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Parents Zone

Does the child cry non-stop when they are a little dissatisfied?

March 2023

Source:Family Dynamic, Psychotherapist, Lai Shun Mei

 

Sometimes, children may cry when they are slightly dissatisfied, and parents may have tried different methods to comfort their children, but the children still cry from time to time. This may make parents feel tired, helpless, and even annoyed. In fact, children’s crying is usually a way of expressing their emotions. Because their language is not yet developed enough to convey a complete story, their own feelings, and some thoughts, they will use the most direct or fastest way to seek help when they are unhappy, which is to cry, just like when they were infants.

Let’s not assume that just because children can walk, talk, and go to school, we need to talk to them more about reasoning. In fact, in the preschool years, parents should provide more emotional support to their children. Maslow, a well-known psychologist, came up with the five-level theory of human needs. The levels are physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. As children’s cognitive development matures, they have already reached the third level of social needs, which is love and a sense of belonging.

 

At this time, they need to feel the care and love from people around them, and they begin to recognize their own emotions. Therefore, if parents can help them express their emotions and thoughts, not only will their language skills improve, but their social needs will also be met.

When we see a child crying, we as parents can say something like this to them: “You seem very unhappy; maybe you don’t like it when mommy talks to you in a harsh tone.” “Your little brother took your toy without asking, which made you angry.” If you can speak accurately to the child’s feelings, they will quickly nod and stop crying. Over time, they will learn to use other means to express themselves instead of crying.

 

Some parents may wonder why their usually talkative kids can’t say what they’re feeling when they’re sad. This is because emotions can affect rational thinking. If I asked you to give a speech on stage right now, how would you feel? You may feel nervous or even a little scared, and if I don’t give you time to prepare, you may not be able to say a word. You can see that emotions can affect adults, let alone children.

 

So, as parents, we should first calm down and then carefully watch and try to figure out why our kids are crying. Then, put yourself in their shoes and express your thoughts and emotions. This way, the child will not cry anymore.

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Parents Zone

What are the reasons why children are slow at doing their homework?

March 2023

Source:Dr Hui Lung Kit

           

Whether for children or parents, doing homework is the biggest problem. Even during the summer break, many parents find it a headache. Parents often fight with their children, which worsens their relationship. In fact, there are three main reasons for slow homework.

 

First, excessive activity. At home, children frequently run around, climb up and down, and run from the bathroom to the kitchen, then to their room. They never stop, like a motorcycle moving around. Imagine how painful it is to make them do their homework. If you give them a table and chair, they will never sit still. When they finally settle down, they keep fidgeting and moving their bodies, like they have ants in their pants.

 

To start doing homework, they pick up the pen and say they need to go to the bathroom, then say they need to pee, poop, or that they are hungry and need to eat something. They always have an excuse to leave the chair. It usually takes them 1 to 2 hours to settle down to do homework, which is called excessive activity. Children who are excessively active will definitely do their homework slowly, not because they are slow, but because they need more time to settle down.

For older children, like middle school students or upper elementary school students, they may not necessarily run around, but they often shake their legs, constantly shaking to the point where the whole table is moving. For example, they may spin their pen around and around. Don’t underestimate this leg shaking, pen spinning, and body moving actions; they are actually symptoms of hyperactivity.

 

Secondly, they have weak concentration. Children with insufficient concentration may be able to sit down, but they stare at you like a cloud, daydreaming, completely unaware of what they are doing. They hold a pencil and look at their homework, but they are just looking at it and can never absorb the first question. So they may be able to sit down, but they will always stay on the first question, constantly distracted by phone calls or doorbells, and they can never focus.

 

Some parents have complained to us that if it is a hyperactive child, they will need to walk around in the first hour, and children with poor concentration will be daydreaming for the first hour, and it will take until the second hour before they can continue, and they will do it very slowly.

Thirdly, weak reading and writing ability. You may have heard of reading and writing disorders, which are more severe cases. However, some children do not have reading and writing disorders, but their reading and writing abilities are weak. This includes Chinese, English, and mathematics, including reading and writing. It seems difficult for them to read and spell, and they can never seem to remember simple words. Writing is always reversed; left and right are reversed, just like in a mirror, and some even turn things upside down.

 

These types of children can sit still and will do so when asked. They can also concentrate well. But what happens? They will sit and do their homework, but they will sweat profusely while doing so. However, after completing their work, every question is wrong, and they cannot remember or understand anything. This may be due to reading and writing problems, which can slow down their homework.

I just mentioned three reasons, which one is it exactly? Of course, some children may have all three, but if parents can pay attention, they shouldn’t just blame the child. When he is working slowly, first pay attention to which of the three reasons the child belongs to. If you know which reason he belongs to, then we can prescribe the right treatment and get twice the result with half the effort.

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Parents Zone

When there are differences in parenting, remember that “avoidance is not shameful and can be useful.”

March 2023

Source:  Family Dynamic Psychotherapist, Yuen Wai Man

 

Parents’ upbringing backgrounds, education levels, or family of origin may differ in parent-child interaction, so it is quite normal for parents to have differing opinions on something.

When there are indeed different opinions, parents should find a calm environment to discuss their own perspectives and views on the problem. In any situation, we don’t want parents to argue directly in front of their children. For example, Dad can explain to Mom, “When I’m unhappy or under work pressure, I use my phone to vent and reduce stress, so I don’t think it’s a problem for kids to play with phones.”

And the wife can also express this to her husband: “Actually, I hope you can support me and understand that taking care of children is also very difficult for me.” Everyone can discuss calmly and equally in a peaceful environment. In fact, in the parenting environment, parents’ steps must be consistent.

Parents, for example, are like dancing partners in parenthood. When the father steps forward, the mother should step back. When the father raises his arms, the mother should spin around. This is a natural rhythm. If they can work together effectively, not only the dancing couple but also the onlookers can enjoy the dance. But if everyone insists on their own stance without compromise, the dance will be a mess.

In the family environment, children are often the most faithful and loyal audience, always standing in the center of the hall watching how their parents dance. So if the parents dance poorly, the audience will also be restless, the atmosphere will become tense, and more problems will arise. On the dance floor, parents will also trample on each other, causing more pain.

If there is a situation where the parents cannot see eye to eye and are in a heated argument, we would suggest that one of them leaves the scene. It’s not a matter of winning or losing or saving face, but rather allowing everyone to catch their breath and take a break. In a family environment, it’s not a competition between parents because the real victim will always be the child. So when parents are in a heated argument and cannot compromise, one of them should step back, cool down, and leave the scene. This would be better for everyone involved.

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Parents Zone

How should parents deal with young children who are overly addicted to cell phone games?

March 2023

Source: Family Dynamic, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Hypnotherapist, Wong Shi Ming

 

Phones emit light and sound, which always attracts children to play endlessly. Some children cannot let go of their phones no matter what they are doing, whether it is eating, riding in a car, or going to school. How can parents solve this problem?

 

First of all, everyone should understand that the children’s reaction is inevitable. Phones can provide a lot of sensory stimulation, and there is no game over. It can be restarted, which gives a sense of accomplishment and can also distance children from the pressure and frustration of parents and school, making them feel invincible. Physiologically speaking, playing electronic games will release a large amount of dopamine in the brain, which excites and stimulates the frontal lobe, and gradually loses self-control. Therefore, many adults cannot control themselves, let alone children?

 

Children can also be drawn to phones without realizing it, which gives most parents in Hong Kong nightmares today. I see many parents and children caught in a never-ending cycle of struggle and frustration. If not controlled, it not only affects children’s learning but also seriously affects their focus, brain development, health, and eye diseases. Therefore, phone addiction will also be listed as a form of psychological addiction, like alcohol and drugs.

 

In fact, I have seen a middle school student addicted to playing the mobile game “PUBG,” where he had to pick up items on the ground, some of which could be booby-trapped and explode. What caused him to be hospitalized? He was unable to use his hands to hold objects; instead, he had to touch them lightly, which caused him to feel nervous. He was afraid of using his fingers to pick up things. Therefore, if you discover such a problem, you can handle it early and prevent situations like the one above from happening.

Parents have more experience, wisdom, and resources than their children, and you can’t lose as a parent. Your only weakness is that you love your child too much. You may be too soft-hearted, but you need to know that it’s easy to give but hard to take it back. Therefore, parents should first negotiate a reasonable and feasible plan with their children, such as allowing 30 minutes of playtime per day, but only after they finish their homework.

As for controlling children, parents should first choose an appropriate battlefield, avoiding public places, and the best place is at home. Even when taking the phone away, parents should try to avoid physical contact, such as snatching or unplugging the phone cord, which could harm the relationship with their child. Parents should first use a gentle and affirmative tone to warn their child multiple times. If the child still refuses to hand over the phone, remind him of the consequences he agreed to, and eventually, when he falls asleep, you will be able to retrieve it. But parents must firmly execute the consequences without any room for negotiation, even if it means resorting to negative strategies.

To provide a more positive approach, parents can offer opportunities for their children to engage in outdoor activities together and create a family environment that gives children options, a sense of achievement, and a chance to start over, building their confidence and abilities, all of which can help attract children away from their phones.

Finally, many parents worry that if their child doesn’t have a phone while other children do, it could lead to feelings of inadequacy and concerns about falling behind in their development. So, I know it’s not possible to keep kids away from phones completely, but I think parents should try to keep their kids away from phones for as long as possible, especially when they’re young.

At the same time, parents should be careful and not take this issue lightly. With enough creativity and interaction with their children and by remaining persistent, parents can change their children’s habits.