December 2014

Category: Adolescent Development Issues
Age of Child: 15
Gender of Child: female
Query: Now a days I have noticed that my daughter is not paying much attention towards her studies and paying more attention towards her facebook account what do I do please tell?

The use of social media, computer games and electronic gadgets has become a huge concern for parents these days, both in terms of it distracting the children from their studies and the kind of potentially threatening and exploitative situations it exposes children to. The need for creating a balance remains a challenge for many parents. Talk to your daughter and share your concerns with her openly. Before speaking to her, be clear in your own mind what you would like her to change and how much time you would like be willing to allow her to spend on facebook. When you share your concerns, do give her an opportunity to share her thoughts and views and let her come up with a plan to reduce these timings and make a time table for studies and other activities. You can also encourage her to get involved in  other healthier activities such as playing a sport and reading. Do educate and discuss with her the potential vulnerabilities for young people like herself related to social media. Best of luck!

Category: Shyness and Underconfidence
Age of Child: 14 years
Gender of Child: female
Query: My daughter is under confident

Thank you for writing to us. It would be important to know more about your daughter to understand her reasons for being under confident so that you can be guided accordingly. Children could feel under confident for a number of reasons and understanding these are important before something is suggested. Is she under confident in certain aspects of life e.g. in school, with the family, friends, about her appearance, skills and abilities etc.? How does the under confidence show in her behavior? What have you done to address it? Has she always been like this or do you feel that she has changed after some incident or life circumstance? What are the current life stressors in your family and her life?

Category: Behavioral Issues
& Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning
Age of Child: 12 years
Gender of Child: male
Query: My child is extremely irresponsible; I want to know something that I could do for him.His carelessness is annoying for me as well as for his teachers.

It appears that your child’s inability to take responsibility and pay attention is bothering you and the teachers. There are many reasons why children make careless mistakes and not take responsibility. Understanding these would help you and the teachers work together to deal with them. Some times children behave this way to gain attention, show their control, feel inadequate and/or are disturbed by certain events and situations. At other times children behave this way due to lack of concentration, hyperactivity and learning difficulties that they seem to have from childhood. While in some children it could be a mix of both external situations and internal learning and concentration issues. However, It would be important to differentiate between the two so that you can deal with it accordingly. One way to differentiate between the two is that learning and concentration issues, are exhibited in children since an early age with parents and teachers complaining of the child’s inability to sit through the work, easily getting distracted, interrupting the class, forgetting things easily, making mistakes repeatedly, inability to grasp concepts etc. Read up on ‘Learning Disabilities’ and ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ to see if you feel that it describes your son’s condition. In addition, share with us exact situations in which he behaves carelessly and irresponsibly so that we can guide you accordingly.

Category: Trauma and Grief
Age of Child: 13
Gender of Child: male
Query: His name is Shumail... and doesn’t pay attention to others. He had a friend named Ibrahim and used to talk a lot about him and had fun with him but ever since he moved away he doesn’t mention him and doesn’t talk much,should I take him to visit him in Multan or should I buy him a ps4 which he demands if Idon’t take him from Karachi. Hedoesn’t talk much.

From your query it appears that the change in your son’s behavior occurred after his friend moved away. Missing someone that one is close to is a natural feeling. If your son’s friend has just recently shifted, give him some time to naturally get back to feel his usual self. You can also talk about the change that you have noticed in him, validate his feelings and give him an opportunity to talk about what he misses about his friend. Help him stay connected to the old friend through letters, email, phone call and encourage him to identify other children in his class that he could now interact with. Let him know that while no one may be able to replace the friend, he can still look for others who share similar interests and thoughts that he shared with his friend, Ibrahim. As for buying a PS4, it would completely be your choice. However, it is important to point out that at times, both children and adults, compensate for feelings of loss, sadness through material objects and if this becomes a pattern of coping, it might not be very helpful in the long run.

Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning
Age of Child: 5
Gender of Child: female
Query: My daughter is very slow in schoolwork. She does a page of writing in one hour. At home too she do same thing. She is distracted for her schoolwork very easily.

It is suggested that you speak to her teacher and see how you can both help her through a joint strategy, which is followed both at the school and at home. It isalso recommended that you involve the section head of junior school that may have more experience working with children with similar problems and would be able to guide accordingly. While coming up with the strategy, explore if the challenge of completing work is due to lack of understanding of what has to be written or lack of concentration or both. An understanding of this will help you tackle the issue accordingly. Suggest to the teacher to have your daughter sit in the front row, so the teacher can bring her attention back to the task. At home, make sure that your daughter does not study in a room with too many distractions such as people talking, television, too many toys around etc. Break her task into smaller tasks so that she can understand them better and is also not distracted. Let her know what she can do once she finishes her work, which will help as an incentive. You can also assess if she is getting ample sleep, nutrition and is not disturbed by any family issues and stressors. All these things can also affect children’s ability to pay attention.  Good luck!