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What should I do if my child has a habit of sucking their fingers?

Parents Zone

Written by: Early Childhood Education Specialist, Teacher Chan-Chen Shu-an

 

According to Dr. David Levy’s research, children who finish a bottle of milk within 10 minutes (possibly because the bottle’s nipple hole is larger) are more likely to exhibit finger-sucking behavior than those who finish the entire bottle in 20 minutes. Dr. Levy also conducted an experiment feeding puppies with a dropper, preventing them from sucking while feeding. The result was that they resorted to sucking their own or other puppies’ skin, some so vigorously that the skin peeled off. From this, we can understand that the behavior of infants sucking their fingers in the first few months is due to the lack of satisfaction from sucking, it is a need, not innate, and not a bad behavior.

 

Breastfeeding Fosters Parent-Child Bond

 

When a mother can breastfeed her baby, the baby is the happiest. This is because the baby not only receives proper nutrition and warmth and security from being in contact with the mother’s skin but also enjoys the soft nipple while sucking, which provides not only sustenance but also a profound love and emotional connection between mother and child. This deep love and family bond cannot be compared to feeding from a cold bottle, especially considering the supreme satisfaction the baby gets from sucking.

However, most mothers work outside the home due to various reasons, and sometimes have to feed their children with a bottle. In such cases, special attention should be paid to the frequency and duration of feeding. Mothers should calmly allow their children to eat slowly, paying particular attention to the size of the bottle nipple hole. Only when the child is satisfied with sucking will they be less likely to develop the habit of finger-sucking. When an infant starts to enjoy sucking their fingers, it is an unconscious behavior. Their little finger moves around and unintentionally goes into their mouth, bringing them pleasure and satisfaction, leading to sucking.

 

Releasing Psychological Tension

 

However, if a child continues to suck their fingers at the age of 4 or 5, it takes on a different meaning. This may be a way of releasing psychological tension. For example, due to parental conflict, the child feels anxious; or because of a new sibling, they fear losing their parents’ love; or because the parents are too busy to care for them, they feel lonely and lack the warmth of a family; or because the child is sent to kindergarten too early and lacks a sense of security due to inadequate care. These factors can lead to anxiety, unease, tension, and fear in children, all of which are causes of psychological tension.

 

Like adults, children need to release psychological tension when they are anxious. This is a natural phenomenon. Adults often smoke to relax and relieve psychological tension. Children may suck their fingers or rock back and forth to release emotional tension. In this situation, parents should not only improve their attitude towards their children but also be extra patient. They should maintain a calm and gentle attitude to help the child relax and feel no pressure. On the contrary, if parents show worry, and nervousness, or are eager to correct and blame, or if they tie the child’s fingers or apply bitter medicine, it will only backfire, increase the child’s unease, and create a vicious cycle. This will prolong the habit of finger-sucking, as the child wants to quit but cannot control themselves.

However, most mothers work outside the home due to various reasons, and sometimes have to feed their children with a bottle. In such cases, special attention should be paid to the frequency and duration of feeding. Mothers should calmly allow their children to eat slowly, paying particular attention to the size of the bottle nipple hole. Only when the child is satisfied with sucking will they be less likely to develop the habit of finger-sucking. When an infant starts to enjoy sucking their fingers, it is an unconscious behavior. Their little finger moves around and unintentionally goes into their mouth, bringing them pleasure and satisfaction, leading to sucking.

 

Releasing Psychological Tension

 

However, if a child continues to suck their fingers at the age of 4 or 5, it takes on a different meaning. This may be a way of releasing psychological tension. For example, due to parental conflict, the child feels anxious; or because of a new sibling, they fear losing their parents’ love; or because the parents are too busy to care for them, they feel lonely and lack the warmth of a family; or because the child is sent to kindergarten too early and lacks a sense of security due to inadequate care. These factors can lead to anxiety, unease, tension, and fear in children, all of which are causes of psychological tension.

 

Like adults, children need to release psychological tension when they are anxious. This is a natural phenomenon. Adults often smoke to relax and relieve psychological tension. Children may suck their fingers or rock back and forth to release emotional tension. In this situation, parents should not only improve their attitude towards their children but also be extra patient. They should maintain a calm and gentle attitude to help the child relax and feel no pressure. On the contrary, if parents show worry, and nervousness, or are eager to correct and blame, or if they tie the child’s fingers or apply bitter medicine, it will only backfire, increase the child’s unease, and create a vicious cycle. This will prolong the habit of finger-sucking, as the child wants to quit but cannot control themselves.

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Parents Zone

Parent-child creative art creation

Parents Zone

Written by: Director of Pario Arts, Lee Sou Jing

 

Everyone has creativity and artistic potential. If properly nurtured, it can enhance one’s moral sentiments and make life more perfect. In the artistic atmosphere, diverse activities inspire individuals’ creativity, aesthetic sense, and diverse abilities, promoting holistic development. ‘Love’ is the driving force of creation. In a free, democratic, safe, and harmonious environment and atmosphere, it is the expression of ‘love,’ emphasizing mutual tolerance, acceptance of different opinions, and respect for and acceptance of others. So, how can parent-child creative art creation express ‘love’? Here, the author shares his views with all parents.

 

The significance of parent-child creative art creation:

  • Art education starts with individuals. Parents try to engage in artistic creation to cultivate their children’s artistic accomplishments.
  • The first lesson of art education begins with ‘listening’ and ‘acceptance.’ Parents learn to accept the diverse ways in which children express their creativity.
  • Through the joint participation and experience of parent-child art creation, parents can get closer to and understand their children’s hearts.
  • Parent-child art creation helps children to understand themselves and release emotions and stress.
  • By integrating an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect, it reduces parental stress and anxiety, thereby enhancing parent-child relationships.

Making parent-child fall in love with creation, integrating art into life, and enhancing the quality of life.

Artistic Cultivation Tips

 

  • Cultivate a kind of knowledge in being human and enhance the ability to share, that is, ’empathy.’
  • According to the research of psychologist Hoffman on the development of human empathy, ’empathy’ is the ability to understand the feelings of others and to put oneself in their shoes.
  • The three steps of ’empathy’: (1) Imagine standing in the other person’s position (2) Identify the other person’s true feelings (3) Convey understanding and feelings to the other person.
  • Empathy’ is an important ability in interpersonal relationships. Only those with ’empathy’ can establish good interpersonal relationships, self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility.

Children at the age of 2 to 3 can already understand the feelings of others. In order for children to be compassionate, possess ’empathy,’ and understand love and care for others, it is very important for parents to lead by example.

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How to reduce the side effects of rewards?

Parents Zone

Written by: Pang Chi Wah, Registered Educational Psychologist at the New Horizons Development Centre

 

Some parents have the following thoughts about rewards: “The original intention was to praise the child’s good performance, but now the reward seems to have become a bribe.” “He has become utilitarian, calculating the degree of his effort based on the size of the reward.” “Sometimes I even feel that the child has become greedy. The rewards that once attracted him no longer have the original effect. Only by providing richer rewards is he willing to make an effort.”

 

In fact, in the commercial society where adults are located, bosses also use rewards and bonuses to praise employees’ outstanding work performance and inspire employee morale. Many early childhood education experts have also proposed a reward system, using children’s favorite food, toys, etc., to train and cultivate their good behavior habits. Rewards have become our usual way, but parents’ worries are not unfounded. How can we reduce the side effects of rewards?

 

There are mainly two directions to reduce the side effects of rewards. One is that parents can change the type of rewards, and at the same time, they must not encourage children with money, otherwise it will make children prioritize money and everything will be based on materialism. The rewards given by parents can be changed from one-time enjoyment such as food, gradually transformed into long-term gifts, such as entertaining toys, academic stationery, etc., and later can be rewarded spiritually, such as parents giving certificates, applause and other non-material encouragement.

The second approach is that parents can gradually reduce the proportion of rewards given according to the following three criteria:

 

  1. Increase the number of expected behaviors completed by the child before giving a reward.

Example: If parents expect the child to put the toys away in the toy box after playing, initially, parents may need to give stickers as encouragement for the child to be willing to tidy up the toys; afterwards, the child should put the toys in the toy box several times on their own before the parents give sticker rewards.

 

  1. Raise the standard of requirements according to the child’s performance, and only give rewards after the child completes behaviors of higher difficulty.

Example: Initially, as long as the child puts all the toys in the box, they can be given sticker encouragement. Then the requirements can be raised, the child needs to put all the toys in the box, and carefully organize the toys and place them properly to get the sticker.

  1. When the child is relaxed and happy or makes a request, parents can make demands on the child without providing rewards.

Example: The child requests to watch their favorite TV show, the parent proposes that the child needs to tidy up the toys into the toy box before they can watch TV.

 

Through these two principles, parents can systematically dilute the function of external material rewards, let children internalize the motivation behind completing good behaviors, gradually reduce dependence on external encouragement, and make them gain a sense of success from within as the main source of their learning motivation.

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Parents Zone

How to discover hidden talents and potential?

Parents Zone

Written by: geneDecode Genetics Education Professional Team

 

Innate potential is an ability that everyone is born with, a genetic characteristic that is present before growth. From birth, each child possesses their own unique talents. In the process of a child’s growth, emotional intelligence, IQ, and the ability to withstand setbacks, among others, are all necessary conditions for success. Among these conditions, each child’s talents are different. Can we discover their innate talents in the innocent eyes of children? Can we be sure to capture these talents and guide the children on a path of growth that suits them?

 

Here is a mother’s experience:

 

‘Amy is 4 years old this year. As she grows up, she is becoming more and more curious about the things around her. Amy’s father noticed that she seemed to show a special interest in doodling when she was 2 years old. I casually gave her some paint, and she could use a brush, crayons, or her fingers, even a bottle of ketchup, to paint. No one knows what she is painting, maybe only she knows. Amy’s father and I both think that she should be allowed to grow freely. I found that she seems to like painting very much. If she is really good at it, I think we will definitely cultivate her well.’

 

Amy’s parents are wise. Each child has different talents hidden in different fields. When a child’s talent is found, if it can be cultivated and paid attention to by parents and teachers, it will save a lot of detours in the direction of success. However, the most important thing is for children to have a sense of success from a young age and grow up to be happy and confident people.

 

Scientific research confirms that the period of infant growth is the fastest and most sensitive period of brain development, and it is also the best time to develop a child’s talents. The cultivation of talents is time-sensitive, and scientists call this irreplaceable stage the ‘talent time window.

Only at the most important and appropriate moments, with the right education and cultivation, can innate potential develop into real abilities. Missing these key moments of development, a child’s talents may relatively weaken, and their innate potential may no longer stand out. Here are some key moments for reference:

 

Key Moments for Talent Development

 

Memory: 12 months to 12 years old

Emotional Intelligence: 2 months to 22 years old

IQ: Birth to 13 years old

Music: 2 months to 5 years old

Drawing: Birth to 15 years old

Sports: Birth to 12 years old

 

‘Whether Amy can become a painter when she grows up, I can’t confirm, we are just observing. It can be said that it is completely based on feeling. Talent is hard to say, maybe she has talents in other areas, or sometimes it is not obvious, then it is hard for us to discover. We can only do our best and observe her from as many angles as possible.’

 

This is not just a worry for Amy’s mother. Every parent dreams of their child’s success, but the key is how to accurately discover a child’s talents.

 

Many parents are trying, hoping to find clues in their child’s behavior, hoping to find ways to discover a child’s talents early. Those parents who seem to have found a method, according to their own judgment and willingness, send their children to various specialty classes and youth classes to learn various skills, hoping that one day, they can become experts in this field. For this goal, parents spare no effort to invest a lot of money and time.

However, doing so seems to not only waste a lot of money and time, but also those originally intelligent children are more likely to lose their spirit in the multitude of educational directions, their talents are delayed or even obliterated. They passively move from one tutoring class to another specialty class, learning things they neither like nor are good at.

 

Childhood, for children, is no longer a memory of happiness and beauty, but of pressure and worry. The saddest thing is that when they grow up, they have more complaints about their parents.

 

Is there a better way to understand a child’s talents, personality, and traits, so as to teach students in accordance with their aptitude and cultivate them in a directed way?

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Parents Zone

How to handle the awkwardness when grown-up children find it awkward to have heart-to-heart talks with their parents?

Parents Zone

As children grow up, many parents may find that their children become increasingly resistant to having heart-to-heart talks. The children may feel awkward, or perhaps the family relationships have not been very close since childhood. Dr. Wong Chung Hin, a specialist in psychiatry, points out, “It is crucial for parents to establish a good parent-child relationship from an early age. If parents suspect emotional issues in their children, in addition to observing changes in their behavior, they can guide their children to express their thoughts and understand their inner world.”

 

As mentioned earlier, parents and children should establish a parent-child relationship from a young age, setting aside time each day for parent-child communication and engaging in interesting family activities together. Dr. Wong emphasizes, “A close parent-child relationship helps children express themselves to their parents. Even as they grow older, they will be more willing to express themselves and have trust in their family.”

 

However, if a child is unwilling to reveal their thoughts and parents notice changes in their behavior (refer to: https://www.parentsdaily.com.hk/expert/4073), Dr. Wong advises parents to patiently guide their children to express their inner feelings. “When children express their thoughts, parents should listen patiently and provide them with the opportunity to express themselves. Establish a daily parent-child chatting time, allowing children to have a channel to express themselves at home. Parents should remember that once children mention symptoms related to emotional issues, parents should not criticize or constantly deny their children.”

Dr. Wong continues, “Everyone has their own thoughts and perspectives, and parents are no exception. I once had a parent tell me that their child refused to go to school and do homework, and their emotions would spiral out of control every time they were urged to go to school. However, when the child stayed home to play video games, they seemed very happy, leading the parent to think the child was just lazy and ‘pretending.’ However, parents should carefully understand the reasons behind the child’s reluctance to go to school and not dismiss any emotional issues the child may have, to avoid missing crucial moments for addressing emotional problems.” If, after parental guidance, the child still refuses to discuss their situation, parents can contact the school to learn about the child’s situation at school.

 

Dr. Wong recalls a case involving a high school student: “This student suddenly called the clinic one day and asked if it was necessary for parents to accompany him. Later, the student came for a consultation with friends, revealing that he had a poor relationship with his family. After sharing with friends, they suggested seeking professional advice. During the treatment process, I slowly built a good doctor-patient relationship with him, gained his trust, and hoped to help rebuild his relationship with his family.” Dr. Wong laments that not every case receives family support, so the role of schools is crucial. When young people encounter emotional or stress-related issues and cannot confide in their families, they can seek assistance from trusted adults.

 

In light of the recent increase in suicide tragedies, Dr. Wong advises parents to understand that a child’s holistic development involves more than just academic achievements; it also includes mental health. Dr. Wong understands that a child’s stress often comes from academic and family expectations. “Whether students or parents, I hope everyone can equip themselves well in stressful environments. Equipping oneself does not necessarily mean extra tutoring but taking good care of one’s mental health and achieving balance in life. Parents and schools should also teach students about the importance of mental health and promote the holistic growth of students’ physical and mental well-being.”

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Parents Zone

Is learning and cultivating art really that important?

Parents Zone

Written by: Pario Arts, Officer Lee Sou Jing

 

I have been engaged in education for many years and have encountered many parents who choose “quick and decisive” courses or extracurricular activities for their children, aiming for short-term results. It can be said that this approach is somewhat utilitarian. Conversely, they tend to underestimate courses or extracurricular activities that are non-utilitarian and focus on aesthetics. What typically captures parental attention is whether their children can participate in competitions, whether there are certifications or notable achievements in academic subjects or talents.

 

Long-term Impact of Art Education on Children

 

I firmly believe that under a utilitarian education system, there will be profound and lasting effects on children’s attitudes toward life.

 

Art education is unique, beautiful, and rich in creativity. Children not only learn the theory and techniques of art but also stimulate their creativity and imagination in the process. In the long run, art education has significant benefits for children’s speech, behavior, and even their learning and thinking.

Encountering Art in Daily Life

 

We come into contact with art in our daily lives every day. In our lives, we can find many beautiful things, such as rich emotions, different tastes, unique sensations, and visual pleasures. All of these can provide a serene state of mind in our busy lives, allowing us to feel the vibrancy and joy of the world and discover the precious beauty of tranquility.

 

Parents Need to Set a Good Example and Value Children’s Thoughts

 

In fact, whether it’s intelligent education or art education that emphasizes cultivating aesthetics, I believe that the most important thing is for parents to provide companionship and support. If you want to cultivate your child’s artistic appreciation, you should understand that art education starts with yourself. It is crucial to listen, accept, and understand your child’s thoughts, and embrace how they express creativity, and in doing so, your children will easily develop an aesthetic temperament from an early age.

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The reasons behind every child’s behavior

Parents Zone

Written by: Child Psychological Development Association, Psychological Counselor, Mr. Ching Wai Keung

 

We all know that different parenting methods have a significant impact on a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development. However, in this article, I do not intend to share expert theories but rather recount an incident I witnessed firsthand.

 

Case Sharing: Witnessing the Use of Aggressive Parenting

 

Once, while working in Beijing, I observed several mothers with their children waiting outside a shopping mall for it to open. Among them, a little girl (referred to as A, approximately 3 years old) stood out as notably aggressive. When other children entered her “territory,” she would unhesitatingly launch attacks. Before long, A slapped another child, B (around 3 years old), who immediately burst into tears. From my observation, the pain wasn’t the primary cause; B cried due to the sudden shock.

 

B’s mother hurriedly approached to console him, but even after almost 30 seconds, B continued crying. Surprisingly, his mother brought him in front of A, held B’s hand, and instructed him to “hit her back.” B refused, clinging to his mother, who repeatedly urged him to retaliate. She forcibly held his small hand, demonstrating the action of an attack, insisting more than ten times. However, the little boy grew even more frightened, withdrawing his hand and cowering against his mother.

 

On the other side, A’s mother held a few months old infant in one hand and restrained A with the other. She scolded and sometimes even hit her daughter. The more the mother struck, the more A resisted, launching attacks on nearby children, creating a chaotic scene.

We should patiently understand the reasons behind a child’s behavior.

 

This has led me to a lot of reflection: we tend to focus on improving the visible behavior and overlook the underlying reasons.

 

The child who was slapped needed a sense of security the most at that moment, not a retaliatory response. However, it seems that the mother either did not provide this or provided it inadequately. When the child calmed down, the mother proceeded to explain that hitting others was unacceptable behavior and attempted to explain why the other child might have attacked.

 

As for the little girl who launched the attacks, even though the infant might not have been her brother (possibly a child her mother was caring for), at her age, she would still experience jealousy. She seemed to lack a sense of security, vigorously defending her “territory.” When her mother punished her for her actions, she felt even more unloved, leading to increasingly intense behaviors and creating a vicious cycle.

 

Many times, a child’s behavior can be infuriating, but before taking corrective action, have we sincerely tried to understand the reasons behind the child’s actions?

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Why do children engage in challenging behaviors that challenge parents?

Parents Zone

Written by: Child Psychological Development Association

Psychological Counselor, Mr. Ching Wai Keung

 

“Is your child deliberately engaging in behavior that challenges your limits?”

“Does your child’s behavior completely contradict your wishes?”

“No matter how you punish your child, it seems like they become more defiant!”

 

Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? Many times, parents worry incessantly about their child’s behavior. However, behind the child’s behavior, there may be different emotions. For example, a child might intentionally exhibit rebellious behavior due to a desire for attention or rivalry for affection. In such cases, punishing the child may result in them becoming even more disobedient.

 

Renowned American emotion psychologist Plutchik pointed out that we have eight basic emotions (Plutchik, 1993), including acceptance, anticipation, disgust, anger, sadness, fear, joy, and surprise. These emotions manifest in an “Emotion Chain,” which includes stimuli, thoughts, emotions, behavior, and outcomes.

 

For instance, when an older brother sees his mom taking care of his younger sister (stimulus), he may think that his mom now only loves his sister and ignores him (thoughts). This could lead to emotions like sadness and anger (emotions). As a result, he may intentionally misbehave (behavior). The outcome is that the mom puts down the sister in the crib and then deals with the older brother (outcome). In the older brother’s eyes, his mom finally put down his sister, achieving the desired outcome through his behavior.

Young children may not necessarily express their thoughts through language, making it challenging for parents to understand the reasons behind their behavior. However, by soothing the child’s emotions and paying attention to patterns in their behavior, we can improve their conduct.

 

For example, if an older brother consistently exhibits inappropriate behavior whenever he sees his mom taking care of his younger sister, it can be inferred that he is seeking his mother’s love. In response, the mom can balance one-on-one time with both the older brother and younger sister, allowing him to feel that his mother loves him too. She can also invite him to participate in caring for the younger sister. If inappropriate behavior arises when attention is lacking, it may be a skill to attract parental attention. In such cases, parents can offer attention before inappropriate behavior occurs and deliberately ignore the behavior when it does, helping the child understand that misbehavior does not garner attention.

 

Understanding the reasons behind a child’s behavior is immensely helpful in improving inappropriate conduct. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact us.

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Enhancing Resistance through Lifestyle Habits

Parents Zone

Written by: Registered Public Health Nutritionist (UK) and Nutritionist, Ng Pui Yu

 

In my online community, parents often ask, “What should children with sensitive airways/frequent colds eat to strengthen their immunity?”

 

When children are sick, it’s not only hard for them but also for parents who care for them day and night. There are many viruses that can cause colds, and since young children haven’t been exposed to them before, they haven’t developed the necessary antibodies, making them more susceptible to illness. It’s normal for young children to have 6 to 8 or even more colds in a year. Additionally, immune health is related to conditions like nasal sensitivity, airway sensitivity, and eczema.

 

Of course, if lifestyle habits can be improved to enhance immunity, recovery from illness can be faster.

 

 

 

 

Daily Exercise for a Strong Physique

 

Today’s children lead busy lives, attending school, extracurricular activities, and tutoring classes daily. Moreover, most parents work full-time, limiting the opportunities for their children to engage in physical activity. Besides paying attention to a child’s diet, it is crucial for parents to schedule 30 to 60 minutes of exercise for their children each day. Even activities like running, climbing, playing on slides, and swinging in the park are sufficient. Developing a habit of regular exercise should start from a young age. The author’s child, during the school years, has already begun the practice of going to the park 1 to 2 times a day, adapting to indoor playrooms on extremely hot or rainy days.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise for Good Health

 

According to a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, many children face the issue of insufficient sleep. They may be reluctant to go to bed due to busy homework schedules, waiting for parents to return home from work, and various other reasons. Some children may stay awake until 11 pm or even later. If this is the case, it becomes more likely for them to fall ill, experience poor concentration, and exhibit inadequate emotional control. Therefore, the author’s child typically goes to bed around 9:30 pm. If possible, an even earlier bedtime is recommended!

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Reject the Busyness: Build Parent-Child Relationships Every Day. Parents should first handle their own emotions to help their children express their inner feelings.

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Whether parents are working or full-time homemakers, they are busy every day with work, household chores, and taking care of their children. After school, children are also busy with homework, tutoring, and reviewing for exams. Leisure time is limited, and bedtime comes early. Dr. Wong Chung Hin, a specialist in psychiatry, points out, “Parents and students in Hong Kong are very busy, but we need to learn to ‘preprocess’ emotions or stress before they erupt, and establish a good parent-child relationship. Parents should set aside dedicated parent-child time every day to communicate with their children. Parents should also take care of their own emotions, which will help their children express their inner feelings.”

 

In the midst of busy daily life, parents need to take good care of themselves first in order to better care for their children. Dr. Wong suggests, “Rather than dealing with emotional problems after they arise, ‘preprocessing’ is more important. Parents can establish healthy habits with their children, ensuring they have sufficient rest. Many students have tutoring and homework to do after school, but a moderate amount of entertainment is also crucial. As mentioned earlier, daily parent-child communication time is necessary. Doing fun activities together, such as exercising, not only builds quality parent-child time but also improves emotions.”

 

Dr. Wong emphasizes, “Parents should review their disciplinary expectations, adjust disciplinary methods according to their children’s abilities to avoid putting too much pressure on them. Parents need to understand that every child will grow up, want to be independent, and have their own thoughts. Parents can understand the reasons behind their children’s behavior, such as not wanting to go to school or declining academic performance. Parents should investigate whether the underlying cause is excessive learning pressure and communicate with the school to make adjustments to their child’s learning.”

In fact, children’s emotions can be influenced by the emotions of their parents. Dr. Wong explains, “When children have emotional issues, it may be partly influenced by family history. However, in many cases, children with emotional problems have parents with poorer emotional well-being. Parents should always be aware of their own emotional states to avoid expressing emotions inappropriately. For example, when parents are dissatisfied with their children’s behavior, they may burst out in anger, which not only affects the parent-child relationship, making the child at a loss and afraid to communicate with their parents, but also influences the parents’ own perceptions, negatively characterizing the child’s behavior as ‘disobedient,’ ‘pretending,’ and lazy.”

 

Parents most commonly face the situation of children “not listening at all” and may find it hard to refrain from getting angry. However, Dr. Wong reminds, “During these times, parents should not confront their children directly. Instead, they can find a space to calm themselves, for example, by doing some slow breathing exercises to soothe their emotions. Once the parent has calmed down, they can then address the child and understand the underlying reasons for the child’s behavior. If parents cannot control their emotions, it will only complicate things and make it difficult to have a chance to communicate with their children.”

Dr. Wong suggests, “Everyone has a different personality, and the methods for handling stress also vary. Parents can work together with their children to establish stress management methods, whether it’s through exercise, drawing, listening to music, taking a good rest, or simply relaxing. However, when parents notice that their child’s emotional issues have persisted for a prolonged period, or have started to affect daily life, and especially if there are signs of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, parents should seek professional assistance for their children as soon as possible.”

 

Dr. Wong concludes with a message to parents: “Many parents are currently juggling work commitments, but it’s important for parents to consider setting aside a moment each day, putting work aside, and dedicating time to their children to build a strong parent-child relationship and enjoy quality time together. This way, parents can also pay attention to any changes in their children’s mental and emotional well-being, detect problems early, and prevent the development of emotional issues such as depression or anxiety.”