Module 4: FAQ’s

FAQ’s: (9-12 YEARS)

Our 9 year old son is very moody. If we repeat an activity that he enjoyed, a few days later, he refuses to even take part. What could be the reason? He appears to be on the move always, from one thing to another.

Around 9 yrs children’s interests change. Do not try to schedule any activity if he is not interested. It is also not necessary to repeat it even if he enjoyed when you did it earlier. Whenever you plan something, ask him if he wants to do it. If he does not agree, give up. Let him ask for it and then you can do that activity. If for everything he is saying it is boring then you need to take care and see why he is feeling that way. This is the age when they actually do not know what they want. Leave it to him to explore and find out what activities interest him. It is perfectly fine if he is saying “no” to an activity you planned and prefers some other activity.

Compared to the children in his class, my child is a slow learner. He is struggling in many subjects and looks like he takes a long time to understand the concepts. Whereas, when I see him on the playground, he appears like he is in control of the game. He understands all games and the rules of games very well. Why this difference? Is he disinterested towards studies or should I probe further to get him tested for any deviations?

Yes, to put your mind to rest, there is nothing wrong in getting a test done. If there is nothing wrong as per the tests, may be he needs additional help in academics. Accept him that way.  Since academics for some years till his graduation etc are inevitable, help him by understanding his needs. If the school also says he is a slow learner, see if you can help him by taking additional help from experts in such fields.

Our daughter had her menstrual cycles starting rather early. She is nine and a half years old now. I am unable to explain to her all about it and how she should be taking care of herself. She is very playful and not ready to understand how important it is to be careful with members of the opposite sex and such other things. Please advise how I can talk to her on this issue.

As and when there is an opportunity, repeat the information on good hygiene, being careful with boys etc. it depends on how mature the child is. Better to tell her about good touch etc, about keeping herself clean etc. if you are well connected with your child, then all other problems in future become easy to handle. Communicating about all these things to your child is necessary and it has to be repeated time and again, so that it remains in their memory.

My child has started telling little lies. The other day i heard him tell a friend that we own a swanky car, whereas that isn’t the truth. How do i confront him and show him the right path?

At times, peer pressure can result in such things. If you have overheard this conversation, you can ask him “why did you tell this?” very casually and when he is alone; be careful not to confront him. Ask him jovially “Do you want a car like that?” “so when you are older and earning, will you buy a car like that?” instead of lecturing him about being truthful or ill effects of lying etc. It’s not that they do not know. Talk to him about how you live and your priorities in life and help him so that he doesn’t feel bad about what he has. If he gets into a habit of telling such things, then you can talk to him in a more serious tone and try to find out about the kind of friends, whether they are rich kids etc. Without this information you would not know what kind of pressure he is going through which is forcing him to pretend having a life that is far from reality.

No matter how much i try to highlight the importance of planning and finishing a work assigned, my daughter is unable to do so. She rarely finishes her school work on time or she piles up everything till the end of the day and invariably suffers from too much work and too little time. How else should i tackle this issue?

She has to go through this difficulty if she postpones her work. You can offer to help in planning. If she doesn’t take your help and continues to be this way, you just accept her nature.

Do not say “I knew it”…… when she gets into a tight spot because of her carelessness. Do not go on coaxing her every minute about the pending work. In a way, this routine should have been set much earlier when she is lot younger. So, now that she is this way, do not lecture or nag her. Offer your help and observe. If she needs, you can help else, back off and let her handle it herself. Once she gets comments from the teachers or peers, or after she is punished in school for being careless etc you can ask her “how can i help you?” if she says no, leave it. Do not nag her. Pitch in at the end when she is totally unable to do things alone and help her out in what ever needs to be done to complete the work. She is after all, your child and please do so without showing your irritation or displeasure. Remain calm and show it to her that you are not affected by such behaviour and it is entirely her responsibility.

Sometimes, the older child, 9years old, complains that we love the younger one, 7years old, more than him. Even though we have tried to bring them up the same way, giving each of them almost equal affection and attention, he complains. Do you think we have erred somewhere or is it a phase he is passing through?

They always feel that for many years, if the gap between the two children is less. On many occasions such a feeling surfaces. You should be able to spend separate time with each of them.  They need not be together all the time. Encourage each one’s interests and spend time with them doing that individually. See to it you or your husband take turns to spend time with them.

Do not take it so seriously also and start feeling guilty. Talk to the child and tell him that you do not feel that either of them is a favourite. Accept his feelings and let him know that they both are equal as far as you are concerned. And do not joke around about it.

It is not your fault; it is because of the gap which is less. It happens on and off, not always. It is a part of life, which happens in all households. It is true that we bring them up differently. The older one can feel that your attention gets diverted with the sibling arrives. If the child feels it all the time, talk to him and enquire him about why he is feeling so. Analyse your self about your actions and words. Are you actually being partial? If you find yourself doing things that conveys such thoughts to the child, correct yourself and be alert in situations where you tend to be that way.

FAQs: (10-11years)

My son is not applying himself to the fullest in his studies. I feel he is capable of topping the class, but he is contented with being the 6th or 7th in the class. How do I motivate him to study more and perform better?

How do you know that his performance is not the best? May be it is his best. He is still 10 and you should leave it to him. Only encouragement you could give your son is “giving it your best”. Getting full marks is not going to guarantee any top jobs or careers, only how smart or worldly wise, his confidence; self esteem etc determine his success. Criticising him every time he gets some results and constantly pushing him to reach the top tanks means you dent his confidence.

Our daughter, who is now ten, doesn’t have many friends. She likes to read. But i feel physical activity and interaction with peers in the evenings will help her. What do i do?

Accept her as she is. She could be an introvert. If you are keen, call few friends home.  Also accept that she will always have few friends. If she is not happy about your decision to fix some friends who can play with her, talk to her.

It is important for you to know if she has lately become like that. Then find out the reason. Talk to her to know who is bothering her, or was there an Incident etc. If she communicates the reason, you could help her accordingly, which will sort out the problem for her. If it is nothing and she is always like this, then please do not force her. May be she is just not interested.

One day, my son came home from school and told me that he had seen one girl in his class whose uniform dress had blood on her skirt and the teacher took her to the office and sent her home. He was wondering whether the girl hurt herself while playing. Although i understood that the girl could have had her periods, how do i explain this to my son?

You can always explain since he is 10. This is a good chance for you to start talking about the changes that puberty brings in both boys and girls. Using very scientific language and keeping the information age appropriate with bare minimum explanation let him know how girls grow up and what changes are bound to occur in him as well.

My son is very brand conscious in what he wears, be it shoes, shirts, pants or even watches. Neither I nor my husband is like that. How did he become like that and how to wean him away from this?

One reason for this could be his friends. Take a look at them, you might find your answers. Talk to him, but in a casual way, do not be finicky or give lecture etc. from now peers are important for him. Take it lightly. Make him understand the futility of such things. Once in a way give in if it suits your way of life. It is a passing phase. He will get over it soon.

I feel helpless to see my son who is ten, stuck to some screen or the other all day. Either it is the phone or the play station or the computer to play games. No matter what i say, he is not able to go out and play for a while with some friends. How to help him get out of this addiction?

Do not give up your trials to help him. It is important to form some rules involving him in making the rules. It is also important to stick to it every single day. Also discuss with him, which are the programmes he wants to watch and for how long. Insist on sticking to just the time allowed to him to do these things. Try not to give into his requests of extending the period of time which has been agreed upon.

Find out whether there was an incident behind his being this way or was he always like this.

If you are working find out if he can do something else in your absence. Let him learn some games etc in a coaching class like cricket, basket ball etc which are team games and his interaction with other children will increase. If he is alone, he will continue to do this. So see if you can get someone to guide him in your absence.

My younger son (10yrs) feels that the older brother is hiding something or the other in his cupboard or table draws and is not ready to share those with him. The older one is 16years old and being a teenager, he likes to have his space. How to explain to the younger one to let go of the idea and leave his brother alone?

Talk to him about respecting one’s privacy and tell him it is important for his brother to have some things for himself. Also tell him that the day he brother feels like sharing, he definitely will. You can also provide him his space where he can store things he doesn’t want to share. If the parents are talking to him or listening to him he won’t have a problem accepting his brother not sharing some things with him.

FAQs: (11-12)years.

This time when we planned a holiday for the family, our child who is 12, said he isn’t interested to accompany us. Although we planned to take him to where he would like to spend his time, he was adamant he did not want to go. He said that it was not interesting to travel this time. How to understand this reaction of his?

It depends on whether this plan was made with him taking part in planning? Let everyone at home decide; involve children by giving them a couple of choices on the holiday, activities and the destination. You can plan a couple of things and then tell them to choose. Involving him in decision making will enable you to know his participation or choice better. In spite of this, if he still insists that he does not want to come, keep talking to him about the destination and the times you are all looking forward to. Once you start off on your holiday, he will definitely enjoy the experience.

It is rather embarrassing to start talking about sex to a 12 year old. I want to talk to him and educate him. But how to begin?

Take advantage of some topic he might be talking about or observing or watching on the TV, and start talking to him about the physical changes that take place in boys and in girls. Take some examples and explain to him that for girls starting of menstrual cycles and for boys the normal changes in voice, growing tall or moustache or body odour or hair or pimples are part of growing up. Try keeping it simple and easy to talk about. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about it, for it is only natural and everyone goes through these changes while they grow up. If you are at ease while you talk to children, they will also feel free to talk to you about their queries.

One of my daughter’s friends just lost her father in an accident. The family is facing a lot of testing times in adjusting to the changes this has brought in. That girl has become very rebellious and most of the time, very angry. Since my daughter is her only close friend, i do not want to put an end to their friendship. But i also want to advise my daughter about the changes in her friend, pointing out the misbehaviour etc, without biasing her in any manner. Help.

Talk to your daughter about what happens to a family when an important person passes away. The loss is very difficult to bear for any child who is very close to that person. It is difficult to come to terms with such a loss. There could be a lot of anger against God, or someone or their own self. So they are always looking out for a reason to blame, or feeling guilty. All these emotions are very natural after a death. Slowly the anger turns into acceptance. Such children also harbour the “Why me?” attitude, which will take some time before it down and the normal routine takes over.

Tell your daughter that this is the time when you have to support the friend. Advise her to be there for her friend to talk to or play etc. Encourage them to talk or play in their house. If your daughter is uncomfortable to spend too much time with her at her house, let her meet the friend once in a way or when the friend needs they can meet at your home.

Our son is now forever trying to be in the company of adults and listening to their talk. At times it is very limiting for us, when we have to discuss things that are not necessarily for children’s ears! Despite politely asking him to leave, we find that he comes back rather quickly to join in. What to do? I know he is just curious, but how to help him realise the importance respecting the others’ privacy?

Children get curious if the adults make animated gestures about their talk being heard or go silent when the child is around. It increases their curiosity. Find places where you can talk in private or speak to each other when your son is not around at home. If it is between husband and wife, go out for a walk Or talk after he sleeps etc. with guests, you can choose to talk when he is not at home. It is a passing phase and will get sorted unless you continue to make a big drama of it and suddenly hush up when he comes or raise your voices in a fight etc.

Completing school work has been an issue with my son who is 12 years old.  Although the teacher has had multiple meetings with us on this; somehow he avoids some notes or home work and leaves it unfinished. How to deal with this?

What is important here is whether it has been a pattern from the beginning or it has started lately .Get his assessments done if it has been this way from 6yers old. Be alert for any learning disability.

It is also possible that you might have helped him so much that now he doesn’t or he cannot do it on his own.

Opt for simpler boards like state board of education if the syllabus is too heavy. If it has started now, see if peer pressures or any incident at school or just that his friends being faster in their work etc is causing this behaviour. If the other children in his class are faster, he will leave it unfinished to join them. See if he is not able to cope because his homework is too much. Also find out if he doesn’t like writing.

He is getting in to his teens and sports are bound to be his main interests and many times academics are not interesting. Do not shout or nag him. Putting him in sports or in activities of his interest will provide him confidence. Punishing him for not doing will seldom help. These can be few reasons for such behaviour; there can be many other reasons too. So be alert to pick up any such reason and help him accordingly.

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