Tuesday 2 October 2018

Exam Season - A parent's concern

1. Can you illustrate on how badly stress at school can affect children if left untreated?

A secondary 4 student in an elite school came to see me for low mood. He has been feeling that he cannot cope with his schoolwork and constantly feel pressurized as his classmates appear to cope better than him. He feels lousy about himself and that he is useless. He also started having suicidal thoughts. Despite having worked hard, he was very anxious prior to his school examinations as he was worried he would not do well and his results would be poor. He was also very fearful and catastrophized about the 'O' levels exams. 

2. What could happen to a child if they become too overwhelmed by anxieties? Some cases state self-mutilation and even suicide?

When a child becomes too stressed and anxious, they can develop aberrant behaviors. These can include tantrums and complaints of physical discomfort like stomachache in younger children. Teenagers may have deliberate self harm. They may become depressed and have suicidal behaviors. 

3. What are some of the ways I can help my children cope with academic pressure and exams today?

Focus on the process and not results. 
The most important factor in helping children cope with academic pressure is in shifting the focus and attention away from results to the process of working hard. This does not only emphasize the right value of hard work and perseverance but will also lessen anxiety as the child knows that as long as he worked hard, he has done well, rather than having to get good results in the examinations which can sometimes be dependent on factors such as luck. 

Stress management. 
Help the child learn about stress management. This can be achieve through proper rest and sleep, regular exercise, and having hobbies and time to play. A happy and stress free child will be more effective and passionate about learning. 

Sharing your experience. 
Children learn by modeling after their parents and mentors. Share anecdotes and stories about yourself and your experiences of how you dealt with your stress and academic hurdles. These stories will help the child know that he is not alone in facing these pressures and that he can overcome them. 

Maintaining long term goals and outlook
Explore with your child what his goals in life are and set long term targets. Understand that there are many ways to achieve these goals and many paths will lead them to where they will like to be in the future. When he realizes these, failing an exam or getting not so good grades will not be as daunting given the larger long term picture. 

Sunday 11 March 2018

2018 - Changes Ahead

Dear Readers,

Thank you for following this blog and emailing me with suggestions from time to time. This blog was meant to help compliment my clinic website, Psychiatrist Singapore. When I started out, I was writing my website with HTML and refused to use content management systems. However, with mobile access being the main way we use the internet these days and the need for fluid layout, my amateurish abilities in HTML no longer cut it and I had to move to CMS.

With my website now created with Wordpress, there seems no reason for me to not host my Blog on my main website. I will slowly migrate most of my articles to the new blog. Nevertheless, I find it a waste to shut down this blog and will use it to blog about my personal reflections of my life and my work. I will also leave most of the questions I have been asked over the years here as most of them pertain to parenting and child issues (understandably, lots of anxious parents out there in Singapore) but may not be entirely relevant to my work.

See you around :)

Thursday 25 January 2018

Adult ADHD in Women

With the improvement in understanding of Adult ADHD, we have today managed to also improve on our diagnostics of ADHD. This means that more are aware and can be helped.

While many will assume that only working female or working mothers need help with the poor concentration and attention deficits inherent to ADHD, non-working women or homemakers are vulnerable too! Whereas working adults may have the structure of their workplace, the routine of work and their superiors supervising them and keeping things in check, women and mothers at home have to keep their own schedules. Being a homemaker is a full time job requiring one to keep to schedules (picking children to and fro school and activities), deal with finances (marketing and paying bills) and multiple other work in between (cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc).And often without help!. In an individual with ADHD who has difficulties keeping a routine, tends to procrastinate or simply gets distracted easily, life as a homemaker can be chaos.

Even if one does not wish to seek treatment for ADHD, many a times, understanding what the underlying problem is and knowing one's weakness and limitations, help to put away the unnecessary sense of guilt and worthlessness, and decreases the possibility of other consequences of ADHD.

This article,on USA Today, explores why ADHD diagnosis is on the rise in America.