ASK THE EXPERT - April 2016

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. Don't studying well and naughty.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: The information provided is unclear and insufficient to provide a response. Since how long is your son not being able to study well. Does it have to do with lack of clarity about subject/s or poor studying habits? Has there been a recent stressful event or change in his life that may be affecting him? It would also be essential to know what you mean by ‘naughty' and how you are currently addressing this issue.

2. My son is totaly involved in cricket. He always uses to play cricket in my absence especially during summer holiday. Further more the commercialization of cricket matches I.e. cricket league matches grab much more attention of the kids towards t.v and also effecting their eye side. I am a govt. Officer and my working hours are 09 to 04 p.m. let me oblige with the tips who can I create such passion in studies which he has for cricket.

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

Response: Acknowledge his passion for cricket and at the same time discuss your concerns about his studies. It may help if you generally discuss with him his future aspirations and goals. These goals, even if they revolve around cricket can then be connected with the importance of getting education in order to achieve the future goals. This will allow your son an opportunity to look at his studies as a means of learning and reaching his future goals. Give him an opportunity to share about difficulties he may have in a particular subject etc. so that he can be helped with that. Through mutual discussion, come up with a daily timetable that includes ample time for both studies and play. Limit the TV watching time while making this timetable. The points can be jotted down so that it is easy for your son to follow and be reminded of in case he forgets. All the best!

3. My child learn extra things quickly but he is unable to study.he study alot but nothing get in his mind and he didnot have i overcomed this problem?

Gender:Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Learning, Attention and Concentration Issues

Response: Some children have more challenges in 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. Some times children are unable to do so as they either feel inadequate and/or are disturbed by certain events and situations. At other times children behave this way due to lack of concentration, hyperactivity and learning difficulties that they seem to have from childhood. While in some children it could be a mix of both external situations and internal learning and concentration issues. However, It would be important to differentiate between the two so that you can deal with it accordingly. One way to differentiate between the two is that learning and concentration issues, are exhibited in children since an early age with parents and teachers complaining of the child's inability to sit through the work, easily getting distracted, but staying focused for hours on computer games and cartoons as they have a lot of movement, interrupting the class, forgetting things easily, making mistakes repeatedly, inability to grasp concepts etc. Read up on ‘Learning Disabilities' and ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' to see if you feel that it describes your son's condition and so that you can be guided accordingly.

Other things that you can generally do to help him in his studies is to make sure that your son 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.

If you feel that the problem keeps happening consistently, and if you get similar complaints from the school, it is suggested that you speak to his teacher and see how you can both help him through 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, encourage him consistently, etc.

4. My child do not get good marks.... He is efficent in everything... He work very hard but do not get good marks
... tell any thing through which I can help him.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: Learning, Attention and Concentration Issues

Response: Does he not get good marks in all the subjects or particular subjects? I suggest that you speak to his teachers to identify his problem areas so that you can best help him overcome these learning challenges. You can also directly discuss with your son, areas where he lags behind and needs help with. It is natural for parents to want their children to excel in their studies, however, it is also important to keep a check on one's own expectations from how much the child can do, so that these are realistic and in line with the child's potential and does not unnecessarily discourage or dishearten the child. It is also important to understand that children have varying levels of intelligence, aptitude and abilities and that while it is essential to help them explore these and motivate them to realize these to the fullest, this must be done realistically.

5. Not taking her studies seriously and her Federal Board is near.

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

Response: 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.

6. How to stop stealing habits in children?

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioural Issues

Response: In ages four years and below, children do not have a clear concept of stealing and may pick up anything that they like. As the reach ages five and six, they become clearer about the concept of stealing. Identifying the underlying reasons why a child steals would be most important in order to guide and support the child. Some children steal because they lack self-control or feel that they might not be caught and thus need to be helped in building control and learning to follow rules. Others may steal if they feel that something is missing in their life such as love, attention, clothes, food items etc. Some may also steal out of peer pressure and some may steal as a reaction to stressful life experiences such as fights between parents, any form of abuse, change in the family or school environment, etc.

7. Having bad language.

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

Response: This may either be her reaction to a stressful situation such as bullying, abuse, parental conflicts, a recent death and illness in the family or behaviour she is picking up from adults on how they deal with their conflicts. Share some more details about which situation she uses it in, who in the family or her surroundings uses bad language and how you are currently addressing the issue? Explore these areas in order to best address the root cause of the problem. Help her think of alternative ways of expressing her views and feelings instead of resorting to the use of abusive language and model similar behaviour as adults when you are faced with a conflicting situation.


Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Learning, Attention and Concentration Issues

Response: Some of the things that you can explore and might help are:

•  Ensure that you are taking enough sleep, healthy food and relaxation along with the studies.

•  Address and deal with issues that preoccupy you when you study, e.g. a problem at home, issues with friends. Talk about these with a trusted adult or friend or allocate a time separate from your studies to ponder over these matters.

•  Make a study routine that allows for breaks in between for you to take a bit of rest. Most brains can only pay attention at a stretch for 45 minutes so you might want to just take a small break to drink water or simply move around the room.

•  Make a routine that best suits your individual learning patterns as well as the time of the day you grasp concepts the best

•  Do not rote memorize but try to understand the concepts because once you understand a concept, there are less chances you will forget

•  Take notes in class and go over these every day when you get back home and in case something is unclear you can clarify it the next day

•  Break your task in smaller tasks and if there is a test coming up plan the study breakup and timings in advance

•  Come up with code words or associations that can remind you easily about things like equations, names of the planets etc.

Good luck!

9. She studies so much and never takes rest.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others

Response: It is good to know that you recognize that besides studies, rest and other activities are of great importance for the overall development of your child. Keep talking to her and encouraging her to pursue hobbies and interests and highlighting the importance of doing so. In case she is too anxious about getting good grades or being on the top, appreciate the goals she sets but highlight the impact too much anxiety can have on her physical and mental well being. Encourage her to exercise, go for a walk, play a sport which can be a good way to help reduce anxiety.

10. Shows unnecessary anger.

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

Response: Since how long has your son been acting this way? How are you currently addressing this issue? 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 issue, 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 and the feelings will gradually settle.

11. Teachers should not be allowed to spank or beat children.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others

Response: Thank you for raising this matter, as this is a serious concern for APSACS. Is this being practiced in your child's school? I hope you are aware that corporal punishment and hitting is strictly banned in the Army Public schools. We suggest that you also bring this matter up with the concerned authorities of the school.

12. Misbehave at home & don't respect elders.

Gender: Female Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: We encourage you to provide a bit more information about the kinds of situations she misbehaves in. How do you normally deal with her rude behavior? If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop so that you can teach her what you are trying to. Use of aggression and force makes children believe that its okay to use force when they are angry. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change.

Remember that she is young and at this stage children do have challenges in managing and controlling their emotions. Your support, understanding and praise will help her more than your scolding, beating or putting her down.

Children are at times rude as a result of seeing people around them act rudely or aggressively or being disciplined through physical force or physical punishment. Other than that a lack of any discipline, structure or routine, no clear rules related to behavior etc. can at times confuse children about what is expected of them and thus cause them to be aggressive especially when they are used to getting their own way. Other reasons for children's rudeness is the result of stressful life situations that they are unable to understand and cope with. These could include death of a loved one, family problems, and difficulty making friends, some form of trauma or abuse being experienced by them etc. Try to identify if your daughter is reacting to some stressful situation. If that is the case, then her reaction would become better once the stressful situation improves or is addressed with her.

If that is not the case, then try identifying situations that she misbehaves rudely in. Once you have done so, identify which issues are not worth struggling with your child for example, clothes she wants to wear, and which are worth disciplining her, for example, eating her meal on time, TV viewing timings etc. Making a routine and some rules in 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.

If your child argues unnecessarily, diffuse this unnecessary power struggle by remaining silent at that time. You can express how you are feeling through 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 can only speak to you when your talk to me calmly' .

Help her understand and see how her behavior may be causing others to react negatively and how she can change her reaction from being aggressive to assertive. The important thing is not to discourage her from sharing her point of view but to do it in a way that is respectful. You and your spouse can keep a check on your own behavior while dealing with conflict situations as children tend to learn most effectively from patterns of communication of the adults around them.

Whenever you feel that she has not resorted to being rude in a situation where she normally is, praise her, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behaviour.