ASK THE EXPERT - March 2018

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 pays attention towards studying.

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

Response: The information provided is insufficient to guide you. We would need to know if the lack of interest in studies is a recent change or if your daughter has had these problems since the beginning of her studies? Is she unable to understand concepts, not pay attention, both or any other issue with the learning? 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. At times, both things could be contributing towards the lack of interest. 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. However, if other non-academic issues are bothering her, support her in better dealing with and communicating her feelings and thoughts. 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.

2. Hi. I am a high achieveing student. I have been scoring the highest in my class for +5 years. However, I have immense focus issues. I am distracted very easily and my attention span is very small. I'm also a perpetual daydreamer and procrastinator. The worst thing is that I am fully aware of how much time I waste and am unable to do something about it. I will be going to college this year and although school is manageable even with relatively less focused studying, college is a big challenge. Do you think I might have ADHD?

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

Response: You seem to have a good understanding of the problems you are experiencing and how they contribute towards your learning. I would not like to diagnose and label you with ADHD without knowing more about you. Since you live in Rawalpindi, I suggest you meet a mental health professional in person, who can then make a better assessment. Please keep in mind them at this age many children, without having ADHD can experience these challenges, due to pre occupation with other activities and the fast paced social media, etc. Regardless, of whether you have ADHD or not, think of what has worked for you in the past that has allowed you to achieve what you have. For example, does it help you study better when you keep your phone away while studying, or when you study in a quiet room with fewer distractions around? Also identify the maximum time for which you can concentrate and then take short timed breaks around these. Are you sleeping enough, eating healthy and exercising, all of which can help with the overall regulation? Best of luck!

3. He always remains angry.

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

Response: To guide you better, we would need more information about this anger. It would be essential to know about the onset, nature and severity of anger, the situations in which he reacts with anger and how you respond to the anger. At times children are upset about changes in their life, peer pressure, difficulties in studies, or feelings that adults don't understand them which can contribute to them reacting with aner. During the adolescent period, which roughly starts around 9 to 10 years of age, children go through physical, hormonal and emotional changes. The need for more autonomy and independent decision-making becomes an important concern at this age and can create a rift between what parents want from children and what children want to do. The best way to deal with this issue is to talk to him in an open and friendly manner about your observations. Allow him the space to first share his concerns and worries and work with him to find ways by which these can be addressed.