self-confidence. In such instances the educator should support learner's feelings of competence & self-efficacy. (b). The short term outcomes of marks/grades should be overlooked by the educator & the sole focus should stay on the process of excellence. The larger goal is to cultivate life-time interest that provide us with lasting intellectual stimulation & fulfillment.     
  • Motivation: In simple terms, motivation is defined as an internal process that makes a person move towards a goal. There are two types of Motivation - Extrinsic & Intrinsic
In extrinsic motivation learner's motive is driven by elements like fear of failure (grades, outcome of exam), need for social recognition (good grades), rewards (prize, award). Essentially, they are motivated to perform a task as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. In intrinsic motivation learner's motive is driven by internal factors & inherent to the task he is performing. They find pleasure in performing the task & they get into a flow (lose track of time & their surroundings).The Learner's intrinsic motivation & interest, closely corresponds with each other.

In summary, intrinsic motivation drives the learner's learning process in an effortless & sustained manner.

     Application areas for educators: 
  1. Understand the intrinsic motivation. The educator, should make an attempt to find out the interests & the intrinsic motivation of the learner. Knowing these fundamental drives, will allow grooming the learner in their field of interest & uplift them towards newer heights.
  2. Calibrate the extrinsic motivation. Overplaying the cards of extrinsic motivation will not be self-sustaining & can back-fire. If the element of fear/threat/punishment is over-played, it will take away the enjoyment of learning & in due course of time the learner will completely lose interest from this particular activity/subject. Similarly if the element of rewards/prize/gifts is over-played, the learner will perform the task as a means to an end & not as an end in itself. The educators need to have a balancing act & also can combine both extrinsic & intrinsic motivation. 
  3. Maintaining motivation. In the elementary school, students are eager & excited to learn new things. But in the high school, there is decline in their intrinsic motivation for learning & mastering the subjects. Several factors have shown to contribute to this phenomenon - (i). Constant reminders of extrinsic motivators (grades, cut off marks, college admission, job market) causes them to focus their efforts on good grades rather than mastering the subject matter. (ii). Keeping in mind their long term goal, the learner begins to evaluate the school subjects in terms of their relevance to their goals, rather than in terms of only intrinsic appeal. (iii). Learner may become impatient & lose interest with overly structured, repetitive & boring activities, which they encounter at school. The educator, should be mindful of this phenomenon & try to bring in positive intervention for maintaining the learner's motivation.   
  • Physiological, Psychological & Environmental state: Learning is an active process, involving cognitive, affective & behavioral aspects of the learner. For the learning process to be effective, the learner's physiological, psychological & environment should be optimal, to avoid negative interference to learning process. Let's list out some important positive factors under these respective states: (i) Physiological factors: adequate nutrition, proper sleep/rest, good health (ii). Psychological factors: absence of undue fear/stress/pressure for performance, healthy self-esteem, self-efficacy (self-believe), intrinsic drive (motivation), self-directed learning (self-assessment), self-regulation & above all the joy of learning (iii). Environmental factors: safe & hygienic space in home/school, unconditional love/support from family, opportunity for sports (outdoor activities - release of endorphin which uplifts mood), positive surroundings (material & people). 
     Application areas for educators: 
  1. Positive intervention, for ensuring well-being of the learner. The educator should be attentive to pick up signals of loss of well-being in the learner. They should bring in positive intervention through counseling the student or the parent, suggesting alternation in their lifestyle (diet, sleep timings etc), parenting approach, learning/teaching methodologies etc.
  • Appropriateness to Age & Skill: Learning is an active process involving cognitive abilities & skills of the learner. The learner acquires these abilities in an age appropriate manner (developmental milestones). Therefore introducing a lesson which is below the age of the learner will not be engage them (not enough challenging/interesting/complex) or introducing a lesson above the age of the learner will overwhelm them (too challenging/complex to comprehend). In both the scenario the learning process will be ineffective with undesirable outcome. 
     Application area for educators: 
  1. Plan lessons in accordance to learner's age & skill. Educator should factor in age & skill appropriateness of the learner, for ensuring learning effectiveness & for achieving the desired outcome.
  2. Be mindful of chronological age (biological) & maturity age of the learner. An educator, cannot apply the rule of thumb of only biological age. There will be variance in individuals, wherein few are more matured compared to their biological age & few are less matured compared to their biological age. Hence the educator has to plan the lessons, taking into consideration the learner's biological age & maturity age.   
  • Learning Style: The individual preferences & individual differences in their learning approach is called Learning style. There are many theories about learning style & one of the most popular one is Neil Fleming's VAK/VARK model. The acronym stands for, V - Visual learning, A - Auditory learning, R - Read/write learning & K - Kinesthetic learning. Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some learner's may find that they have a dominant style of learning. (i). The Visual learners prefer using pictures, images & spatial understanding, (ii). The Auditory learners prefer using sound & music & (iii). Kinesthetic learners prefer using body, hands, sense of touch (experiential learning). The learning process would be most effective, when the learner is able to leverage upon his dominant learning style. 
    Application area for educators: 
  1. Understand Learner's dominant learning style. The educator can pick up clues about the learner's dominant learning style, through close observation. The Learning style can also be found out by standardised psychometric test or DMIT test. Based on this knowledge, when the teaching methodology is customised to suite an individual's dominant learning style, the learning effectiveness & outcome from the learner's point of view will significantly go up.   
  • Multiple Intelligence: Our understanding of intelligence has continuously evolved over the years. Traditionally, intelligence was considered as a unitary attribute. One of the most famous definition of Intelligence was proposed by Binet -Simon, as an ability to solve problems. They standardized measurement of intelligence commonly know as IQ (Intelligent Quotient).        [IQ = (MA/CA) x 100] {MA is maturity age & CA is chronological age}. But over the years, the understanding of intelligence has evolved from unitary attribute into multiple attributes. In contemporary time, Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences is most widely accepted. Multiple intelligence are as follows: (i). Verbal-linguistic (ii). Logical-mathematical, (iii). Spatial-visual (iv). Bodily-kinesthetic (v). Musical (vi). Interpersonal (vii). Intrapersonal (viii). Naturalist & (ix). Existential intelligence. Since each learner (individual) have their own dominant intelligence type(s), they bring in their own uniqueness, innate talents & predisposition towards area of learning. Multiple intelligences can be determined through standardised psychometric test, DMIT test.     
     Application area for educators: 
  1. Newer Pedagogic approaches. Howard Gardner's focus on human potential lies in the fact that people have a unique blend of capabilities & intelligence (skills). Progressive schools/educators, have inculcated the Multiple Intelligences theory in their curriculum development, planning instruction, selection of course activities & teaching strategies for better addressing the learner's need. 
To conclude, in many ways it may be redundant to discuss learning from learner's point of view, after all teaching should anyways be centered around the learners. But most educational research indicates the process of teaching/learning still predominately takes 'one size fits all approach'. As educator's we should approach learning, from learner's perspective. Imagine as educators if we consider our learners (students) as our customer & if we take a customer centric approach (looking from their perspective), we hold the potential to flip the class & make the learning process personalised & above all keeping alive the joy of learning

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Applied Psychology series (4/4): Dynamics of Human Behavior in relation to Rules (Law)

In this blog post under the Applied Psychology series, let us look into the Dynamics of Human Behavior in relation to Rules (Law). We will be exploring this dynamics, through an unusual & un-amusing object - Helmet.

For me, the entire process of writing this particular blog, has been very enjoyable & insightful. I hope you as a reader find it equally interesting & you get some valuable insights, which can enhance your self-awareness & you can apply these key insights in your own life.

Let me start by turning the clock back to 2013, this is the year we moved back to Bangalore. I bought a two-wheeler & as a family we used to commute on it. Going by common-sense approach of safety first, I bought a helmet for my son. [By the way, I failed to convince my better-half on buying a helmet. I think, she was more concerned about her hairstyle & looks rather than the safety component. Anyways, I think that can become a seperate blog-post for some other day ;-) ]

Me & my son, riding our two-wheeler  
Since 2013, till today it's been three years that I have been living in Bangalore & by virtue of my keen observation I have naturally observed the two-wheeler riders in the shared public spaces.

1. Listing few of my observations which has always been very intriguing to me:

Random images from Bangalore roads
  • Very few riders, put helmets for their children. 
  • Almost no pillion riders, wear helmets. (My count till date has been in single digit)
  • Several riders, don't put helmets for themselves either. (When they sight a traffic cop, they take a detour or speed away to avoid fines).
  • I have come across few so called smart riders, who keep a helmet handy. When they are approaching a major traffic signal (where the probability of traffic cops presence increases), they put on their helmet & once they have traveled the distance, they open the helmet again.  
  • Not to forget to mention few acts of insanity, inserting mobile phones inside the helmet & speaking while riding, holding mobile phone with one hand & riding. 
(Honest confession - I too have been guilty of practicing few of the above in sporadic incidences & I would have weaved a rational self-explanation to myself, bailing me out from being self-critical). 

I am quite sure, many of you would be able to relate to the above from your own observations.

2. Coming back to the intriguing aspect of these observation, let me elaborate why so:
  • Very few riders, put helmets for their children - 
Child without helmet
The caring & loving parents (guardian), who are always going out of their way to care, protect & safe-guard their children's well-being in their daily cores of life, in complete contrast are so unmindful & compromising their child's (wards) safety, by not mandating an helmet for their children. Quite a dichotomy isn't it?
  • Almost no pillion riders, wear helmets. (My count till date has been in single digit) -
Pillion rider, without helmet
Statistically, the pillion riders are more susceptible to injury than the rider himself. The reason being the rider holds the handle of the two-wheeler, while most of the time the pillion rider is not holding on to the two-wheeler. If met with an untoward incident, the likelihood of the pillion rider to fall is significantly higher. These are common wisdom & yet why intelligent men & women ignore these simple principles?  
  • Several riders, don't put helmets for themselves either. (When they sight a traffic cop, they take a detour or speed away to avoid fines).
  • I have come across few so called smart riders, who keep a helmet handy. When they are approaching a major traffic signal (where the probability of traffic cops presence increases), they put on their helmet & once they have traveled the distance, they open the helmet again. 
Evidently, this section of riders are putting on helmet to please the cops & not for the sake of their own safety. Aren't their motive too shallow & farcical?
  • Not to forget to mention few acts of insanity, inserting mobile phones inside the helmet & speaking while riding, holding mobile phone with one hand & riding. 
Rider on phone, without helmet
In my opinion, this seems to be quite an illogical economic decision making. A rider must have invested half a lakh Rupees (on an average) in purchasing the two-wheeler. On the other hand a hands-free (head-phone) would just cost in hundreds (minuscule fraction in comparison to the two-wheeler). But this section of rider, choose to continue with their farce of inserting cell phones in helmet, riding with one hand & risking their own safety. [By the way, people speaking on phone while driving their car is equally rampant. Here too, the logical economic decision making is overlooked, the comparative cost of a hands-free/blue-tooth to the cost of the car is so minuscule, yet they opt to risking their & people's safety, by speaking on phone while driving].  

[Ideally, one should not be using phone while riding/driving. I believe that is the law too].

Rationality (thinking) seems to be taking a back seat, in many of our decision making process.

3. Let me now draw your attention to a newspaper article (TOI Bangalore edition) dated 14th of Jan-'16:

TOI Bangalore edition, 14-Jan-2016
Link -

Starting 20th of January-'16, helmets for pillion rider is going to be mandatory as per the new rule, under Bangalore Traffic Law.

To evaluate if a study is scientific & reliable, we need to understand the variables & the control (constant factors). In this social experiment, the Bangalore roads, traffic situation, probability of accidents does remains constant (prior & post this new rule). The only variable here is the traffic rule - 'mandating the pillion riders to wear helmet', which is currently not in existence & it will be effective 20th Jan-'16 onwards.

So we can safely conclude there is a casual relationship between this new traffic rule & people's purchasing behavior of helmets. In other words, the above mentioned news article captures this interesting dynamics of human behavior & Rules (Law).

4. Let us now jointly explore this fascinating dynamics for gaining some valuable insights, for enhancing our understanding of human behavior & for improving our decision making:

  • A small percentage of people do the right thing on their own, irrespective of the legal rule & supervision. As we saw earlier, a small percentage of pillion rider were wearing helmet voluntarily, irrespective of the rule being there or not. This small group of population, are thinkers (rationale) i.e. think on their own & do the right thing.
Doing the right thing
  • When a rule is implemented, majority of the people show tendency to conform with the rule. As the newspaper article elaborates, there is a sudden rush among people for buying helmets due to the new rule.
Rush for buying helmets
  • When a new rule is brought in, people's opinion usually stands divided. These groups speak in it's favour, speak against it & take a neutral stand, respectively. People residing in Bangalore would be aware of the ongoing discussion, articles around this new rule which represents various opinion - in favour (safety for commuter), against (lobby of helmet manufacturers & politicians, earning more revenue for RTO), skepticism (traffic cops will not implement this rule with seriousness), neutral (let's wait & watch policy). 
Opinions divided
  • We (human beings) are driven by emotions, rather than rationality. It seems, fear (emotion) of facing penalty/fine are driving so many people towards buying the helmets. This very same group of people, were not driven by rationality (they didn't think on their own about their safety, all this while).
Humans are driven by emotions
  • Hard facts (numbers/data/reports) fails to elucidate the desired response in us. The accident related statistics are quite widely available in the public domain, but no one seems concerned much about it. Else, pillion riders on their own would have taken up helmets, rather than being forced by the authorities. 
Hard facts does not elucidate the desired response
- Data with the National Crime Records Bureau show that two-wheelers accounted for the most number of fatal road accidents in 2014, contributing 26.4% of all deaths. 
- Nearly 45% of victims of road accidents are generally two-wheeler riders.
- A study by NIMHANS National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences) shows 46% of helmetless riders die to injuries when they skid & fall. The corresponding number of those wearing helmets is only 12%. 
- According to WHO report road traffic injuries are one of the leading cause of death in India.

All these publicly available data, indicates it fails to elucidate the desired response in us. In other words, rationality takes a back seat when it comes to human behavior. 

5. Now that we gained these key insights, let us list down the practical knowledge (applications) from this whole exercise:

  • Majority of us, do not base our decision & conduct on rationality. Therefore, for bringing in positive change & implementing practices for the larger good, implementation of Rules (Laws) seems to be the last resort. 
Societal Legal system
Till 2006, wearing of helmet was not mandatory for the two-wheeler rider in Bangalore. As expected, majority of the people didn't volunteer themselves for wearing helmet, inspite of the high number of road accidents. Post 2006, Transport Dept. in Bangalore had to step in & implemented the rule of mandating riders to wear helmets. 
Since then there has been a slump in fatal accidents among two-wheeler riders. However, pillion riders continue to be at risk. Infact they are at greater risk than riders, as they don't control the vehicle. It's been 10 years since 2006 & we can see we the people haven't voluntarily responded to rationality. Probably, bringing in rules (laws) is the last resort to make majority of us to do the right thing.

We can see many such instances like the recent LPG subsidy. Since it was driven by Government, many well off people started giving up their subsidies. If this drive was not down top down, they may have never taken this rational decision on their own.

This also points out, as a society if we expect good initiatives like Blood donation, Organ donation etc to happen it may never occur on a large scale, unless this is mandated by rule (law).

  •  In the above point, we talked about the necessity of implementing the rule (law). But we also need to be mindful, unless there is an intrinsic motivation/believe towards this rule, our behavior/action will remain as a mere formality. 
Following rules by letter & not adhering to it's spirit
We can see such ample examples of mere formalities all around us, for e.g.:

- Many corporate houses are doing CSR activities as a mere formality instead of making it substantial & meaningful.  
- Educational institutes register themselves as a Trust, but the conduct is themselves on the principles of business & profit.
- Alcohol, Tobacco companies are not permitted to advertise in public media. Instead they put up surrogate advertisements, to promote their products.

In summary, if we (as individuals or as an institution) are not intrinsically motivated or if we don't truly believe in the rule (law), we would end by adhering to the 'Letter of the Law', but not with the 'Spirit of the Law'.

  • As we are now self-aware that emotions overrides rationality, we need to safe-guard ourselves from being mislead by people with vested interest. In summary we should not fall prey to mob mentality & we should give rationality a fair chance in our overall response mechanism. 
Give rationality a chance
  • As we (human beings) respond more to emotions & less to rationality, as an individual/institution/policy maker, if we want to make our message/campaign effective, we need to use more of imagery/visuals/emotional pitch & less of data/facts/figures.
Campaign effectiveness
  • Last but not the least, one should keep in mind when it comes to rules there will be always someone who will abuse the system. In fact there are also people within the system, who are open for manipulation & do not consistently implement the rules. Looking at them, we can get demotivated from following the rule, in other words we can be encouraged to take the path of convenience. But we need to keep in mind, irrespective of what others are doing, we need to do the right thing. In summary, being legally right or morally right are two different entities & the onus is ultimately on us. 

The onus is on us

To finally conclude, with little bit of rationality, thoughtfulness, common-sense & maturity, we can be our best judge of what is right & what is not right for us. This is the ideal state of mind to be in, wherein one does not need externally imposed rules (law) for taking the right decision & for taking the right path.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Parenting Series (2/5) - Emotionally Sensitive Child

In layman's language, Emotional Sensitivity is a common personality trait that causes some children to feel physical & emotional pain more deeply than others do.

Manifestation of Emotional Sensitivity in a child, can vary in it's forms:
Active expression: Crying, Angry, Jealous, Fight, Tantrum, Appeasement etc.
Passive expression: Withdrawn, Fearful, Resentment, Avoidance etc.

At this juncture, let me briefly elaborate the genesis of this blog post:

Couple of weeks back, we had been on a family outing at Freedom Park (Bangalore). The venue was hosting a day long event for children called, 'One With Nature'. During this event, I came across two incidences which left behind a long lasting imprint on my mind.

Science exhibit
In one of the Science exhibit, there was a fun experiment with static electricity - hair of the person rises up due to the charge accumulation. From the audience, a cute young girl child volunteered herself to be the subject. When her hair rose, the exhibitor & audience started cheering & laughing. The young child burst in tears & she was crying inconsolably, leaving all of us feeling sorry for her.

Probably, the child would have internalized this experience (cheer & laughter) as people mocking on her. Possibly, she became overtly conscious about her self-image (looks) & felt deeply hurt within. 

Experiential learning workshop
In one of the Experiential learning workshop, the on-stage facilitator screamed out for five children volunteers. To her amazement, many children rushed & jumped on stage. The first five children who reached on stage stayed on, for the rest the facilitator requested them to return to their seats. One cute child, ran down sobbing & tearful, straight to her mother looking for comfort.
Probably, the child would have internalized this experience (turned back from stage), as rejection. She might have felt publicly humiliated as she was send back in full public glare.

Infact, from my personal experience of being a father, I too have found my son being emotionally sensitive on several instances. Just to narrate a few: becoming over-conscious in social setting; becomes withdrawn when someone (other than his parents) corrects his misbehavior etc.

These observations has kept my mind pre-occupied & concerned for a while now. As our children will grow up through their academic years & gradually step into the real-world, they will constantly face many challenges, hurdles, rejection & set-backs. Hence, our children would need support to gradually overcome their emotional-sensitivity for better self-management in leading a happy, successful life. 

Although children won't outgrow their feelings, they can learn to control their reactions. Let us explore the various parenting strategies, to help our emotionally sensitive child in effective self-management:

1. Rule of Thumb:

  • Unconditional Acceptance - of the child's emotional sensitivity (temperament) is the first & foremost step. Don't try to change your child's temperament. Teach your child to cope with difficult situations in a socially appropriate manner, while recognizing the difficulties the child experiences. 
  • Self-esteem - of the child should always be protected & nurtured. As parents, we should ensure the child feels good & has a healthy picture about themselves.
2. Immediate/Interim strategies: 

  •  Empathy - towards the child should be demonstrated first, irrespective of the issue being trivial or inconsequential. If in the first instance, we brush off the matter the child feels ignored & this makes the matter worse. Though one shouldn't reinforce the crying by only focusing the attention only on the emotions. Gradually move towards guiding the child towards coping skills/problem solving mechanism to overcome the issue they encountered. For example - "I completely understand it must be hurting you a lot....(provide comfort by embracing the child.....after the child's emotions have been validated/understood, the parent can move the attention towards coping skills/problem solving mechanism)....Do you think we should apply an ointment or a bandage?, May be after the medication, you rest for a while so that it heals fast! 
  • Distraction strategy is also a very powerful tool as it takes away the child's attention into other things. However, the mistake most of us make is in implementing this strategy immediately without displaying empathy. Once the empathy & validating/understanding the emotions are taken care off, distraction strategy works more effectively.
3. Regular/Long-term strategies:

  • Authoritative parenting - is regarded as the best parenting approach from the child's development point of view. The authoritative parents establish rules & guidelines that their children are expected to follow, however their parenting style is democratic (they involve their children in discussion & explain them the 'Why' part of the rules). The authoritative parents are responsive to their children & are willing to listen to them. When the children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing & forgiving rather than punishing. The authoritative parents are assertive, but not intrusive & restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. This kind of parenting approach, ensures healthy self-esteem of the child is maintained & it nurtures the child to develop into socially responsible, self-regulated & a cooperative person, over a period of time.
  • Over-protective instincts should be avoided by the parents, as in the long run it robs the child from the opportunity of learning life-skills. The child should be allowed to get exposed to real-life scenarios/out-door activities etc & the parent can still provide the protective shield by displaying their encouragement, support, understanding, love & empathy. This approach, will eventually empower the child & develop their self-confidence.

  • Source of inspiration - can be provided to the child, through the world of books, movies, plays, cartoons, newspapers etc. As parents we can expose them to inspiring stories where the protagonist overcomes various challenges to meet their goals. The child will eventually understand that challenges are universal & will be able to draw inspiration from these stories.
  • Efforts should be applauded & not just the final outcome. Praise the child's effort, even when he's not successful. Hard work, Perseverance, Incremental Improvements etc should be praised, so that they child recognises the importance of these attributes & is not dejected by failing to achieve the final outcome (especially as the child is emotionally sensitive, they will be more vulnerable to dejection upon failure).

  • Compliment the child when they are able to manage their emotions. Praising them at the right time, with specific examples, provides a positive reinforcement. 

  • Sports, Performing arts, Community services - are off great value, in helping the child in overcoming their emotional sensitivity. Team work, Leadership, Perseverance, Goal orientation & overcoming challenges, Self-expression, Compassion etc are some of the invaluable qualities the child would learn through these engagements. 

  • Life skills - helps in coping mechanism & in effective self management. As parents, we should impart life-skills in our children in a systematic manner through their formative years. Examples of Life-skills are: Self-awareness, Empathy, Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Decision making, Problem solving, Effective communication, Interpersonal relationship, Coping with stress, Coping with emotions. 

Parenting with a little bit of sensitivity & being mindful of these parenting strategies, will ensure the right nurturing of our emotionally sensitive child, through their formative years into well adjusted, happy & successful adults, ready to step into the real world. HAPPY PARENTING!