ASK THE EXPERT - June 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 son is a shy child and directly speaking to his teachers and teachers think that he is abnormal child he is very shy even don't talk to his class fellows, he is very slow in writing and cant constrate on his study.
But infect my child is very intelligent and genius his English spoken level is very high. We tried a lot we not successful .need your help in this regard how we can help this child to speak with his teachers and friends.in home with parents he is normal.

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

Response: From what you describe in your query, it would be essential to explore and identify whether or not your child has a learning disability or any other similar issue. If this were the case, it would be important that the parents and teachers work together to help him with the learning challenges that he experiences. I suggest that you read up on the literature given in this link http://www.helpguide.org/articles/learning-disabilities/learning-disabilities-and-disorders.htm and if you feel that this may be your son's situation then do consult a specialist in your town who deals with such issues. Let me know if it helps.


2. Asslamoalik um my son is very stubn but sometimes he is very good.our own behaviour is same.how can we change him without changing ourselves

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

Response:He is young and may need to hear the same thing repeatedly and consistently before you see a relatively more permanent change in his behavior. Try to identify the reasons for his stubbornness so that these underlying reasons can be addressed accordingly. Make a list of things that make him stubborn and 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, 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.

Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to aggression or stubbornness in a situation where he normally does, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behavior.

3. My child is fond of playing and not very much interested in studies. how to indulge her in studies.


Gender:Female Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioural, Learning,Attention and Concentration Issues

Response: Motivating children to study is a concern of many parents these days. With the increased academic competition, parents are increasingly feeling the need to help children feel motivated enough to study and learn.

It is essential to keep a check on your own expectations from your child to make sure that these are realistic and age appropriate.

Some of the strategies that can help motivate children are:

•  Keep a family time for reading, where each family member reads a book of his or her choice. If appropriate each person may exchange views and thoughts about the book he/she is reading every week to further strengthen the importance of reading and learning.

•  Encourage your child to explore subjects of his interest. Show interest and enthusiasm in his subjects of interest e.g. pets, geography, gadgets etc. and encourage him to find information and facts about these subjects.

•  Allow him space to share his thoughts, feelings and involve him in family decisions. This will establish his importance in the family and develop in him an overall sense of responsibility.

•  Share your own new learnings with him and let him know how you found information about these things. E.g. through internet, from a book, a friend etc.

•  Ask him about what he is learning in school. The focus should not be on the test results and grades but on what he is learning.

•  Help him organize his home assignments and schoolwork, which will allow him to feel more in control and less overwhelmed with work.

•  Encourage and appreciate achievements even if these are small steps towards a larger goal.

•  Help him focus on his strengths and in identifying ways of overcoming challenges especially related to a particular subject.

•  Ensure that the child has time to relax and pursue other activities.

4. Misbehave at home & don't respect elders.

Gender: Female Age: 3 to 5 Category: Behavioural Issues

Response: We encourage you to provide a bit more information about the kinds of situations he misbehaves in. How do you normally deal with his 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.

Remember that he is very young and at this stage children do have challenges in managing and controlling their emotions. Your support, understanding and praise will help him more than your scolding, beating or putting her down.

Children are at times rude as a result of seeing people around them act rudely or aggressively 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 rudeness 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 your son is reacting to some stressful situation. 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 situations that he misbehaves rudely in. 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 the 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 can only speak to you when your talk to me calmly' .

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. The important thing is not to discourage him from sharing his point of view but to do it in a way that is respectful. You and your spouse can keep a check on your own behavior while dealing with conflict situations as children tend to learn most effectively from patterns of communication of the adults around them.

Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to being rude in a situation where he normally is, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behaviour.

5. How to stop stealing habits in children?

Gender: Male Age: 3 to 5 Category: Behavioural Issues

Response: In ages four years and below, children do not have a clear concept of stealing and may pick up anything that they like. If that is the case with your child, just simply keep repeating the important message that we don't take away other people's things without taking their permission. Whenever he asks before taking something, praise him so that this behavior gets reinforced.

As children reach ages five and six, they become clearer about the concept of stealing. Identifying the underlying reasons why a child steals would be most important in order to guide and support the child. Some children steal because they lack self-control or feel that they might not be caught and thus need to be helped in building control and learning to follow rules. Others may steal if they feel that something is missing in their life such as love, attention, clothes, food items etc. Some may also steal out of peer pressure and some may steal as a reaction to stressful life experiences such as fights between parents, any form of abuse, change in the family or school environment, etc.

6. Teachers should not be allowed to make differences between Army and civil children. Because they always give thier respect to Army children.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others

Response: Thank you for raising this matter and we suggest that you bring this matter up with the concerned authorities of the school. We will also communicate this concern to the concerned people in the school.

7. My child is quick in memorisation but lacks intelligence and a practical approach towards his surrounding. He secures 80to 90 percent but is hesitant towards developing self reliance. He is asthmatic and takes refuge in his illness of a task assigned. I'm worried if he would be able to succeed in his practical or professional life. Kindly tell me how to treat him . He does not sleep alone comfortably and tries to cuddle up with mom or dad . I'll be greatly obliged if I could get some advice or some link to follow.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Shyness and Under Confidence

Response: Some children need more support than others to become independent and self-reliant. I am glad that you realize the importance of making him more independent, a quality that will help him cope better with day-to-day life challenges.

Talk to your son in a friendly and open manner about the importance of becoming independent as he grows older and how much fun it can be to sleep in one's own room, do things on their own etc. Talking to him will also help you identify any underlying fears and concerns he may have, which can then be addressed accordingly.

Generally, children can become more independent if their self-confidence is raised. 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

•  Teach him/her to be assertive and share their thoughts and feelings with others. Teaching children the skills to say ‘No' to situations and things that make them uncomfortable is very important since they may find it challenging to do so.

•  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.

8. My child is studying in class 2. Everyday once he is to be left in school, he becomes hyper and resists for going to school. It has become extremely difficult to leave him in school. However, once he develops some understanding with any of the teacher, then resistance is less. Once he is left in school forcefully, then he becomes normal after some time. This happens everyday and now becoming difficult to manage as whoever teaches holds him, he reacts very violently. Kindly advise.

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

Response: Some children can have more issues with going to school compared to others. Whatever you and the teachers do, make sure you do it consistently, without evoking further fear in the child and by actually making going to school a fun thing to do. Try remaining calm when helping him in the morning as the more agitated you and the teacher becomes, the more he will react.

Some possible ways to deal with the situation are:

•  Listen to his fears and concerns related to the school so that these can be addressed accordingly. Do not assume what he does not like unless you have spoken to him either directly or indirectly through play and stories. The stories that he makes up may also provide you with cues to what might be going on in his mind.

•  It would be important to identify what bothers your son, so that you can help him through accordingly. For example, if he is anxious because he misses you when at school then you can give him something to take along that will remind him of you and make him feel safer in school (keep your photo in his bag or something you have drawn/written down for him); if he is unable to make friends and finds school scary then you can help him make friends or talk to the teacher to give him some extra support in settling down.

•  Make going to school a fun experience and a special activity. Let him choose his bag, decide on what he wants to take for lunch, etc. While your anxiety and stress about this situation is understandable, make sure that when you speak to your son, you remain calm.

•  Help him identify the good things about the school such as about the students and teachers that he likes as well as the activities that he likes doing the most.

•  Make sure that he is not having issues in understanding the concepts being taught which may in turn be contributing to his refusal to go to school. Provide him the required support he needs in this regard.

•  Address any practical or safety concerns (e.g. bullying) that your son has raised, with the concerned school authorities.

•  Appreciate and praise him for his efforts no matter how small they may seem to you. For example if he cries less one day or does not cry at all, praise that behavior.

9. She is not feeling happy in the school.

Gender: Female Age: 3 to 5 Category: Others

Response: The information provided in insufficient to guide you properly. From the age bracket she is in, it appears that she may have just started school or is in a new school. Some of the unhappiness and hesitation about going to school is very natural. It would be important to identify what bothers your daughter, so that you can help her through accordingly. For example, if she is unhappy because she misses you when at school then you can give her something to take along that will remind her of you and make her feel safer in school (keep your photo in her bag or something you have drawn/written down for her); if she is unable to make friends and finds school scary then you can help her make friends or talk to the teacher to give her some extra support in settling down.

All the best!