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Heard of Richard H Thaler, the Nobel Prize winner Professor, for his theory of Nudging? Well he has specialized in studying irrational and temptation driven actions among economic actors.
Nudging “according to him involves frequent nudging of the economy with such findings, so that it remains relatively steady.

Attributed to Thaler is the declaration that low volatility market is napping in the US despite risky times.

On President Trump he commented drily that Trump-‘s ratio of certitude to knowledge is nearing record highs.

NUDGING means something closely related to this in family living. It stands for occasional reminders, gentle counsel, giving timely tips for accomplishing a task and so on. It also involves advising the growing kids about what is acceptable and what wouldn’t be. It includes kisses and hugs too no less, primarily to ease the other person out of some discomfort or pain. It does have a major role to play in any family life.

This is the exact point on the springboard from which parents can take a dive into the globally researched but little known mysteries of intelligent kid rearing at home. Like test anxiety—a salutary form of stress helpful to test performance optimization among learners—we need to keep our kids having some degree of test anxiety about the oncoming examinations since baseless over confidence in a kid paves the way for his or her low performance. And performance alone is what really matters.

Irrespective of the location where the kid happen to be, or if its househusbands or home makers that take care of them, and meet all obligations linked to sensible upbringing of the kid, it’s a nonnegotiable issue that the kid needs our maximum attention at all times till he or she is able to stand on own legs. (Househusbands are more in townships like Kottayam in Kerala because their wives are slaving away overseas to earn dollars for the family.)

Incidentally let me put in a word about how you stand with the kid in the family. (We Indians are a most sentimental lot, and hence my assurance has much value I guess)

I take it that it may be the fruit of your own loins but this need not be so at all. It can be an adopted baby or a baby you obtained through the surrogacy route. So long as you are willing to view the kid as your own at all times it doesn’t matter at all, let me assure you!

(Ask Ms. Angelina Jolie’s kids, who were born to different dads in different countries across the world and they shall convince you of what truth of what I am saying!)

Here are some of those obligations in addition to those others I have already enlightened you about!


Nudging is needed at times in bringing up children and when you seek to pass on your most useful values to them. Your kids are having too many external distractions all the time and it’s your duty to remind them of what they must stand for and what they can go easy over!

Printed media burst with shocking news reports about everything under the sun that has gone wrong in the previous 24 hours—parents doing an encore of the War of the Roses at home, the rupture of healthy filial relationships when the adult daughter prefers to sleep with the dad, or the adult son picking his own mom for nocturnal company, and when the kids go off their expected orbit through acquisition of personal voices aplenty.  Reports about molestation, heckling, lynching and gang rape-cum-murder glut the pages.

Days may dawn forth in pink and gold but within hours it turns to a midnight of frustration at noon for most of us grownups as a consequence!

Says Ms. Vinita Dawra Nangia (

At one level we need to keep moving in life developing new skills all the time as and when we can get them, making new friends, shifting goal posts almost continually, but we need also to remain constant to our basic principles and values….We need to take many decisions as we move long in a jostle often focused on other things. Don’t expect to have the luxury of time, good counsel or rational thought before you exercise your most critical options.

As professionals we know what this means but we need to strain at the same obligations as parents too no less. We need to depend on our basic instincts or our hearts.

The values and principles that you hold dear and steadfast have come down to you thru your parents or elders. These are your only mooring when your logical thinking habit fail you at times, say when your kid seems to be have whimsically and without any provocation at all. I am sure all of you with adolescent sons or daughters at home get the implications of what I am attempting to present here.

As parents, you lean against the bulwark of your cherished principles and values when your teenager son or daughter rebel against you for denying them a whimsical need for something unessential! You know you can live with some outcomes and with dome decisions but you find it beyond your endurance to experience some others.

You are convinced that your irreducible definite core values shall never leave you under the blazing sun at any time in life. Call them Honesty, Integrity, Punctuality, Decency and Acceptable Etiquette.

Or physical culture may have helped you keep off from all hospitals and physicians for most of your lifetime. Or it may be your pre-dawn praying and meditation habit .Or it may be your networking and the many advantages you obtained as a result of it.

Naturally you have never side-stepped or juggled in your life over integrity to compromise on anything. You have remained totally committed to your career and never sought to balance your commitment with occasional relaxation interludes. You have never given in to dishonesty too even when stretched beyond your limit. Nor have you allowed time and circumstance any leeway to give yourself some breathing space.

You feel so because you have arrived at them through a restless relentless questioning as you went through your life this far. You wish to pass on these values to your son or daughter, which is understandable of course, but then you must align these with the spirit of the times too necessarily!

Casual discussion — preferably after supper or on Sundays after your shared lunch –is the way to accomplish this objective, but bear in mind that you need to be utterly relaxed as you unwind in the presence of your children. Invite your partner to sit beside you so that you can take the heat if any head on without flinching as your parental imperfections and angularities so human.

Let your children be seated around you preferably in an arc, to ensure an informal ambiance. Divulge all that you have passed through, the compromises you were compelled to go in for, the factors that floored you at times, and the occasions when you made a fool of your own self too. Describe how you sought to preserve and cherish the values that sustained your confidence and how some of them cheated on you too.

This family habit must be kept up as long as your children want them to. The most powerful changes in personality come from within-and as a parent it shall be your achievement if you can get this transformation done before the kid gets any well-paying employment on his or her own.


ALL human children are, just as all animals and plants are, designed in anticipation with extreme care to give in to being managed easily ONLY through the medium of love and affection, and not through force. The new born baby is extremely hungry to be accepted by the mother-its food provider-and also by others flocked around her. This world of light and sound is foreign to the kid at birth, yes, it is more than eager to understand all the sounds being made.

This hunger or thirst for being accepted continues all through life in the many roles that the kid shall play out in the open—as a youth or as a dad or mom and as a grandparent. The only difference is in the kind of persons from whom it expects appreciation.

I assist terminally ill persons die in peace, often without being able to see their own biological kids. I listen to them as I sit beside their bed holding their hands gently and as they unburden themselves to me without the least trace of anxiety about their good and bad thoughts behavior patterns and sinful activities. I also reply softly with the intention to soothe and console them no less.

So I know this great reality firsthand!

As a husband, you may want to teach your pretty partner something new but, mind you, she shall respond to you favorably only if you appreciate her as a habit. Infuse a culture of all round appreciation for whatever she does for your joy or wellbeing and you are all set to mold her the way you want it.

A positively charged home is, far from being a bunch of adult and young persons under a common roof, a living organism or a well-oiled machine working in harmony to accomplish its desired tasks. Such a family lets off its occasional ire or bitterness through regular brainstorming sessions right at home and never carries them along to the world outside. They pray together, share food together and the dinner table is often a venue for happy conversation and laughter too.

India—basically nothing more than a vacation land– has been overrun by stupid time-wasting politics managed by cunning men or women and it’s natural that an Indian family is susceptible to their temptations too. As a result most of the time we spend in life is wasted ion needless controversies over trifling eruptions or over foolish issues.

This is why I advise young persons here to escape from this country at least for a few decades and return only after living sensibly elsewhere.

As a parent, your intention may probably be to process your kid the way you want it as an individual or as a couple in collusion with your partner. Maybe you want the kid to be sharing your faith but he may not. Maybe you want him to take after you in your profession but he may not. You can hope to make him or her listen only if you take the initiative in offering him affection initially by way of a sunny greeting or a fatherly hug!

But let me tell you once and for all that such processing has but a 50% chance of being successful in most cases. The kid retaliates early or late against such manipulated movements from your side.

Love Lake must be hard softly lapping its ripples around your home at all times. This sound is discernible in children’s laughter, giggles, happy chirps of sucklings, chanting of hymns and conversations being pursued on a low key.

In Part IV we shall discuss some other mandatory obligations of parents.


(To be continued)

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