---------------------------------------------Ask the Expert- March 2015
Category: Behavioral Issues
Age of Child: 7years 9 months
Gender of Child: male
Query: Fighting with brother

 Thank you for submitting your query. In order for us to guide you better, some more details would be needed. It would be important to know the age of the brother, how occasionally they fight, who starts the fight, what the fights are about and the nature and extent of fights i.e. do they get verbally abusive or physically violent etc.? Children at this age tend to fight for a number of reasons and the better a parent is able to understand the reason, the better he/she would be able to address and deal with it. Explore if the fight happens when the brothers are unable to resolve a conflict or for no apparent reason, if one of the child feels that he is not listened to or respected by the other, any other issue that may be bothering and upsetting the child and which he resolves by picking up a random fight. It may help if you talk to your son about this behavior and help him share his reasons and then help him identify more appropriate ways to address those reasons and feelings.


Category: Shyness and Under Confidence
Age of Child: 16
Gender of Child: Male
Query: How should the confidence of a child increases??

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.

Category: Shyness and Under Confidence
Age of Child: 8
Gender of Child: female
Query: shy

The information provided by you is insufficient for us to provide you with any concrete guidance. Kindly share if she has always been shy or that this behavior has developed recently. Also let us know if she is shy in front of certain people or situations or in almost all the situations. A better understanding of the behavior will help guide you better.

Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning
Age of Child: 11
Gender of Child: male
Query: I am a teacher at Iqra aps Quetta. CurrentlyI am teaching grade 6 n 7. I found many students having lack of concentration during the lecture. They are just hearing. I want to improve their listening skills. Please guide. I am a math teacher.

There can be a number of strategies that you can employ to deal with the concentration issues experienced by most of the children in your class:

  • Evaluate how interactive your lecture is and include some interesting activities and examples that can help keep children engaged.
  • Make sure that your tone is audible and that both the tone and body language are engaging enough for the children. Frequent eye contact with children and movement in the class, helps children concentrate better at times. If your lectures are mostly in the later half of the day, you may experience the issue of concentration more and would need to work a bit extra hard in keeping them engaged.
  • Try to identify the children or group of children, who lack concentration. Try to also identify those who disrupt others from concentrating if they can concentrate themselves. Change the seating of the children to make sure that those who disrupt others are not seated together or with children who are easily distracted. You can also seat some of these children in the front rows, so that they get fewer opportunities to distract others.
  • If you feel that none of the above-mentioned techniques help, and that the lack of concentration is with the majority of the children, you may want to talk to the class about this. Without blaming or accusing anyone, you can point to the problem, how it affects you and the studies, take their views about the situations and encourage them to help you come up with class room norms that can be made to ensure a better learning environment.
  • Talk to the children individually, if you feel that a few of the children are still unable to concentrate despite trying out the different strategies. These children may be going through family problems, learning and concentration issues that you can help support them with.

Good luck!


Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning
Age of Child: 6
Gender of Child: F
Query: my daughter do not concentrate in her studies.

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 main 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.

If you feel that the problem keeps happening consistently, and if you get similar complaints from the school, 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. While coming up with the strategy, explore if the challenge of inattention 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; divide her tasks in smaller tasks etc. Good luck!

Category: Shyness and Under Confidence
Age of Child: 6 1/2 yrs
Gender of Child: Girl
Query: How can we over come her shyness in class ,as she can not participate in class discussion ,knowing every thing well(92-99 % results in academics)

 Query: how can i help my daughter to increase her confidence level and finish off her shyness?

Query: my son don't talk in school but he is very active in home he is very shy boy in outside of  home

Some children tend to be shyer than others and one can work with children to help them over come the shyness. Is the issue of shyness specifically related to speaking during the class discussion or does she also have difficulty in making friends and interacting with class children or in any new situation etc.? There is no single strategy that you can use and you can try some or all of the strategies listed below and see which one works the best:

  • Evaluate your own parenting style and see you or your spouse put too much expectations on her, are harsh in disciplining, resort to physical punishments etc. Ensure that firm and friendly ways of parenting and disciplining are being used.
  • Explore your daughter’s main fears underlying the shyness so that these can be focused on.
  • Ensure that there is no bullying or teasing occurring at school that might be making her feel shy.
  • Normalize her feelings and empathize with her. Let her know of other children feeling this way and you can also tell her about your own childhood situations where you had felt shy.
  • Avoid labeling the child as ‘shy’ in front of others as the child may feel further discouraged and shy.
  • Help her understand the advantage of being more social, making friendsand how much fun school can be if one is less shy.
  • Help her think of girls and boys in her class that she can try making friends with and what she can say and do to initiate a friendship. Help her practice through role-plays, using dolls and puppets.
  • Appreciate the small efforts she makes to overcome her shyness.
  • Invite her class fellows over to the house to give her an opportunity to play and interact with them in the comfort of her house.
  • Ask the teacher to have her sit with a student who is friendly and talkative.

 Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning
& Behavioral Issues
Age of Child: 7
Gender of Child: Male
Query: My son is 7 years old .I notice that he loses his trust in studies, at the time of study he is not attentive. All the time his attention is divert. He is shy and avoid to talk in front of others.his desire to go out side of the house and play with street boys and i don't allow him to go out side of the house. and when some guest at home he behave arrogant and misbehave with kids and some time snatch the things and misbehave with me and kids. Please tell me how do i handle my child? Thanks

You have mentioned two main issues that are bothering you, your son’s inability to pay attention to his studies, and his social interaction.

Some children have more challenges in paying attention to tasks especially studies as compared to others. Make sure that your son does not study in a room with too many distractions such as people talking, television, too many toys around etc. Break his main task into smaller tasks so that he can understand them better and is also not distracted. Let him know what he can do once she finishes his work, which will help as an incentive. You can also assess if he 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.

If you feel that the problem keeps happening consistently, and if you get similar complaints from the school, it is suggested that you speak to his teacher and see how you can both help him through a joint strategy, which is followed both at the school and at home. While coming up with the strategy, explore if the challenge of inattention 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 son sit in the front row, so the teacher can bring his attention back to the task; divide his tasks in smaller tasks etc.

His other issue relates to interaction with others especially children where at times he is shy and at other times aggressive. How do you currently deal with this issue?It is important to stress that If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop as 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. Communication with him would be the key to understanding the issue and then addressing it accordingly. Explore the underlying reasons for him becoming shy or aggressive in these social situations and then help him sort out those reasons, helping him understand his feelings and the impact of his behavior on others. Once he becomes aware that this is a problem, work with him to develop social skills to deal with these situations in a better way for example, talking assertively and firmly without shouting; calming himself down and waiting for the anger and frustration to come down before he talks etc. Let him identify ways first and then suggest some additional ones. Also let him know that you will only listen to him when he calms down and is not screaming and shouting. 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 his playtime for the day, cut some amount from his pocket money for using abusive language. Discuss and agree to the consequences with your son in advance so that he knows what to expect. Remain consistent with these.

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.

Remember that when you try new ways of dealing with these issues and change your existing parenting style, the desired change r may not show immediately unless the parenting style is consistently and repeatedly followed. If you notice no substantial improvement in the behavior despite consistently trying the above mentioned strategies, we can then explore if he has an attention and hyperactivity or/and learning issue that needs to be addressed with the help of a mental health professional.