ASK THE EXPERT - August 2019

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. How to reduce depression from student. Teacher are brilliant but their section head trolled him every time.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Others (General)

Response: From your query it is unclear what you mean by depression. Can you please elaborate this as well as the section head trolling him? What does he say to the child that has a negative impact on him? How has he been dealing with it? In order to guide you better some more clarity would be needed.

2. Always sad.

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Other

Response: To guide you better, we would need more information about the girl feeling ‘always sad'. It would be essential to know about the onset, nature and severity of sadness. 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 feeling sad. 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 onset of some mental illnesses like a mood disorder can also occur at this age. One would want to address if this may be the reason behind the sadness. The best way to deal with this issue is to talk to her in an open and friendly manner about your observations. Let her know that you care and that support can be provided to her. Allow her the space to first share her concerns and worries and work with her to find ways by which these concerns can be addressed.

3. Aoa,mam.I have just changed my school and shifted to Azam Garrison,Lahore.I am in Class 7 .Problems are as follows:When a teacher asks me anything,I just can't answer even I know the answer(always i know it because when my friend asks i answer it to the point and she is always asking that why don't u answer to teacher then?) In past,I was a good learner,I have earned silver and bronze medals in almost every field of life(sports and academics(every subject)But now i feels down and whenever i tries to learn,It seems to be difficult and it takes time(in past i read it only 2 to 3 times and it was memorized) PLEASE help me...i m so lost,why is this happening One more thing:Nobody have said me under-confident all my life i was always confident and sometimes OVER confident,but now this Parent Teacher Meeting my class teacher said to my parents that i am shy,don't have confidence and don't involve in class discussions.

Gender: Female Age: 9 to 13 Category: Mental Health

Response: Thank you for writing to us and sharing your concerns. It seems that this inability to respond in class and memorize things is a recent occurrence and for which you are unable to figure out the reason. One obvious reason seems to be a change in school that can evoke mixed feelings. The need to prove oneself in a new environment, make friends etc. can at times be a bit stressful. If you feel that this may be the reason, give yourself some time to adjust and get familiar with the environment around you. Evaluate your own expectations from yourself and see if they are realistic or not. Another thing to think about is if there is any other change that has taken place in your life that you think might be contributing to how you are feeling. Do you also experience any difficulty with your sleep and eating routine or relationship with others? It might help if you talk to your parents about how you are feeling and seek their guidance. If you have a counselor at school, talk to her as well to figure out what may be happening. Do write again if you have any follow-up questions.

4. The child is not taking interest in studies.

Gender: Male Age: 14 to 18 Category: Concentration, Attention and Learning & Adolescent Development

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 the student 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?

It would be important to know if he 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 contribute 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 him and his teachers so that he can be best helped to overcome the 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 concentration on longer tasks and make sure he is getting enough sleep and exercise. However, if other non-academic issues are bothering him, support him in better dealing with and communicating his feelings and thoughts. Please also note that the student is passing through the adolescent age. During this time (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, 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. 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.

5. I am a second year student and I am not as confident as I should be and I think I know the reason for that...I personally try to built up confidence but my parents don't support me...I mean whenever I tell them to let me go out with my friends or cousins they don't let me and I don't even talk to my male cousins just because my parents don't like it... I have always been with my family and I think if they allow me to get out of my comfort zone then I will be able to overcome this weakness...but from their response I think that they don't trust me In these matters and this thing really upsets they should understand that its the part of grooming your child and what would be the point of becoming a doctor If I would not be able to interact with people!

Gender: Female Age: 14 to 18 Category: Adolescent Development

Response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Your need to have more mobility to socialize with your friends and cousins is understandable. Different families have different rules related to how much independence children are given. These rules may vary based on age, gender, and other circumstances. It might help if you talk openly with your parents about this need and how they can best support you in this. Hearing their concerns and fears may also be helpful in understanding their perspective. This discussion might lead you and your parents to come to a middle ground that is comfortable for everyone. For example there may be some places they might allow you to go under supervision of an adult, older sibling, etc. Do you have any older siblings? Think about how they can also help you communicate with your parents. Good luck!

6. My child is very intelligent but gets aggressiv sometimes even with parents n teachers..he doesnt obey to teachers if he is not in a good mood..even though he likes studies n keen to learn new things but he doesnt want to go to school..every new day is a challenge for me how to convince him to go to school

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

Response: How do you and your spouse discipline him at home? If you resort to force or physical punishment then remember that this would need to stop. Use of aggression and force makes children believe that it's okay to resort to aggression when they are dealing with any unpleasant feeling. It also makes them more stubborn and less resistant to change. Try to identify the reason for his aggressive behavior. Is it due to a recent change in the family, any stress in the household that could be having an impact on him? If that were the case, then his reaction would become better once the stressful situation improves or is addressed. Ask him what he likes or does not like about school to understand better what may be the reason for the school refusal.

For general disciplining try identifying what is it that you would want him to change and not deal with aggressively. Once you have done so, identify which issues are not worth struggling with your child for example, clothes he wants to wear, and which are worth disciplining, for example, eating his meal, TV viewing timings, behavior towards siblings etc. Making a routine and setting some rules in the 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 etc. If your child argues unnecessarily, diffuse this unnecessary power struggle by remaining silent at that time. You can express how you are feeling through your 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, if he has not finished the work. Let the child know in advance what the consequence would be. Whenever you feel that he has not resorted to aggression in a situation where he normally does, praise her, as that can be the most powerful way of reinforcing positive behavior.

7. Asalam o alaikum. It is to ask that my child is facing problen in urdu he learns it but still he frequently forget the aadhi ashkal and even the formation of huroof kindly plz suggest me what to do. As he starts crying when i show some agression as i get tired of doing only check point work with him and i give him so much time to work only for urdu. Also i try my level best to do the work of terms in advance as the syllabus is provided . And even writing practice but he still doesnt like the subject

Gender: Male Age: 6 to 8 Category: Concentration, Attention and Learning

Response: Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns. Some children have more difficulty in certain subjects as compared to others. It seems like Urdu is the only subject he struggles with. He is still very young and in the process of learning. Your frustration, while understandable will not help him much and may in fact add to the stress he might be experiencing due to the existing challenge. Talk to his Urdu teacher and ask her for suggestions about what more could be done or how you can teach him differently. I also encourage that you introduce more Urdu storybooks to him so that it improves his familiarity with the written words. Best of luck!