Dec 142021
A practical guide for dealing with real challenges of parenting…[Review: Raising a Humanist]
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pc: Eisha Sarkar

Title: Raising a Humanist

Authors: Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia

Type: Paperback

Published by: Sage Publishing

Pages: 240

Age group: For Parents!

Raising a Humanist” by Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, is a practical guide for dealing with real challenges of parenting in today’s technologically advanced and increasingly polarised society. It urges us to come out of our ‘echo chambers’ and reinvent our parenting style in order to help our children open their hearts and minds to different ideas and people.

The book boldly questions the biases which are subconsciously ingrained in our everyday thinking, behaviours and actions and prods us to come out of our mental emotional and intellectual comfort zones.

It is tricky to raise children – growing up with technology and algorithm run social media, rampant with trolling and abuse; in a society where ads for fair and lovely and matrimonial calls for ‘fair, slim, homely brides’ of a particular caste are a way of life; a society where we don’t bat an eyelid when item songs and family dance programmes sexualizing little girls are played on television; a society where gender roles are pre-defined in a suffocating patriarchal social construct.

The authors explain how caregiver’s every day actions, family media consumption, interaction at school and with peers, affect children’s behaviours as adults. How our little actions can contribute to discrimination, systemic oppression and even violence on the basis of gender, religion, caste, appearance in the future society. And how it is our responsibility to not make the same mistakes as our elders and instead raise an emphatic, kind, open-minded generation which doesn’t internalize biases.

Not only does the book list out issues which are very relevant and up-to-date with today’s time but it also gives us handy self-analysis tools and practical solutions with real-life examples to overcome them. You can expect guidance on varied topics – which range from helping children stand-up to bullies to using internet productively and creating safe online space from pedophiles, bullies, scamsters, and extremists. It touches upon ‘authoritarian parenting’ v. ‘involved parenting’ for encouraging responsive interactions and raise adults full of self-love, strong mental health and self-confidence with healthy habits.

Irrespective of our educational, social economical background – I feel every parent and caregiver can take away something from this book. It is admirable as to how the authors have presented hard-hitting concepts in such an easy almost page turner-isk read.

I would encourage all parents and caregivers raising little humans to read this ready-reckoner and – in the authors’ words – “‘unlearn’ and look beyond and tactfully challenge stereotypes in a non-confrontational and inclusive manner”.

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