Build a cordial relationship

Build a cordial relationship


Adolescence is a stage of life where children try to develop their own personalities and become independent people.

Dear Madam,

I am currently studying in the first semester of engineering. I didn’t want to take up engineering because I am interested in biology and life sciences. After my Class 12, since I didn’t get a good rank in the medical entrance exam, I was asked to take up engineering. Now, my marks are below average in all the subjects and I lack confidence. In school, I was a distinction student. I want to quit engineering and follow my interest. But my parents are not allowing me to do so as they think quitting engineering is a very foolish thing to do. Please help me deal with this problem.



Dear Sanjeevi,

I agree with you that if your interest is not in a particular field then it is not joyful to be stuck on that path. You are still at the start of your journey, and while making a change you end up in wasting a year. However, it is better to lose a year, than to waste a lifetime doing something that you do not enjoy, or do not find rewarding. But making a change is a big step, so you must be sure that you have an aptitude and an interest in the path you choose. Your parents are probably concerned about your future and feel that a bird in hand (your engineering seat) is worth two in the bush. If you can convince them of how and why a career in life sciences will be better for you, they should be okay with it. Please take the help of a career counsellor, and also include your parents in those discussions so that everyone is comfortable with the path forward.


Dear Madam,

My teenage daughter is very arrogant at times. She spends more time on Netflix and Amazon Prime. She has all the time for her friends but not for the family. She refuses to end her friendship with one of her friends who only indulges in boasting, roaming and flirting with guys. My daughter never regrets her wrongdoings. She is just okay in studies and doesn’t work hard. I am worried about her. Please guide me to handle her. 

A worried parent


Dear Parent,

Children don’t need to be “handled” like problems that need to be fixed. Children need to be loved, nurtured and accepted for who they are. You need to stop viewing yourself as being on the opposite team, but rather as on the same team as her. Having said that, adolescence is a stage of life where children try to develop their own personalities and become independent people. In doing this, and in their search for identity, they give more importance to peers than family, they do what they are told not to, and they need their own time and space. In that, your daughter is not at all unique. Probably if you speak to other parents of adolescents, their experiences will be similar. This is not her fight against you, but rather just a search for her own identity. Please enjoy and participate in each phase of your children’s lives as a positive influence, remembering that it will pass and be over before you know it. Build an accepting and non-judgmental relationship in which a child is able to come back to the safety of her home, should she need to. Listening and accepting non-judgmentally hold the key.


Dear Madam,

I am a Class XI student. I try to study hard but keep daydreaming. Constantly thinking about my future disturbs me. This tendency makes me unproductive. Please help me.



Dear Sankesh,

I think it will be extremely helpful for you to speak to a counsellor to help you better understand your anxieties about the future and learn techniques to deal with it. It is important to remember that we cannot control the future, no matter how hard we try. We experience anxiety when we are not living in the moment but are instead looking into the future and projecting a bleak outcome. Learning to deal with anxiety involves learning to be in the present and learning how to not predict a negative outcome. We are not fortune-tellers and do not have any specific ability in predicting that the future is going to be bleak.

Good luck!


Dear Madam,

Our 19-year-old son is very ambitious but doesn’t put in much effort to succeed in his goals. At the same time, he is not interested in applying for scholarships and feels that as parents it is our responsibility to finance his studies. Though we can afford to support his studies, somehow we feel that he should behave in a responsible manner. We are confused as to how to react to his demands as we don’t want to respond sharply and hurt him. 



Dear Parents,

It is important to be able to accept our children the way they are, with their strengths and their weaknesses. Believing in your children is probably the best gift that you can give them. Maybe a question for you to ask yourselves is how would you know if he is putting in his best effort or not?

I am not sure what “demands” you are referring to? If it is funding his education, I would not think of that to be an unreasonable demand, especially if, as you say, you can afford it. That would be any child’s expectation of parents, but more so probably every parents’ expectation of themselves. It may be in the larger good to leave the scholarships for those who really are struggling with resources for their education.

All the best to your son.


Dear Madam,

I (27) want to do an MBA from a top Indian B school. I am preparing relentlessly for CAT but the results are disappointing. Also, I have become oblivious these days. Please help. 



Dear Ranjith,

It is important to remember that success in life does not really depend on your degrees and marks. Success, and a meaningful life, are possible based on what you make of opportunities that come your way. The only thing marks and degrees do are open some doors for you. But what you do once you have a foot in the door really does not depend on your marks — it depends instead on your confidence, your ability to communicate, your ability to work in a team, your ability to lead a team, your ability to solve problems and think out of the box, your ability to learn on the job and so much more. So don’t lose heart. Life with a B-School degree can be just as rewarding — it just depends on what you make of it.

Good luck!