Mind Matters


By Paonam Thoibi

`Children need to be taught about respect by parents modeling respectful behavior`

Q: Dear Madam, I have one daughter and she is ten years old now. She is smart and intelligent but often rude to elders. She answers back when her mistakes are pointed out and at times we lose our temper too because of this. She is a single child and had not much of our attention when she was small as both of us are working. We know that was bad and is now trying to spend more time with her but she now says she wants more time alone, in her room, listening to her favorite music. It is becoming more difficult day by day. Please help. -name withheld

Ans: Many parents find it difficult to handle defiance from their kids. It makes the parents irritated as it shows disrespect and ill manners. It is a bad idea to argue back. Instead it demands that parents handle this situation with a lot of caution and patience and they have to be consistent with whatever ways they use successfully. Children need to be taught about respect by parents modeling respectful behavior. For example when a child throws tantrums or talks back, you have to listen to them, and then calmly and repeatedly explain to them why the behavior is rude instead of snapping back aggressively or asserting authority. It can be also helpful if parents try to find out what`s bothering the child to get at the root cause of the impolite behavior.

Also teach the child how to present their remarks when it gets rude using please, may I? etc. When the tempers get out of hand, it helps for both parents and the child to take a time-out and ignore the dialogue before it gets worse. After tempers have cooled, however, it is advisable to quickly find the time to talk about the situation and make sure to listen to your children. Then use that calmer moment to firmly communicate that parents deserve respect and that there are consequences for impertinence.

Q: Dear Madam, my child is 2 years and three months now. We are thinking of sending her to a preschool. How do we know if our child is ready for pre-school? – Nivedita M

Ans: For a child to be ready for pre-school, many parents look into if their child is ready in accordance with some expectations of the pre-school he/she will be enrolled in. Every preschool has different expectations, but there is some common ground. Preschool readiness is more dependent on life skills like potty training, expressiveness, concentration, endurance, and separation.

It is more advantageous to have your kids able to handle snack times without much help. Same goes for children who is out of diapers and are able to clean or wash with minimal help.

Your child should also be able to engage in an activity for at least twenty minutes and should be able to entertain themselves. It is important to see if your child will be able to follow directions and focus on what is going on around them. See if they can listen to a story or be made to draw or make anything. Your child will also be more comfortable if he/she can express and make others understand or understand others. They should be able to talk in fairly intelligible 3 to 5 word sentences to be understood. Understanding other people is getting to know that other people have needs and feelings, too. In due time, your child will develop emotional skills like sharing, being friendly, a general understanding of fair play, empathy, responsibility to others etc.

Finally, make plans together about dropping off and picking up the child assuring you are coming back so that she may be able to understand that the separation is temporary.

Q: Dear Madam, I think the childhood condition of ADHD is a great concern to me as my child who is four years and three months makes careless mistakes in school and home. She often loses here notebooks, lunch box etc at school. How do I know if a child is being inattentive or having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? -Birahari

Ans: Dear Sir, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental conditions affecting children and four to twelve percent of school-age children have ADHD, with boys being diagnosed three times more often than girls. The condition becomes more noticeable once a child begins preschool or elementary school.

We can decide if a child should be evaluated for ADHD by a mental health professional if the three common signs of ADHD namely- inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are noticed on a child.

Inattention is one of the main signs and shows in the form of the child not paying attention to details, making silly mistakes, gets easily distracted and not listening to what is being told and not following directions and instructions. The child may show troubles organizing things and easily gets bored in a task.

Hyperactivity can be in the form of excessive motor activity, fidgety, makes a lot more noise, short temper etc. Notably, not all children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive; ADD/ADHD children who are inattentive but not hyperactive may instead seem to be unmotivated and constantly spacing out.

Impulsivity can be in the form of the child not being able to wait for his turn during play, in the classroom. He/ she may often say wrong things at the wrong time or may appear intrusive in people`™s conversations and games. Such children often show an inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums.

Having said that, it is best to consult a professional and have him/her observe the child and confirm any condition.

Readers are requested to send in their queries at [email protected]


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