ASK THE EXPERT - August 2020

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 over all good in study but when she memorise something she cant remember on next day. what should i do?

Gender: Female Age: 9-13 Category: Concentration, Attention and Learning issues

2. AOA My daughter is in 9th class. The problem with her is that when she try to learn a thing she use to forget it in just one day. I can't understand this problem. Thank you

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

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Was focusing on studies always a challenge for your daughter or has this problem started recently? Are there any specific subjects that she has more difficulty remembering concepts of, compared to others? Children and adolescents have different learning styles so figuring out how she learns better and is able to recall information will help her deal with this dilemma. I suggest you help her list down all the subjects or topics she has been having difficulty memorizing despite having conceptual clarity. Once you both have identified her problem areas, share a few strategies with her that have proven helpful for adolescents and children facing difficulty in learning and memorizing. Some of these strategies can be: drawing word associations and code words to remember dates and names. You can help her memorizing these code words or associations.

It would be important to know if the challenges in remembering and grasping the concepts that are being taught are due to some stressors related to home, school or with friends. At times, these things could also contribute towards the difficulty in studies. 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 loses concentration on longer tasks and make sure she is getting enough sleep and exercise. However, if other non-academic issues are bothering her, support her in better dealing with and communicating her 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 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.

All the best!

3. My daughter is becoming aggressive day by day. Not taking study seriously. Becoming careless day by day

Gender: Female Age: 9-13 Category: Behavioral Issues; Adolescence Development Issue

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. It would be essential to know about the onset, nature and severity of anger, the situations in which she reacts with anger and how you respond to the anger. At times children are upset about changes in their life, peer pressure, difficulties in studies, or feelings that adults don't understand them which can contribute to them reacting with anger. During the adolescent period, which roughly starts around 9 to 10 years of age, children go through physical, hormonal and emotional changes. The need for more autonomy and independent decision-making becomes an important concern at this age and can create a rift between what adults want from children and what children want to do. 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. The best way to deal with this issue is to talk to her in an open and friendly manner about your observations. Allow her the space to first share her concerns and worries and work with her to find ways by which these can be addressed.

You mentioned lack of interest in studies too. Was focusing on studies always a challenge for your daughter or has this problem started recently? Are there any specific subjects that she has more difficulty remembering concepts of, compared to others? Sometimes stress can interfere with the child's learning process too. It would be important to know if she 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 her and her teachers so that she can be best helped to overcome the 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 loses concentration on longer tasks and make sure she is getting enough sleep and exercise. However, if other non-academic issues are bothering her, support her in better dealing with and communicating her feelings and thoughts.

4. Can you help me please to reduce anger in my child

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

Response: How do you and your spouse discipline him at home? If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop. Use of aggression and force makes children believe that it's okay to resort to aggression when they are dealing with any unpleasant feeling. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change. Try to identify the reason for his aggressive behavior. Is it due to a recent change in the family, any stress in the household that could be having an impact on him? If that were the case, then his reaction would become better once the stressful situation improves or is addressed.

For general disciplining, try identifying what is it that you would want him to change and not deal with aggressively. 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, for example, eating his meal, TV viewing timings, behavior towards siblings etc. Making a routine and setting 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.

You can express how you are feeling through your 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 reduce his playtime during the day, if he has not finished the work. Let the child know in advance what the consequence would be. Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to aggression in a situation where he normally does, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing positive behavior.

5. When should children be allowed to have their social media accounts (with parent check) ? I am 17 and still not allowed to keep any accounts which causes me to miss my friends alot especially during this quarantine, should I talk to my parents about this?

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Other

Response: Thank you for writing about your concerns. Not being able to use social media and contact friends through the online platforms must be difficult, especially during the quarantine. The age at which children are allowed to use the social platforms varies from family to family. However, we do know that starting their use too early may expose children to unnecessary information, pressures and increase their vulnerability to abuse. You can talk to your parents, ask them about their reservations and concerns. Once you understand their view point, you can sit with them and arrive at a mutual stand point which is comfortable for everyone. You may agree on the timings of the use or which platforms to use and which ones not to.

Do let us know how it goes. All the best!

6. I want to ask about my class fellows who are always jealous with me when I get praised by my teacher or when I get more marks than them and put their maximum effort to get me insulted by my teacher in front of the whole class by telling the teacher lies about me. What should I do in such a situation?

Gender: Male Age: 14-18 Category: Other - Peer relationships

Response: Thank you for writing about your concerns. Being lied about and facing consequences as a result in a deliberate and repetitive manner is bullying. Tell us a bit more about the situations. Is there room for you to communicate your point of view? And if you do what is the reaction of your peers? If you feel that the relationship borders on bullying and doesn't change despite you addressing it with them, you can review and decide whether to continue in this situation. Remember that bullying is never okay and if you feel that you need to involve an adult/teacher to help you with the situation, do so. Please note that bullying is highly discouraged in APSs and if you inform your teacher or administration, there is a likelihood that strict action will be taken against the classmates involved in bullying.