Namrata Shirodkar: Don't Pressurise Children To Be What They Are Not

She has played many ‘roles’ -- an actor, producer, model and former Miss India. However, Namrata Shirodkar is certain that being a doting mother to her two children is her best role yet! Read on!

By Jyothi Srinivas  • 10 min read

Namrata Shirodkar: Don't Pressurise Children To Be What They Are Not

Namrata Shirodkar has donned many hats during her life. After being crowned Miss India in 1993, she made a foray into Bollywood and impressed one and all with her versatility. Love soon came knocking in the form of Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu and they got hitched in a fairytale wedding. Today, she is a well-know producer down south, and, above all, she is a wonderful parent to her children, Gautham and Sitara.

In a candid chat with ParentCircle, this ‘super mom’ talks about her role as a parent and shares some wonderful parenting moments.

Has parenting changed you as a person? If yes, how?

Yes. I feel parenting has made me more responsible and, at the same time, more aware of the responsibility towards our family and our children, and largely towards society in general.

You are busy juggling various roles. How do you manage work and family life?

Since I decide my own work schedule now, I spend a lot of time at home, and sometimes I even work from home. That helps a lot, as I get to spend as much time as possible with my children. My daily routine begins with waking up, attending to my children and sending them off to school. After that, I start my work and try to wrap up before they return. When they are back from school, I always try to be there to greet them. Both Mahesh and I are working parents, but we make sure to take out time from our busy schedules for our children.

In today’s day and age, most children are addicted to gadgets. How do you handle this situation when it comes to your children?

My children use their gadgets to do many things throughout the week, including school work. However, the time they spend on gadgets is monitored and rationed. The good thing is that they are involved in other activities such as dance and art classes. While Gautham goes for gymnastics, Sitara is interested in dance, especially Bharatanatyam. So, they have got it all balanced out.

I believe, parents should always monitor what their children are watching on phones or tab. Although the use of gadgets is inevitable, I believe there should be a time limit.  

What kind of books do you prefer to read to your children?

I don’t read to Gautham anymore as he is 13 now. However, I love reading to Sitara who adores the Frozen series and fairytales such as Cinderella and Snow White. Apart from these, I read to her anything that we find interesting that includes the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and the Amar Chitra Katha series. It is not limited to these types of books alone. Sitara loves reading books that are interesting and hold her attention.

Celebrity children are constantly under media glare and have their pictures clicked regularly. How do you handle the attention? Are the children aware of the star status of their parents?

Both Mahesh and I, along with our children, have come to accept that the paparazzi is a part of our jobs and our lives. Initially, children used to be uncomfortable if it got too interfering, but now they have grown accustomed to it. 

One thing your parents have taught you that you are keen on teaching your children?

One valuable lesson in parenting I have learnt from my parents is to teach children to be balanced in life. Yes, make sure children know exactly what parents are trying to convey. Both Mahesh and I want to give our children ample space to express their minds without any external influences. A lot of parents make the mistake of expecting their children to be exactly like them. So, in most cases, a doctor expects his child to be a doctor and a lawyer would expect his child to be one.

However, in my opinion, this is unfair to the child. We want to give our children a choice and encourage them to choose their own calling in life when they get older. Children should not feel pressurised to do what they do not want to do. They should not feel burdened by the expectations of their parents.

Today, parents don’t differentiate much between a boy and a girl. How do you teach the concept of gender sensitivity to your children?

We take utmost care to ensure that Gautham or Sitara do not view life on the lines of gender. We teach both our children to dismiss thoughts that involve favouring a child based on gender. Both of them are treated equally in the house in all aspects, be it food, activity, education, love and so on. I feel that both my children understand the concept of equality well.

As a parent, is there any particular profession that you would like your children to take up?

As I mentioned earlier, we want them to be successful in whatever they do in life. Frankly, they are too young to think and decide on what they want to do in life. Rather than being pressurised by thinking what they should be doing 10 years down the line, we want them to take life as it comes. As parents, both Mahesh and I have decided to leave it to them to choose what they want to be. 

Recently, we noticed that Sitara had dubbed for the movie Frozen 2 in Telugu. So, what kind of homework did you do with Sitara?

Sitara dubbing for the movie happened quite unexpectedly. It so happened that Disney approached us with an offer and Sitara being a big fan of the series, readily agreed. As she has been a huge fan of the series since she was around three years old, she was very excited about the project. She has literally grown up adoring Elsa and when the opportunity to be the voice of Elsa was presented to her, she immediately gave her approval. It all went smoothly. In the end, it was a great experience for my daughter, and I was really proud and happy that she pulled it off with such ease.

What is that one piece of advice you would like to share with other parents?

Parenting is subjective and differs from one parent to another. What may work for me may not work for another. So, it is unfair on my part to advise on the right and wrong way of parenting. Each parent knows what is best for their children and they will take utmost care to ensure the best upbringing for their children.

As I have mentioned before, children should never be pressurised into doing or saying something or forced to be someone they are not. Children should be left alone to enjoy their childhood before they enter the life cycle of getting jobs and earning for a living. Parents should make sure that they play an active role in the growth children and be supportive. 

Hall of Fame

  • In 2000, Namrata was nominated for IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in the film Pukar.
  • In 2000, she made her debut in the Telugu film industry with the film Vamsi.
  • In 1993, she was crowned Femina Miss India.
  • In 1993, she was the first runner-up in the Miss Asia Pacific contest.
  • In 1977, she appeared as a child artiste with Shatrughan Sinha in the movie Shirdi Ke Sai Baba.

Also read: Bhumika Chawla: As A Child Grows A Mother Grows Too

About the author:

Written by Team ParentCircle on 26 December 2019.

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