The East and the West have a lot to learn from each other on the art of parenting, Ruth Nemzoff, resident scholar at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, US, said on Thursday.

In a lecture on ‘How to Foster Healthy Relationships with your Adult Children’, hosted by the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children, Ms. Nemzoff pointed out that many of the problems parents faced in the upbringing process were the same across the world, except perhaps that they came across ‘in different packages’.

“If parents in the US worry about whom their teenage child is dating, parents here could be worried that their son or daughter is dating at all,” said Ms. Nemzoff.

The clinical psychologist bases her advocacy of learning from each other’s cultures on her own interactions with parents across countries.

She points out that while in the West it was unexceptional for mothers to take their child around in a pram, Indian mothers carried toddlers in their arms. In fact, she was once ticked off on the street by a woman ‘for crudeness’ while taking her daughter in a pram, said. “There is sense in cuddling the child and more mothers are beginning to see it that way,” said Ms. Nemzoff, who has authored a book on parenting. The book project, in fact, took off on a piece of negative advice. When her daughter got engaged, friends and family wanted her to keep her mouth shut to get along with the couple. On asking around, she found that many people she knew were doing just that. Her book calls for the opposite – ‘Don’t Bite Your Tongue’ and recommends communicating as a way of strengthening family bonding. On her precept that parenting is about art, skill and negotiating, Ms. Nemzoff points out for instance that when parents find that children are eating out with their friends than dining together at home, they should insist on eating together at least once a week as an alternative.

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