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Is your child low on confidence?

Dr Nirmala Rao | September 14, 2005

She's the apple of your eye, but something is amiss. 

imageShe shuns kids her age and prefers to spend time alone.  

She gets angry at the drop of a hat. 

Is something wrong with your little one? Or do you need to change your parenting strategy?

Get Ahead parenting expert Dr Nirmala Rao tackles your queries and helps you find the best solutions for your child. 

We have an only child -- a daughter. She is about seven-and-a-half and in the third standard. She scores above 90 percent marks, is extremely naughty and breaks all cheap or expensive toys, items, etc.

In my opinion, she is quite arrogant, disobedient and irresponsible. She will beat up fellow kids who come to play with her at home. She wants to remain alone. She does not share her toys, etc, with anybody. She does not want to study at home at all.

All this activity is at home only. Her teachers always shower praise on her. She is very sincere, obedient, regular and studious in school. This kind of a double character is quite antagonising. I would be thankful if you can shed light on this issue and guide us on how to grow and behave with her.

-- Dr Mahesh Gaur

She is the only child and hence there is a constant need for attention. It is obvious she is trying to draw your attention, since you say she is quite normal in school.

How is your wife's relationship with her? Is she strict with her? Is there enough positive appreciation from both of you?
This is a behavioural problem and can be curbed by giving the right kind of positive attention, a consistent discipline pattern and channelising her interests. Engaging her in hobbies will make her interact with others and develop social skills. 
At home, have more 'sharing' activities, like having your meals together or playing a game together. Emphasise the importance of friends and relatives through stories. Socialising with friends or close people will help her observe and learn how to behave. Keep in mind that children have a tendency to model their behaviour along the lines of their elders.

If she is scolded often, then she is using this as a displacement method. Since she is an only child, there might be a tendency to get bored too. Mental stimulation by reading books, educational trips on holidays or engaging in projects (making chants, models) will help her gain confidence and expand her abilities. 

Try to ignore her behaviour for sometime; focusing too much on it will turn it into a habit.

My son is 10 years old and is studying in Class VI. He is an average student but does well in Science, Social Studies and English. He does badly in Maths and forgets the methods he has learnt even if there is a gap of just two weeks. I would like to know what to do about this.

He also gets angry at the slightest thing and starts screaming and creating a big fuss. He is not interested in playing any game that requires him to run around or compete with other boys; he likes playing with small kids. He even behaves in a childish manner in front of guests and always expects people to keep praising him. 

-- Lakshmi Sharma

Your son is low on confidence and exhibits inhibited behaviour. He needs love and appreciation; praise him for his good qualities.

Please check if there is any previous incident in school where he has been scolded by teachers when he secured less marks. Many times, when scolded by teachers and/ or teased by classmates for failure/ not doing well in a particular subject/ activity, children tend to develop a fear, for instance, in the case of Maths.

Teaching Maths through practical applications like coin counting, giving specific amounts and calculating will help and he will develop an interest in the subject.

Motivate him in a gentle way. Observe his relations with his classmates. Is someone bullying or teasing him? Many times, children do not complain about these things.

Spending quality time and praising him for his good work will help him to develop a sense of self-esteem. Hobby courses will help him become aware of his abilities and improve confidence.

Overprotection from parents can sometimes cause feelings of rejection or a lack of self-confidence. Give him responsibilities at home, no matter how small, and praise him for good work. Your son is sensitive and requires delicate handling.

Do you have a question for Dr Nirmala Rao? Write to Get Ahead!


Dr Nirmala S Rao has been a practising psychiatrist for 18 years and manages her clinic, Aavishkar, along with a team of counsellors and psychotherapists, in Mumbai. Aavishkar conducts programmes on vocational guidance and self-development for children.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Parenting

Message is very good and helpful, i like to get such kind of lesson every day in my mail. Regards Anil

Posted by Anil Kumar


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