ASK THE EXPERT - October 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. Not good with numbers (Maths) at all................ reluctant to participate in competitions.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Learning and Concentration Issues & Shyness and Under confidence

Response: Kindly provide more information about your son's main challenge in Maths in order to understand his situation better and to guide you accordingly. 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 things 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. Make sure he is getting enough sleep and exercise.

The reluctance to participate could be due to feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence that can be raised through a number of measures. It is important though to understand the possible reasons for the lack of confidence experienced by the child, so that more efforts can be made to address those reasons. Some of the things that parents can do to help build confidence include:

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

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

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

•  Teach him/her to be assertive and share their 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 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 other siblings, cousins etc.

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

2. How to teach play group student ?

Gender: Male Age: 3 to 5 Category: Others

Response: The question asked is very vague for us to provide you with guidance. If you share details of what particular challenges you are facing, we would be able to give a more specific response. Generally, play based approaches are encouraged to help children develop skills and enhance their learning. A few simple and clear rules related to daily routine, habits, etc. are also useful to teach children self-control.

3. My child does not take interest in studies. He plays online games with the collaboration of friends. Books have no attraction for him, he tries to get rid the studies for playing games?Suggest applicable action.

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

Response: This is a common concern of many parents these days and is an important one to address since time spent using electronic gadgets takes children away from playing, exercise, family time, etc.

You can try setting a daily routine for the child after he comes back from school. Involve the child in making this routine and ensure that it includes some other form of play besides online games. Limit his access to online games and set an acceptable time every day or certain days per week. You need to also review the type of online games he plays to make sure that they are age appropriate and let him clearly know which games he can play and which he can not. Time for physical activity, studies, sleep etc. should also be built into this routine. Initially you may also have to take part in the play and physical activities to encourage your child and make this fun for him. If he refuses to play outside or study, let him clearly know that he will still not be allowed to play the online games and can do something else as alternative. Involve him in choosing other activities besides the games.

This is a habit-forming time for your child and he may initially resist but if you remain consistent, respectful and firm in the efforts, he will get used to the new routine. Appreciate him when he makes the changes.


4. Not intelligent.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. You would need to share what you mean by not being ‘intelligent' and what kind of learning, reading, writing and comprehension issues are arising because of that?