ASK THE EXPERT - May 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. He tries a lot but loses concentration and has memorizing difficulties. He also fails to maintain his interest in studies.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning

Response: Is the inability to concentrate and memorize a recent occurrence or an issue your son has experienced since his childhood? Are there any changes that you have noticed in his mood and behavior?

If the issue is only related to studies and not any other emotional problems such as issues at home, peer pressure, bullying, etc., you can work in close coordination with him and his teachers so that he can be best helped to overcome his learning challenges. Encourage him to seek help for subjects he does not understand, help him set a daily study routine, break his work tasks into smaller tasks if he looses concentration on longer tasks and make sure he is getting enough sleep and exercise.

You might also want to explore whether or not your child has a learning disability. If this is 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. The specialist can guide you, the teachers and your son with techniques to improve his ability to learn. If this is not a possibility the online resources and the teacher's guidance can help with the improving the learning challenges.

All the best!


2. My question is that my child undergo into extreme thinking process, she is not open to us , whatever we say to her she does the same but her behavior and attitude shows that something is disturbing her badly. She survives for others and least bother about her own happiness , feelings and affection. Kindly guide me something I cant see her in this state of position.

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

Response: The best way forward would be to talk to her about your concerns in a calm and friendly manner and encourage her to share her feelings and views. She may not open up immediately but if you spend time with her on a daily basis and talk about growing up issues, bullying, peer pressure, etc. she may start opening up. Encourage her to be assertive and let her know that its okay to say ‘No' to situations and things that she does not want to do or makes her uncomfortable.

You may also want to keep in mind the fact that you daughter 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 daughter 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.

3. It is submitted that my son is getting 14 years on 8 May 2016. He has been conditionally promoted to 8th Class. The child has following problems and are submitted for your kind information and guidance. He is very hyper and does not take serious interest in his studies. He has the habit of boasting himself by narrating stories. The boy now wants to change his school system and join roots school system. Kindly support me how to handle this boy at this age. He is getting 14 years on 8 May.


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

Response: Has your son always had difficulties in concentrating and taking interest 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 change the school.

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 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.

4. Salaam, My son is a very keen observer and very good face reader is somehow shy, in confident and slow learner. He didn't complaint others even on their faults but didn't take responsibility of his own things, lack of interest in studies and didn't express himself easily. But fond of playing all games like cricket, football, kite flying, playing drums, cycling, computer games. What I as father, feel lack of self confidence in his personality. Pl guide.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 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 the lack of 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

•  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.

5. My child have no interest in study, when I ask some work for doing he refuse to do that one and if I ask some work not to do, he do that work, he quarrel with mother, brother and sisters and bet them. He have no interest in study, pray and receipt of Quran.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Adolescent Development Issues & Behavioural Issues

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. How are you currently managing this behavior? It would be important to know how you deal with him so that you can be guided more accurately. If you either completely ignore his behavior or become too aggressive and strict, both these strategies may not be very helpful.

The best way to work through these issues is by talking to him in a calm manner about the behaviors that you have noticed in him and giving him the space to share his own views, concerns and thoughts about the matter. Let him know how his behaviors effects you and your family and help him identify ways by which he can think of other positive alternatives to express his thoughts and feelings e.g. he can keep a check on his tone and choice of words when he is communicating a point of view, delay talking when he is very angry and give himself time to cool off before talking, etc.

Providing him the space to talk, validating and normalizing his feelings may in itself help the behavior settle down, especially If he is going through some emotional turmoil, learning to cope with the changes brought about by adolescence, etc.

Remember that 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 and opposite sex, less interest in spending time with family and adults, frequent arguments and need to exert their own individuality and identity etc. Some of the things that you mention seem to suggest that your son is also experiencing similar changes. 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.

Check your own expectations regarding how much time he should be giving to his studies and his role in the house chores etc. and make sure that these are realistic. If you feel that they are, then you can also work with him to set some family norms related to a study routine and acceptable behavior with clearly spelt out consequences for not following the norms. Make sure not to dictate these, but to involve him in the process of making these norms.

All the best!

6. A child from class viii usually seems upset in the class and not take much interest in studies though he is much brilliant student but his behavior is confusing

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Grief and Trauma & Others

Response: We suggest that you talk to him to get a better insight into his situation. If you are a teacher then you can also share your concerns with the parents. It would be important to observe other changes in his behavior and routine especially related to sleep, appetite, studies and interpersonal relationships.

There could be a number of factors that can cause children to feel upset and loose interest in studies such as a change in their life circumstances at home and school, an upsetting and traumatic experience, etc. We suggest that you talk to him in a supportive and non-threatening manner about the changes that you have observed. Let him know that you would be open to listen to anything, no matter how difficult it is for him to share. This will help build his confidence and trust and he may talk to you more openly.

Based on what he shares, you can decide on the next line of action. Make sure you inform him about what you plan to do, who you plan to tell, etc. so that he is aware and comfortable with whatever is being done to support him.

7. The child has strange habits he scream and speaks very loud he gave his remaining lunch to others forcefully and want to stay with his friend only but beats him also.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioural 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 shouting or hitting to communicate his point across. 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 screams and shouts 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 hitting and shouting 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.

8. She is very intelligent and brilliant in studies but she always shouts at me, how should I handle her, she don't understand what I m saying and don't listen the no word, kindly help me.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Behavioural Issues

Response: How do you deal with her behavior? It is important to stress that If you resort to shouting, force or physical punishment then this would need to stop as use of aggression and force makes children believe that its okay to shout or use force when they are angry. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change .

You would need to communicate with her about your concerns. Do it at a time when you are feeling calm and you both are not entangled in an argument. If it helps write down some of the key points you would like to address with her. Before you speak to her, analyze the following:

•  Does she shout every time you speak/ or on every issue or are there certain issues she ends up shouting at?

•  Are the issues related to household rules and norms? Are the norms simply dictated or is she given the option to question or discuss these with you?

•  Does she have the same behavior when your spouse speaks to her and what is it that he/she does differently?

•  Is this a reaction to something bothering her?

Once you analyze these you will be able to see where you are expecting too much and where your daughter is being unreasonable. Talk to her in a calm yet assertive manner about the effect her behavior has on you. Listen to her reasons for doing so and agree on setting a rule of discussing difficult issues openly without anyone resorting to shouting. Communicate your basic expectations from her once you have figured out which ones are reasonable and age appropriate.

9. Unwillingness to go to school, frequent headache, stomachache and nausea.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Grief and Trauma

Response: Have you shown your son to a medical doctor and has he ruled out medical reasons for these symptoms? If so, then these could possibly be signs of distress that your son is experiencing. Due to the limited information that you have provided, it would be difficult to point out the exact reason/s. He may be reacting to a recent change in his life, such as shifting, a parent being away, death or illness of a loved one or an unpleasant incident such as bullying, child abuse, harsh parenting. Understanding the underlying reasons for distress would be important so that he can be helped to deal with it. Try talking to him in a calm and friendly manner about things that can bother children and that he can share with you openly about his worries, fears, etc. Listen to his worries and fears and try addressing those. He is very young and would need extra love and support to deal with whatever is bothering him.

10. What is the solution if student is not agree to study in any school?

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention & Learning Issues

Response: Something must be bothering the child at school, home or his surroundings that is making him refuse going to any school. It could also be related to learning challenges such as an inability to grasp concepts, memorize new concepts, concentrate on the studies, etc. that makes school a daunting place to go to. Identifying the underlying reasons and addressing them would be the key to helping him adjust in the school and his studies. If the issue is related to the school and learning, it might help, if you take the teachers into confidence so that they can help him settle down.

11. He is good in study but he dose not want to study.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Lack of Concentration, Attention & Learning Issues

Response: The information provided is insufficient to provide a response. Kindly let us know if this change in behavior is a recent occurrence? How is the child doing generally? Is he able to make friends? Does he participate in activities other than studies both at school and at home? What does he complain about when he refuses to study? .

12. My child is not taking interest in the studies because of the teacher's behaviour with the students. My childs says me that all the students don't understand the teacher. Teacher teaches all most all the subject from the book of his university.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others

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 learning challenges that the children are experiencing so that these can be addressed appropriately. You can also encourage your son and his friends to directly share their concerns with the teacher. The feedback may help him improve his teaching style.

13. My baby learn and speak slow .pleas sugest she fast please

Gender: Female Age: 6 to 8 Category: Others

Response: Show her to a child specialist to determine if she has delayed milestones or some physical condition causing the issues. If the doctor rules out medical and developmental concerns, then we can explore possible psychological issues.

14. Mera larka zahanat kay muqbaly me to bohat achha / zabardast hy lekin apni marzi hogi to sunnay ga aur bat bhi kary ga warna suni un suni kar dega mehrbani farma k koi mashwara dain.

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

Response: He is still very young and at a stage where children are learning new things such as self-control and managing and dealing with emotions. Thus, what you have stated could simply be a part of the normal growing up challenges. What kind of issues does he not listen to? Does he not listen to things at a certain time of the day, for example if he is very tired, hungry and sleepy? Exploring these areas will help you understand the underlying reason, which you can then address accordingly.

Try to maintain a regular routine for play, sleep, eating etc. and he will automatically get adjusted to the fact that there are certain things that he needs to do every day at a given time. Encourage positive behavior by using praise and help him deal with the day-to-day challenges and express himself better.

15. My daughter eats a lot gains weight but i cant see any difference when ever i tell any doctor they just say that she is very weak.day by day she is changing her good habits to bad and she also thinks her parents are enemy of her

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: You had written earlier as well and it was suggested that you show your daughter to a doctor to rule out any medical problem. If there is no medical issue, I suggest you speak to a psychologist in person so she can work with you and your family to evaluate the underlying psychological reasons for this change in her behavior and appetite. Since you live in Rawalpindi, finding a good psychologist in the twin cities would not be an issue. All the best!

16. My child cant play with her friends as she cant share cant tolerate anything.today i saw she was just shouting crying and pulling her hair after having fight with frnds.i am just fed up now.she doesnt understand with love or anger.i am feeling just helpless.she loves attention infact extra attention.

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

Response: Has there been a recent change in the family situation or any other stressor that she may be reacting to? If, not then most likely she is having difficulty in communicating her thoughts and feelings in other healthier ways and ends up shouting or hitting or harming herself to communicate her point across. Almost all children struggle with self-control in the early years and some may continue experiencing 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 her how to put her point across. When she screams and shouts to get a demand met, let her know that you can only communicate when she talks calmly. Once she does calm down, listen to her. She will gradually learn to associate that attention is only paid to her when she talks calmly as opposed to when she shouts. It will also help if you set her daily routine related to sleep, eating, play and studies. Praise her good habits but let her know how hitting other children effect her relationship with them. Help her identify reasons why she ends up hitting and shouting and get her to work on alternatives, such as asking the children, saying No calmly, etc. Set some clear rules about behavior, time for studies and appreciate her whenever she shows positive behavior. Remember that the behavior may not change immediately and its important that you continue practicing these techniques consistently and repeatedly to see the change.

17. My son is so naughty and creates problems in class due to which the teacher is so annoyed. Please suggest ways through which problem can be overcome. Thanks

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Others

Response: The information provided is insufficient to provide a response. What do you mean by him being naughty? Does he not follow class instructions? Tease other children? etc. How are you and the teacher currently dealing with this behavior?

Queries 18,19,20.

My child is not doing Home Work time.

My Son always give me lame excuses.

My question is how to improve our. Over confidence for the stage competitions. ?

Response: The information provided is insufficient to provide you with an appropriate response. Kindly elaborate on the behavior and other behavioral issues associated with it, if any.