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Parents Zone

Why do children have a perfectionist personality?

April 2023

Source : Psychiatrist, Dr. Hui Long Kit

 

Perfectionistic children may have autism spectrum disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In fact, perfectionism often stems from a child’s own high demands on themselves to do everything perfectly. When they cannot achieve perfection, they often blame themselves. For some children, when they score 99 out of 100 on an exam, they may cry endlessly at home because they are so worried about the one point they missed.

 

However, sometimes perfectionistic thinking does not come from the child, but rather from the parents. For example, if a child scores 99 out of 100, have you as a parent ever asked them, “Why didn’t you get 100 points?” If you say this, you are actually adding some perfectionistic elements to the child’s thinking. Children’s psychology is easily influenced by adults. If adults demand perfection in everything, children often internalize this pressure and turn it into self-demands. As a result, they may feel anxious when they cannot do what they want to do.

 

 

What are the consequences of anxiety? Anxiety can lead to chronic insomnia, extreme nervousness, frequent visits to the restroom, skin picking, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, trembling hands, and even a fear of going to school. Children may think, “What should I do? I missed one point. I threw away the notice. The teacher will scold me tomorrow. I don’t want to go to school.” These are common situations for perfectionistic children, not just those with anxiety disorders. Many children may also develop depression.

Source : Psychiatrist, Dr. Hui Long Kit

 

Perfectionistic children may have autism spectrum disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In fact, perfectionism often stems from a child’s own high demands on themselves to do everything perfectly. When they cannot achieve perfection, they often blame themselves. For some children, when they score 99 out of 100 on an exam, they may cry endlessly at home because they are so worried about the one point they missed.

 

However, sometimes perfectionistic thinking does not come from the child, but rather from the parents. For example, if a child scores 99 out of 100, have you as a parent ever asked them, “Why didn’t you get 100 points?” If you say this, you are actually adding some perfectionistic elements to the child’s thinking. Children’s psychology is easily influenced by adults. If adults demand perfection in everything, children often internalize this pressure and turn it into self-demands. As a result, they may feel anxious when they cannot do what they want to do.

 

 

What are the consequences of anxiety? Anxiety can lead to chronic insomnia, extreme nervousness, frequent visits to the restroom, skin picking, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, trembling hands, and even a fear of going to school. Children may think, “What should I do? I missed one point. I threw away the notice. The teacher will scold me tomorrow. I don’t want to go to school.” These are common situations for perfectionistic children, not just those with anxiety disorders. Many children may also develop depression.

Third, you should pay attention to whether a child with perfectionism has symptoms of anxiety and depression. If, as stated above ,the child has trouble sleeping, shakes, has a fast heartbeat, sweats, picks at their skin, goes to the bathroom frequently, or has negative thoughts or even suicidal ideas, then you must take them to see a doctor. If anxiety and depression worsen, the consequences can be very serious.

 

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Parents Zone

What should parents do if their children are being teased and bullied?

April 2023

Source: Psychologist, Lee Wai Tong

 

Currently, schools have fully resumed classes, and children have more time to spend with their classmates. Sometimes, children may be teased or bullied at school. When they don’t know how to express these emotions, they may react with aggressive behavior, which may be misunderstood by teachers.

 

 

For example, in a class of children playing together, one child may be teased for not performing well. At this moment, the child may not know how to handle the feeling of being teased or bullied, so when given the opportunity, the child may push or kick things, or even lie on the ground and scream. When the teacher arrives and sees this scene, they may naturally think that the problem lies with the child and may scold or lecture them. However, the teacher may not have noticed what happened before the incident.

When facing bullying or teasing, children often don’t know how to ease their feelings, which becomes a headache for many parents. In fact, when children are bullied or teased in daily life, they usually seek comfort from their parents first. If parents can comfort their children appropriately, such as if the child says to their mother, “Mom, they are making fun of me,” and the mother can comfort the child by patting them and saying, “Yes, sometimes some kids do that; it’s okay.” At this moment, it is a critical time, and the child will internalize this comforting feeling.

 

When the child returns to school and is teased again, because they received comfort from their parents before, they can comfort themselves or even ignore others’ teasing and continue playing or doing their own thing. This reduces the possibility of unnecessary misunderstandings by the teacher, who may think the child is misbehaving, pushing others, kicking things, or screaming. Of course, on the other hand, if the teacher can timely ask the child about the cause and effect of the incident, it is also a good method to let the child express their grievances and calm their emotions.

 

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Parents Zone

How can eating habits make your child’s skin healthier?

April 2023

Source: Registered Dietitian (Public Health) (UK), Ng Pui-Yu

 

Many kids have dry skin or even eczema, and their parents work hard to find the right moisturizers and other skin care products for them. In fact, in addition to topical skincare products, we should also pay attention to children’s diets. The most direct way, of course, is to drink more water. How much water should be drunk?

 

 

In fact, our body’s need for water is deeply influenced by the weather. For example, in dry weather, we need more water, as well as to account for children’s activity levels and how much they sweat. The water content in food also affects their need for water. If a child urinates every 3 to 4 hours and the urine is light yellow with no strong odor and the stool is not very hard and does not cause difficulty during bowel movements, it usually means that their water intake is sufficient.

For children aged 2 to 5, they need about 4 to 5 cups of fluid a day, and water should be the main source. Unsaturated fatty acids, like omega-3, are also important for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes, which keep harmful substances out and keep the skin moist and flexible. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help calm immune responses that are too strong in people with skin allergies or eczema.

 

 

We should also avoid certain foods, such as candies, cookies, and white bread, which are refined foods. Instead, we should choose low-glycemic index foods, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread, which are important for controlling sensitive conditions. Antioxidants, including common vitamins A, C, and E, are also important and can be found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts of different colors, making them great sources of antioxidants.

In summary, to have healthy skin, in addition to having enough water, you should eat high-fat fish such as salmon or yellow croaker twice a week. You can also replace some cookies and candy with plain nuts, fruits, and so on, and it is ideal to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits.

 

By the way, if a child’s chewing ability is not well developed, there is a chance of choking when eating nuts. Therefore, we should choose some smaller nuts, such as pine nuts, which are also a good option.

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Parents Zone

Can mindfulness also help stabilize children’s emotions?

April 2023

Registered clinical psychologist, Dr. Felicia Lee

 

Recently, many people have been learning mindfulness to manage their emotions and think more clearly. However, mindfulness can also help us stabilize children’s emotions. Mindfulness, also known as “jing-nim” in Chinese, is a concept that combines Eastern philosophy and Western science. Mindfulness is about consciously and non-judgmentally focusing our attention on the present moment. We are aware of where our focus is at this moment, and we do not think about whether something is right or wrong. We just observe and describe. So how can we use mindfulness to help stabilize children’s emotions?

 

 

The most important thing is to stop first. This requires us to practice regularly, and through mindfulness practice, we will know what methods can be used to effectively stop ourselves or our children. Because sometimes children will stop when they hear their mother shout, but what can be done to stop them when their mothers are not around or when no one is around to advise them? This is an important thing we can practice with mindfulness.

The second step is observation. What kind of mindset should we use to observe? We should observe with a non-judgmental mindset. When a child has emotions, we usually see their emotional outburst, and sometimes we have thoughts or critical words in our minds. If we describe this thought with a non-judgmental mindset and also feel our own emotions, we can see the child’s real needs through their behavior.

 

 

The third step is to use language to describe your current feelings or what is happening at the moment because when you use words, it will calm down the center of your emotions.

I remember one time when two brothers were arguing, and one of them stretched out his foot, which began to provoke the other, who then slowly became angry. They would kick each other, at first lightly and then with more force. Actually, when you see this kind of situation, you will feel very angry.

 

First, do not stop them, because when you stop them, you are characterizing one person as wrong, and after you characterize them, one of them may become even angrier. The worst thing is that they may both become angry together and say, “We’re just playing; why are you taking it so seriously?” So calm yourself down first, and then ask them casually, “What’s happening now?” Sometimes they may answer you, which is already good. If they cannot answer and are still angry, you can separate them, which is also okay.