Dr Tanya Unni

Dr Tanya Unni

What happens when parents decide to live their life through their children? When their new baby is born, and all their unfulfilled desires and ambitions suddenly take on new life.

Raising a child calls for dedicated effort and is difficult. Bringing them up as an achiever can be an even more daunting task. What is really outstanding is to nurture a child who thinks, acts, talks, breathes and lives for their own fulfillment.

It seems that sometimes parents almost draw a master plan for their child at a very early age – what school they need to book into and what activities they’re likely to be good at based on the skills and interest they are most likely to have inherited from their parents.

The fact that parents were instrumental in bringing the child to life seems to give some parents an authoritative power over their thoughts, ambitions, actions and achievements. There are parents who take over their child’s life and start living it on their own terms. They will start moulding the child and preparing them for greatness. It seems as if they never even bother to understand whether their child is happy or not.

What they don’t realise is that it’s not only the child’s life that is being mapped out but also the parents’ who now have to spend their time paving the way to greatness. They no longer have a life or ambitions of their own.

The problem with dedicating your life for the betterment of a child, is that it nurtures an expectation that the child should make the parent proud. A parent’s ‘sacrifices’ for the child entitle them to demand a return of the excellence and achievement they planned. Unfortunately, if anything goes against the plan, the parent will question themselves and the child.

What parents should give instead is guidance, support and lots of love, unconditional love. Being loved and accepted for what we are is the greatest confidence-building measure. The thought of making the parents proud should begin from the child and not the other way around. And that thought should originate from their love for their parents and not because the parents are more like the child’s ‘sponsors’.

Give guidance to children, make them see their own skills and abilities, make them aware of their shortcomings, let them know about the opportunities ahead and let them take charge. The reins can still be with the parent, but it is the child who should be leading the way.

Parents should stop seeing the children as an extension of their own self. They are separate individuals with different aptitude, attitude and aspirations. The child’s achievements are their own and not a symbol of parent’s success. The validation for good parenting does not come from the accolades won by the child but the applause they get for being a good human being. A child’s life has a trajectory of its own and parents can never be in charge of it.

Parenthood is only one facet of an adult’s life. Have goals of your own. Have dreams of your own. Age is no limit. Set an example for your child and chase your dreams. Rather than being a parent full time, be yourself and then be a part-time parent.

A change in perspective is needed in modern parenting. The parents should understand, and make the child understand, that the child is here to live their life. A child’s life motto can’t be to make their parents happy. Ultimately, only when your child is happy, can a parent be truly happy.

Nothing is perfect. Imperfections add beauty and they are the source of life.

Over time, trophies may rust. But an innately contented and naturally confident child can take on the world. They only need the blessings of supportive parents.


Dr Tanya is a Director of Amtan Medical Group and Skin Lab & Beauty. Amtan Medical Group recently launched a new service model for expecting and new mothers which includes antenatal care; pregnancy and birthing education; postnatal care including home visits and feeding assistance; infant massage instruction teaching baby massage, settling techniques and sleep support; nutrition plans; mental health and wellness; health checks; and postnatal depression support. Dr Tanya is also a busy mother of two.