How You Can Challenge Your Child By Doing Just This One Thing



I watched Sharmila and Mithil making pizza together.

Sharmila wonderfully demonstrated the process by applying pizza sauce. Then she slowly added sliced onions and capsicum and topped them with grated cheese.


Mithil watched intently as she did so.

So did our group of ‘Moms on a Mission.”


Suddenly, we were all hungry!


Mithil performed like a pro. He applied the sauce, adding the toppings and finished with grated cheese before putting the pizza slices in the oven


“Perfect” I commented.


“But today, I’m here to shake you all a bit.”


“Your children have come a long way. As you know life is full of uncertainty. And if we have to empower them to deal with uncertainty, we need to challenge them more.”


An incident that happened a day prior had shaken me and forced me to take this stand.


Due to an unfortunate accident, Shashank’s finger had got caught in a door.

The tip was crushed and he needed immediate plastic surgery, to repair the finger.

It was a traumatic time for Shashank’s mother Priya and all of us at SAI Connections.

I accompanied Priya to the hospital along with another teacher.


It was painful for Shashank. They gave him a pain killer and sedative via an intravaneous port. Two people had to accompany him at all times, so she wouldn’t pull off the port or remove the bandage from his injured finger.

He hung in there.


He had to wait for about 3 hours before being shifted into a room.

Despite the difficulty, he was able to put up with that too.


They needed x-rays and blood tests- he complied, albeit with a struggle.


Sleeping in a strange bed, a different environment, dealing with the pain- this brave young man bore it all.


The surgery was scheduled for 8am the next morning.

He lay on the bed in the pre operative theatre and patiently waited to be wheeled into the operation theatre.


He raised his head at every movement to understand what was happening around him. It must be scary for him.


Finally, they wheeled him in.


This was the most painful moment for his mother and for me.


Only one thought kept flashing in my mind.


We can accompany him only till here.

Beyond this point, he’s on his own.


That thought stayed with me for a while.

That feeling in the pit of my stomach lingered on.


I’m glad Shashank has come such a long way.

Priya was surprised he complied the way he did.


We’ve got to equip our kids, as we don’t know what lies ahead.

We have to use our time mindfully to help them navigate this world.


The first step is to believe your child can do it.


Don’t get carried away by the age factor.

Shashank is 24 and continues to learn.


Mohit is 29 and I continue to work with him.


Have you watched this video before?



I hope this video has allayed your doubts about how your child can continue to learn – at any age.


Back to Mithil and the pizza.


I asked Sharmila to increase the challenge to Mithil.

What if we showed him a picture of a finished, baked pizza piece- without demonstrating the steps?




Would Mithil be able to apply the sauce, add the toppings and grated cheese by himself?


He may or he may not.

If he does- that’s fanstastic.

And if not, we can figure a way to help him.


But if we don’t try, we’ll never know.


Amitabh and Rishi share a wonderful bond. In RDI terminology we call it the master- apprentice relationship.


In a recent video, I saw Amitabh writing out a paragraph about an activity they had just completed (loading a washing machine)


Rishi typed out the paragraph effortlessly.


Watch this video here.



How should we challenge Rishi?


I asked Amitabh to not write it out sentences for Rishi to copy.

Instead he could just say the sentences and ask Rishi to type.


Sharmishta (Rishi’s mother) was uncertain if Rishi could follow through. Her reasoning is valid.

But we won’t know till we challenge him, right?


If Rishi gets it, that’s great.

If not, we’ll figure a way to help him out.


I try to visualize Rishi and Mithil trying these new levels of challenge.


I can see them with bright smiles on their faces.


The hope found in RDI is the focus on growth- seeking, not getting the child to do something. A focus on creating experiences based on vulnerabilities, based on teaching parents to be more effective than any typically developing child’s parents have to be. We encourage you that growth for your child is possible.


-Dr Steven Gutstein.


I’m in consonance with my teacher, Dr Gutstein.


In my mind there is only thing that you have to do.

Get out of your comfort zone and get out of your own way.

You’re trying to protect your child. But in doing so, are you limiting him/her?


The sky is the limit as far as your child’s growth is concerned.

Picture this… your child is going into an unknown world. But you’re happy to let him go.

Because you challenged him to think for himself. You stepped out of your comfort zone to help him.


Prepare for that day, from today.




I’m confident that next week, I’ll get to see spectacular videos from Sharmila and Amitabh.


I would love to hear your stories of how you challenged your child.

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