One of the techniques that racing car drivers are taught to avoid a head-on crash into a wall or barrier is to look away from it towards the road. When your mind thinks “away from a crash” towards the road your body follows suit. Remember, you attract into your life what you focus on — the good or the bad.

So, why is it that every day parents are literally painting the wall red to attract their child’s attention?

As a parent, you need to continuously guide your child to focus on the road — the path — to steer themselves away from any collisions. However, in recent months I came across many parents who always point towards the wall. This results in the child banging on that wall multiple times.

I recently coached a young girl who was completely bogged down by the “negative” things her parents were telling her. She kept repeating: “my parents say I am poor at managing my time, my parents say I am a dreamer, my parents say I need to speak up, my parents say that I am angry all the time”.

This was a child who felt “wrong” in every way. She was feeling rejected and seemed to be surrounded by these insurmountable walls created by her parents.

The parents, with all good intentions, were trying to point out their daughter’s flaws so that she could work on them. But parents must remember that their words can be life altering. You could be responsible for a lot of negative beliefs your child might suffer from in her life. (I know this from the adults I coach. They have many negative beliefs ingrained from childhood).

If your child is not managing her time well in the morning and often gets late for school, sit down and ask her a question that will help her look at the road. What can we do together to ensure that you reach school on time? How can we make this work? What else could you do to express your emotions before they escalate to an angry outburst? How do you want us to help you in becoming more articulate?

Parenting is a very responsible role and there are no schools and colleges to give us parenting lessons. But we must remember that we were also a child once. We must glean from our experience for what worked and what didn’t. Ask your friends. Take the help of professionals. If it gets confusing it is best to seek help early rather than later, because there might be some mistakes that might be irreversible.

Remember seeking help when help is needed is only for the brave and vulnerable, those who truly understand their responsibility as a parent. This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to or call (+971) 56-1399033.