We asked 5 KleverKid parents to share their parental anxieties with the parenting experts from Health-E-Minds. Here are snippets of what the experts have to say about them. If you are a parent who is worried about their kid, maybe the following words of wisdom can help you.
1. My child is very shy and does not want to interact with other kids of his age. How do I help him develop his social skills? – Worried Mother from Gurgaon
Child Age: 5 years
Answer from MN Vishwanath
Shyness is a sign of lack of self-esteem or poor self-image. Even if your child is an introvert, quiet and serious by nature, he would still be himself and love to be around kids of his age and have fun- that he does not prefer to be with them is slightly abnormal. The child is still 5 years and most of his life's programming will happen by the time he is 7 years old. So, there is still plenty of time and you can help him to come out, socialize and have fun.
Here are a few inputs from my end-
* Children are prone to make mistakes at this age- address only the behavior, don’t be harsh on the person.
* Love him unconditionally. We tend to be good to them only when they please us.
* When you see his report card, focus only on the highest marks and appreciate him for it. Talk to him about the poor grades at a different time. Talk to him lovingly about his reason for not performing well. Assure him of your support to improve.
* Do not talk about his weaknesses and mistakes all the time. If you have to show one mistake compensate it by showing praise and appreciation three times, this is known as the golden ratio.* Do not compare him with his siblings, cousins or friends. He is unique.
* Teach before you punish. When he commits a mistake, don't shout at him or demean him instead show what he did wrong and correct him lovingly.
* Don't be too strict and highly principled with him. He should not grow up in an atmosphere of fear. When he is under fear his confidence is low. Nothing grows in the extremes.
* Respect his feelings; encourage him to take his decisions. Do not take the decision for him all the time.
* Never repeat that- `he is very shy' in front of others, this will make him feel more shy and insecure.
* We are mirrors to our children; they subconsciously copy our ways and mannerisms. Take a closer look at what he has inherited from you. If it isn't favourable change your ways. You can't say something and do something else.
Though most of the above parental behaviours may not look directly connected to the above problem they definitely have an indirect impact making him less secure and less confident. I am hopeful that you will find the suggestions useful in making your kid more confident and more sociable in the future. Happy parenting.
Answer from Amita Puri:
Many children go through this issue. Do not worry and do not show your tensions/ anxiety to your child. Talk to other children in front of him. Make them play with your child. Take part in the activities and praise other children's activities in front of your child so that he may learn to appreciate others and does not hesitate in showing his appreciation. It is also very important that he learns to share with other children. Bring some sweets and ask your child to share with the others in the playground.
Play some innovative games. Let each child say the first word that comes to mind and the other child has to use that word to make a sentence. Motivate your child to participate and reinforce him with verbal praise every time he frames a sentence on his own or helps others to frame a sentence.
2. My kid is obsessed about TV and wants to watch it whenever he has free time on his hands. If we try to stop him, he becomes irritable. Please suggest some remedy. – Anxious Dad from Palam Vihar, Delhi
Child Age: 8 years
Answer from Meghana Srivatsa:
Most parents have chosen to let their children either watch TV or play on mobile phones/ tablets when they are unable to handle their tantrums in their formative years. They also feel that these are the easiest ways to keep their child quiet and give you the time and peace you need. Children pick up habits very quickly and they associate certain behaviour to certain outcomes. For example: Throwing a tantrum means watching TV. When you stop him from watching TV, he throws a tantrum so that you allow his associated behaviour of watching TV.
The only way to go about this is to break the pattern. If he throws a tantrum about watching TV in his free time, take control of the situation, turn the TV off and ask him to go out and play with his friends or ride his bike. Find out what activities interest him and encourage him to pursue them when he has time. Spend some time reading with him: it could be a book, a story, a newspaper article or anything else.
3. I have been using "Time Out” as a punishment with my child. He has just completed his 3rd birthday and Time Out is not working anymore. What should I do? – Confused Mom from Noida
Child Age: 3
Answer from Meghana Srivatsa:
Children are very quick in associating patterns, not unlike parents associate their child's patterns of behaviour. At the age of 3, a child is just exploring a lot of new things including walking around comfortably, talking, learning new things and understanding more complex things than the first 24 months. Your concept of Time Out till 24 months would be a pattern. Now, you have to change the pattern. If this becomes a routine, the child knows that after some time, the Time Out period is over and he can continue whatever he was doing earlier. Children these days also expect an explanation or a demonstration of the consequences of action, so rather than punishing, try talking and explaining. Ask and find out why exactly your son was doing what he did and explain why that should not be done. Communication with patience is the key.
4. My kids usually accompany us for movies. They also watch TV with us. We go for child certified movies, However, there are many indirect references to subjects which are unsuitable for them. Kids are smart these days and I have heard my kids joke about these topics and talk to their friends about it. Should I stop this? How? – Apprehensive Mother from Bangalore
Children Ages: 7 & 9 years
Answer from Rohini Kesavan Rajeev:
7 and 9 are such vulnerable ages and I feel for you. Your intrinsic need to treat them fairly and like friends, while being strict for their own good often results in confusion and helpless parenting. From your message, I am assuming you are referring to stopping the conversations your children are having with their friends.
If it is about stopping them from discussing certain topics with their friends, I would like to caution you. Do not reprimand them. This would make them doubt how much you trust them as you've listened in to their conversations with friends, especially your 9-year-old (irrespective of gender). Advice from you will only be taken defensively by them there on. As parents, we cannot stop our children from discussing whatever they find funny or curious with their friends. I would suggest you to talk to them with kind and friendly curiousness. Mention it to them in passing that you heard them discuss a topic or a scene from that recent movie or serial with their friends and you wanted to know what about it amused them? This will help them to slowly open up to you and tell you what they think, it's also possible that they cut you short saying "Nothing". Please don't get annoyed and retaliate. Tell them that whatever it was that they were discussing, it's not something that is important to them and they should try and avoid thinking about it; if they are curious they can always talk to you about it and you will surely answer them. Be firm while being kind. A few reminders and they will at least understand that you meant business. If they are just giggling about a few things with their buddies, I would suggest that you overlook it and don't worry too much. There is only this much we can do to curtail our growing child's curiosity. Do remember that the more we restrict the more curious they become.
5. My kid is in the 3rd standard and he constantly complains that his teacher does not like him and favours others. How should I deal with this? – Wondering Maa from Sarjapur, Bangalore
Child Age: 8 years
Answer from MN Vishavanath
From what you have shared, we are not sure whether the teacher is really prejudiced towards your kid or not. There may be a strong reason for your kid's observations and his feelings. Please do not antagonize him by not believing in him.
First of all what the teacher thinks and does is not in our control: what is in our control is the child’s reaction to these situations. If the situation is true, we need to understand what is causing it and how can we assist him in changing it. Let us discuss a few options before us:
1. Find out from the child why does he think the teacher is prejudiced and ask him to describe a few of his experiences.
2. There may be some genuine reasons for the teacher to be appreciating the `others.' we don't know what.
3. It is also about what the child thinks of itself [self-image] because negative self-image will create negative vibrations in the mind and would unconsciously attract negative reactions from others.
4. If you think the child has a negative self-image you can help him to come out of it. If we don't like ourselves how can we expect the others to like us?
5. Find out from him the reasons if any as to how and why he thinks low about himself- please allow him to explore his own reasons and please don't assume or analyse on his behalf. Encourage and support him to express his feelings and assure him of your unconditional love for him without getting into problem-solving mode.
Good luck, Happy Parenting!
Answers to the questions above were provided by Parenting experts at HealthEminds. If you would like to have a private consultation with a parenting expert, you can book a session through HealthEminds. If you wish to ask a question, drop us a message on firstname.lastname@example.org