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February 11, 2017

Gouri Dange On Her New Book and Parenting

Text by Huzan Tata

The writer traces the dynamic between parent and child in her latest work

Always A Parent – Managing Our Longest Relationship
Gouri Dange
Fingerprint Press

The writer, who has contributed to Verve in the past, traces the dynamic between parent and child in her latest work. The book focuses on the different aspects of life — family, home, career, lifestyle, death — and the changing face of this lifelong bond. Including several anecdotes and ‘parting thoughts’ to introspect on at the end of each chapter, the read offers an insight into child-rearing.

Who’s the primary target audience for this work?
“I’ve written two books on the subject (ABCs of Parenting and More ABCs of Parenting). But I kept feeling that a large part of the parenting spectrum is simply not addressed as an open discussion. The target readership for Always A Parent is just about anyone over 18 — many of us are parents to grown children, as well as grown children of parents, for a really large part of our lives.”

Anything you discovered during your research that stood out for you?
“That across cultures, classes, castes, communities and continents, this relationship is something that people continue to deal with — either positively or negatively. And that it can remain beautifully woven together or be really tangled. Even if you say, ‘Oh, I hardly consult my parents about anything now’ or ‘My kids are busy with their own lives’, this still means that you’re accounting for each other.”

What is that one thing a parent must keep in mind as a child starts their adult life?
“I urge them to recalibrate their idea of ‘being there’ for their child once they’re in their 20s — and to learn to be interested and concerned but not interfering and anxious. It’s important to review the mutual expectations every couple of years.”

Is there such a thing as the ‘perfect’ parent?
“Yes, in the aggregate. Most of us are near-perfect on some counts with our kids or our parents, and sometimes grossly off-key on some aspects. The bottom line is that if your adult kids feel good about themselves, without being full of themselves, you have done a good job. And if your parents feel cared for and relevant to your life, then you’re being a good grown-up child.”

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