Q. My 9-year-old son is 4.5 feet tall and weighs 35 kg. He has a tendency to overeat and does not realize when to stop. We need to monitor his food quantity all the time. He goes out of control when we go out to eat. How to manage this situation?
Ans: Do not keep scolding your son at all times in front of others with regards to his tendency to over eat. Gently explain to him that this over-eating behaviour could lead to health problems in life and also make him lethargic. He may be unable to participate in sport activities. Regulate his meal portion size. Do not serve extra food on the plate. If despite this, he is still hungry give a serving of vegetables or fruits. You could also serve meals in between of sprouts or fruits. This will keep his stomach slightly full and thus negate the urge to over-eat. Further, look out for signs of emotional issues if any which could be making him over-eat. Sit down and calmly talk to him.
Q. My son is 15 years-old and he claims to be in love with his classmate. He wants us to meet her. Right now, his studies are fine but we are worried if it continues like this, his academics will come down. How should we handle the situation?
Ans: This age is very crucial and requires careful handling. We cannot be too strict or harsh with our children. It may push them away from us. Your son is at least opening up to you which is positive. Sit him down and talk to him. Explain his priorities gently. He seems matured enough to understand. Divert his energies towards his future planning. At the same time, don’t negate his feelings so he may not feel comfortable to open up to you in the future.
Q. My 5-year old daughter is a hyperactive child. She is always in an irritable mood, and does not look happy at all. Even if we approach her she gets irritated. What should we do?
Ans: I do understand your anguish as parents. Try encouraging desirable behaviors’ in your child, and maintain calm and pleasant behaviour yourselves as parents. Provide a calm, peaceful and structured environment at home. Avoid too much noise e.g. avoid having the television on loudly at all times. Try to avoid over-stimulating your daughter.
Do not scold or interrupt the child too often. Praise her when she is not irritable. You must get a proper assessment of the problems by a qualified professional in your city. You could consult a counsellor or a clinical psychologist at any major hospital. You need to know the exact nature of problem. You may feel your child is hyperactive, but it is wrong to jump to conclusions yourself. After assessment, you need to follow interventions, medical or psychological, as suggested by the experts.
Ms.Gariasi Dutta, MSW (TISS) is Psychological Counsellor with Down Town Hospital, Guwahati. She can be contacted at 98640-55560 or firstname.lastname@example.org