Dolphin Parenting : Real Life Parenting tips from Dr. Shimi Kang!
Few days back, we had discussed about raising the “Future Fit” children and the importance of CQ (Consciousness Quotient) in raising up children in 21st century. It laid emphasis on chucking out the Authoritative Tiger /Submissive Jellyfish parenting and adopting for the “Dolphin Parenting“, to make our kids more resilient, aware, full of life skills and firm believer of experiential learning.
And today, we’re proud to host “Dr. Shimi Kang on our blog, an award-winning Harvard-trained medical doctor, and expert on the science of human motivation. Dr. Kang is the author of the best selling book -The Self-Motivated Kid and The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids. Her research and concepts serve as the basis for the Dolphin POD centre.
With numerous questions in this mommy mind, let’s quickly jump to her visionary “parenting hacks” to make kids fit for the realistic life!
Let’s get started!
Interview with Dr. Shimi Kang :
1. You’re a mom of 3 amazing and exhausting children. How did you come across the approach of Dolphin parenting?
Dr. Shimi : My research and expertise is in the science of motivation and that is the essence of dolphin parenting. Dolphin parenting is based on the science of raising healthy, happy, and self-motivated kids. It is the combination of a balanced authoritative ( firm and flexible) parenting relationship and balanced lifestyle of play, others, and downtime. This allows for intrinsic motivation adaptability and success. The dolphin gives us a powerful visual metaphor for this science based approach.
2. Tell us something about one of your best seller book : “The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids”.
Dr. Shimi : The Dolphin Parent was one of the first books to hit the national bestseller list. I read over 900 articles and 30 books in its preparation and there are over 300 Scientific references in it. There are also a lot of personal stories from my own life as well as the lives of my patients and families. Although it took me over two years to write it full-time, I feel I have been collecting the research, stories, and perspectives through my whole life. I am grateful to so many who are involved in the process of putting together this powerful book.
3. Kids these days are over pampered and sometimes parents cross the barrier and become over protective for their children. Last day, I was seeing that a child of around 6 years was playing in the garden and while running he just tumbled. Before the child could react, his mama rushed & hugged him and she was a lot worried. They immediately decided to leave for home. Is the parental interference in all such matters must? Yes, they should be observant but shouldn’t they allow kids to have the free play?
Dr. Shimi : Free Play is the utmost necessity for 21st century success. It is the most essential to the development of CQ skills in a child. However, the parents usually confuse free play with convergent play, which restricts free association and exploration for the children.
On the other hand free play allows children to practice trial and error. Play is child’s first opportunity to make mistakes and learn to take failure in stride. Trial and error is essential to adaptability and resilience, which are the key ingredients to human success.
4. Due to the competitive environment, I see the benchmark of kids performances has been soaring. But is it hampering their innate development? Has the innocent childhood and life skills got lost somewhere?
Dr. Shimi :Yes absolutely! We are raising a generation of children who are over pressured for competition but under prepared for real life. By focusing so much on their external resumes or CVs, we have lost focus on internal character and values. This has sabotaged children’s internal sense of identity, values, self-motivation, health, and happiness. This is happening around the world and that is why achievement centres like Dolphin POD which focus on the most important skills needed for success are so important.
5. One of my friend has 2 amazing kids. In the age of 7-9years, I feel they are almost into every activity and sport. Once they are back from schools, they have their lunch and get ready for their music, dance, drawing and sports classes. They have atleast 1-2 classes daily.
Sometimes, I feel, are kids being overburdened and they actually have got no time to peep into the “true self”. What have you got to say about this?
Dr. Shimi : Overprotective tigers leave their children with no opportunity for exploration. By hovering and directing in sports, academics, music, and other activity, they deny children’s natural tendencies to play and explore freely. Over protection/ over directions stands in the way of children becoming healthy, happy, and successful in the twenty-first century.
6. Children of 21st era are unaware of what boredom means. They are always occupied with one thing or the other. Be it games or studies or TV or other gadgets. Do you feel that we should leave kids with minimalistic approach sometimes and analyse the creativity they deal in then?
Dr. Shimi : Yes, that is why downtime is a key pillar of the Dolphin POD programs. When we unplug from our busy, distracted, world; it activates a certain neural network that improves our focus, concentration, problem-solving, productivity, and moral compass. Children who can’t be bored lack creativity, a sense of ethics, attention, focus, and resilience. However we can’t just say “do nothing” and expect children to know how to handle the feeling of boredom. We have to teach them how to be mindful, grateful, focused, optimistic and that is exactly what we do at Dolphin POD.
7. Due to corporate jobs and nuclear family cultures, most of the kids are somehow lack in the social connectivity, that we used to have when we were kids. I would like to know some techniques that would help a child to be more social, develop better communication and works in a team environment.
Dr. Shimi : The effort that goes into ‘grooming’ a child for the future and for social collaboration is one of the most important processes of a child’s life. It’s a steady process that occurs over a period of time.
Following are some techniques that can help foster social, better communication and work in a team environment-
- Free Play: Teaches children how to bond socially and helps them develop the values of trust, sharing and fairness.
- Consciousness Quotient (CQ) skills: These comprise of- communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, contribution
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness activity gives the child space for self-reflection and building focus
8. Resilience ought to be taught. Somehow, we just want our children to excel and win and we forget that in that race, our kids have abandoned the importance of “efforts”. Kid are not able to accept & endure their “failures”. What is your take on building resilience and grit in kids?
Dr. Shimi : In today’s competitive times, it seems that children are obsessed with winning and always being on top. The ability to value the process that builds towards the goal is entirely forgotten and not emphasized enough. Being resilient refers to be able to accept and endure failures. Here at dolphin POD we foster a spirit in the child to bounce back from setbacks and to forge ahead on the path of learning and improving
9. Gratitude, a feeling that comes from the heart is lacking in children. Do you feel that Gratitude and life’s values play a big role in child development? Help us with some real time case.
Dr. Shimi : Gratitude & values play an essential role in shaping a child’s future. Fostering gratitude and strengthening core values from an early age is known to lead to success-related outcomes in an individual. An interplay between the two lend ”purpose” and “meaning” during adulthood. For instance- Consider the results of a 2005 study at UCLA on stress, in which groups of individuals were subjected to stressful tasks in a lab. Prior to the stress tests, one group was asked to reflect on personal values that were more meaningful to them, while others were not. The group that reflected on meaningful personal values had lower level of stress indicators such as cortisol (a stress hormone) in their bodies. Similarly, encouraging your child to maintain a ”gratitude journal” is a wonderful way to guide your child towards valuing community and contribution, in addition to improving health and happiness
10. How can Dolphin POD program be a turn-around for kids, wrt their CQ, Resilience, creativity, knowing inner self and life skills?
Dr. Shimi : To do well in today’s fast paced, highly social, ultra- competitive, and globally connected world, our future leaders need 21st century skills. Here at Dolphin POD we emphasize on building these life skills which are key indicators for success and achievement. The Consciousness Quotient entails Creativity, Collaboration, communication, critical thinking and contribution. A conscious future leader understands the importance of thinking out of the box, working in a team, communicating his/her thoughts, raising poignant questions and contributing towards the world to make it a better place.