‘Do You Know Your Child’ A Popular Show In Bhutan Helps Parents Bond Better With Their Kids
Since its inception in 2013, about 264 Bhutanese children have participated in the show.
By Lucky Wangmo | Business Bhutan
With a lot of fan letters pouring in and as many devoted viewers, ‘Do you know your child,’ has become one of the most popular and the longest-running show on the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS). The show is into its fifth season this year
Since its inception in 2013, about 264 children have participated in the show. It has brought together many families and also shed new light on the relationship between a parent and his/her child.
The oldest to come on the show is a 15-year old, whereas the youngest to attend the show is a four-year-old boy.
Aims of the show
The producer of the show, Tshering Chhoden, 37, said that the show aims to bring parents and children closer and to improve the communication and relationship between them.
“It is my baby project,” said Tshering Chhoden. She added that the idea to come up with such a show was conceived after someone suggested having both parents and children in the same room and throwing the same questions at both of them.
“I did a lot of research before coming up with the show,” she said.
Now with the show running into its sixth year, it has reached almost all the dzongkhags. The next show will be held outside Thimphu.
Speaking on a personal note, Tshering Chhoden, a mother of two, said that the show deepened the bond between her and her children.
“When the questions are asked on the show to both the child and the parent, it also makes you question whether you know those things about your children,” said Tshering Chhoden.
She also added that there is no perfect parenting but you can always strive to be a good parent. Adding that spending quality time with children is very important, a lesson that she also maintains in her personal life.
The section in the show where both the child and parent write letters to each other has been one of the highlights of the show. Tshering Chhoden said that 99% of the time, it is the parent’s first letter to their child which makes it more special. She said that the team frames the letter and gives it to the parents at the end of every show.
Feedback from parents who have participated in the show
A teacher of Rinchengang Primary School in Wangduephodrang, Bal Bahadur Powdrel, who came to the show with his daughter in 2016, said that being on the show has helped improve their relationship. He said that both his children are very emotionally dependent on him, however, since the show, his daughter who is now in the seventh standard has become more independent.
“The show has helped improve her English as well,” he said. He also said that the promise made on the show to do everything with very little help from parents is being kept.
“They should continue with the program,” he said. “It helps children who are in need of confidence and also encourages children with their studies. I hardly have to tell my daughter to study now. She is more focused than ever.”
Similarly, another teacher from Samteling Primary School in Sarpang, Sonam Phuntsho, who came to the show with his 10-year-old son, said that the promise made to each other on the show is being kept.
“I promised to quit doma and my son promised to study hard. Both of us are keeping our promises,” he said.
Sonam Phuntsho also said that since appearing on the show, his relationship with his son has improved immensely.
“I thought I knew everything about my sons but the show proved me wrong,” said the father of two.
The anchor of the show, Choni Selden, also said that she is privileged to be a part of such an initiative that addresses not only the households but the nation as a whole.
Difficulties faced by the show at the beginning
“I learned a lot through the program,” she said. She also added that there were a lot of criticisms and hate mails initially when the show started but she took it positively.
“I had a lot of grooming to do as I had blond hair when I started the show which received a lot of criticism,” she said. She added that later on, she coloured her hair to make her look Bhutanese to the Bhutanese kids.
Choni Selden said that earlier she did not feel credible enough as she was not a mother then. But now, she said that with a child of her own, she is more excited to do the coming shows and anticipates what is in store for her. “Now that I am a mother, I am more excited to do this season,” she said.
The show ‘Do you know your child’ bagged two awards - Best Talk Show and Program of The Year, in 2015 and 2016 respectively during the Annual Journalism Award.
Despite the success of the show right now, Tshering Chhoden said that it was not easy during the initial stages. She said that there were two failed pilot programs in 2013.
On top of that, she had to shoulder the responsibility of being the sole scriptwriter, managing the floor, and décor of the show among others. Nevertheless, Tshering Chhoden said that it has been a beautiful journey so far.
She said that the designs, graphics, music and sets are all different in every season. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that this season’s is entirely different from the previous ones. Every season has seen an improvement and improvisation.
Tshering Chhoden said that her show has nine local authors who sponsor the books to promote reading among the children. She also added that UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) is also one of the sponsors. However, the main sponsor has been Kushu Enterprise which sponsors a TITAN watch for every child who participated in the show.
This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.