Book Review - Writing Tools by Cheryl Sterling


Exactly what I was looking for!

At a stage in my life where I want to step up my writing game, this comes like an answered prayer. I mean who doesn´t want to learn from someone who has been there and done that (writing in this case) for 18 long years!

I do plan to read each and every single ebook listed in this year´s Ebook Carnival by Blogchatter. And, I started with what caught my interest and benefit me the most at this point of time.

Based on that criteria, I picked ´Writing Tools´ by Cheryl Sterling and I am so glad that I started my e-book reading marathon with this one. What a great start it has been, indeed!

The book is extremely informative and educative for new writers like me who are keen to take their writings to the next level. There were so many Á-Ha! Eureka´ moments for me all throughout this book. Tons and tons of tips and recommendations that I really need to start incorporating right away. For a newbie author like me, it really means a lot when you have an established author who is a veteran at the game, handhold you and makes you realize your own shortcomings and all the opportunities that lie in the waiting.

What would I do without you, Cheryl Sterling? I mean really! You just lit a candle in the dark and showed me a path that I thought never existed before. I love you just for that!

Coming to the book, it is written in an informal conversational tone. It´s almost like the author is speaking to you face-to-face in a room. It´s is that intimate and intricate. So, all kudos to the author for making that effort to get upfront and personal with her readers.

I personally love this book and would rate it higher than 5 because I loved it that much. Why? Both for its noble and honest intent as well as its personal style. Apart from being highly informative and practical, the book has a huge personal touch and that´s what makes this one endearingly special to me.

A Letter to Her - Hurry! Get in the driver´s seat NOW


My Dearest Fellow Woman,

How are you? You have been too quiet of late, and I thought I would write in to ask if everything was okay.

I know that you will reply that everything is just perfectly fine. You will find excuses in work and family that has kept you so busy of late.

But, You and I both know that there is something amiss.

I recognise that blankness in your eyes. I know too well that pain in your voice even when your words seem to suggest otherwise. I can hear the loud outcries of your heart even though you cry silently in the solitary corner of your home, hidden away from anyone in plain sight. I can easily trace the lines of sorrow along the curve of your brightest smile. I can see clearly those emotional wounds that is hurting your soul. I know your untold story that you try to desperately brush under the carpet.

And, this is exactly why I am writing to you. I hope this letter strikes a chord with you and gives you much hope, strength and courage to open up and make some really tough but right decisions.

So, I am asking you again. Is this You, my friend?

A burden to her own parents and denied all rights to education, proper nutrition and sanitation in the confines of your own home.

The sister who has to make all the sacrifices for her brothers, owing to male privilege.

The girl who was trained right from the beginning of her existence on how to be a ´good´ girl - How to behave with men, how to have her head covered and gaze down in front of elders, how to talk in a low tone, how to sit properly (not crosslegged or with legs wide open), not to wear short skirts or show any skin before elders and how to always respect and please your future husband and in-laws. 

The girl who was told that her voice didn´t matter to anyone and her beauty lied in her silence. 


The child who was the mute witness to her father´s misdemeanour towards her mother and hated herself for being helpless in the situation. 

The daughter who was pimped by her own family to get rid of their poverty 

You had to pay a fatal price for loving a boy from another caste, religion or country - either leading to forced marriage or something even more deadly, the family´s honour traded in exchange for your death.

Your parents finally heaved a huge sigh of relief as they were done with your burdensome responsibility by packing you off to an equally highly cultured family. 

You quickly learn that Divorce is simply not an option when you are sent away to your husband´s home, with this everlasting oath that you undertake - ´Teri doli jaa rahi hain, ab wahan se teri arthi hi uthegi´ (Your palanquin is going from our home to your husband´s, now only your coffin frame must leave your 
inlaws´ and husband´s home)

You were kicked out of the house by your husband and in-laws in the dead of the night for raising her voice and having an opinion that was against the norms and rules of ´their´ home.

You are considered ´Parayi´ by your own parents after marriage.

You are treated very sweetly by your  in-laws in front of your husband, their son but have to bear their tauts, threats, hurting words or given the silent treatment by the same in-laws in the absence of your husband, their son.

Raped or groped by her own family - father, brother, cousin, uncles, husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law. But couldn´t talk openly about it or take any legal action because well,  family´s honour always comes before your own.

You are body shamed by your family for being - Too dark, too skinny, too fat, too ugly, too hairy or too scary !

You are shamed. Period. Too stupid, too dumb, too uncultured, too modern, too behenji, badly brought up by your parents, badly behaved, too bold, constantly ridiculed for not bringing any or enough dowry as your parents are too cheap and more such insensitive abuses!

You have no legal property in your name or financial freedom. You are not entitled to your husband´s pocket money or any of his earnings, must give an accountability of all your earnings and spendings to your husband and in-laws, hand over all your earnings to them to decide how they choose to manage it and not permitted to financially help your parents.

You have no freedom of choice when it comes to work - Forced to work or forced to be a  housewife for life!

You are constantly reminded of your only real purpose and place in life, which is the family and kitchen irrespective of your work status.

You enjoy no freedom of expression. The woman who is curtailed from dressing as she pleases. The woman who is curtailed for revealing too much on social media or banned from it altogether. The woman who is banned from putting her pictures anywhere online after marriage.

You cannot venture out on your own without a family escort or have male friends.

You have to eternally seek the final approval from either your parents, brothers, husband or in-laws.

You have contemplated and even attempted suicide many times owing to the emotional blows that you have been succumbed to, for not being the perfect homely wife, DIL, mother or woman.

A baby-making machine for your husband and in-laws in their vain hope of begetting a male heir, At times, against your own will and at the cost of your health and putting your life to risk.

The lucky woman who has the most charming, rich and successful husband but only you know and endure helplessly his passive-aggressive behaviour towards you behind that dubious mask of Prince Charming.


You are coerced into obeying every command of His Highness and your Master, your husband. Be it as seemingly trivial as submitting all your passwords and informing him of every whereabout while you have no access to any of his passwords or whereabouts. You are emotionally controlled, manipulated and gagged.

You are torn between the upholding of the family´s honour and well-being and your heart´s outpourings.

You are always forced to settle for a life that is simply not your choice. 


You are a roaring tigress outside home but a meek pussycat who is shown her true place within the stifling confines of your home by your husband and in-laws.

The woman who would rather prefer to be in an abusive relationship because it scares her to face and fight lone against the world. 

I have news for you, my dearest friend!

We are all scarred and broken! I know, I understand and I empathise because I have been exactly in your spot.

It does not matter if we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, employed or unemployed. We have all been hit by people we call our own within the four domestic walls of ´home horror home´.

We are all victims of some form of domestic violence or the other. Physical or emotional!

While physical scars and wounds can be easily seen and draw attention, sympathy and even justice, what about the emotional hits that leave us all broken and scarred in the deepest cores of our hearts?

Every time that we are told that ´You cannot´ by our own family, remember to hit them back saying ´Oh Yes! I can!´.

But any kind of change begins with the acceptance of reality. We cannot sugarcoat our lives anymore. There is no shame in letting the world know that our lives are far from perfect and we are prisoners in our homes.

You owe it to not just yourself as an individual. But, also to millions of women around the world to shatter this myth of leading a perfectly happy life. When you choose to remain silent about your woes, you are not only letting yourself be hit by one man, but taking down several women along with you in the process as well. Silence is not golden but fatal.

I fully understand all your apprehensions and fears about getting out of your abusive relationship and facing the world all alone by yourself. But, you have to ultimately let go off these same fears and doubts which chain and imprison you far more than all of the abuses that are inflicted on you by your husband and in-law´s. Remember that a bully gets empowered and thrives on the victim´s fears.

Whenever your husband or family tries to pull you down, hold your head high and your resolve even higher. Don´t be naive and mistake slurs, rants or jealousy pangs for love. Seek hard and find that reservoir of huge courage that lies latent within yourself. You are the Shakti, the force. You are incredibly powerful. Don´t let anyone tell you otherwise! Harness that power and positive energy. Strong women intimidate men…and women. Your strength and confidence terrifies them and reminds them of their own weakness. And they will do anything to tear you down. With menacing looks,plotting schemes, snarky remarks, physical blows and stabs.  Don´t let them win and get away with it. Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Don´t give them that kind of power or hold upon you. Your victory is important not just for you but the greater cause of truth and justice for humanity. Be that change you want to see around in the world!

If you are still scared to face them alone, remember there are several women and men like me whom you can confide and get support from.

But at the end of the day, only you can answer this question - ´Do you want to save your marriage or yourself?´

Let´s just say - If you had fallen off a boat in the midst of a mighty, turbulent ocean, would you rescue the boat or save your life first? The boat is like your rocky marriage. When both your marriage and you are drowning to death, which one would you reach out to save first?

It is upto you to make that important decision. No one can make it for you. You have to find the strength somehow to do the right thing for yourself. Sometimes, you can save both yourself and the rocky boat in the process. Sometimes, you can just rescue only one while sacrificing the other. In the latter case, please do not end up being the sacrificial goat at the cost of that rocky boat of a marriage. And if you still believe that you can find that elusive balance and maintain your sanity in that rocky boat, good luck with that!

There are so many alternative solutions. Sometimes, leaving is not the only option left and the marriage can indeed be saved by a change of heart and actions by both partners. Sometimes, it is the only option left. If open, respectful and sensible discussions don´t work out with your partners or inmates of your home, then maybe it is time to move on.

We, women are not weak, my friend. We have just let our guard down and given away the remote control of our life to another person.

If your life is a motorcar, would you give it to another person to drive it in the reverse gear, steer altogether in the wrong direction, stay stationed at one spot all your life or worse still, lead you to a fatal car crash?

You do not need anyone´s permission to drive your own car and run your own life. You owe no one any explanation about your past, present or future. Your choices are your own. And so is your life!

Remember always - It is your car, your life, your destiny, rules and choices. The car keys ought to be in your hands and the car in your control.  You steer your life in the direction that you want to take. You are no one´s puppet to pulled up constantly by hurting, nagging strings and you do not have to let your life fly by before your own eyes like a dramatic puppet show. 

As for the world, let me tell you that this world is as much yours as any man´s. No, it is not a man´s world alone! You are just as much its rightful inhabitant. Own it!

You are strong, beautiful and incredibly talented. Always believe that! Each one of us is blessed with abundant gifts and talents of our own. Let your light shine and spark up the whole world. This world is your stage and you, its star performer. Yes, the hero lies in You!

So, Run, Sing, Dance and Play, my Love!

What are you waiting for? Get in the driver´s seat..NOW!

Have a wonderful, fun-filled and memorable journey ahead!

Yours Lovingly,
Tina Sequeira

……

Why I would like to read a copy of Meena Kandasamy’s new book, When I Hit You

I would love to receive a copy of this highly rated and critically acclaimed book because it is based on a burning topic that I feel so strongly and passionate about. The fact that this is a real-life story written by the domestic abuse victim herself has my interest all perked up. Usually, we get to read only fictional stories or nonfictional accounts of domestic violence.

 I firmly believe that broken hearts tell the most beautiful and authentic stories. And that is why, personal stories excite and inspire me. I am curious to learn what Meena, the author and protagonist went through in her marriage, at what point did she realize that she had to draw a line, how did she pick up all the broken pieces of herself and glue them back together to become this amazingly strong and inspiring figure for so many women around the world, including me.

Ever since I read the book´s rave reviews and various interviews given by the author, I cannot wait to get started reading about this courageous woman´s story. The little excerpts from the book that I have read so far look extremely promising and written with so much novelty, heart and soul. The words are stitched together beautifully and has a fluid, soul stirring poetry-like style.

Well, these are some of the many reasons why I would love to receive a copy of ´When I Hit You´ by Meena Kandasamy.
.....

I am writing #ALettertoHer as part of the Blogathon run by Women’s Web based on the theme ´Domestic Violence´.

Keep Calm And Mommy On – A Sparkling Debut Of India’s Parenting Bible! [#BookReview]



Look no further! This might just be THE answer to all your parenting pleas, cries and problems. If you ask me, this is India’s parenting bible. Period.

Little did I realize how bloody good this book would turn out to be when I first laid my hands on it! The author, Dr Tanu Shree Singh has a knack of enticing her readers right away with her intelligent wit, creative bent of mind, endearing humility and a wildly free-spirited attitude. As soon as Ms. Singh got me all hooked with her fascinating introduction titled ‘Confessions of a Not-so-super Mom’, I flipped to the back page of the book earnestly looking forward to reading the author bio and seeing the face behind this highly evolved brain. Boy! Was I pleased to see a gloriously beaming face with salt and pepper hair and a ‘devil may care’ attitude, which I personally think is the best kind of attitude to sport in this thickly populated ‘Log Kya Kehenge’ society!

Summing it up

In a nutshell, Keep Calm and Mommy On makes a valiant effort to crack this tough nut job called Parenting.

“That is exactly what motherhood seems like sometimes – velvet bugs scattering from a broken jar.”

The book is a clever, cheeky pun on this whole halo surrounding parenthood, more so, motherhood in particular. This book comes straight from a brave, young mother who’s been there, done that and got her hands dirty, burnt and bitten but not shy. And coming out unscathed! Hallelujah!  She has a lot of clever parenting tips and tricks under her sleeve along with tons of parenting advice and wisdom to get around even the most trickiest child.

To read my full book review on Women´s Web, please click on the following link - http://www.womensweb.in/2017/06/keep-calm-and-mommy-on-indian-parenting-bible-book-review/


Dads and Daughters make one rocking pair!


One of the greatest influences and blessings in a child's life comes in the form of a father. And I am no exception!

From the time, he held my hand to take my first steps to walking me down the aisle to my beloved husband to being the most fun grandpa and every moment in between, much memories have been made to last a lifetime!

As a society, the spotlight has always been on the mothers and their undisputed supremacy in the area of parenting. And rightly so! But often unfairly at the critical cost of the father’s role in parenting.

There is a largely prevalent misconception that the role of a father is a non-issue and his absence from his children’s life is completely justified. Especially for daughters!

Fathers contribute way more than just giving our children their genetic and social identities and financial security.

At the same time, it is also true that today’s Dads are more ‘hands-on’ than ever before in their daughter’s lives. Be it changing her diapers, brushing her hair into pigtails, pushing her in the pram, teaching her to swim or playing sports!

However, once his daughter attains puberty, it is Mom’s territory now. Many fathers make the crucial mistake of backing off from their daughter´s life after puberty. Failing to realise that it is NOW that they are most needed in their teenage girl´s life than ever.

Why, you ask? Because scientific research studies have proven that

Fathers have the greatest impact on their teenage daughters’ self-esteem.

So, don´t stop being an active force in your daughter´s life ever. Whether she is a baby, a confused teenager or a self-assured woman, she always needs You!

The best gift any father can give his daughter is his time. So, start early and raise her when she is young. Even if you haven´t, better late than never! Parenting is not just Mommy´s job alone. It is equally Daddy´s job. And no, working and earning money doesn´t count as Parenthood.

Here are some perfectly ‘doable’ and fun action steps for fathers to bond and raise strong daughters.

I can only speak from my perspective on how crucial the father´s role is in the overall well-being of his daughter´s life as I share some personal experiences that are the closest to my heart.

1. Love her mother and model a loving relationship

The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.

The father is the alpha point when it comes to learning about love. It is through him, the daughter envisions her lifetime soul-mate and the son learns all the fine nuances of spearheading and managing family relationships and its roles and responsibilities. Like any daughter I guess, when I'd see Mum and Dad blissfully happy and contended in each other's company, I'd make a silent wish for a husband just like my Dad.

Also, show your daughter that equality between men and women in a relationship must be the norm and not the exception.

I had absolutely no clue what woman empowerment meant or even that women faced any discrimination at all in the first place. The atmosphere at home was such! Mom and Dad were equals in every sense. They make a wonderful team to this date and its a treat to watch them as couple in action - cooking together, both making a living outside and coming up with mature decisions right from the start. Mum continued studying till her M.Phil despite having me and my twin brothers right after. While I was sent away to a boarding for 2 years while my brothers were taken care of by a nanny, Mum continued to study and work simultaneously while Dad and I were in Kerala. And no matter what, Dad stood by my Mum in whatever career aspirations she had for herself. He is so proud of Mum and her personal accomplishments when it comes to her career. As his daughter, I can vouch for a fact that there was absolutely no discrimination of any sorts between my brothers and me in any manner. In fact, I was and still am the apple of his eyes. I lived a childhood as carefree as my brothers, never ever having to step into the kitchen or do any chore owing to my gender. It was only once I stepped into the big, bad world outside, that reality struck and I could see a stark difference in the way my female peers were brought up. I am so grateful for having being raised by such a good father.

So, model a loving, nurturing and respectful relationship with your wife as your daughter will expect nothing less than to be treated the same way in all her relationships.

2. Show Up

Yes, it is as simple as just showing up. Get involved in your daughter´s life right now. Don’t pass the buck to her Mom. Your daughter needs to see that you are there as a witness to all her little big achievements – school performances, sport matches, award ceremonies etc.

What more can I say about the bond fathers and daughters share! As far and long as I can remember, those days of pining and yearning to see my dad during my days in the boarding school are still afresh in my memory. My Dad came much like a colourful rainbow at the end of a spell of rain. Once or twice a month, he would make it a point to drop all his work and travel all the way to meet me. I would wait endlessly for weeks prior to his coming. And every time, the attendant would come in to announce his arrival, my heart would skip many a beat while I ran down the stairs to meet him. And Yes! I felt truly special. He truly did make me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. Even today, as a grown up married woman, I missed and longed to see my Dad while my stay in the US. Those pangs of love and separation were and are just as real.

Make your daughter´s day special by just showing up for her. Your presence is all that it takes to light up her world.

3. Bring out the child in you

No matter how old we grow, the child in us never really dies. It might be latent and parenthood is the perfect opportunity to bring out our inner child. Both my father and husband can be quite a big kid and clown together, which makes them great dads automatically.

It is such a comic relief and stress buster when fathers intervene in a difficult parenting situation and defuse it entirely. Last night, I told my husband how my daughter was quite nervous for her speech today at school. I told him that she speaks so well in front of me but gets very self-conscious in front of others. And, the more I tell her, the more she clams up. Apart from her getting nervous, I was getting all stressed as well. This morning before going to school, my husband casually took our daughter aside and played his usual clown self and both of them were gurgling over some lame jokes as usual. After preparing her lunch, I got down to hearing her speech one last time before she headed for school. She amazed me with her natural ease and confidence which was back so quickly. The body language, the eye contact, the voice modulation, the delivery style - Everything was bang on! Just like that! That´s the kind of super-power effect that fathers have over their daughters and their self-esteem.

Similarly, with my Dad, he would always lighten things up with a spontaneous joke or two. He is the God of jokes in our family and that's why there is never ever a dull moment around him. He's also taught me to never take life or yourself too seriously...have a couple of laughs, both in the good and bad times, and tide along joyfully.

Let me share an amusing incident about my father on that note! He is eternally stuck at the 'I am 65 going on 16' age. I have two handsome brothers. And the following incident happened a couple of years ago when my brothers were in college. One of them had a couple of girls in his group of college friends. And they'd keep calling home to speak to him. Those were the days when cell phones had not yet come into the scene. Whenever my brother was away, my Dad would step in and do the honours. He'd play the the imposter, mimicking my brother´s voice with such finesse and perfection, that the phone conversations  between my brother´s girlfriends and my dad would go endlessly for hours, with more than a couple of sheepish grins and chuckles along the way. So, that´s my extremely mischievous and funny father for you!

So Dads, let down your guard once in a while. You are not obliged to anyone to be oh-so-cool, composed and tough all the time.

4. Be the wise spiritual baba

A large part of one´s faith comes from our parents. My father is a man of immense faith and I could go to him at any point of time with any spiritual or religious doubts and he would try to give me the best answer he could possibly give.

One of my favourite advice (and there are many) from him is - 'You don't owe an explanation to anybody except God’.

It is also this same faith that gives him this monk like philosophical outlook towards life. That certainty that everything will fall into place at the right time and for the right reasons and with the right people. Despite his little fears and rationale outlook, he is an eternal optimist looking largely at the sunny side of life. His eternal advice related to faith and gratitude - 'Keep Praying when things go wrong. Keep praying when they go right’.

5. Being human 

Fathers are a great role model for their daughters.

My father is the proverbial 'a friend in need is a friend indeed' man. He would do anything for his friends. It doesn't matter which economical class they hail from, he is always there like a knight in shining armour when the need arises. Little wonder, that he has a close-knit of true, genuine and fun-loving pals from all age groups, ethnicity, social class and faith. And their bond only grows stronger and thicker with time.

I have learnt from him how to treat people with love, respect and empathy irrespective of their social and economic standing. And, that kindness is not a sign of weakness but in fact, strength.

6. Two to Tango 

Fathers, you don´t have to be all goody-goody. Be your daughter´s sinister 'partner-in-crime'.

My father introduced me to all the vices in my life. He encouraged me to take that first sip of wine, gin, whisky rum and vodka etc. And when I did, he smiled in mischievous delight. He bought me my very first itsy bitsy teeny weeny red and white striped bikini at the age of 3. He bought me my own 2 wheeler vehicle much to my Mum's fears. And, I had the best days of my life, feeling so independent and free, whizzing around the streets of Hyderabad on my very own Scooty. I literally felt like Super Woman maneuvering through those chaotic roads zipping adeptly and finding my own way thorough. His heart swelled with pride when he saw me dancing to Zeenat Aman's iconic 'Dum Maro Dum' song on stage, huffing and puffing on an imaginary cigar. Zeenat Aman has always been Dad's hot favourite by the way. His heart couldn´t swell more prouder, I remember!

My husband and daughter are forever conspiring notoriously evil pranks to try on their enemy No.1 and poor, hapless victim, Me!

Dads, find our own special crime activities where your daughter and you can be super fun ´partners-in-crime.´ A la Crime Master Go-Go! Heee-Haww-Haww-Haww!

7. Create special Dad-Daughter traditions

Men usually like to interact by doing things together. This comes in handy when it comes to spending some quality shared time with your daughter. Listen to music and dance together, go on a fun date, hike, swim, cook etc.

This was our magical tradition. My husband is an adventurous man and he loves to take our daughter out for vacations, sight seeings, musuems, parks, fairs, movies, restaurant dates, play video games and swimming. This is their special tradition where I am not welcome. My daughter eagerly looks forward to these exclusive father-daughter dates as she keeps pestering me to call up Daddy to know when he going to come home and sweep her off her feet outdoors all over again.

Create your own special father-daughter tradition.

8. Papa don´t preach

It is very important to practise the art of active listening without voicing out your opinions and judgements. Your daughter needs to feel that she can trust you with her problems and you will understand and empathise with her.

My father still listens to me, a grown up adult, with the most empathetic ear. He never jumps the gun and makes a stark judgement about me. Ever! Because that´s the kind of trust he has in me and I have tried my best to live up to his trust and confidence. Your daughter will too when you believe in her.

Dads, be patient with your little flawsome angels. They will turn out perfectly fine....just lend them a patient ear for now.

9. Word power

Words have power and energy. The words you speak to your daughters have a lasting and powerful impact on them. Use it to make them, not break them. Your words are a reflection of your beliefs about them. What you believe about your daughter shows up in what you say to them and about them. Your daughter internalises everything that you say and starts to believe it.

My husband is always so mindful of his words around my daughter. He is a man of few words but positive, loving and powerful nonetheless. They are like a soothing balm to all my daugter´s fears and apprehensions that she has about herself.

So, always use positive words of love, encouragement and inspiration. Make sure you look into her eyes and mean all those wonderful things you say to her. Remember, your daughter sees her self-worth in your eyes.

10. Find her natural spark 

Let your child explore, experiment and enjoy what she naturally gravitates towards.

So,what is your daughter naturally drawn towards? What is her mojo that keeps her truly happy, passionate and satisfied?

My father saw how magnetically drawn I was to books, like bees to its nectar. He never restricted me from reading any of the taboo books for my age. For that matter, even movies. And so, I read Archie comics at the age of 6 that was filled all the evils of Western culture or watched Sholay that had such blood and gory violence written all over it. And I turned up alright, I guess. He bought me lots and lots of books, of all genres to read and rented all the great and mindless movies alike possible. We read, watched and had our own discussion around them. Books and movies still remain my entertainment. So, today I can write, dance and emote well. That´s my spark, my Mojo! The gift of expression and communication!

Explore avenues to help your daughter utilise her natural gifts. This will tremendously boost her self-esteem and confidence. It is crucial to her that her father acknowledges and supports her natural passion. Else, she might start to doubt her own abilities and strengths.

Let her sparkle like the most twinkling star there ever is!

11. Celebrate her beautiful mind

Let your daughter know that you see her beauty inside out. You see her intelligence, her skills, her talents, her passion, her kindness apart from being just a pretty face or body.

Encourage her to get into the habit of reading. Start with a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time spent in reading. Give her the freedom to choose any book she likes. Take an interest in her academic learning. Have thought provoking conversations and discussions around current world affairs, read up on science and technology, challenge her to solve puzzles and complex math problems, play a game of Chess together.

Today, I write well because my father used to pamper and gift me tons of books. He was the brain behind all those prize-winning elocution and essay-writing competitions I pretty much won easily. All thanks to him and Mom, of course. But in that routine course of winning debates, elocutions, essay writing competitions, I grew up intellectually as well.

Dads, tease her brains and let her mind be at her fertile best!

12. Love her for who she is and not what she does

While it means a lot to your daughter that her father appreciates her hard work and performance! It means a lot more to her, when you focus on the character traits that make up her personality. Praise and love her for her honesty, kindness, congeniality, ethics, courage etc. And, she will surely grow up to be a self-assured and resilient person irrespective of the ‘ups and downs’ in life.

13. Challenge her limits 

Girls’s brains are physiologically different from boys when it comes to risk-taking and fearing making mistakes. Thank the impact of hormones! Dads, you have to consistently challenge your daughter to get out of her comfort zone. Especially through her childhood and teen years because that is when her brain is the most elastic!

My husband is always egging on my daughter to try several things much to her disliking at times. But, I know deep down as a mother, that he is on the right track.

Scientific studies prove that this will completely rewire her brain structure enabling her to take more risks later on in life. Your daughter will confidently take up challenges and risks without the fear of failure.

14. Make her ‘Daddy’s strong girl’

‘Daddy’s little girl’ might sound cutesy. But in reality, overprotecting her and treating her like a delicate flower isn’t helping – rather hurting her. Resist the temptation to be her ‘knight in shining armour’ each time she falls.

Resist your natural manly urge of being the problem solver and let your daughter take charge. Encourage her by asking her how she would resolve her problems, come up with possible solutions, weigh their pros and cons, find the appropriate solution, and face life’s challenges head on.

Teach her to change a car tire, make her financially literate and wise, encourage her to be physically fit and strong, educate her about the dangers of the real world including sex offenders, enrol her in martial arts or any kind of self-defence training.

15. Accept that she can be a very angry young woman 

All girls are not sweet and all boys are not tough. So, let us not try reinforcing these stereotypes in our own homes. It is perfectly okay for girls to be angry, tough and assertive as well. As fathers, you can make a start in breaking these gender stereotypes at home.

No! It is not disrespectful to be angry and stand up your rights. Whenever there is a conflict at home, it is healthy for your daughter to vent out her emotions. Let her learn to assertively fight for a cause that she cares about to you and her family, beginning at home. A girl has to be really comfortable expressing her anger and being assertive. If she can’t do it with her father, she won’t be able to do it with anybody else - male boss, colleague, friend, spouse or any random guy who tried to take liberties with her on the street. A father needs to ‘receive’ her anger and assertiveness rather than punish her for it. He can also compliment her for expressing herself honestly and assertively.

Also, teach your daughter the subtle but vital difference between between being aggressive and assertive.

16. Watch movies, TV shows and Internet together

Several studies have shown how social media causes severe depression, low self esteem and body image issues especially in teen girls. From cyber bullying to revenge porn to lurking of pedophiles, the dangers of social media and technology are far too many. As a father, make sure you control, oversee and have tight restrictions on her social media activity.

The way women are projected in the media doesn’t help in building the self esteem of young girls either. That is why it is so important to make your teenager media literate. You can do this simply by watching TV shows and movies with her, having discussions around them, making her wise – to know the difference between the right and the wrong. Help her to be a good critic in decoding and filtering media messages.

17. Show your vulnerable side

But not everything is sunny about my father or my husband. They have their mood swings and moments of instant irritations,quick temper and gloominess.

According to Santiago Trabolsi, a psychologist, life coach and dad, “When you as a father show your own weakness, it gives permission for your daughter to accept her weaknesses. This emotional connection generates warmth, empathy and honest communication between the two of you.”

I also take great pride in declaring that I am one of the very few who can make my Dad cry like a baby. Whenever I traveled alone in the train to my college hostel, my Dad would break down into tears at the station whenever the train started to move. The night before my wedding, he held my hand and just broke down into tears uncontrollably. I knew it was tough for him to let go of his little big girl while I also knew he was happy for me at the same time. Very rightly said, the father is a daughter's first true love.

18. Shower lots of hugs and kisses

My father still holds my hands, gives me a warm hug and kisses me every time I visit him with my daughter. Somethings don´t change thankfully!

But, I know some of my friends whose fathers shy away from all physical contact with their daughters. Any physical contact is strictly taboo.

Adolescent psychologist Dr. Linda Nielsen weighs in, “Fathers have been told by society that it is inappropriate for them to hug their daughters once they start to mature sexually — past the age of 12 or so. He should ignore this training and give her big bear hugs when he feels like it. It’s important because it’s just one more way of showing her that he is not uncomfortable with her growing up, with her becoming a sexual person or with her maturing body.”

As for us mothers, we can encourage father-daughter time and honour the importance of the father’s role, perspective, wisdom and patience in our children´s lives.

So, to all the wonderful fathers out there, including my father and husband - ´Here’s wishing you a Happy Father´s Day! May you continue to inspire us with your ways. Thank you for making our lives so wonderful and our childhood most memorable. You guys ROCK! Cheers to your good health and happiness always!´

Lots of Love and God Bless!

(This post was originally published on mycity4kids - https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/beauty-and-the-mom/article/18-fun-ways-how-fathers-and-daughters-can-bond-better)