ASK THE EXPERT - August 2015

He remains upset
Category: Behavioral Issues
Response:  We encourage you to provide a bit more information about the kinds of situations he gets upset about or the people/persons he feels upset with. It would also be important to know if you have noticed any other change in his behavior and routine especially related to sleep, appetite, studies, interpersonal relationships etc. There could be a number of factors that can cause children to feel upset such as a change in their life circumstances at home and school, an upsetting experience etc. The best way to go about finding out the reason is to closely observe the child’s behavior and interaction and most importantly talk to him in a supportive and non-threatening manner about what you have observed. Let him know that you would be open to listen to anything, no matter how difficult it is, that he would like to share. This will help build his confidence and trust and talk to you openly.

He is very naughty

Category: Behavioral Issues
Response: More information would be needed about situations where you think your child is being naughty as well as how you and your spouse handle this behavior, in order to guide you better.

Not changing the class teacher and subject teacher.

Category: Others

Response:  The information provided by you is insufficient to understand the child’s situation and to guide you accordingly.

She is getting weak and stubborn.

Category: Behavioral Issues  & Adolescent Development Issues

Response: Talk to her about your concerns and let her know about your worries related to her behavior in a calm manner in order for her to open up and share her thoughts instead of not listening and simply lecturing her about this behavior.
From the limited information provided in your query, it is unclear if the change in behavior is a recent occurrence or has been an issue since her childhood. If it’s a recent change, then it could be brought about by some disturbance/emotional distress your daughter is experiencing either at home or school or as a result of the normal trials and tribulations associated with the adolescent age. During the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), many children go through a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes. As a result of these changes there is more interest in peers, less interest in spending time with family and adults, frequent arguments and need to exert one’s individuality and identity etc. The adolescent period can be overwhelming for adolescents, especially if they lack correct information about the changes that they are experiencing or/and if they feel that there is no one that they can communicate with. It might help if you talk to your daughter in an open and friendly manner about the change that you have noticed in her behavior and what your concerns are. Make sure to do it in a manner that allows her the space to talk rather than it being a lecture. Validate and normalize her feelings and let her know that she can talk to you if there is something bothering her or if she has any questions related to growing up. By communicating openly, you will be giving her an opportunity to discuss and share with you in case she is bothered about something and going through a difficult time.
If you feel that the behavioral issues have more to do with disciplining as opposed to some major disturbance then perhaps you can work with your daughter to come up with some key rules and norms that she agrees to follow related to the behaviors, routine etc. that bothers you. Let her identify consequences, in case the norms are not followed so that she owns and follows the norms.

not attentive

Category: Others

Response: Kindly provide more information in order for us to guide you better. Is the lack of attention related to studies or other aspects of life or both and is it more predominant at home or school or both?


my child is an aggressive child .he always complaining harsh behavior of teachers, class fellow and tuition teacher. he is a brilliant student of class and cunning in maths. but he is over reactive and over confident .I’m his mother but i haven’t good relationship with him. some time i feel he is problem creating child. he always argue with everyone. please guide me about this matter.

Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. How do you normally deal with his aggressive behavior? If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop so that you can teach him what you are trying to. Use of aggression and force makes children believe that its okay to use force when they are angry. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change.
Children are at times aggressive as a result of seeing aggression around them or being disciplined through physical force or physical punishment. Other than that a lack of any discipline, structure or routine, no clear rules related to behavior etc. can at times confuse children about what is expected of them and thus cause them to be aggressive especially when they are used to getting their own way.  Other reasons for children’s aggression is the result of stressful life situations that they are unable to understand and cope with. These could include death of a loved one, family problems, and difficulty making friends, some form of trauma or abuse being experienced by them etc. Try to identify if his aggression is due to some stress in the household that is having an impact on him. If that is the case, then his reaction would become better once the stressful situation improves or is addressed with him.
If that is not the case, then try identifying what are the things that make him aggressive and that he sticks to. Once you have done so, identify which issues are not worth struggling with your child for example, clothes he wants to wear, and which are worth disciplining him, for example, eating his meal on time, TV viewing timings etc. Making a routine and some rules in house, are useful ways to avoid the daily struggles about how much TV the children can watch, when they need to get ready for bed, cleaning up their mess etc.
If your child argues unnecessarily, diffuse this unnecessary power struggle by remaining silent at that time. You can express how you are feeling through facial expressions and body language, by stepping away from the situation and talking later. For example, you can say to the child, ‘I think you are angry and upset and I will talk to you about it later when you are less angry’.
You can use the technique of logical consequence, instead of using physical force. Consequences that are related to the misbehavior, reasonable and given respectfully are called ‘logical consequences’. An example of a logical consequence would be to make a child skip her playtime for the day, if she has not finished the work, make her clean the walls if they are scribbled on, etc. let the child know in advance what the consequence would be.
Help him understand and see how his behavior may be causing others to react negatively and how he can change his reaction from being aggressive to assertive to improve his school situation. I also advice that you speak to the teachers to find out their thoughts and so that you and the teachers can work along similar lines to help him learn better ways of dealing with his feelings and communicating them in a healthier manner.
Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to aggression in a situation where he normally does, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behavior. Try out these things consistently and repeatedly and if you feel that if there is no improvement with time, then have him assessed by a clinical psychologist with expertise in dealing with children. All the best

 


Query 7


My childs was happy when she was in class PG. But when she started to go on KG she started to cry

Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: Besides starting a new class has there been any other change in her life, e.g. birth a of a sibling, problems at home, suspicion of abuse etc.? If no other change has been observed and she only cries while going to school then most likely your daughter may be reacting to the changed classroom environment including the new teacher and perhaps new peers.  Explore her fears and concerns through play activities. Make sure that you rule out the possibility of any forms of abuse or bullying by asking if someone bothers her, touches or talks to to her in an uncomfortable manner. This is extremely important since many children would not tell unless parents ask and that too in a friendly and calm manner.  Do write if she reports anything of that sort so that you can be guided accordingly.

Let her know that while starting a new class can be a bit intimidating for children, but by and large it is a new and fun experience. Help her identify the peers she can interact more with during the class. Make going to school a fun activity for her. Let her choose how she wants to dress up, what she wants to take along for her break time etc. so she starts becoming more comfortable with the idea of going to school. Help her identify adults in the school that she can talk to in case she feels upset. Praise her when she does not cry too much.


Asalam o Alaikum. I m Farza from class 9th. Ma apne board exams ki waja se bht tensed hon but mera parhai ma dil nai lag ra. Jese hi parhne bethti hon mera dehan kahin or ho jata ha phir mjh se parha nai jata. Please help me. Thank you.

Category: Others (Exams and Studies related Anxiety)

Response: Thank you for writing and sharing about the difficulties that you are experiencing.  Has there been a recent change, a stressful situation that is preoccupying you and decreasing your ability to concentrate or study or is it something that you experience only when you sit down to study? If there has been a recent stressful life experience then your mind is reacting and trying to deal with that. Do talk to a trusted adult or a friend about it so that you can seek the right support and guidance. However, if you experience such feelings only due to exams, then one can try to handle it through different strategies.

It is important to know that it is perfectly normal for most people to feel a bit of nervousness and stress before and during the exams. In some ways a bit of stress helps us take our studies seriously and prepare better. However, for some people the anxiety becomes so intense that is no longer helpful and must be dealt with.

  • Make a study plan in advance of the  exams, keeping ample time for preparation of subjects that you find most difficult. Managing and planning your study time will help you cope with stress and avoid the last minute panic and anxiety experienced by many students.

 

  • Make sure you are getting enough rest and sleep and are eating a balanced diet. A recent study has shown that people who sleep for 8 hours before taking a Math’s test are three times more likely to understand and solve the math’s problems as compared to people who stay awake all night.
  • Try to identify and minimize unhelpful thoughts such as ‘I will be a failure, ‘I need to be the best’, ‘My parents will be so disappointed in me’, ‘I am so dumb’ etc. as they just add to the anxiety. Try replacing these with helpful thoughts such as ‘I am going to try my best’, ‘I may not know a few things but will work to improve them’, ‘I don’t have to be perfect in everything’. If it helps write down the helpful thoughts and say these out loud while standing in front of the mirror and looking at yourself.

 

  • Try to identify physical and other activities that help calm you down and make them part of your daily routine. Anxiety often produces bodily symptoms such as sweating, erratic breathing, fast heartbeat etc. and deep breathing and calming activities reduce these bodily symptoms. Other than that pursuing a pleasurable interest, talking to friends etc. can also help deal with the anxiety.

 

  • Talk to your parent or teacher for guidance about how you can cope better with the anxiety and where they can assist you.

If you feel that trying out all these things is not helping you, then do talk to your parents and teachers for guidance and referral to a mental health expert who can help you deal with the anxiety. All the best

 

school has mixed gender but different sections. My son becomes nervous when he sees girls ( in library etc). He doesnt talk with them in normal way.

Category: Adolescent Development Issues
&
Shyness and Under Confidence

Response:  Is he generally a shy child or is his shyness only specific to his interaction with the opposite sex? During the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), children go through a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes. As a result of these changes there is more interest in peers, less interest in spending time with family and adults, frequent arguments and need to exert one’s individuality and identity etc. The nervousness and shyness experienced by your son around girls is somewhat natural especially if he does not interact with them on a one on one basis in his class or/and other social situations. The societal, family and cultural norms may at times add to children feeling more stressed and uncomfortable, as they are not sure what kind of interaction would be acceptable to others.

  • Validate and normalize his feelings and let him know that it’s okay to feel awkwardness and that not all children his age are naturally comfortable with the opposite sex.
  • Let him share his thoughts and feelings so that you can address them accordingly.
  • Help him identify ways by which he can overcome this awkwardness most effectively. Some of these ways could include:
    • Practice talking to girls he feels less shy around and discussing topics of interest with them
    • Being assertive and looking and talking confidently even if he is feeling nervous from the inside
    • Not being too harsh on himself for feeling shy and taking it one step at a time
  • Check your own and the school’s expectations and norms related to interaction with the opposite sex as they may also be contributing to how your son is feeling.  

always remains quit.is a very shy child

Category: Shyness and Under Confidence

Response: Children’s confidence can be raised through a number of measures. It is important though to understand the possible reasons for under confidence experienced by the child, so that more efforts can be made to address those reasons. Some of the things that parents can do to help build confidence include:

  • Praise your child for the little efforts, hard work, qualities and traits
  • Allow him/her an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills and abilities in those areas
  • Normalize feelings related to failures and help him/her identify ways of dealing with the weaknesses
  • Keep expectations age appropriate as well as to a level that the child can handle. Check your own unrealistic expectations about how the child should look, behave and what he/she should achieve.
  • Set limits and discipline the child through respectful measures instead of resorting to put downs, insults and corporal punishment
  • Respect individual difference and avoid comparison with other siblings, cousins etc.
  • Listen to the child’s needs and explore reasons that maybe making the child feel under confident e.g. bullying in school, inability to attain the grades he/she is aiming for, stressors at home, a change in life circumstances etc.  Help him/her work through these feelings and develop skills to deal with the different situations.

ow going be a very naughty and ignore the things

Category: Behavioral Issues
Response: The information provided by you is insufficient to address your query. Kindly let us know if this is a recent occurrence, situations where she behaves this way? Your current way of dealing with this behavior etc.


rude and carefree

 

Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: The information provided by you is insufficient to address your query. Kindly let us know if this is a recent occurrence, situations where she behaves this way? Your current way of dealing with this behavior etc.


He beats other students and does not stop in spite of counseling. Parents are being informed also. What to do to stop him from beating?

Category: Behavioral Issues
Response:  He is young and at a stage of development where he trying to learn self-control. Some children require more work and effort to develop this and are more impulsive than other children. What kind of counseling did the child undergo? Information about this will help understand what has not worked.
The best way to deal with this situation is to work jointly with the parents so that the messages given to the child in school about this behavior are similar to those given at home.

  • It is important to explore if the child is either being abused or physically beaten as a means of disciplining. If this is the case, it would need to stop since hitting has an extremely detrimental effect on children who themselves resort to hitting in order to deal with their frustration.
  • Let the child know how hitting makes other children feel and what he needs to do instead of hitting. Children this age are still learning to communicate their thoughts and feelings and helping them identify and verbalize these  helps them learn to communicate instead of hitting.
  • Help him develop positive relationship with his class fellows by encouraging others to play with him. Make sure that he is not bullied and that he is able to understand the consequence of his behavior on his relationship with his peers.
  • Seat him in the class in such a manner so that you can maintain a better eye contact with him and draw his attention towards you or distract him towards some other task the moment he resorts to hitting.
  • Praise him for the little efforts he makes and the times when he does not hit. This will help reinforce the required behavior.

Child doesn't complete his class work and opt to do it at home. He also have home assignments and therefore misses one at large.
Please guide.
thanks

Category: Attention, Learning and Concentration Issues
Response: It would be best if you call a joint meeting of the parents and teacher and discuss possible ways of dealing with this situation. Through this discussion you would be better bale to understand the child’s learning challenges and will also be able to identify if its due to a learning or concentration problem or both or due to any stressful situation/change. Try to explore factors that help him at home to work as opposed to at school etc. Once you have been able to identify the possible root causes, both the parents and teacher can work as a team to help the child overcome these challenges. Let the child know the difference between class and home work and why it’s important for him to finish it in the class or at school (due to a learning or concentration issue the child may need more time to complete a task as compared to other children, so see ways by which he can be accommodated). Praise him when he starts making small efforts and make sure the same messages are being reinforced at home and in school.

 


Shyness. Hesitate to talk to a stranger. Low confidence

Category: Shyness and Under Confidence & Adolescent Development Issues  & Trauma and Grief
Response: Is this a recent change or she has always been shy? It is important to have more information so that you can be guided most appropriately. The shyness, lack of confidence and hesitation to talk could be due to a number of reasons. This may be a reaction to emotional distress caused by stressful life circumstances such as a change in the family situation, conflicts, abuse, death or illness of a loved one or coping with emotional physical and social changes brought about during the adolescent age. Once, she is given an opportunity to share her thoughts and feelings associated with these changes, and able to work on ways of coping with these life changes, the shyness and lack of confidence will settle down. Harsh parenting and put downs can also make children feel less confident, so do check how you and your spouse disciplining her and whether your parenting style puts her down.
In general, some of the ways by which you can help your daughter build her confidence and overcome her shyness are:

  • Praise her for her   efforts, hard work, qualities and traits
  • Allow her an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills and abilities in those areas
  • Normalize feelings related to failures and help her identify ways of dealing with the weaknesses
  • Keep expectations age appropriate as well as to a level that the she can handle. Check your own unrealistic expectations about how the child should look, behave and what she should achieve.
  • Set limits and discipline the child through respectful measures instead of resorting to put downs, insults and corporal punishment
  • Respect individual difference and avoid comparison with other siblings, cousins etc.
  • Listen to  her needs and explore reasons that maybe making the her feel under confident e.g. bullying in school, inability to attain the grades he/she is aiming for, stressors at home, a change in life circumstances etc.  Help her work through these feelings and develop skills to deal with the different situations.