He earns by the minute, yet superstar Shah Rukh Khan never compromises on quality time with his kids. Be it a bicycle ride or a game of soccer, he, like several celebrity parents these days, is always matching steps with his children - a quality others could imbibe, feel experts.
A considerable number of urban Indian kids are getting easily swayed by the lure of the Playstation, laptops, movies, internet, social networking and bowling alleys. But in the urge to spend more time with friends and technology, that crucial dialogue with parents is getting lost.
And that's not good.
"Whether a child has celebrity or non-celebrity parents, it doesn't make a difference on the parent-child relationship. Every parent and child have their own little bond. A parent-child relationship should be like a ball-and-socket joint -- they should fit in very well. Otherwise, it is a mark of bad parenting skill," child psychiatrist Samir Parikh told IANS.
Shah Rukh surprised all and sundry when he decided to step on to a Mumbai street with his daughter, Suhana, and a well-built bodyguard, for a cycle ride. He remained nonchalant about the eyeballs he grabbed on the streets, and played daddy cool for his little angel. As a parent, it was a rare, special moment for him.
"Taking daughter for a cycle ride in Bandra...hmmm, let's see how it turns out...a first for us," King Khan had tweeted before the ride, following which, he posted: "One of those days when I go through the emotions. Find myself wanting little pleasures. Cycling with Suhana was the highlight...need to do it more."
On a recent family trip to Dubai, he was out in the dunes having fun with his son Aryan and daughter Suhana, and even ended up hurting his ribs during some midnight soccer. But as long as the kids remained happy, he didn't mind!
Arjun Rampal, father to two lovely daughters, also indulges a lot. During the full moon Monday night, the actor was up on his terrace with a telescope, and treated his daughters to a faint view of its craters.
Even actress Pooja Bedi, who has been in the news for her "Bigg Boss 5" association, planned a trip with her kids -- Aalia and Omar -- after her exit from the reality show to catch up on missed times.
"Had so much fun on the ski slopes with the kids today:). Love being the mom that does stuff with them, rather than watch from side," tweeted Pooja, a single mother.
Parikh says it is this attitude that's extremely important for the right growth of children, considering the distractions they have in these times of globalisation.
"Parents need to accept that sitting down with kids and lecturing them about doing the right thing has never worked, and it will never work. It's time they understood the importance of being involved in the kids' lives. And by being involved, I do not mean to point towards knowing their subjects and marks, but a lot more...
"Parents should know the child's friends, what they like doing, and be abreast on things like the cartoons and animated characters the child likes. It helps a lot in strengthening the bond," he added.
Actress Shweta Tiwari, also a single mom, tries spending quality time with her 11-year-old daughter Palak, and says they share a friendly bond.
"I am a very friendly mom. I am a little strict with her, but not very," Shweta, who is seen as an overprotective mom in Sony's TV show "Parvarish", told IANS.
However, she says there is no right or wrong mantra for parenting.
"I think we should just let the kids be. All you need to tell the kids is that 'These are the mistakes I made in my life, learn from them, don't repeat them. And you go and make your own mistakes.' As parents, we should talk freely with our kids and have fun with them, so that they don't fear conversations. Otherwise, it is very easy for them to stray away," she added.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)