Karen Claire: Insights on parenting, healing, and uncovering emotional wounds


Parenting is an important art of communication and connection. Helping parents and children enjoy their bonds is arts-based therapy practitioner, Karen Claire. In her book Alphabetical Parenting, she shares deep and useful insights into understanding where you stand with your child and how to get where you want to be. In a conversation with us, she goes deeper into the important but often unacknowledged notions of parenting. Let’s read what she has to say.
Q: How was your journey, seeing your debut book come to life from a draft to print?
A: It was extremely exciting. I have always dreamed of writing a book. Never did I dream that it would become my reality. So, when I finally got the opportunity to write one, it had to be on my pet project. I loved the journey of seeing my thoughts become words in print and impact lives.
Q: Could you tell us about the theme in your words?
A: The theme of this book is parenting and how it is more of an art than a struggle. As parents, we need to see it not as a battle to be won against children but rather as a beautiful journey of putting different strategies into play. Through the alphabets, I have shared various perspectives and effective tools that will help parents empower themselves on their parenting path.
Q: What gave rise to the need for a full-fledged book?
A: As a coach, therapist, and teacher, I have seen too many children brought up with the attitude, “This is the problem. Fix it.” Underlined beneath «the problem» is a very raw wound. If done right, the wound need not exist in the first place. The need for a complete book is to help parents create a safer environment for their kids to flourish. It sheds light on their current scenario, the way they’re working right now, and what can be tweaked going forward so that their family lives can be more enjoyable. Why not make parent-child bonding more effective so that it becomes more joyous and helps their children be the best versions of themselves?
Q: What is the significance of the A-B-Cs and their uniqueness compared to a regular self-help book?
A: Parents don’t have time. It’s very natural. So, to read a whole book, you might start very enthusiastically but may or may not sustain till the last page. Not all parents can. But all parents have to bring up their child. Hence, the A-B-C model has been created to make it an easy read. The significance of the alphabet is that we always learn any language from its roots, i.e., A-B-C. Parenting is no more than a language in itself. So, why not A-B-C? It’s not just another self-help book. It’s a helpful tool from one parent to another.
Q: Could you tell us more about the “Think about it” section at the end of every chapter?
A: This section encourages parents to pause and reflect on their current scenario. When I know my current location, I can decide where I want to go or where my destination ought to be. A GPS does not work if it does not have your current location. Therefore, the “Think about it” section is for you to introspect where you are coming from, what your current scenario is, analyze it, and then move forward. Many of us seek resources but are unable to apply them. So, when you have a set of questions that make you introspect, you reach that stage of awareness, and—I truly believe this—awareness does bring change. It gives you clarity of intent and helps you channel your actions moving forward.
Q: How has the overall response been? Have you been approached by any youngsters?
A: I believe the book has made an impact. Yes, I have been approached by youngsters, particularly those in their teens. Some have read it because their parents have bought it, and they’re curious about it. Some have read it with the perspective of what they want to do in their families. Overall, I have been told that the book’s approach works with all kinds of relationships, even in the workplace.
Q: Along with parents, what message would you have for growing children concerning the book’s theme?
A: If I look at A-B-C, I consider «Accept,» «Believe,» and «Communicate.» I honestly believe that parents and children need to accept their reality. If I have a challenging child, I need to accept that situation as my reality. I need to believe that the situation can get better—there’s hope in that. That brings me to choices that will help me connect with my future best self so that I can connect with the right people, build myself, and be the best me. This way, I can communicate effectively with my child.
Dr. Shiv Sethi is a renowned author, thinker and reviewer.