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What should I do when confronted with dishonesty in children?

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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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Why will children pamper?

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Written by:Dr. Wilbert Law, an assistant professor in the psychology department at Hong Kong University of Education and a registered educational psychologist. 

 

How do parents react when their children coax and pamper them, ask for different things,  or play with them in a baby-like voice? Do you think children are troublesome? Or do you feel that your child is just messing around, doing nothing serious?

But why will children pamper? Research has shown that adults are particularly sensitive to the sound of pampering, so it is easier to catch their attention. It is possible that the child is pampering his parents because he needs your attention at that moment. Sometimes adults are so busy with their lives that they may neglect them, so children will pamper their parents when they see them.Another possibility is that when children are tired or feel powerless, they may pamper or   act like babies. These behaviors are very common in the growing-up stage.

How can parents respond when their children are pampering their parents? In fact, when   we understand the possibility of our children’s pampering, we know that they are not deliberately provoking parents, they can try to sit down and talk with their children to understand their needs, especially if the child is pampering because he or she is tired. We  can help them express themselves with some words. For example, ask your child, “How do you feel?” “Are you very tired?” “What can I do for you?”

 

Of course, you may also want to reduce your child’s pampering behavior by encouraging   them more, using age-appropriate words and behaviors, and praising and affirming them  more often. When they are pampering you, do not scold or mock them.

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How do parents show love to their children?

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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 to effectively calm children when dealing with parent-child conflicts?

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How to effectively calm children when dealing with parent-child conflicts?

Source: Parenting Education Specialist, Ken Sir

From time to time, conflicts may arise between children and adults. In handling these conflicts, communication skills with children are very important, and there is a big difference between starting with “you” and starting with “I.”

Once, I was at the elevator entrance and saw a child trying to press the elevator button, but another child pressed it first. The child’s emotions immediately became volatile, and although the mother tried to bend down and deal with the situation, she found it difficult to calm the child’s emotions. What was involved in the situation?

This involves the mother using a few phrases, including “don’t cry”, “what do you want?” or “do you want me to go down to the next floor and let you press the button?” I want to remind parents that if they want to calm a child’s emotions, they should avoid using these types of phrases.

If we want to calm a child’s emotions, we can try using “I” at the beginning of the sentence, such as “I see you…”, “I know that you really want…”, and “Mom and Dad understand you”. When a child hears these words from their perspective, they will feel that you are on their side rather than opposing them.

In this way, through your body language—calming and hugging—it helps the child gradually learn to be calm and then slowly instill what you want to teach them. This would be very good.

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Spinal problems should not be ignored. How to do the test at home?

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Written by : Chiropractor, Dr. Wan Man Ho

Children are prone to sitting problems, even scoliosis and kyphosis. Parents should find out their children’s problems early and make corrections. But how can parents tell when their   children have scoliosis and kyphosis problems?

For scoliosis, parents can try the Adam Test, a common test used by chiropractors, by      asking a child to bend forward with his hands on the ground and see if there is a problem  with the muscles on either side of the spine. If there is, it means that there is a high           probability of scoliosis.

In terms of kyphosis, it means looking from the side, the head is in front of the body, as if  the neck is stretched out, or the head is bowed for a long time and the shoulders are bent    forward. Most children in Hong Kong have a functional condition, and often, as long as they are reminded to sit up straight, they will be able to sit up straight and stop having a        kyphosis.

To improve the kyphosis, the most important thing is to open both shoulders, use the         strength of the waist to lift the chest, and bring the chin back near the head. This is the      most correct sitting posture and will improve the kyphosis.

Spine problems are related to the foot?

 

Some children have flat feet, resulting in a bit of in-toeing or out-toeing. The shape of the  foot will slowly affect the pelvis and create some highs and lows.

 

If a child often bumps his knees when learning to walk or even trips over himself after a    few steps, this may be a case of in-toeing or even an imbalance of the feet.

If your child has any of these problems, you should take him or her to a professional, such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist, or even a podiatrist, to get checked out. 

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Learn English from games without difficulty

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

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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.

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Can mindfulness also help stabilize children’s emotions?

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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.

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

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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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“Poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt” Let children learn to be flexible

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Written byGigamind English Primary School Principal Law

 

There is a Chinese saying: “Raising a child for 100 years old is a long-term worry for 99 years. This speaks to the heart of thousands of parents. As the weather turns colder, you are busy adding clothes for your child, but when you see other people’s children running and jumping around wearing only a single coat, you may worry that he is too warm and less able to adapt. If your child doesn’t listen to you and does what he wants to do, you will be annoyed, but if he asks you for everything, you may worry and say, “Oh! Didn’t I teach you that? Why don’t you always know how to adapt?

 

The power of adaptability from the movie

Spontonsive Flexibility is an element of creativity. If you know how to adapt, you can solve a problem in a different way.

 

Have you ever seen the movie “Apollo 13”, which is based on a true story? One scene of the movie tells the story of the runaway spacecraft, filtering toxic gas equipment is broken, scientists found that to solve the problem, we need to connect a round interface to a square interface above. Different sizes of water pipes cannot be reliably connected, but they want to connect the round interface? Sounds like you know it is impossible, but if you cannot connect the filter cannot pass the toxic gas, the three astronauts will not be able to return alive! In the end, with the cooperation of each other, they used plastic bags, cardboard, tape and other things to connect the two different interfaces, successfully solved the problem.

 

Difficulties are an opportunity to develop adaptability

As the saying goes, ” poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt “. The word “poverty” in this context does not mean “poor”, but “at the end of the road”, or “in difficulty”. When things seem to have come to a dead end, only some alternative or different methods can solve the problem.

 

Fostering adaptability requires that children face difficult problems, think about them, and try to solve them in different ways. In fact, children have to face a lot of problems every day, such as math problems, crafts, and model building, which require them to solve problems. We can make full use of these opportunities to develop their adaptability.

Inclusion of children’s ideas

We need to be mindful that developing children’s adaptability requires an attitude of tolerance and acceptance of seemingly silly solutions to problems. Since adults have more experience and are better at solving problems than children, they sometimes feel that the solutions children come up with are not good enough. However, the most important thing is that these solutions were thought up by the children themselves, and they can work. Even if they don’t work, they probably make some sense and can barely do it. No matter how “dumb” a child’s approach is, every success and every parental support gives him or her more confidence to solve problems in the future.

 

Letting your child try

Adults may be able to figure out solutions to problems faster than children, so we need to give children enough time to think and try, and not rush to tell them what they think. Parents should let go of their children and let them face difficulties on their own. “Poverty leads to change”, and the motivation for “change” will be weakened with too much help.

This is the difficulty of being a parent. If you help too much, you worry that your child will not know how to solve problems on his own; if you help too little, you worry that he will not be able to catch up with others; and with so many things to deal with every day, how can you have time to let your child take his time to finish what he has to do every day? However, there are times, such as during the holidays, when we really need to consider slowing down the pace of life and allowing our children to do more of their own work, learn to solve problems in their own way, and develop adaptability.