Shelja Sen

Shelja Sen is co-founder of Children First, a child and adolescent mental health institute, and author of Imagine: No Child Left Invisible; All You Need is Love: The Art of Mindful Parenting; Reclaim Your Life: Going Beyond Silence, Shame and Stigma in Mental Health.

Articles By Shelja Sen

Imagine: Why parents need meditation or the art of stillness, in a chaotic life

If there is a niggling voice saying to you right now, "All this is rubbish! I can barely go through the day and she is asking me to become a Buddha", listen to that voice, smile and then let it go.

Imagine: This summer vacation, don’t be afraid to let kids be bored

Kids need to be bored. Stillness and solitude is essential to their growth and it is a milestone they have to cross to reach a rich inner life of contemplation and creativity.

Imagine: Are we failing our boys? Let’s look beyond the heavy mask of manhood

It was Nobel Laureate and eminent novelist, Doris Lessing who pointed out that boys were the new silent victims in the gender war where they are being “continually demeaned and insulted” and subject to “automatic rubbishing”. I couldn’t agree with her more.

Babies need attuned mothers to form trusting bonds, not ‘experts’

Babies with secure attachments have higher chances of growing up to be socially and emotionally healthy. They carry the message that they are worthy as they are, they can trust others and the world is safe enough to explore.

Imagine: Growing pains and the myth of a carefree childhood

We hear our kids have a problem and we want to jump into a full rescue mode. But hold on and instead ask them how they think you could help. If they feel they are not being judged, they might want to discuss their problem with you openly.

Growing pains: Myth of carefree childhood

What they need to hear from us is, ‘No matter what happens, I have your back!’

Imagine: Children with autism are different, not less

The child is not damaged or broken so nothing needs to be fixed. Maybe we are bit broken as human beings that we struggle to accept children who do not fit into the neat grooves we design for them.

Imagine: Woo your teen back! Who said they need so much of space?

In the absence of their parents’ attentive involvement, our children are more vulnerable to seeking approval from their peers which can come at the cost of high-risk behaviour for acceptance.

IMAGINE: Woo your teen back

Who said they need all that space?

Imagine: It is grit that matters more than your child’s grades

It is the growth mindset and grit that will determine children’s success in life. From us, they learn that adversity is an invitation to rise above and not give up. They also learn that life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

A letter to students: 7 ways to hack exam stress and get ROCKING!

The best procrastination buster is to break the task into brick by brick or what I call the ‘15-minute rule’. It will cut down the inertia and possibly make it easier for you to come back to it next time.

Imagine: Let’s stand up for our children, build emotionally safe spaces

We need a hashtag campaign on the lines of #speakupforourchildren. And all of us need to be part of it. As the clichéd but powerful phrase goes, “If not now, then when? If not you, then who?”

Imagine: Exam time and a pressure-cooked generation

Education which is not embedded in life is meaningless. It is high time we let go of this outdated belief that one exam will determine the rest of their lives. This is a huge burden for young shoulders to carry.

Imagine: The last thing your child needs is disciplining

There is a lot of moaning and groaning, leading to shouting and possibly the child being forcibly made to sit down. In the end, there is an unhappy child who associates homework with punishment and a guilty parent who feels helpless and inadequate. If this is discipline, then every home is better without it.

Imagine: The myth of the badly behaved child

We all have a deep desire for perfect kids as that would, in turn, make us feel good about ourselves. When they do not fall into the socially prescribed narrative of ‘good kids’, we try to 'fix them' by criticising, complaining, shaming and blaming them. And when they push back in frustration, we react with anger and censure.

What after #MeToo? Let’s listen to heal

Schools and colleges cannot wash their hands of the perpetrators by shaming and handing out injunctions

Are our boys ready for #WeToo?

#MeToo has provided a great opportunity for all of us to start conversations with our children.