ASK THE EXPERT - July , August 2016

Note: Dear parents, Thank you for sending in your queries. Some of the queries put up by you were not related to children's emotional and behavioural problems but about admissions and results. Please note that this page does not address such questions. Some of you have also sent incomplete queries, with one or two word sentences, such as ‘rude behaviour', ‘happiness' and ‘aggression', which are difficult to respond to, as there is no explanation or description given about how the problem has started, what you find difficult to manage as a parent etc. The more descriptive the problem is, the better we would be able to respond to it.

Thank you

1. my sister is in board class. She was a brilliant student and had an IQ of well above average, but she had some psychiatric issues in her past and some medicine was also preferred by her Doc. I have also done my Masters in Psychology and as a sister she share all her problems and worries with me.
Now with time she is getting interested in her opposite sex and as she is the last born child she is bit spoiled and do not listen to anyone even not parents and her interest in studies is almost lost.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Adolescent Developmental Issues

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. The issues you have mentioned are typical of the adolescence. 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 may be more interest in peers; less interest in studies, spending time with family and adults; frequent arguments and need to assert their own 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 sister in an open and friendly manner about these changes. 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. You can also share your concerns with her about studies and general behavior and work with her in developing better studying habits.


2. i am a grown up girl, but highly jittry, underconfident, lacking initiative and subdued. kindly advice me how to overcome such personality disorders

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Lack of Confidence and Shyness

Response: I want to appreciate you for writing about your concern which goes to show the effort you are putting in to become more confident. Children at your age can sometimes feel awkward and shy in certain situations and there is nothing wrong in feeling this way since it is part of growing up and learning to adjust to different situations and people. Some children are also naturally shyer than others owing to individual differences. Some of the things that you can try to help improve your confidence are as follows:

•  First identify situations and persons around whom you feel most shy and then try finding out reasons for this shyness. Once you know what it is about the person or situation that makes you awkward, you will be in a better position to figure out what to do about it. If you face difficulty in initiating conversations with new people, you can try talking about a topic that you are most comfortable with and it might just get you started with the conversation.

•  Stand in front of the mirror and practice looking and talking more confidently. Appropriate body language and tone can help us appear more confident.

•  Learning to communicate more assertively with others and letting people who we love and care about know how we feel can also help us become more confident. People may not always like our point of view but it is important to let people know respectfully how we feel about their behavior and actions. You can become assertive by first thinking about what it is that you do not like and then through a confident body language and tone, use an I-statement to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Examples of an I-statement would be, ‘ I work hard and do not like being constantly compared to other students', or ‘I do not like when you borrow things from me and never return them on time'. Give it a try and see how it goes. Some people may not like you being assertive as they tend to get used to children not speaking up but sooner or later they will realize that you were not disrespectful and rude and just communicating a point of view.

•  Check your own expectations from yourself in terms of how you should act and be in different situations. Sometimes we tend to have unrealistic expectations from ourselves and thus put ourselves down. Make sure you are not doing that to yourself.

•  If a major reason for feeling jittery and under confident is due to any past painful experiences or stressors that you have not processed then you would need to talk to someone supportive about these.

Good luck and keep practicing since the change may not happen right away!

3. My child is not active in any thing ..she do not participate in games


Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: Some more details about your child and her behavior would be needed in order to guide you better. Kindly mention, if this lack of activity is a recent occurrence or if she has been this way since her childhood? Have there been any significant changes in the child or your life or stressors? Is she able to study, make friends, do basic chores such as changing clothes, eating on her own, etc.? How is her sleep and appetite? A better understanding of these will help understand your daughter's situation better.

4. my son is weak in studies,,he takes no interest in reading and in writting but he is bussiness minded, he sometimes become very hyper and misbehaving in home .

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Lack of Attention, Concentration and Learning Issues & Adolescent Development

Response: Has your son always had difficulties in studies or is this a recent occurrence? It would be important to get this background information in order to guide you more accurately. The fact that he has challenges in learning may be contributing to his need to his behavioral problems.

Some children have more challenges in paying attention to tasks, learning and grasping concepts as compared to others. There are many reasons why children are unable to study, read, write or remember what they have learnt. Understanding these would help you and the teachers work together to deal with them. Some times children are unable to do so as they either feel inadequate and/or are disturbed by certain events and situations. At other times children behave this way due to a learning disability or/and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which leads to lack of concentration, hyperactivity and learning difficulties. 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, but staying focused for hours on computer games and cartoons as they have a lot of movement, 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 and so that you can be guided accordingly.

Other things that you can generally do to help him in his studies is to 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 he 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 and learn.

Work closely with the school to come up with a joint strategy, which is followed both at the school and at home. 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, encourage him consistently, etc.

You may also want to keep in mind the fact that you son is in the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), where many children go through a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes. As a result of these changes there may be more interest in peers; less interest in studies, spending time with family and adults; frequent arguments and need to exert their own 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 son in an open and friendly manner about these changes. Make sure to do it in a manner that allows him the space to talk rather than it being a lecture. Validate and normalize his feelings and let him know that he can talk to you if there is something bothering him or if he has any questions related to growing up. By communicating openly, you will be giving him an opportunity to discuss and share with you in case he is bothered about something and going through a difficult time. .

5. My child cannot stay still. He easily gets distracted and also distracts others through his actions and noise. Same complains are from his teachers as well. They call him a very naughty child. Although he is very intelligent and scored good marks in his exams but his handwriting is not consistent and due to lack of concentration he makes a lot of mistakes example spelling mistakes and calculation mistakes.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning

Response: 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.

6. Very weak

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: The information provided is unclear and insufficient to provide a response

7. My child is feeling bore in college after did their 1st year exam , now he is in 2nd year and he is not felling well, he is always absent from college and says i do not want to go to college but we are forcing him to go. kindly suggest us in this regard.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: First of all it would be essential to find out the reasons for him not feeling well and not wanting to go to college. Have medical reasons been ruled out. If there is no medical condition that is contributing to him feeling unwell then this change in your child's behavior could be brought about by some stressors and pressures.

Some of the changes that children react to include changes in the family situation, adjustment in a new class, conflicts in the family, exposure to any form of violence within the family or outside, death or illness of a loved one, an accident, experience of bullying, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, etc. The changes could also be brought about due to the stress of coping with the physical, emotional and social changes brought about due to adolescence. if you are aware of a recent change and think that the child maybe reacting to it, then talking to him about that change, allowing him to express his feelings and helping him develop better coping skills will help his behavior to settle down. Try to understand his fears and concerns related to the change and address them accordingly.

If you are not aware of any obvious change, then finding out the reason would be essential before these can be addressed. Talk to your child when he is alone with you, in a calm and non-threatening manner about the changes you have observed in him. Allow him the space to respond. Some of the statements that might help you start the conversation are:

“I have noticed that you have not been going to college and complain about being unwell. Children can feel this way when something bothers them. This does not mean that children are bad or weak. I want you to know that no matter how big or small that issue is, you can talk to me about it. Talking about situations that make us feel sad, upset or angry or just talking about our feelings help us become strong. When we talk to a parent, a trusted adult, they can help us deal with it in a healthy manner.”

Make sure that you are not harsh, critical or too anxious when you speak to him as he may shy away from talking openly. He might take a bit of time to open up and in the mean time keep observing his behavior and spend time with him on daily basis.

Once you are clearer about the issues bothering him, you can work towards both addressing that stressful situation and helping him cope with it. If he is unable to identify anything bothering him and if the situation still persists or if you need any further support and guidance, feel free to write again.

8. My child is studying in class 2nd year, one of his teacher is very liar , he is always telling lies to all his students , and he is always siting idle in the class and cannot teach to students. Student are not able to ask him why are you not teaching us. please guide me so that i can guide my child in this regard. i will wait for your response
thanks .

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others, sub category (Teacher-Student Relationship)

Response: We suggest that you bring this matter up with the concerned authorities of the school. You might ask other parents to join you and share openly the challenges that the children are experiencing so that these can be addressed appropriately

9. The student is very stressed about the board exams.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Exams and Studies related Anxiety

Response: It is important to know that it is perfectly normal for most children to feel a bit of nervousness and stress related to their studies. In some ways a bit of stress helps children take their studies seriously and prepare better. However, for some children the anxiety becomes so intense that is no longer helpful and must be dealt with. Help your daughter:

•  Rule out if there is any other non-studies related stress that maybe adding to her stress about the studies. Talking and dealing with that stress will make her calmer and thus help her resume her focus on studies.

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

•  Make sure she is getting enough rest and sleep and is 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.

•  Help her 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. Help her replace 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 ask her to write down the helpful thoughts and say these out loud while standing in front of the mirror and looking at herself.

•  Try to identify physical and other activities that help calm her down and make them part of her 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.

Encourage her to continue talking to you or a teacher for guidance about how she can cope better with the anxiety.

10. Fighting snaching.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: Has there been a recent change in the family situation or any other stressor that he may be reacting to? If, not then most likely he is having difficulty in communicating his thoughts and feelings in healthier ways and ends up fighting or snatching. Almost all children struggle with self-control in the early years and some may continue experience these challenges even when they are at an age that your child is at. Trying to reconcile with the fact that everything in life would not be according to their demands and that they will not get whatever they want, whenever they want it, can take its toll on children. This, however, does not mean that children are not taught self- control, which is extremely essential for positive and healthy emotional development of children. Children often role model adults and through your own behavior and communication you can also teach him how to put his point across. When he fights or snatches to get a demand met, let him know that you can only communicate when he talks calmly. Once he does calm down, listen to him. He will gradually learn to associate that attention is only paid to him when he talks calmly as opposed to when he shouts. It will also help if you set his daily routine related to sleep, eating, play and studies. Praise his good habits but let him know how hitting other children effect his relationship with them. Help him identify reasons why he ends up fighting and get him to work on alternatives, such as asking the children, saying no calmly, etc. Set some clear rules about behavior, time for studies and appreciate him whenever he shows positive behavior.

11. My daughter is having problem from male teachers in school its an issue of sexual harrassement plz help

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Grief , Trauma and Abuse

Response: We are deeply concerned by the incidents of sexual harassment that you are referring to. Please note that the APSACS system takes these concerns very seriously. Sexual harassment and abuse in any form in unacceptable. We suggest that you speak to the school administration so that this issue can be addressed. We would like you to be able to provide more details so that this concern can be investigated properly. We also suggest that you speak to your daughter to explain to her that she has a right to speak about and say NO to any teacher or staff member making any advance towards her that is potentially abusive.