ASK THE EXPERT - April 2017

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. xxx is the name of child. His parents are separated. I have been observing him since 2014. He is now in class three. His attitude is like no participation in class work, stealing classmates' belongings, dodging teachers and parents even once he offered his class fellow take my watch for Rs. twenty and took the amount but not given the watch.
Counselling sessions with his grandmother and aunt had been arranged at school but no improvement in personality development has noticed.

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Behavioral Issues & Grief, Trauma and Abuse

Response: The child seems to be either acting out as a result of distress and external stressors or has some other underlying childhood attention and learning issues, which are also having an impact on his behavior. Since you mentioned that counseling sessions have been arranged, I would like some more information about these; who conducted them? How many sessions? Were any sessions conducted with the child? What was the response of the caretakers and does he have similar issues at home too? You can ask the counselor to write to me directly by taking my email from the regional director and I can guide her once I get more details.

2. Im a kid,I want to say that I find all the subjects easy except MATHS I always get low marks in it,My maths final term paper doesnt went good and i think i will fail in it!My parents and our family is dealing with many financial problems and my parents dont have much money for fees (that i can repeat the class) I dont want to repeat the class and want to make my parents happy...Beacause of only 1 subject (I dont want to fail)...If i get low marks or i fail i think i will force myself into self harm!I'm really depressed and worried..I dont ever rember maths and its formulas..please help

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Exams and Studies related anxiety

Response: Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns. It's understandable that you are distressed about failing in mathematics and having to burden your parents financially. You seem to be someone who is very caring towards her parents and their financial pressure. I hope you know that the last thing that your parents would want you to do is to harm yourself or to think that you are not worthy of anything. School can some times be tough and one can get bad grades or fail even when one tries. At times there are certain subjects and concepts children may find difficult to understand despite trying. Remember, this is all part of growing up and these challenges should in no way discourage you or make you feel unworthy. I suggest that you speak to your parents and teachers about your concerns so that they are able to guide you. Speak to the teacher who you feel most comfortable with, as she will be able to share with you the school policy regarding promotion to next class in case a student fails one subject.

Remember to take care of yourself in all this and regardless of whether you fail or pass, discuss with your parents and teachers your particular learning challenges related to mathematics, so that can suggest ways of improving those for the future. All the best!

3. The child remains in imaginary world always talk about robot making and videos,to safe the world. whenever we asked he just replied that i am not speaking and tightly close his mouth to avoid speaking. difficultly sit on chair for a time and then move according to his will.

Gender: Female Age: 3 to 5 Category: Behavioral Issues

Response: The child is very young and it is perfectly normal for children this age to go into their imaginary world and play with imaginary friends. You can tell him playfully that in order to make robots, he will need to learn his letters and numbers, etc. and thus would need to focus on understanding what the teacher is trying to tell. You can also let him know that his imaginary friends would like him to learn new things and share with them when he goes home. Encouragement and positive reinforcement of the required behavior should help him settle down and understand what is required from him when he is in the class.

4. I have two issues that I as mother facing at this particular branch only.
1: the teachers threat kids of punishing. Instead of listening or helping them out they say if u don't do u will be punished. This results in shattering confidence and kids r getting scared of the figure " teacher". I have complained to principal as well but nothing is being done.
2: kids r using abusive language. The kids r using bad words that we cannot even think of. This was also reported to HM but she said that she is as helpless as I m.

Gender: Male Age: 3 to 5 Category: Others

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Have you followed up with the Principal and what has been his/her response? Please do share these concerns again with the Principal, as he/she is the most relevant person. You may also take feedback from the other parents and if others also feel the same way, he can be approached as a group, giving more weightage to your concerns. I also suggest that you write to the APSACS secretariat's general email i.e. . Children at this age should not be disciplined or taught through the fear of punishment. As for the abusive language, teachers can play a critical role in discouraging the use of such language. Teachers can create classroom norms that discourage the use of abusive language and instead help children of this age learn alternative words to express certain feelings and thoughts. Children at this age, merely mimic the words they hear around them even without knowing their meaning. They may also use these to express an emotion; the same way they see adults use them. The teacher can also meet with the parents of the child/children using abusive words more frequently and can share these concerns so that the parents can be more vigilant and avoid the sources from which their children are learning such words.

5. My daughter has very poor concentration in her studies overall

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Lack of Attention, Concentration and Learning

Response: Has your daughter always had difficulties in concentrating on studies or is this a recent occurrence? It would be important to get this background information in order to guide you more accurately.

Some children have more challenges in paying attention to tasks, 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 a learning disability or/and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which leads to lack of concentration, hyperactivity and learning difficulties. 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 daughter's condition and so that you can be guided accordingly.

Other things that you can generally do to help her in her studies is to make sure that your daughter does not study in a room with too many distractions such as people talking, television, too many toys around etc. Break her main task into smaller tasks so that she can understand them better and is also not distracted. Let her know what she can do once she finishes her work, which will help as an incentive. You can also assess if she 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. Work closely with the school to come up with a joint strategy, which is followed both at the school and at home. Suggest to the teacher to have your daughter sit in the front row, so the teacher can bring her attention back to the task; divide her tasks in smaller tasks, encourage her consistently, etc.

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. My son is really weak in maths he will be 17 this october and he just can't solve even a 4rth grade math problem but he's really good in other subjects and he can speak fluent english there any chance that he can finish his school without mathematics ? I want to know what subjects are there in your syllabus

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

Response: Thank you for sharing your concern. Please write to the curriculum and exam department given on this web address since ‘Ask The Expert' page is for queries related to emotional and behavioral issues of children. You may also speak to the school administration directly.

I also want you to have your son tested for ‘learning disabilities' since he may have a specific learning issue in which children find mathematics difficult. If this is the case, your son may benefit from remedial education services offered by institutions specializing in learning disabilities. Since you are based in Karachi, I encourage you to visit the services offered by READ,

7. Please provide student friendly, healthy and cooperative environment. More emphasizes on practically rather than theoretically

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others

Response: Thank you for sharing your concern. The APSACS system puts a lot of emphasis on creating a more conducive learning environment where practical approaches are also part of the teaching methodology. We suggest that if you have an particular observation and feedback regarding this, you share these concerns directly with the Principal and section head of the school or write to the relevant department given on this web address

‘Ask The Expert' page is for queries related to emotional and behavioral issues of children.

8. how to mentain behaviour of my child

9. he always fight

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to know details of the behavior that you want to maintain and what you are currently doing to manage it.