The name of this new book shocks you in the first second and then adds a question mark next to it in the next. As you think a little on the side, a smile spreads over the shock and the question.
“54 Reasons Why Parents Suck and Phew” is not only a shocking book by its title but also by the treatment of its context.Who would in India, otherwise, want to read ‘Parents’ and ‘Suck’ in the same sentence. Times change and so does the reality. Under the halo of ‘respect’ and the tag of ‘role model’ lies the real lives of real children and their parents. It is this real life of today that this mother-daughter team have decided to reveal with this witty, yet grounded tale woven around their experiences with hundreds of children and plenty of parents.
Swati Lodha, an entrepreneur-author-academician decided to write this book when her daughter was asked by a reader “Tell us one thing that you don’t like in your Mom” and she quipped, “Oh! I can write a book around that”.
Many harrowing arguments and transparent interactions between the mother and the daughter finally led to this book which can be a real eye opener for all the confident and self-righteous parents out there.
“Growing up” is an art to be practiced with love and strategy and this is what this book strives to achieve through wit and wisdom. “Very smart people do very dumb things. Many of these smart people are the smart parents”, says the seventeen year old co-author, Swaraa, while introducing the book.
All the fifty four reasons in the book are explained with everyday incidents, backed by research with a simple solution to how not to suck. The first reasons states that parents value obedience more than their children and consider ‘disagreement’ as ‘disrespect’.
Revathi Roy, Founder, Hey Deedee and a mother of three boys says, “I read the first twelve reasons and had to admit to myself that I found myself in all of them. It meant that I sucked. Then, I gave the book to my eldest son to read. The equation between us became so much better after that”.
Another reason avers that parents remember themselves as being exemplary children, in hindsight and hence, they expect their children to be ideal children.
“Children are judged and labelled by parents and elders all the time. Even performance of adults is judged and appraised at the workplace but nobody ever reviews their competence as a family person”, ask the authors in reason six.
Nidhi Arora, Ex-Director, E&Y,and Founder of a non-profit, Esha says, “My ten year old son Ishaan finished the book in two days and prepared a plan to appraise our performance as parents. Not only this, the book helped him understand that parents-child conversations and conflicts are universal. He felt ‘not alone’ and ‘understood’. Now we laugh at the tyranny of parents together”.
The book offers these reasons as ‘signposts’ on the journey of parents to tell them what they do wrong, why they do it and how not to do so. The book deals with the tsunami of social media messaging and how parents turned digital spies created trouble by believing the fake news and half-baked gyaan.
Laiba, a young blogger, shared that she, as a child of Indian parents, related a hundred percent with all the problems mentioned in the book and it could easily be a guide for future parents too. Moreover, she described this non-fiction book to be as interesting as fiction.
On asking Swaraa about her favourite – the most troublesome reason, she candidly said that parents are such unfair allocators of blame and credit. They over-claim the credit to themselves for everything positive that happens while over-allocate the blame to children whenever something goes wrong.
Mridula Sancheti, a mother of two grown up children loved everything about the book. “It talks about every problem from divorce to depression, from gender bias to emotional eruptions, with zero-preachiness”. Being a counsellor, she emphasised on the need of every parent to read this relevant book that would nudge them towards accepting their faulty beliefs, biases and behaviours.
Swati is an acclaimed author of many bestsellers and with this book, the whole family turned into writers. Swaraa’s father, Shailesh, is an author-poet too, famously known as Tarak Mehta, the character he plays in a famous comedy show,
On being asked, “Do you suck?”, Swati and Shailesh agree instantly. “When you read this book, I am sure you will find out how terribly ‘I suck”, quips Shailesh, in his humorous style.
The uniquely candid and emphatic book is certainly a conversation starter, a conversation that has been long avoided and undervalued.
“Our aim is to build a community where conflicts in the lives of children and parents could be addressed openly with solutions that prevent the alarmingly increasing rate of suicides and family breakdowns”, says the mother-daughter team.
Dr. Swati Lodha is Doctorate in Women Entrepreneurship , Ex-Dean of many B-schools in India, founder of Life Lemonade,
author of International bestseller books on Amazon: “Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself” (2016), “Why Women are What They Are” (2004) and “Come On! Get Set Go” (2002)