ASK THE EXPERT - January 2016

1. How can I develop good and learning habits in my child

Gender: Male Age: 3 to 5 Category: Others

Response: Are you having any specific issue in terms of your child's learning abilities? If not, then just ensure that the child is provided with opportunities to learn that stimulate all his senses. Introduce poems and music, read out books to him, make him read age appropriate books, allow him opportunities to draw, color, play with toys, blocks, observe his environment and nature and connect things he is learning through books and play with the day to day observations etc. Play can have an extremely critical role at this age so make sure learning is through doing. As for the habits, try making an age appropriate daily consistent routine for these activities and also ensure that the child is not overburdened with too many activities and has time for free play.
2. He is not good in study and always watch movies

Gender:Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Behavioral Issues & Lack of Concentration, Attention and Learning

Response: Kindly provide more information about your son's poor performance in studies in order to understand his situation better and to guide you accordingly. It would be essential to know about his interest in activities other than studies, and if the problem with studies is a recent occurrence? Additionally have you noticed any other change in his mood and behavior?

If the issue is only related to studies and not any other emotional problem such as issues at home, peer pressure, bullying etc., that might be bothering him, you can work in close coordination with him and his teachers so that he can be best helped to overcome his learning challenges. Encourage him to seek help for subjects he does not understand, help him set a daily study routine, break his work tasks into smaller tasks if he looses his concentration on longer tasks and make sure he is getting enough sleep and exercise. You can also set some consistent family norms related to a study routine, TV watching etc. with clearly spelt out consequences for not following the norms. Make sure not to dictate these, but to involve him in the process of making these norms. Make sure to praise him when he follows the norms and when he tries to put in efforts to improve his study habits. Praise can be the most powerful way of reinforcing positive behavior.

3. My son has a retrieval problem. he cannot learn or read properly i do not know how can i clear the concept of level three. he cannot learn by heart 2 to 3 lines q/ans.even he cannot able to explain any creative thought. he just observe and speak in small sentence but not able to tell in his own words paragraphs

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

Response: From what you describe in your query, it would be essential to explore and identify whether or not your child has a learning disability. If this is the case, it would be important that the parents and teachers work together to help him with the learning challenges that he experiences. I suggest that you read up on the literature given in this link and if you feel that this may be your son's situation then do consult a specialist in your town who deals with such issues. The specialist can guide you and your son with techniques to improve his ability to learn. Let us know which town you are living in and we can try providing you with resources. The school may also know of experts that can help.

All the best!

4. I mother of 13 year old boy .i have 2 children one daughter and one son .my daughter .is very obedient and sensiable.but my sdon has totaly opposite personality.he is very aggressive ,and disobedient. he is in 7 standard and extra ordinary students. he has command on his studdies but he never complete his note books properly.some time he realize his mistakes and apologies.but after some time he forgot and behave illmannered ly. he also teesing me.

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

Response: How are you currently dealing with your son's behavior? If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop so that you can teach him 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.

Children have their own individual differences and have varying needs to explore and question things around them. Some children also have difficulty following rules and daily instructions and thus require much more supervision and constant reminders to follow through tasks.

The best way to work towards solving these challenges is to openly communicate with him in a respectful manner. The communication must not be one sided where you lecture him but should be such which allows him to share his thoughts and identify possible and practical solutions to the challenges being experienced. Let him know how you feel about his behavior, your expectations from him in terms of the tasks to be completed as well as his behavior. Hear out what he has to say about these issues and ask him to identify possible ways of overcoming these. For example, making a list of tasks, assignment he should complete before taking a break for play etc. or listing down home work assignments in his diary in case he has an issue with remembering the home work given. 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, study time, etc. Make sure these rules are age appropriate and realistic. You can use the technique of ‘logical consequence', in case some of the most important rules are not followed through. Consequences that are related to the misbehavior, reasonable and given respectfully are called ‘logical consequences'. An example of a logical consequence would be to reduce your son's playtime, if he has not finished his home work etc. Let your son about the consequences in advance and also involve him in the process of identifying the consequences. The consequences must be communicated respectfully.

If your son 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 will talk to you about it later when you are less angry' .

Whenever you feel that he has changed some of his habits and behavior, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behavior. Try out these things consistently and repeatedly, as the change would not occur right away.

5. I want to be confident but naturally i am shy.I can only give short answers to teachers but if there is any big quesyion i cant give the answer in my own words. I study by myself and get good grades this time i have got 90% but my family members compares me with a girl who got 95% whose mother give her total time. I dont like this all. No one knows about this.CAN U HELP ME IN THIS SITUATION

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Shyness and Under-Confidence

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. Children at your age can naturally 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. Some of the things that you can try to help improve your confidence are as follows:

•  First identify situations and persons around whom you feel most shy and then try finding out reasons for this shyness. Once you know what it is about the person or situation that makes you awkward, you will be in a better position to figure out what to do about it.

•  If you face difficulty in initiating conversations with new people, you can try talking about a topic that you are most comfortable with and it might just get you started with the conversation.

•  Stand in front of the mirror and practice looking and talking more confidently. Appropriate body language and tone can help us appear more confident.

•  Learning to communicate more assertively with others and letting people who we love and care about know how we feel can also help us become more confident. People may not always like our point of view but it is important to let people know respectfully how we feel about their behavior and actions. You can become assertive by first thinking about what it is that you do not like and then through a confident body language and tone, use an I-statement to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Examples of an I-statement would be, ‘ I work hard and do not like being constantly compared to other students', or ‘I do not like when you borrow things from me and never return them on time'. Give it a try and see how it goes. Some people may not like you being assertive as they tend to get used to children not speaking up but sooner or later they will realize that you were not disrespectful and rude and just communicating a point of view.

•  Check your own expectations from yourself in terms of how you should act and be in different situations. Sometimes we tend to have unrealistic expectations from ourselves and thus put ourselves down. Make sure you are not doing that to yourself.

Good luck and keep practicing since the change may not happen right away!

6. I am a student my query is that in our school there is too much favourtism and our school management always won those students who are from the families of teachers and always take these students to the functions

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns. Such a situation can be a discouraging one for students. Have you along with other girls tried talking to any of the teachers who you think are more neutral? Explore if this is a possibility as sometimes teachers may do this unknowingly. Additionally the teachers may have an alternate explanation for this, which can be clarified. Your concern will also be shared with your school management. Good luck!