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What should I do when confronted with dishonesty in children?

Parenting Tips

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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After promoting to primary school, classmates are completely different. How can we assist the children in adapting?

Parenting Tips

After promoting to primary school, classmates are completely different. How can we assist the children in adapting?

Source: Psychologist, Dr. Lee Wai Tong

During the kindergarten years, children spend four years from N class to K3, and they will also make some friends, forming their own circles of friends. But after the summer break, when they will be promoted to primary school, everything can suddenly change. Some classmates may continue to attend the same school but may be placed in different classes, causing anxiety and discomfort.

Of course, some children who start primary school and make new friends may forget their good kindergarten classmates. But some children may need more time to develop their social skills, so they may be more concerned about their former kindergarten friends.

Parents can keep in touch with their child’s kindergarten friends, especially since most parents have access to kindergarten parent groups. When the child starts school in September, if they find that they don’t have as many friends to play and chat with as they did in kindergarten, they may start to develop a dislike for school. At this point, parents can help by organizing get-togethers, such as by telling a friend’s mother, “My son really misses your son.”

Let these two children develop a sense of fellowship during this transitional period. After they enter primary school and go through a longer period of time, they will also make new friends. However, during this transitional period, we also want to let them know that their good friends from kindergarten are still around, they haven’t disappeared. They will slowly let go of them as they make new friends in primary school.

But apart from the separation from their friends, they may also have some anxiety, to varying degrees. For example, if a child really doesn’t want to go to school, it can be troublesome for the mother, and the child may even cry when coming back home or refuse to change their school uniform. After all, their world has completely changed since they started first grade, with different teachers, environments, and more intense class schedules.

Usually, after school, a child might say to you, “I miss you so much today!” This sentence is actually a magic word. Where is the magic word? Many parents don’t know and will directly respond, “I miss you too.” However, the child doesn’t understand that when they say, “I miss you so much today!” after school, it actually indicates that they have had some difficulties today.

Going to school is actually very busy. They have to listen to lectures, do classwork, play during recess, have lunch, and participate in various activities. After 35 minutes, they have to switch to another teacher and learn new things. There is actually no space for them to sit and relax, thinking about their parents. But when something doesn’t go smoothly, they will think of their parents first because their parents are their strongest support.

So if a child proactively says, “I miss you so much today!” right after school, parents should ask them, “When do you miss me the most?” Then, we will be able to understand more clearly what they are facing. Is it when they have no friends to play with during recess? Is it when the teacher asks a question they don’t know how to answer? Is it when they don’t understand what they are learning? This will help us know how to better assist them.

How do parents show love to their children?

Parenting Tips

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.