Nalini is a Parent Coach, Child Psychology Educator, and Right Brain Educator. Her ability to multi-task has helped her to become successful. Nalini moved from India to Dubai and is working on parenting and child education.
In her conversation with Icy Tales, Nalini spoke about the ups and downs of parenting and her journey of being a child psychologist educator. To follow her passion for psychology, Nalini completed her Child Psychology course during the year. There has been no turning back for her ever since.
Q) Can you tell us what parent coaching is and what a parent coach does?
Nalini – Parent Coaching is very new to our country. It has been there in western countries for a long time. But in India, it is a new topic. We have a coach as an indicator for everything, from your studies to school, to college and for your exams. You have an educator who helps you learn about a particular skill or study.
Parenting is also the same. We are automatically jumping to a phase, whether we want it or not, or whether we expect it a certain way. Most of the time, we are unprepared to get into the phase of parenting. When someone is having a baby, everybody around them believes that once the baby is delivered, you will be all set, and everything will be okay. People have this mindset.
When I had my baby, I thought everything was done, and my baby and I were safe. I thought my life would be the same as before, but I was wrong. You are never going to get the life back that you already had. So, as parents, we are entering into a world that we are entirely unaware of.
Imagine you are suddenly taken to an alien planet. For example, if your child is crying, you won’t know what to do or how to react. And how we react is based on our experiences and how our parents have treated us; on that basis, we also react to the child.
But right now, parents realize that parenthood is not working anymore because sometimes, in the back of the mind, we always feel that it could have been better, we could have been gentler, just like my parents could have been more gentle with me.
When we look at a child, we want to see if there is a better way to connect with them. However, everyday parenting is a struggle and is a process that takes us time to learn. So, parent coaching will help you with the tools and ideas. We also provide scripts on how you can talk to your toddler so that your child will sit and listen to you in a way that they will come and share things with you, thereby improving your relationship with them.
It is always better to go to someone who helps parents be mindful of their thoughts because we always complain about the babies, and we forget how we react or respond to that situation. So, it’s just helping future parents resolve their parenting issues and eventually making them happy.
No, it is not like that; every parent, child, and family is different. And in my opinion, parent coaching is not just telling you what to do and how to do it because nobody is perfect, and everyone is learning. We are growing every day, and the adopting mindset is fundamental. Parent coaching does not just have you do all of this by watching it.
So, we have to take into consideration all of this. We will give you strategies and tips to handle the situations better and have a peaceful situation at home. And I will help you put the strategies so that you can handle things differently.
Q) You are also a child psychology educator. Why did you choose to be one?
Nalini – Psychology is something that’s always been my interest. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist from my school days. We were moulded into doing engineering, math, arts, and those things and were not allowed to pursue what we wanted, but I think I had known from my innate sense that I would be able to read people’s minds.
I used to read a lot of psychology-related stuff. When my child was born, I looked at how she responded to me and my words. It surprised me because I thought that a tiny baby could not understand anything until they started speaking. But when my baby was born, I could see her every day. The moment I said anything, I could grab her attention. And she used to nod and even take out sounds when I sang.
So, I was fascinated by that moment, and my child was born during the pandemic in March 2020. At that time, I was also working as a software professional; that’s when I started. I was looking through the internet to understand babies’ psychology, and I was fascinated to know that the adult brain is entirely different from the babies’ brain, as kids are born with some survival reflexes.
All of that fascinated me, including the brain development part. The baby’s brain is fast-growing, so it starts developing from the day they are conceived. And after they are born, the brain is not developed until six years of age.
Their brain is like a sponge, which will attract everything. They will know what is happening and how people are reacting. Since they are very new to this world, they want to understand the people’s communication and how they react so that they can also adapt to it in the same way.
I completed my child psychology course in 2020. We used to learn about the child’s development age-wise and stage-wise, physical and cognitive development, and social and emotional goodness that the child develops at each stage of life; it all differs. And so that helped me a lot in understanding my child from her perspective, rather than having my perspective about my child.
So that gives me a picture that my child is having all of this. She is growing, and I started looking at her as an individual. As a child psychologist, this has helped because I understood my child better. It’s been two years since my child and I were on this journey, and all the research has paid off. I can’t wait for her to grow up.
Being a Right Brain Educator, I got a lot of requests from people to explain this. So, I have educated more than 2000 parents now. All this happened after I did my Child Psychology Course.
Q) What skills do you think children lack these days, and how should they work on them?
Nalini- I consider two things significant, especially for this generation and future generations. Number one is critical thinking. When we were all growing up, we all had some assumptions, we had a template that somebody had set, and we were following it literally.
But right now, we are at this age where we can see many changes happening. Some of us can adapt to the changes and learn new things. Even at 60 years, many people are adapting and improvising their life. But there are a few people who are just 15 or 16 years, and they are unable to think or adapt to the new changes that are happening.
When you have critical thinking in place, you will be able to look at many situations; 2020 is a great example. Nobody predicted this or expected how each of our lives would change. But the people who have survived are all those who were critical thinkers. Right?
So, we need to start implementing it from childhood by asking open-ended questions. Instead of giving all the answers on their plate right away, we can help them think about why it is like this? Why do you feel this is happening? What do you think the other person’s perspective will be? So, these kinds of questions will go into their curiosity, and they will be able to think beyond what they usually think.
The next one is emotional intelligence, which is also lacking in adults. Not everybody has emotional intelligence, but it is essential, as it will help you analyze and identify your emotions.
When you know that you are angry, frustrated or sad, you will be able to handle it better if you can identify that. But most of the time, what happens in our early childhood is that we are not encouraged to show our emotions, as it is all about showing only happy reactions.
Emotional intelligence is something that every child must have, so I also educate parents about it. We can use various strategies to help the child identify and label their emotions. So, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are very fundamental for everybody.
Q) Some grown-ups don’t adapt to changes quickly. So, how exactly do you motivate them to upgrade their skills?
Nalini – It’s natural, students have a brain that can adapt to changes, but adults cannot. This is because there is already so much in their minds blocking their way of thinking. Learning something is very easy, but to unlearn something that you have already learned is very, very hard.
Most parents will tell their children, – ‘don’t cry; now is not the time.’ But I show a different way of how you can talk, listen and look at your child. You have to validate their feelings and make them understand that they are being heard.
I educate people through Instagram and YouTube about these issues so that people who are unsure about them can look and try them with their children. Thankfully, Google is filled with articles related to psychology and research papers so that everybody can read them.
I firmly believe that punishment, threats or yelling at a child can never work. A parent will get tired of this at one point and eventually have to implement strategies. I hope it will change, and I’m happy that I am the one contributing to making that change.
Q) What are the daily challenges that you face in your workspace?
Nalini – I used to be a software engineer, but it was pretty tricky for me to handle all of them together after my child was born. In December 2020, I quit my job to follow my passion for parenting and the things which I knew. But unexpected changes happened, and I moved from India to Dubai.
When I moved here, I had no help. I had to do all my household chores and take care of a toddler. So, it was pretty challenging to balance the work-life. But when you have so much passion for something, you will find ways to do it.
I also credit my partner, who gives equal time to parenting instead of just thinking that parenting is a mom’s job. At this time, I get my own space, and the daughter and father can have their own time while I work.
I would schedule my meetings accordingly when my daughter was sleeping or when my husband was there for me. Maybe after my child starts going to school, I will get more time to work on my business. But right now, whatever time I have is only one hour a day for work. That is how I am balancing my work life right now.
Nalini hopes that Parent Coaching becomes more popular in India as it would help families have a better relationship with their children. Nalini also aims to spread her motive with the help of social media to help people around her.
Check out the whole conversation with Nalini on our YouTube Channel.