ASK THE EXPERT - October 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 喪ude behaviour', 蘇appiness' and 疎ggression', 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. May Dotir as weak for astydie plz hilp

Gender: Female Age: 6-8 Category: Attention, Concentration and Learning

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to know if the difficulty in studies is a recent change or if she has had these problems since the beginning of her studies? Is she unable to understand concepts, not pay attention or both? Is there any other issue in the learning that you may have observed in her?

It would also be important to know if she is facing challenges in grasping the concepts that are being taught in a specific subject or if is it across all the subjects that she is studying? If the lack of understanding in studies is due to difficulties in a subject, try talking to and coordinating with those particular subject teacher/s. Some other things that can help her are setting a daily routine for studying, breaking her tasks into smaller tasks if she loses concentration on longer tasks and making sure she gets enough sleep and exercise.

Do keep in mind that at times non-academic issues, stressors at home, problems with friends also impact academics for children. If this is the case, talk to her about what she is feeling and if there is something in school or home that is worrying her.

All the best! Let us know if these were helpful.

2. How to become a position holder in class? I want to top the FBISE board. What can I do? And how can I make Chemistry, Physics easy for me? Plz help. 9th Class

Gender: Male Age: 14-18 Category: Concentration, Attention and Learning issues; Other

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. A lot of small changes can come handy when it comes to academic success and working your way through difficult subjects. You can try a healthy blend of the following:

•  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 panic and anxiety experienced by many students.

•  Set goals for yourself according to the level of difficulty of subjects, and syllabus. Every time you achieve the set goal for the day or week, you can reward yourself with something that you enjoy doing, like talking to a friend or going for a walk. Goal setting is an important strategy to boost motivation in students.

•  Maintain a balanced routine that includes some breaks for fun and relaxing activities. Sometimes a monotonous study routine makes one lose concentration and get demotivated. Take short, well-timed breaks in between the study routine

•  Seek help from teachers for the subjects you struggle with. Talk to your friends and see if you can incorporate the study techniques, they use to understand the concepts in the particular subjects.

•  Identify what aspects of academics stress you out. Identify your reaction to academic stress and how you can manage it better. It is natural for students to feel anxious before they take tests or exams. Managing academic stress can help with better academic achievement as well.

•  Make sure you're 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.

All the best! Let us know if these were helpful.

3. My child is fed up of the favoritism environment and has got aggressive and submissive nature

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Other; Behavioral Issues

Response: Thank you for writing about your concerns. You have mentioned two issues one of them is favoritism and the other related to your daughter's behavior.

As far as the issue of favoritism is concerned, we strongly recommend that you speak to the Principal or Section Head of the school and share your concerns. Kindly do share with them the specific reasons and behaviors that have made you arrive at a conclusion about the teachers favoring certain students. By giving them concrete and specific examples, you will be better able to communicate your point of view. In case there has been a misunderstanding that would also get clarified.

It is a little unclear what you meant by your daughter's behavior being aggressive or submissive. Please give examples of what you mean by these and how they manifest in situations and the challenges that arise as a result. It seems like the anxiety and frustration that your daughter is facing is further getting heightened by the feeling that other students are being favored. Please clarify the questions so that we can help you in facilitating your daughter.

4. I have just taken admission in the college and i do not much confidence and i think this is not right institution for me

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Lack of Confidence & Shyness

Response: I want to appreciate you for writing about your concern which goes to show the effort you are putting in to become more confident. It is a bit unclear as to what makes you think that this institution is not right for you? Is this thought based on an experience that you have had or if it is primarily the apprehension and anxiety of joining a new place? Your response to these questions will help us explore how much of it may be your struggle versus your own perception and expectations from yourself and will help us in facilitating you in this regard.

Children at your age can sometimes feel awkward and shy in certain situations and there is nothing wrong in feeling this way since it is part of growing up and learning to adjust to different situations and people. Some children are also naturally shyer than others owing to individual differences.

5. Hey,
I am a student of Grade 9 and I am recently very depressed that I have kept secret.
I am 14 years old, living in a middle-class family. like every other parents, My parents also have a pressure on me relative to studies, but a thing I discovered was about 2 years ago. When I found out that my true passion is to become a foriegn actor. I've watched alot of foriegn tv shows, but I know all my parents want from me is education. Recently, I've discoverd myself in another dilemma and that is I want to change my religion, and now I just think sometimes to run because this is not the place I want nor deserve. I want to celebrate Christmas, I want to listen to music while my family hates it. I feel I am someone different.
Wht should I do?

Gender: Male Age: 14-18 Category: Other

Response: Thank you for writing trusting us enough to share your concern with us. It seems that you are at a stage in life which many other adolescents your age also go through, where you are trying to understand your identity and who you want to be. Having questions, differences in opinion from other adults about way of life is a part of this quest to discover one's identity. Are there supportive adults with whom you have had these discussions? The best way forward for you could be to have a discussion with a trusted adult in the family, an older cousin to gain more clarity. In addition, If you feel you need professional support and guidance, speak in-person or online with a counselor/psychologist who may help you sort out these confusions. Let us know which city you live in so we can refer you accordingly.

6. AOA! I study in class 10th. I have difficulties in making new friends. I don't know what to do. I try my best to be kind to anyone and be friendly. But people tend to stay away from me. This doesn't only happen in school, but also in other public places. I face problems in speaking and understanding things (like jokes and such), and I like to clarify things so I explain them. I think that makes my speaking less of an importance because I take a long time explain them (also like this problem). Could you please let me know what could be the solution to this problem?

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

Response: Thank you for writing about your concern. Having difficulty in making new friends can be distressing. You mentioned that it happens sometimes that you take your time to understand and speak. Tell us a bit more about the situations where this happens and how do people around you respond to it? Also elaborate about how does your family respond when you communicate in a certain way. Is this a recent change or has it always been like that? In case that this is not a recent change, what have you tried in the past that has helped you? Your response to these questions will help us explore how much of it may be your struggle versus your own perception and expectations from yourself and others around you.

Since we are all different from each other, what we need and look in friendships also varies. So first think about what is it that you want from your friendships? Some elements of a healthy friendship include:

•  Mutual respect and trust

•  Accepting people with differences

•  Enjoying mutual interests and hobbies

•  Listening to each other's point of view without putting each other down. Children may at times laugh and make fun of each other. However, if it happens all the time or is used by one friend/s to put down one person, then it no longer remains healthy

•  Not intentionally hurt, take advantage or spread rumors

•  Appreciate each other's strengths and efforts to work on weaknesses

•  Ability to apologize if one makes a mistake or says hurtful things

•  If there are children in the class that you aren't friends with right now and feel that they may have values and interest similar to yours then you can:

•  Try talking to them about shared interests or topics.

•  Be a good listener and appear more open for others to connect with you.

Let us know if these were helpful and write back to us with the questions we asked.

7. Aoa. My daughter is very good in studies but for last one year after securing more than 96% marks in ssc1, she is facing a lot of stress regarfing studies. She is still quite good in studies but under lot of stress. She always underestimates her capability and fears of less marks. Her stress is affecting the studies now and she spents more time on just taking tension and can't concentrate. What I as mother feel is, that she has become very competitive and conscious about the high expectations of her teachers. Her anxiety has started affecting her sleep and health as well in addition to her performance. I try to calm her and relieve anxiety but it's not working. Please guide

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Exams & Studies Related Anxiety

Response: While it is perfectly normal for most children to feel a bit of nervousness and stress related to their studies especially when they have to take exams, it can become so heightened for some children that it doesn't let them function properly. This seems to be the situation with your daughter too who is now not able to sleep or concentrate. The fact that she did well in her exams her in some ways further heightened her own expectations from herself.

To help your daughter deal with anxiety, let her know that anxiety 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 catastrophically which in turn affects our decision making and concentration. Underestimating her own abilities or over estimating that of others, thinking of the worst possible results are all part of this catastrophic thinking. Help her identify and minimize her unhelpful thoughts such as 選 will be a failure, 選 need to be the best', 閃y parents will be so disappointed in me', 選 am so dumb', 双ther students are better or liked more by the teachers' etc. as they just add to the anxiety. Help her replace these negative thoughts with helpful and calming thoughts such as 選 am going to try my best', 選 may not know a few things but will work to improve them', 選 don't have to be perfect in everything'.

ncourage her to identify physical and other activities that help calm her down and make them part of her daily routine. Anxiety often produces bodily symptoms such as sweating, erratic breathing, fast heartbeat and deep breathing and calming activities reduce these bodily symptoms. You can go online and look up videos related to deep breathing. Make sure that she is able to do things besides just studying such as pursuing a pleasurable interest, talking to friends, as that can also help take ones attention off the stressful situation.

8. I also feel discouraged about my studies if i get low marks

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Exam and Studies Related Anxiety

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. It is understandable to feel discouraged when we get marks lower than our expectation. Do share some more details of your situation so that we can guide you better. It would be important to explore with you, your studying habits, challenges and any other stressors that come in the way of either studying or performance during exams. Do also share with us how you are dealing with the disappointment. Are there friends or family members that you can share your feelings with? This at times can be a helpful way of coping. Do write back to us with details.

All the best!

9. I am a student in 11 class I'm 15 years old i cannot focus in my studies because whenever i try to get good grades i fail, even after learning i get good marks in throughout the year but at the end i fail i have responsibilities of my family and if i get low grades i shall be very ashamed of my self, i need some help about this

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Exams & 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 is natural for people to feel anxious when it comes to getting good grades. The fact that you feel responsible for your family and do not want to disappoint them is also understandable. However, sometimes expecting too much from what we can do can at times makes us feel so anxious that we are unable to perform or do things that we already know.

It would be important 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 tasks. Identify and minimize your unhelpful thoughts such as 選 will be a failure, 選 need to be the best', 閃y parents, teachers and peers will be so disappointed in me', 選 am so dumb' etc. as they just add to the anxiety. Replace these with helpful thoughts such as 選 am going to try my best', 選 may not know a few things but will work to improve them', 選 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 yourself.

Try to identify physical and other activities that help you calm down and make them part of your daily routine. Anxiety often produces bodily symptoms such as sweating, erratic breathing, fast heartbeat. 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!

10. My child is so much horrified by the behaviour of the section head. As she slaps and scold the students so hardly. if there is any mistake done by the student the school teachers or the section head use to threaten them by saying that they will give tc to them. That is complete torcher to the students and this thing must be stopped

Gender: Female Age: 14-18 Category: Other

Response: Thank you for sharing your concern with us. Please note that corporal punishment is highly discouraged in APSs and there are strict directives against its use in schools.

It is understandable that your child is horrified by the behavior. Have you brought it up with the school administration? If not, we would encourage you and the parents of other students to take this matter up with the principal so that appropriate action is taken. From our end, y our concern has been forwarded to the concerned authority for the necessary action as well.