ASK THE EXPERT - December 2019

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 is very aggressive and talks much loudles he beats his sisters and not allow anyone to take part in his actions.

Gender: Male Age: 9-13 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: Since how long has your son been acting this way? How are you currently addressing this issue? What do you do when he beats his sister? Are you resorting to physical punishment and hitting to deal with the issue or generally to discipline him? If so, then this behavior would need to stop as hitting does not teach children anything about managing their own anger and frustration and in fact makes them angrier. Do explore if there is some other stressor that is bothering him such as a growing up changes, family issues, problem with a friend or at school etc. that might be making him feel this way. If so, the issue would need to be addressed. Along with trying to understand the root cause of his problem, you can also talk to him in a calm yet firm manner about the impact that hitting has on others and how it does little to communicate one's point of view and in fact negatively affects relationships. Share with him the importance of identifying the reasons for his anger and communicating with words instead of by hitting.

2. Assalam u alaikum! I want to know about my kid...she always fight with her siblings and is very much careless about studies.

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

Response: She is very young and will naturally have these ups and downs. This needs to be accepted. This is also an age where children begin to understand that everything in life would not be according to their demands and that they will not get whatever they want, whenever they want it. Thus, this can have its toll on them. This, however, does not mean that children are not taught self-control, which is extremely essential for positive and healthy emotional development of children. Start by making her daily routine related to sleep, eating, play and study. Set some clear rules about behavior, time for studies and appreciate her whenever she shows positive behavior. Many times, children this age become cranky if they are hungry, have not had a good night sleep or have similar disturbances and addressing these helps resolve many of the emotions without any other intervention.

3. My query is about student's age conflict in class and it's further impact. My girl is 7 plus 3months old now and studying in 1 class in APS but if we migrate in other school in Pakistan that's session starts from September, or move abroad. She will be one year older in the class. Will it impact her future studies and job etc. Or should I think about to jump her ahead one class to meet the future requirements. If jumping is the solution than from class should I make her to promote.

Gender: Female Age: 6 to 8 Category: Others (General)

Response: For guidance regarding the possible implication of changing your daughter's class, we suggest that you speak to her teachers who will be able to advise you based on their assessment of your daughter's capacity and abilities. Since your daughter is young right now, we don't foresee that the jump in classes will have any adverse implications on her job prospects. However, as you are based in Lahore and have a school career counselor on board, we will also advise you to speak to her for guidance regarding implications on future school admissions. What is important to keep in mind is that moving cities or countries can be overwhelming for children, and the primary focus should be on how well adjusted the child is overall, during and especially after the move.

4. she has low confidence.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others (Parent-Teacher Relationship)

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of her low confidence. Share whether this lack of confidence is a recent change or if she has always been this way in most situations and interactions in her life.

 

5. Bad behaviour.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others (General)

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of the situations that she deals with or behaves ‘badly' in. Share whether this is a recent change in her reaction to life situations or if she has always responded this way.

6. My sister is very overconfident and she never listens to me and her parents so what should I do?

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

Response: It seems that you sister's ‘over confidence' and an ‘inability to listen' to you is making you feel overwhelmed and confused. To understand your situation better please give examples of the situations where she exhibits this behavior, which in turn becomes problematic. Share how old your sister is and whether this is a recent change in her reaction to life situations or if she has always responded this way. Your response to our questions will help us guide you better.

7. My brother is in stress.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Mental Health

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of the situations that he is ‘stressed' in or any particular way that he expresses his stress in. Share whether this is a recent change in his reaction to life situations or if he has always responded this way.

 

8. She is intelligent but she doesn't response to teachers in class and she does not participate in any activity.

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

Response: Is this a recent change or she has always been this way? It is important to have more information so that you can be guided most appropriately. Does she also not respond or take part in activities that are outside of the classroom situation? You will have to keep talking to her in order to understand and help her work through the issues she may be experiencing. Talk to her in a calm manner about your concerns and give her the space to share her own views, concerns and thoughts about the matter.

It would be important to know if she is facing any challenges in grasping the concepts that are being taught or is stressed about any thing at home, school, with friends etc. If the lack of interest in studies is due to difficulties in a subject, you can work in close coordination with her and her teachers so that she can be best helped to overcome her learning challenges. Encourage her to seek help for subjects she does not understand, help her set a daily study routine, break her work tasks into smaller tasks if she looses her concentration on longer tasks and make sure she is getting enough sleep and exercise.

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.

9. She speaks much often at times when not needed.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others (General)

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of situations that she speaks ‘unnecessarily' in. Share how this becomes problematic for her or others around her.

10. Non seriousness amongst the students during the academic encounters in presence of faculty.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others (General)

Response: Help us understand this issue by elaborating on what you mean by ‘non-seriousness during academic encounters in the presence of the faculty'. Share with us how it becomes problematic and what is done to address it? Do also share what you think works and where you require further input? It is also important to try and understand the reason behind the non-seriousness of the students. At times talking to the students about the impact of their behavior, setting some norms for better interactions and giving students the space to share their concerns openly can help resolve issues constructively.

11. I'm in 1st year and i don't feel like studying and learning for tests without a goal in mind . I want to see a career counselor so i can decide what to do but my parents keep telling me that i should leave that after my results. I feel demotivated and feel depressed . I am bad at making instant decisions and I also get nervous at times and think alot about how i messed up in anything in life . This makes my concentration weak and i resort to using internet and devices as i find more comfort ,less tension and freedom in them.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Exam and studies related anxiety

Response: I want to appreciate you for writing about your concerns which goes to show the effort you are putting to become your better self. It must be very frustrating to not have a certain goal in mind, which one can work for. To clarify your questions regarding career counseling, you can always put up your query on ‘Ask the Career Counselor' on ASACS website and career counselors will facilitate you in setting an achievable goal, that you can work towards. Since you are based in Lahore and have school and regional counselors on board, we will also advise you to speak to her for guidance.

Another thing to consider is to assess and manage anxiety that is part of daily life and can become especially pronounced before an exam, meeting new people, a doctor's check-up. Anxiety can make us think negatively which in turn affects our decision making and concentration on one particular task. Identify and minimize your 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. 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 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 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 stress.

All the best!

12. Do not take interest in studies.

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

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to know if the lack of interest in studies is a recent change or if the student has had these problems since the beginning of his studies? Is he unable to understand concepts, not pay attention, both or any other issue with the learning?

It would be important to know if he is facing any challenges in grasping the concepts that are being taught or is stressed about anything at home, school, with friends, etc. At times, both things could contribute towards the lack of interest. If the lack of interest in studies is due to difficulties in a subject, you can work in close coordination with him and his teachers so that he can be best helped to overcome the 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 loses concentration on longer tasks and make sure he is getting enough sleep and exercise. However, if other non-academic issues are bothering him, support him in better dealing with and communicating his feelings and thoughts. Please also note that the student is passing through the adolescent age. During this time (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 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. 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.