ASK THE EXPERT - February 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. She is talkative and makes friends to talk.
Can you please advise how she can control it?

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

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Please give examples of how her being ‘talkative' becomes problematic. Sometimes, children this age are excited to meet new people, and it goes to show how they like to try new boundaries. Talking to people and making friends indicates healthy social skills of your daughter. At times parents feel that children talk inappropriately or at in inappropriate times or an unable to stay quiet. if that is the case with your daughter, it might help if you have a friendly talk with her. Help her understand how it is important for us to listen to what others have to say, that we let them finish what they have to say and then convey our point of view.

It is important to check if you are not expecting too much from your child in terms of how she should act and speak. r expectations for the child are healthy. Sometimes our need for the children to be perfect colors our perception of what the child does normally. It is very common for the parents to keep comparing their child with other children, and want them to behave in a particular way. It is important to remind ourselves how every child is different in their abilities and traits and to keep the comparison fair.

Good luck!

2. Naughty and shy.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Other

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of the behavior that you consider as ‘naughty' and ‘shy' and the kinds of challenges that arise from it.

3. I am going to give my final term exams and I'm gonna go on to 9 grade. I have become very negative and very empty. I don't feel emotions, sometimes I want to cry. But I can't. Studies are alright but the teachers think my friends are really batameez. But we don't do anything bad. I'm really stressed. I'm confessing I'm depressed. It's like a dark cloud over me. I don't want to be happy or anything. I wake up everyday and still with the same misery.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Mental Health - Depression

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. It appears that you are experiencing some stress which is affecting your mood and concentration and motivation especially towards the studies. Can you think of what may be happening in life that may contribute towards your low mood? How long have you been feeling this way? Please note that persistent low mood can contribute towards lack of concentration and demotivation to carry out tasks.

I encourage you to seek in person support. Talk to your parents about how you are feeling or an elder sibling, cousin or a teacher so that they can guide you and take you to a counsellor. Since you are based in Rawalpindi and have a school counselor on board, we will also advise you to speak to her for guidance. She is trained on children's emotional health issues and may be able to link you to a sensitive and understanding counsellor outside of school, if you wish so. Do write and update us. Best of luck!

4. Stubbon.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Other

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. Please give examples of the behaviour that you consider as ‘stubborn' and the kinds of challenges that arise from it.

 

5. My son aged 14 years student of class 8 is extremely shy. He started shivering if a teacher ask him a question in the class. He is always afraid of being pointed out n punished in front of anyone. got aggressive very often. Kindly guide me about the reason and how to cope with his behavior.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Lack of Confidence and Shyness

Response: While being anxious before an exam, meeting new people or other social situations can be natural for many people, some children may feel anxious to such a level that it can start impacting more frequently, many aspects of their life. Fear of being pointed out or judged can be a form of social anxiety. This anxiety or the difficulty to cope with social situations may manifest itself in the form of behavioral tantrums or aggression. Does your son only primarily feel anxious in class and other social situations? If so, some of the things that can help you improve your son's confidence are as follows:

•  Validate your son's fears related to social situations and let him know that you will support him to reduce these fears

•  Let him know that the more he faces these situations, the less they will make him anxious

•  Help him verbalize his worries and fears related to the social situations and get him to identify ways by which he can reduce these

•  Share some techniques of building social speaking skills, e.g. practice talking in front of the mirror, maintaining eye contact with someone in the class/hall who makes him feel less anxious

•  Help him practice ways by which he can remain calm before and during these situations. Some of the ways could be by thinking of fun times and things to distract himself from the ‘worrying thoughts', taking deep breaths (breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth a few times), replacing ‘worrying thoughts' with ‘calming thoughts'

Other general confidence building skills that you can work on with your child are:

•  Allow him an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills and abilities in those areas

•  Normalize feelings related to failures and help him identify ways of dealing with the weaknesses

•  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 siblings and peers

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 is aiming for, stressors at home, a change in life circumstances etc. Help him work through these feelings and develop skills to deal with the different situations.

6. My girl is very shy. She hardly talks to anyone in her school. That is why she don't have any friends. Whenever she face any difficulty in studies in school due to her shyness she did nt asked from.her teacher. I don't know what to do? Her shy behaviour is increasing day by day.i don't know how to make her confident and friendly as this world is full of challenges if she did not learn to talk to other and overcome her shyness how will she face the world.plz guide me

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Lack of Confidence and Shyness

Response: Some children are also naturally shyer than others owing to individual differences. Some of the things that can help you improve your child's confidence are as follows:

•  Praise your child for the little efforts, hard work, qualities and traits

•  Allow her an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills and abilities in those areas

•  Normalize feelings related to failures and help her identify ways of dealing with the weaknesses

•  Teach her to be assertive and share her 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 she should achieve.

•  Set limits and discipline the child through respectful measures instead of resorting to put downs, insults and corporal punishment.

•  Respect individual differences and avoid comparison with other siblings, cousins etc.

•  Encourage her to make friends by asking about students in the class that she likes and spends time with. You might then speak to their parents and invite them to your home or take her to theirs to further help her socialize and get comfortable.

•  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 she is aiming for, stressors at home, a change in life circumstances etc. It is also important for us to remind ourselves how most children learn at their pace and help her work through these feelings and develop skills to deal with the different situations.