ASK THE EXPERT - November,December 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. He is very naughty

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

Response: We would need some more information about what exactly it is about his behaviour that you find difficult to manage. Do also provide information about how you are managing these issues currently.

2. My daughter is a very social and friendly child. she is a good student as well but she really feels the teachers' favoritism towards the position holders. its not only her observation but all the other students in the class also feel it. this tendency of teachers favoring only the high achievers and ignoring the other students is highly damaging for the children at this age.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Others; sub category: Teacher-Student Relationship

Response: There are a few things that you can do to address this issue. You can speak directly to the teacher about the impact the behaviour is having on your daughter. You can also speak to the school administration about your concerns. Please provide them with specific examples of the behaviour that you and your daughter find to be discouraging. If parents of other students also have similar complaints then it may help if you all go together as a group to raise these issues.

3. He is afraid of getting 80% marks after working so hard please tell me how to fix this shit?

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Exams and Studies related Anxiety

Response: It is important to know that it is perfectly normal for most children to feel a bit of nervousness and stress related to their studies and marks. In some ways a bit of stress helps us take our studies seriously and prepare better. However, for some children the anxiety becomes so intense that it is no longer helpful and must be dealt with. Allow him to talk openly about all his fears and concerns related to not getting the marks he wants to despite working hard. Make sure that you and your spouse's own expectations from him regarding his studies are not contributing to this heightened stress. Help him identify and minimize his unhelpful thoughts such as ‘I will be a failure, ‘I need to be the best', ‘My parents will be so disappointed in me', ‘I am so dumb' etc. as they just add to the anxiety. Encourage him to replace these with helpful thoughts such as ‘ I am going to try my best', ‘I may not know a few things but will work to improve them', ‘I don't have to be perfect in everything'. If it helps tell him to write down the helpful thoughts and say these out loud while standing in front of the mirror. Try to identify physical and other activities that help him calm down and encourage him make these part of his daily routine. Anxiety often produces bodily symptoms such as sweating, erratic breathing, fast heartbeat etc. and 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 anxiety. All the best!

4. I am a student of Fauji Foundation College.I was just visiting your website and then I just saw this SMILES initiative.
To introduce myself then I am a second year student, 17 years old.
I have always been good at studies.
But as I started studying in intermediate, I can manage nothing.

I have some mood disorders as well, I have had depression for 2 to 3 years, which was sometimes severe and I do experience its recurrences still.
I need some teacher's advice and counselling.
Not only have I got sadness and gloom in my personality, but also my confidence has got down to a very low level in these years.I have tried to share such problems with almost everyone I could get, but as a matter of fact none cares.

Apart from all this, I have always wished and aimed to be 'something' , something bigger but I always fail myself at whatever I think to do.And then there is this stream of regret with which I have to pass.
I procrastinate a lot as well.
You can simply say everything can be horrible for me from some aspect.
I feel bad when I am unable to communicate in English though I can write it.
I feel embarrassed at times when I see myself at not being a very good student.
I feel fearful sometimes in my classes when I have to question.

I don't if this message of mine is going to be read or not but do not just ignore it.

I am usually angry with my own self and can be found regretful for most of the things I do wrong. .

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Mental Health , sub category (Depression)

Response: Thank you for writing in detail about your feelings and issues. You seem very aware of your mood related symptoms and how it is affecting your thoughts and studies. Since this page is mostly limited to providing information, we would strongly encourage you to seek in-person mental health support so that the concerned professionals can help you both manage your mood and process your thoughts. If you can share which city you are in, we can refer you. There are some mental health helplines such as those run by Rozan and Aman Foundation, which you can also access. We also recommend that you speak to a trusted adult in the family so that they can arrange this professional support. Remember that these conditions are not a sign of weakness and timely professional support can help you cope better with both your emotions and studies. All the best and thank you once again for reaching out!

5. how can we build his balanced personality

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others ; sub category-(General)

Response: The information provided is insufficient to provide you guidance. Kindly provide specific information about behaviours or personality aspects you would like to learn more about.

6. I have a 15 year old daughter in 10th grade. she has been showing no interest in studying and has not been scoring good grades. she hates going to school and has stopped talking lately. I have a feeling she self harms. I don't know what to do because her attendance is very low too and this worries me.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18Category: Mental Health (general) & Adolescent Development

Response: Speak in a friendly and open manner with your daughter about the changes that you have noticed in her and provide her the space to share her thoughts. She may not share right away so continue keeping the communication channel open.

By talking to her, you will be able to better understand all possible factors that may be contributing to the change in her behaviour so that it could be addressed accordingly. Explore if she is having difficulties with some friends, a particular subject, or any other issue that you may not be aware of. Another angle to keep in mind is related to the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), which your daugther is going through, where a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes occur. As a result of these changes there is more interest in peers and opposite sex, less interest in spending time with family and adults, distraction, 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 the changes associated with this age and provide her an opportunity to share her concerns and ask questions.

Once you have been able to identify the issue/s bothering her, help her identify ways of dealing with them in ways that are healthy and not based on self-harm. If the condition persists despite making efforts, I would suggest that you show her to a mental health professional with expertise in dealing with children to rule out any mental illness that may be causing the distress.

7. how to groome his self estemm and confidence he coplete gets on nerves whenever someone ask him any question

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

Response: Talk to him about your concerns and let him know about your worries related to his behavior in an open and calm manner at a time when is not agitated. Help him develop communication skills so that he can state his feelings and thoughts clearly without offending others. You and your spouse can be the best role models in this regard by communicating with him assertively and clearly yourself.

During the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), many children go through a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes. As a result of these changes there is more interest in peers and opposite sex, less interest in 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 son in an open and friendly manner about the change that you have noticed in his behavior and what your concerns are. Make sure to do it in a manner that allows him the space to talk rather than it being a lecture. Validate and normalize his feelings and let him know that he can talk to you if there is something bothering him or if he has any questions related to growing up. By communicating openly, you will be giving him an opportunity to discuss and share with you in case he is bothered about something and going through a difficult time.

8. he is very naughty child but intelligent.doen not give proper time and attention on studies.during study his attention divert to extra activities just like to plys cousins and toys.i always calporal punish him.What should I apply for the betterment of my child?

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

Response: To help him concentrate better, 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 all 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.

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. While coming up with the strategy, explore if the challenge of inattention is due to lack of understanding of what has to be written or lack of concentration or both. An understanding of this will help you tackle the issue accordingly. 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 etc.

Use of aggression and force makes children believe that it's okay to use force when they are angry and that might is right. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change. It is important that you do not use any form of corporal punishment but use non-violent and non-derogatory ways of disciplining for example, 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 will talk to you about it later when you are less angry' . You can use the technique of logical consequence, instead of using physical force. Consequences that are related to the misbehavior, reasonable and given respectfully are called ‘logical consequences'. An example of a logical consequence would be to make a child skip his playtime for the day, cut some amount from his pocket money for using abusive language. Discuss and agree to the consequences with your son in advance so that he knows what to expect. Remain consistent with these. Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to impulsive or aggressive behaviour in a situation where he normally does, praise him, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing the positive behavior.

9. good and healthy environment

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Behavioural Issues

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you.

10. My baby doesn't want to go school at all,and she refuses to everything we ask her to do like ,I will not wear this,I will not eat this n so on ,

Gender: Female Age: 3 to 5 Category: Others ; sub category-(General)

Response: She is young and at a stage where children are learning new things such as self-control and managing and dealing with emotions. Thus, what you have stated could simply be a part of the normal growing up challenges.

Make going to school fun and exciting. Let her choose the clothes she wants to wear to school by helping her select from the two or three clothes that you have taken out for her. Try to maintain a regular routine for play, sleep, eating etc. and she will automatically get adjusted to the fact that there are certain things that she needs to do every day at a given time. It is also okay to say “no” to certain things in a firm yet calm manner as it helps children develop better self-control and learn that there are certain things such as bed time, etc. that need to be followed. Encourage positive behavior by using praise and help her deal with the day-to-day challenges and express herself better.

11. has lack of interest , careless and absenteeism problem.

Gender: Male Age: 9 to 13 Category: General (Others)

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to know if this “lack of interest, carelessness and absenteeism “ due to a recent change or if the child has had these problems since the beginning of his studies? Is he unable to understand concepts, not pay attention, both or any other issue with the learning?