ASK THE EXPERT - September 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. My child is always full of stress. She always have negative thoughts in her mind.

Gender: Female Age: 9-13 Category: Mental Health (General)

Response: Since when have you noticed this change in your child? Is your daughter going through any stressful life experiences that she may be reacting to or do you think her reactions are not proportionate to the situation? What are some of the negative thoughts that she talks about? Are there thoughts about harming herself? The best way to help your daughter is to talk about the changes that you have observed and ask her to share her worries with you openly. Assure her that she will not be reprimanded and that you will help her understand and deal with the situation. If she is having difficulties concentrating in her work, cries or frequently becomes irritable, puts herself down, stays aloof, and has thoughts of self-harm, do show her to a mental health professional. If this is not the case, help her think of ways by which she can manage her stress. Some things that can help are sleep on time, have a balanced diet, take time out for pleasurable activities, spend time with loved ones, and think of alternative explanations to her negative thoughts.

2. My child is depressed.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Mental Health (General)

Response: From the information provided it is unclear what you mean by being depressed. Can you elaborate and share since when she has been feeling this way? The best way to help your daughter is to talk about the changes that you have observed and ask her to share her worries with you openly. Assure her that she will not be reprimanded and that you will help her understand and deal with the situation. If she is having difficulties concentrating in her work, cries or frequently becomes irritable, puts herself down, stays aloof, and has thoughts of self-harm, do show her to a mental health professional.

3. Kid is not happy with teachers learning process.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others (Teacher-Student Relationships)

Response: What is it about the teacher that your son is unhappy about? Is it the style of teaching, attitude of the teacher or both? Do other students have similar complaints? If so, encourage the student to talk to the section head. You can also directly speak to the section head or principal about your concerns. Best of luck!

4. He is weak in math and chemistry of class 9.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Learning, Attention and Concentration

Response:

The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to get more specific information about the issues faced in these subjects. Talk to the child directly and ask him about the specific learning difficulties and the kind of adult support he would need to deal with the challenges.

It might help if you identify whether the issues arise due to lack of conceptual clarity or lack of concentration or both. It may also help if you can observe the child and assess if there is something specific within mathematics and Chemistry that he grapples with. You may also want to assess the time at which the child studies mathematics and chemistry to rule out factors such as tiredness, distractions, etc. that may be effecting the child's learning.

5. AOA since I couldn't get satisfactory marks in my first year, I'm repeating my year again although I'm completely fine with it and i believe what I'm doing is for my own good but I can't focus on my studies. It's like I don't feel productive or sometimes even motivated to study. This stresses me out so much. Please help me cope with this. What could be the possible reasons apart from my mental health because except for this issue I'm not depressed at all. Please give me some tips to stay focused and study productively. The thing is, I can't cram. I have all of my concepts clear but I can't cram what's written and never seem to remember anything I learn. This makes me feel really stressed at such times.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Learning, Concentration and Attention

Response:

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Was focusing on studies always a challenge for you or has this problem started since you decided to repeat the class? Are there any specific subjects that you have more difficulty remembering concepts of, compared to others? All of us have different learning styles so figuring out how you best learn and are able to recall information, will help you deal with this dilemma. I suggest you list down all the subjects or topics you have difficulty memorizing despite having conceptual clarity. Once you have identified problem areas, see if it helps making code words to remember certain names or dates, or draw word associations or create stories around which you can weave the difficult concepts. I also suggest that once you have identified the issues, talk to some class fellows or teachers about how you can try to memorize.

You also mentioned a lack of motivation and feeling stressed out. At times these very factors do not allow students to concentrate on their studies. Preoccupation with other disturbing life circumstances or stress at home or school can also affect our ability to study. See if this may be contributing to your situation.

It is important to know that it is also perfectly normal for most children to feel a bit of nervousness and stress related to their studies especially when they have to repeat a class. Some of the things that can help you are:

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

•  Make sure you are getting enough rest and sleep and are 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.

•  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

6. How to stop/manage access cell phone use in daily life, specially students?

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

Response: The fact that children may get addicted to the gadgets, spend excessive time on their phones and get wrong information or develop insecurities due to social media usage are common concerns of many teachers and parents. In schools, clear norms can be set out for cell phone use. Make sure that there are sports, games or creative activities in schools and at home that children can engage in as an alternative to using gadgets. At home, you can also discuss with the child and agree on certain timings when the cell phone can be used. It is important that the house norms are set after discussion with the children so that they are aware of the rationale and consequences. For example, some parents do not allow phone use on the dinning table or while studying or while spending family time together. For children, adults are often the role models. Hence if you use your phone while in class or during important conversations, the child will be getting confusing messages. Habits also take time to form so keep repeating and reinforcing the importance of the norms you both mutually set out for telephone usage.

7. I send you a query last time about section head trolling ..and it is nice to see your response about my question .. issue is only this that section head try to create their impacts on student and she done some unprofessional behavior to implemented it. which create depression and -ve aspects in the mind of children.
i don't know what to do know is their any counseling required for my children or some thing else ....?

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

Response: What kind of an impact has this had on children? Since your question is vague, I am unable to guide you properly but will try to the best of my understanding. From your query it seems that more than one child was affected. If you are a teacher in the school and can visibly see the impact, speak to your Principal for guidance about how the potential impact on children can be addressed. Has any disciplinary action been taken against the section head? If not, then perhaps that should be the foremost focus. In addition, talking to the children directly about the attitude of the section head and opening a conversation with them about how they feel can help you understand the extent of the effect. The children's concerns can then be addressed accordingly. If you feel that some of the children are adversely impacted, for example they remain scared, unable to concentrate on their studies or be their usual self, you might explore counselling opportunities for them in your city.

 

8. Study kay time mara bachi attentive nhi hota.

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

Response:

Has your son always had difficulties in concentrating on studies or is this a recent occurrence? It would be important to get this background information in order to guide you more accurately.

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. Things that you can generally do to help your son study is to make sure that he 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, and encourage him consistently.