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What should I do when confronted with dishonesty in children?

What should I do when confronted with dishonesty in children

Written by: Family Dynamics Psychological Counselor, Lai Shun Mei

Every time a child does homework, he or she falsely claims to have a stomachache, to go to the bathroom, or to go to sleep. Thousands of lies and excuses. Parents who value character development are naturally outraged because they have zero tolerance for dishonesty in their children. But why do children always avoid doing their homework? Why do they have to lie to cover it up?

Often, children avoid doing homework not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. Children want to be good and smart, but when they find out they can’t do their homework, they think they are not smart enough. They can’t accept this and will lie to cover it up and avoid it. Generally speaking, children with normal intelligence but learning disabilities will have their academic performance affected to some degree, but they can excel in other areas as well. And regardless of their intelligence level, as long as they use the right approach, coupled with the right amount of training, they can also build the corresponding ability.

But why do people lie? When a person feels that he or she is in an uncomfortable situation, he or she will activate the defense mechanism to protect himself or herself. Lying is one of the ways to cope with a crisis by avoiding it. If parents want to help their children, they should allow them to tell the truth so that they can understand what their children really don’t understand.

How do you instill in children the courage to speak the truth? You have to let your child know that even if he is not smart enough, you will still love him so much, take him as your joy, be patient with him, and find ways to help him solve his problems together, thus building up his sense of security and making him feel at ease to reveal his inner uncertainties and difficulties. On the contrary, if his experience makes him think that he is not smart enough, which will lead to his mother’s anger and complaints, he will not dare to tell the truth and even activate his self-protection mechanism to protect himself with lies that adults can uncover at first glance.

At this point, the child will not only fail to protect himself but will also get into more trouble because the mother will be rehabilitated and will take the initiative to admit her mistake and promise not to lie again. But in fact, his homework difficulties are not resolved, creating a vicious cycle. Therefore, we encourage parents to learn to accept their children’s shortcomings so that they will have confidence in you and feel safe to open up to you.

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“Does learning mindfulness help in rediscovering the strengths of children?”

“Does learning mindfulness help in rediscovering the strengths of children?”

Source: Registered Clinical Psychologist, Yiu Fong Lee

Parents often encounter various behavioral problems with their children, which can be very troubling. For example, they ask their child to do homework, but the child doesn’t do it; they ask the child to eat, but the child sits there playing instead. When children display many uncooperative behaviors, parents become very angry and may use blaming or punishing methods to deal with them. In times of great distress, children become even more uncooperative because they feel their parents are annoying and only have negative evaluations, causing their behavior to become increasingly uncooperative and disobedient. In the practice of mindfulness, parents can learn to carefully observe what is happening at the moment without any criticism, and then try to connect with their child wholeheartedly and notice any good qualities.

In the mindfulness parenting group, we encourage parents to use their five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell, to experience mindfulness while eating. For example, taking a piece of raisin and putting it in your mouth, feeling its texture at that moment, and noticing any changes. Through our careful observation, we will discover that raisins are actually very sweet, and they will slowly melt in our mouths.

We can apply this mindset to our interactions with children in daily life, meaning that in addition to their uncooperative behavior, tantrums, or emotional outbursts, we should observe them carefully to see if there are any other things that other parents might not notice. In the mindful parenting group, one mother shared that besides being angry when her son didn’t listen to her, she also noticed that he was willing to help her carry heavy objects or food at times, showing that he cared for her.

Some mothers even mentioned that their sons may be sensitive to certain sounds, but during the New Year’s vegetable-grabbing game, they would try their best to grab the vegetables and bring them back to their mothers because they wanted them to be healthy and safe. The mothers felt that their children loved them very much, so they paid more attention to the good things their children did or the times when they cooperated. For example, if a child refused to do homework ten times but then was willing to do it or quietly read once, the mother would appreciate and tell the child, “You were very focused today, and I appreciate that.” Over time, the child will realize that he or she can do well, and the mother won’t be so annoying or only focus on the bad things the child does. Instead, the mother will focus on the good things the child does, and the child’s behavior will gradually get better.

In clinical practice, we often see that in parent-child interaction, when parents can sense the subtle aspects of daily life, such as what their children are willing to give, cherish, or when they exhibit good behavior, it can greatly help improve the interaction and relationship between the two. Additionally, when children feel positive about themselves, their confidence will also improve.

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How do parents show love to their children?

How do parents show love to their children?

Source: Parenting Education Specialist, Ken Sir

Parents may worry that expressing too much love to their children will spoil them and therefore do not know how to express love to them. Generally speaking, Chinese are more introverted and often dare not express their love. Especially when you originally wanted to express that you were very worried about your child, it often turns into another attitude.

Once, I saw a mother and her child get lost in Shatin and then reunite. What was the mother’s behavior like after the reunion? She grabbed the child’s hand and hit him while saying, “I couldn’t find you earlier; do you know how scared I was? I was so worried. What would I do if I didn’t find you?”

In fact, everyone knows that the mother loves her child, but the child doesn’t feel it. I often share an example during lectures to express love. When I was young, my father ordered a drink, but because money was tight, he asked the waiter to bring an extra cup after ordering one hot drink. He kept pouring the drink back and forth in front of me, trying to cool it down quickly so that the child wouldn’t burn his mouth and could drink it faster. But I found that when children ask their parents or when I asked many students’ parents, they would answer, “This will make it cool faster.”

When responding to children, parents should express their feelings at the deepest level: “I love you; why would I do this if I didn’t love you? Am I doing it for someone else? For another child? So in fact, there are many things in our lives that can express love, but there is one thing that must be remembered. If you are afraid of being overindulgent, remember the following two points:

First, if the child can do something, let them do it. You should not fight to do it. Second, when the child makes a mistake, we should correct them. In the process of correction, try to be gentle and firm. When seriousness is needed, be serious. But remind the child to say the solution, not just say no or that it’s wrong. Otherwise, the child will not progress.

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

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

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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Learn English from games without difficulty

Learn English from games without difficulty

Source: Speech therapist, Miss Carley

Often, we want children to learn English vocabulary, which may be difficult and boring for them. In fact, parents can try to create some simple games for children to learn these English words through the process of playing.

The first game is called “Covering the Card.” It is similar to the card game we usually play. Parents can write some words that children need to learn on white paper and draw more sheets with laughing faces. How do I play it? To begin, we must mix the cards and distribute them evenly to each player; for example, each parent and child will receive four cards. Then, take turns playing the top card. For example, if this card is drawn, read out the word, explain its meaning, and use the word in a sentence. But if a laughing face is drawn, the player needs to quickly slap the card. If the player is slower, they must take all the cards and keep them in their hands. The player with no cards in their hand wins.

The second game is called “passing three levels.” It is actually similar to the game we usually play, but this time we have pre-written some vocabulary words in the nine squares. Then, we take turns with the child to draw some crosses or circles. For example, if I draw a cross here, I need to read, explain, and make a sentence with the vocabulary word in this square. Then it’s the parent’s turn; they might use a circle, just like in “passing three levels.” The first person to connect three cards in a straight-line win.

The third game is a memory matching game. Parents can write some Chinese characters that children need to learn on white paper and write each character twice. Parents can randomly place pairs of word cards on the table. Then parents can ask the children to take a look and remember them, and then flip the cards over. Parents and children take turns flipping over two cards. If they match, the child is asked to use the word to make a sentence, explain its meaning, and read it out loud.

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Punishment or reward

Punishment or reward?

Source: Dr. Law Wai Pak, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology at the Education University of Hong Kong and a registered educational psychologist

When it comes to getting their kids to study, many parents feel very frustrated and wish their kids could be self-motivated. When it comes to improving their children’s motivation to learn, many parents first think of using rewards and punishments. But which is more effective, using a stick or a carrot?

In fact, I believe that most modern parents understand that punishment is not a very effective method because it can hurt children’s bodies and undermine their self-esteem. Does this mean that using rewards is more effective? For example, “If you finish your book, you can have a pack of chips.” However, this method also carries hidden risks.

First of all, this reward often has to be constantly increased in order to be effective. Secondly, when there are no rewards, children will not automatically be motivated to study. Besides using punishment and reward, is there a third way?

Here, I would like to introduce three treasures to everyone: “sense of competence,” “sense of autonomy,” and “sense of relatedness.” What is the sense of competence? It is the belief that a child can learn new things and handle challenges. Parents can choose some challenging learning materials or homework that is not too difficult or easy for their children. For example, when they come to the library to choose a book, they should not choose a book with too many difficult words. Children should at least understand 70–80% of the words in the book. In addition, parents should provide more positive and helpful feedback to their children, appreciate their efforts, and brainstorm problem-solving methods with them.

The second thing is the sense of autonomy. Sometimes children may have a high sense of ability, but they will not learn autonomously when they feel oppressed. What can parents do to enhance their children’s sense of autonomy? You can let them make more decisions, encourage them when they study, and only offer help when they need it. Also, don’t give them too many instructions or use rewards and punishments inappropriately, as this can erode their sense of autonomy.

Third, it’s the sense of relationship. Since birth, everyone has had a need to be loved and cared for, and when children feel loved and cared for, they develop trust in their parents. When you ask them to study again, they will take it more seriously. How can parents strengthen their sense of relationship with their children? Listen to them more often, express empathy, and interact with them with a warm attitude. The most important thing is unconditional love, which means loving them regardless of whether their grades are good or bad.

If next time we urge children to study but they refuse, we can start with these three aspects: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Stop and think: How can I satisfy the child’s needs in these three areas? When these three needs are met, children will naturally and automatically learn and grow.

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

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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Getting sick after blowing air conditioning, how can we strengthen children’s immune system?

Source: Senior Nutritionist, Ng Yiu Fun 

Many children and their parents go outdoors in the summer and feel very hot afterwards, so they want to go into the shopping mall to enjoy the air conditioning. At this time, if someone sneezes, children are easily susceptible to catching a cold or flu. How should parents deal with this problem? The first part is how to take care of them, and the other part is the diet to strengthen their immunity.

First of all, we should not enter the shopping mall immediately when it is too hot. When you are sweating a lot, you need to wipe off the sweat. In fact, sweat carries away the heat from our bodies, so the process of wiping off sweat makes it easier for the sweat to evaporate and carries away some of the heat from our bodies. It would be better for us to enter the shopping mall when our bodies are a little cooler.

Also, always be prepared with a jacket. Adults are the same; they need to have a shawl, which can be relatively better. On the other hand, if a child’s clothes are soaked, we should prepare an extra set of clothes to replace them, so that the clothes won’t stick to their back and cause them to catch a cold. In fact, the current towels are very long and can be placed on the back. After wiping the sweat with a towel, the clothes can remain dry.

In terms of diet, we can pay attention to whether children have a balanced diet. However, we must remember that children are picky eaters because they are still young, want to be independent, and have many opinions. But when we insist on letting them continue to try every food, even if they don’t eat it today, they can try it again another day. They may try it and get used to it after eating it many times, and then they will not be picky eaters. Perhaps the first time they try it, they may feel like vomiting just after putting it in their mouth, but it doesn’t matter because they have already tried the taste. But we can all be indomitable and keep trying.

In addition to having children eat their meals, I always recommend adding some millet to the rice when cooking because millet contains many different vitamins and minerals that can enhance the immune system, especially the rich vitamin B complex as well as calcium and iron. Also, remember to eat all kinds of vegetables and fruits; don’t just focus on studying and forget to eat fruits. Vitamin C can also help us increase our immunity.

Having such things can help children build a foundation, and we don’t need to take supplements. because it’s difficult to know if supplements are taken in excess, especially now that many people are taking fish oil capsules. In fact, the amount of fish oil capsules may be too much, and it may cause the blood to become thinner.

Another issue is the source of fish, which may be at risk of pollution if we don’t know where it comes from. It’s better to eat fresh fish, and red snapper is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Finally, you can cook some soup, which my own children drink and which helps to improve their immunity. They don’t often bring home sickness after school, nor do they often miss school. It’s called “soup with walnuts, cashews, and chestnuts.” I buy two ounces of walnuts, two ounces of cashews, and half a pound of chestnuts, and I add some corn and carrots. You can also choose whether or not to include lean meat. Because it already has a sweet taste, the whole family can drink it, even babies over one year old, to strengthen their immunity and prevent illness.

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

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

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.