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It is common for families to disagree on how to maintain a family.

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Written by: Director, The Hong Kong Institute of Family Education

             Dr. Tik Chi-yuen

To maintain good and intimate family relationships, three elements are needed, including family planning, family communication and family empathy. Whether it is an individual, a group or a community, there is a need to have a plan. These plans should include directions, goals, actions and solutions to problems. Likewise, every family needs to have its own family plan. In simpler terms, planning for home ownership, savings, travel, and children requires clear planning and action. In the process of talking about these plans, it is important for all family members to share them, and for everyone to agree on them so that they can work together to create a happy family.

Once we have a plan, we should try to put it into practice and implement it. In the process of practice, good communication is needed. In a family, there will always be disagreements and disputes between members. If these disagreements and disputes are not resolved, they will turn into family disputes and conflicts, and the family plan will not achieve its goal.

The most effective way to resolve disputes and conflicts between members is through communication. When people and nations face conflicts, there are two ways to resolve them: one is to fight, to defeat the opponent, and to win; the other is to communicate, to negotiate, to understand, and to find a solution.

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In my opinion, the second method of solving problems through communication is the most ideal. And what problems cannot be solved in the family? As long as we can communicate effectively, we will always find a solution that is acceptable to everyone, so a good family needs to be built by effective communication.

To achieve mutual understanding and accommodation, we need to be empathetic, that is, to understand each other’s difficulties and needs from the other person’s perspective, and for adolescent children, it is even more important for family members to be understanding because they are in a rebellious period and need to learn to be independent. Everyone faces different situations and difficulties, and there may be unique difficulties that come from not doing well in some areas.

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If we can understand each other’s point of view more often, we will have different understandings and thus accept each other’s situation more easily, which will make us accept and understand each other more. Family members should think more from each other’s point of view. This will help to reduce conflicts, so that we can reach a consensus and solve the problem quickly.

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Eating meat can grow meat? How much meat is enough for 2 to 5 years old?

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Written by : Ng Pui Yu, Registered Public Health Nutritionist (UK)

Chicken drumsticks, salmon and pork chops …… Adults generally think that children need to eat more meat if they want to grow. In fact, how much meat do children aged 2 to 5 years old need to eat a day in order to grow? How should parents choose?

Nutritionally speaking, meat, fish, eggs, dried beans, nuts and seeds are all protein-based foods. The Department of Health recommends that children aged 2 to 5 should eat 1.5 to 3 taels of these foods per day, and 1 tael is about the size of a ping-pong ball of meat. Parents should choose “only lean” meat for their children and minimize offal consumption. Vegetarians should eat more dry legumes and nuts to increase their protein intake.

In addition to protein, these foods also provide a variety of nutrients, such as

1. Protein-derived foods

– Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are good sources of vitamin B12

– Red meat and egg yolk are rich in iron

– Fatty fish (such as yellow croaker and salmon) provide omega-3 fatty acids

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2. Protein-based foods from plant sources

– Soybeans and their products (e.g., tofu, dried tofu, and tofu skin) contain the same “complete protein” as meat and can replace meat

– Soybeans and their products, dried beans, nuts and seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, iron and dietary fiber

Although protein foods have many benefits, overconsumption will increase the risk of overweight and chronic disease, remember that 1.5 to 3 taels per day is sufficient.

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Why don’t children want to do homework ?

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Source: Senior Parenting Education Expert, Bally

After school every day, asking children to sit down and do homework is like sending them to war. Usually, there are several reasons why children do not like or do not want to do their homework. How can parents help their children?

First, they really do not know how to do it. How can we tell if they really don’t know how to do it? I have found that many children go home and find that 80% of the homework requires parent guidance, so they can’t handle it on their own and naturally wait for their parents to come home. From the parents’ perspective, they will feel that their children do not want to do homework.

Second, the child actually understands how to do the homework 80% of the time, but they actually want their parents to accompany them, so they will fight for time with their parents. Once the parents are together, they pretend not to understand. In fact, they are not trying not to understand but are unconsciously hoping for their parents to accompany them and do homework together.

Third, they may be too tired. The parents may not have given the children a proper schedule, causing them to do homework in an unfavorable state, which is why they don’t want to do it.

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If the child does not understand how to do the homework at first, the parents should communicate effectively with the school. If the school is willing to adjust the level of homework to suit the child, the parents won’t have to worry about the level difference. If the child doesn’t like doing homework, over time they will dislike going to school and eventually lose motivation to learn. Therefore, we must communicate with the school to see if they can give him some easier homework so that the child can enjoy the process of doing homework.

If the school is unable to cooperate, then the parents need to think about how to guide from the sidelines. Let the child gradually take some courses that start from easy to difficult on weekends, or give some words that the child can recognize, or through some games, let the child understand and slowly enjoy doing homework.

In fact, the biggest concern in the education sector is that students have already resisted learning, resisting going to school, and resisting doing homework. So we must seriously face the reasons why children are unwilling to do homework. Some children love to stick with their parents, but what do most parents do with their children when they get home now in our society? It’s doing homework; this is their only parent-child time. If the only parent-child time is not good or pleasant, it will cause many problems in the family or marriage.

If the child does not want to do homework and just wants to wait for the parents, the parents can play with and accompany the child while doing homework. You can read a book or do something similar to homework near the child, such as bringing work home to do, to make the child feel like you are accompanying them and both of you are doing something.

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A worrying situation is when many parents say, “Okay, you do it; I’ll be here,” but in reality, they are watching TV, using their phone, or playing games. This makes the child feel that you are not really accompanying them and that you are not doing the same thing. Even if the child knows how to do most of it, it is preferable for the parent to spend some time watching him or her do it rather than doing something else. Continuously complimenting him/her while watching: “Good job; you can really do it!” gives more praise, which is the best approach.

If the child reaches the end of the K3 school term, they have already grown up and are quite independent. Parents may believe, “They are so big now, I shouldn’t go with them to do their homework anymore.” But in reality, parents should have a schedule in place for their children to follow from a young age. For example, when the child comes home from school, they need to take a break, have a snack, and play for a while. After maybe half an hour or 45 minutes, it’s time for homework.

In K1 and K2, parents can accompany their child while they do homework. But when they reach K3, parents can use a reward system. For example, “If I come home from work today and see that you have finished your homework, I will give you a sticker.” “If you are well-behaved and take a bath after finishing your homework, I will give you another sticker.” Give the child a schedule to follow and reward them with stars or hearts for each sticker they earn. On the child’s schedule, if they accumulate enough stars in a week, the mother should make some promises, such as going to the park. The rewards are best for parent-child activities, not toys, gifts, or candy.

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Thousands of lies to avoid doing homework. What should parents do?

Thousands of lies to avoid doing homework.

What should parents do?

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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. 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      perform well in other areas as well. Regardless of their intelligence level, with the right  approach and the right amount of training, they will be able to develop the appropriate      skills.

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But why do people tell lies? 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 escape a crisis. If parents want to help their children, they need to give them the courage to tell the truth so that they can understand what their children really don’t understand.

How do you get your child to be brave enough to tell the truth? You need to let your child know that even if he or she is not smart enough, you will still love him or her so much, take pleasure in him or her, be patient with him or her, and work together to help him or  her solve their problems, thus building his or her sense of security and giving him or her    the peace of mind to reveal his or her innermost doubts and difficulties. But 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.

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Not only will the child be unable to protect himself, but he will also get into more trouble  because the mother will be rehabilitated and will admit her fault and promise not to lie again. But in fact, his homework difficulties are not solved, 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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New mothers are physically and emotionally exhausted, and their husbands have two simple tricks to help them relieve their emotions

 

New mothers are physically and emotionally exhausted, and their husbands have two simple tricks to help them relieve their emotions

 

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Written by Chinese Doctor Yiu Yee Chiu

It is not easy to build a healthy and happy family. Starting from the first trimester, mothers-to-be have to face internal and external changes such as physical appearance, weight and weight, and even psychological and emotional changes. Mothers-to-be who are pregnant for the first time are more stressed and nervous. In addition, the stress may come from the partner and family members around her. I have seen some mothers who are pregnant with their second child and are overly worried because of the urgency of the sex of their child. In fact, children are a gift from God, so we should open our arms and obey God’s will, and our families should support us. However, there are many cases of postpartum depression. Therefore, I will share with you the treatment of postpartum depression from the perspective of Chinese medicine.

Prenatal and postnatal depression and blood stagnation

In Chinese medicine, there are six types of depression: qi depression, blood depression, phlegm depression, damp depression, heat depression and food depression. Postpartum depression is quite complex, with qi and blood depression being the most common. The theory of Chinese medicine is that “when evil qi is injured, the right qi will be deficient”. The body of the mother-to-be has to give a lot of nutrients and blood to the baby during pregnancy, and the pain, qi depletion and blood loss during the delivery process will cause the mother’s body to suffer a lot.

Later on, the mother’s busy schedule in taking care of the baby makes her physically exhausted, coupled with unclear dew and incomplete blood stasis, which causes the internal organs to be out of balance. At this time, the mother starts to feel weak, dizzy and headaches, pain in the lower abdomen, irritability and insomnia, and even affects the secretion of breast milk, such as lack of milk or low milk supply. In this case, the mother will feel frustrated, her emotions will be further affected, she will be irritable and prone to crying, and she will have a sense of loss and emptiness. These are all symptoms of postpartum depression.

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Tips to relieve tension

In fact, postpartum depression can be avoided, and both Chinese and Western medicine have excellent therapeutic effects, so mothers should not be afraid to seek medical help if they start to notice something wrong. To prevent depression, mothers should have a regular routine before and after childbirth, plus dietary therapy and appropriate amount of exercise to maintain physical and mental well-being.

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At home, husbands can perform some simple acupressure points for their wives to help relieve their tension:

1. Accelerate the heart and lung function to help relax the mood

Hold hands together and gently rub to stimulate the Yuzhi point under the thumbs and the Laogong point in the center of the palms, or press these two points with the thumbs for a few minutes.

2. Reduce head swelling and pain

Press the thumbs and middle fingers of both hands against the lateral solar plexus points and gently rotate them up and down for a few minutes to reduce head swelling and pain.

Whether you are pregnant or not, a husband who massages his wife can improve the relationship between the couple and make the family more warm and harmonious. If you have friends who are expecting mothers, remember to encourage each other and share your experience, which will also help mothers-to-be!

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Low toddler patience. Learning the importance of waiting

Low toddler patience. Learning the importance of waiting

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Written by: Ms. Ng Ka Chun, Former Principal of Lok Sin Tong Leung Wong Wai Fong Memorial School 

Young children always have low patience and have difficulty tolerating & waiting. Self-control is a comprehensive ability of an individual to properly control and regulate his or her behavior without external supervision, to suppress impulses, and persevere to ensure the achievement of goals. It is an important component in the construction of self-awareness and is an important psychological quality for the success of an individual.

Waiting is the mark of a child’s success

In the 1960s, the American psychologist Professor Michel conducted a fudge experiment. He took a group of children aged about four to a modestly furnished house and gave them each a very tasty piece of fudge, telling them that if they ate the fudge right away, they could only eat one; if they ate it again after 20 minutes, they would be rewarded with one more piece of fudge, and they could eat two pieces of fudge in total. After Michelle left, some children were eager to eat the candy, while others were patient, closed their eyes, or rested their heads on their arms as sleep; some children talked to themselves or sang to divert their attention and spent time restraining their desire. Through observation, Michelle found that one-third of the children ate the candy immediately, one-third of the children waited for Michelle to come back and redeem the extra reward before they started to eat, and another one-third of the children insisted at first, but then could not resist giving up waiting.

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Michel continued to follow the children who participated in the experiment until they graduated from high school. The results of the follow-up study showed that the children who started eating candy right away showed a lack of confidence and did not get along well with their peers as teenagers, while those who waited until the end to eat candy were socially competent, assertive and academically successful. The “waiters” scored an average of 210 points higher on the test than the “non-waiters”. The actual results show that those children who could wait had a much higher success rate than those who could not wait.

In the above experiment, Michel introduced the concept of “delayed gratification” – the ability to wait is the ability to delay gratification, and children with delayed gratification are more likely to succeed as adults.

Let babies learn to wait a while

Patience is not something children are born with, but it can be mastered through learning. Before a child can learn patience, he or she must have the “ability to measure and understand time” and the “ability to understand cause and effect” before we can develop the ability to tolerate frustration and delay gratification.

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Infants from zero to 18 months of age have only two or three minutes of patience. Even so, newborns must be taught to wait a while, and encouraging patience begins with simply telling them. When he hears your words, he will begin to think about what will come later, so parents can prepare their baby for his needs while describing in words what you have prepared for him. When a few months old baby hears you, he will stop fretting as a sign that he understands what you are saying, because language is linked to cause-and-effect thinking, so it helps babies learn to delay gratification.

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Become a secure attachment for your child.Parent-child interaction is especially important

Become a secure attachment for your child.

Parent-child interaction is especially important

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Written By: Ms. Lui Shuk Jing, Family Dynamics Personal, Marriage and Family Therapist

There is a Chinese saying “the age of three determines 80” and the West has another saying “The future is now”.It is clear that both Chinese and foreign parents have relevant parenting experience and believe that the early years are the golden age for shaping the healthy growth of their children. Many parents understand that they are the key influencers of their children’s growth, and that their children will learn by example, so they have to set an example and start to discipline them at a young age.

I believe that parents focus on disciplining their children’s behavior, but recent studies in medicine, science, psychology, and early childhood development all point to the interaction and relationship between parents and children as the foundation for their children’s development.

“Attachment Theory research clearly shows that as early as 0-18 months of age, a parent or primary caregiver forms a lifelong relationship pattern with the child that will be passed on for the rest of the child’s life. Once a secure attachment relationship is established, it is like a secure base that can be effective in dealing with future turbulent situations and in building the ability to have a successful family relationship.

Conversely, once an insecure relationship pattern is established, it can have a negative impact on an infant’s future growth, emotional processing, and family relationships.

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Secure Attachment

The key to establishing a secure attachment pattern is for parents to establish a secure attachment when their child is 0-18 months old. Parents can build secure attachments based on the following suggestions

  • Be close to your child often, especially when they need it, such as when they cry and see their parents comforting them so that they know you are always there for them.

  • Invest emotionally in the parent-child relationship so that your child knows that you enjoy spending time with them and are interested in them, rather than being preoccupied with your own work. So parents need to play with their children from time to time to increase parent-child interaction and communication.

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  • Parents are sensitive to their children’s emotional needs because children need you not only to meet their physical needs but also to care about their emotions and help them express and respond to them, especially negative emotions. When your child is dancing or smiling, you will help them say, “My baby is so happy! I’m so excited!” When your child is upset or crying, you will pick them up and offer protection and comfort. As they grow older, they will have more complex emotions, such as worry, fear, anger, frustration, and shame, and parents need to encourage and help their children express them, even though their negative emotions may have something to do with them.

Insecure Attachment

I have handled many cases in which the children are smart and well-behaved and have excellent academic performance, but they are very disturbed emotionally. Their parents think they are leading by example, loving their children and working hard, but they do not understand how their children can have emotional problems. If they look closely at the “attachment pattern” between themselves and their children to see if they are always

close to their children, if they are emotionally involved, and if they can meet their children’s emotional needs, it will be easy to find the core of the problem and help parents rebuild a secure attachment relationship with their children so that they can rely on them and build a foundation for growth.

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Failure to adequately address anxiety in young children may exacerbate separation anxiety

Failure to adequately address anxiety in young children may exacerbate separation anxiety

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Written by: New Horizons Development Centre, Certified Educational Psychologist Pang Chi Wah

As the school year begins again, many children cry when they first go to kindergarten. However, there are also children who can go to school without any adjustment period because their parents can prepare them mentally and practice simulations. For children, entering kindergarten may be their first major challenge because some children are separated from their families for the first time when they enter kindergarten, but once they have enough time to become familiar with the school environment, they will feel safe in kindergarten life and will not cry.

What bothers parents and teachers the most is that after a few weeks of enrollment, children continue to cry or expressly resist going back to school. In better cases, they may not like to participate in extracurricular activities, and in more severe cases, they may refuse to go to school, and in some extreme cases, they may not allow their parents to leave their sight. These are all separation anxiety problems.

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In fact, there may be deeper reasons why children do not adapt to being separated from their families that need to be understood in depth. For example, some children are admitted to the intensive care unit when they are newborn because they are underweight or have physical problems, or they need to be hospitalized or undergo surgery because they are sick. Although such medical support is necessary for them, it may also lead to traumatic psychological experiences for them, and since then they may be afraid of strangers or unfamiliar places and easily develop separation anxiety, and their sense of security is lower than other children.

In some even worse cases, parents are not allowed to work, or that the child needs to be left with a babysitter, but the children do not want to be left behind, so the parents consider the reality of their needs and have to forcibly separate from them or lie to them. As a result of parents’ misuse of inappropriate methods, their feelings of insecurity during infancy and early childhood are reinforced. The so-called traumatic experiences are actually events that cause them to be psychologically afraid.

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The main reason for the lack of security in young children is the separation from their families and the failure of parents to handle the situation properly. Ironically, some caregivers do not provide a safe and adequate living environment in their daily lives, and more importantly, there are frequent changes in caregivers or places, and there are strong contrasts in caregiving practices, causing them to go through psychological adjustment tests before they start school.

 

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Do children need to wear sunscreen when the sun shines?

Do children need to wear sunscreen when the sun shines?

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Written by:Dr. Chang Kit

With modern information flow is well developed, many health care-related knowledge is easily available. One of the things that people will increasingly understand is the importance of sunscreen protection. Too much UV light accelerates skin aging and increases melanin production, resulting in pigmentation. Although UV rays themselves are effective in helping to produce vitamin D and absorb calcium, Hong Kong is on the edge of a subtropical region and is exposed to more sunlight each year than the upper northern hemisphere (such as Canada and Europe), so even with sunscreen products, there are still many opportunities for exposure to the sun.

Don’t children need sunscreen?

Adults, especially women, are aware of the importance of sunscreen protection. This includes applying sunscreen regularly every day, replenishing sunscreen regularly and avoiding outdoor activities during the sunniest hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). In addition, you can also use a wide-brimmed hat and wear long-sleeved clothing. However, have you ever heard parents say, “Only adults need to wear sunscreen, not children? There are many parents who believe that children do not need sunscreen. There are three reasons for this.

1. children need more sunlight to be healthy

2. sunscreen is a chemical substance, which is not good for children’s delicate skin

3. it’s not a big deal if your child gets a little more sun.

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In fact, this is not the right idea. First of all, children basically don’t know how to protect themselves or how to avoid the sun, so they are “at risk”. Moreover, children’s skin is thinner and more tender than that of adults, so they are more prone to sunburn and sun spots, and therefore need more protection. On the other hand, the sunshine hours in Hong Kong and China are longer than those in Europe and North America, so the exposure to sunlight is already sufficient, so as long as there are normal outdoor activities, there is no fear of not having enough UV rays or vitamin D.

Choose the right sunscreen

As for the chemical nature of sunscreen, you should know that there are two types of sunscreens, including chemical and physical. The former needs to be absorbed by the skin in order to have a sunscreen effect, while the latter reflects sunlight on the surface of the skin. Therefore, if you are worried about the harmful effects of sunscreens, you can choose the physical type, such as zinc oxide. In addition, parents should not forget that clothing itself is also the most effective sunscreen, so wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and long pants are very important.

What will happen if you do not protect yourself from the sun?

1. General blemishes and freckles, especially on the nose and cheekbones

2. Skin sensitivity due to repeated sunburns

3. uneven skin tone, especially if sweat spots are also present

4. Roughness of the skin

5. Microscopic blood vessels and cherry nevi on the epidermis

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When parents understand the importance of the above sunscreen, they should no longer tell others: “Kids don’t need to use it!

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Wear face mask for long time during Epidemic. How to make children learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes”?

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Written by: Hong Kong Speech and Swallowing Therapy Centre
Senior Speech Therapist Eunice Siu

In our daily interactions with others, we not only observe others’ behaviors, but also “explain” and “predict” others’ behaviors. Theory of mind is the ability to infer or substitute other people’s mental states, such as their thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions, etc., and to use this ability to explain other people’s thoughts, perceptions, and predict their behaviors. Theory of mind can be subdivided into “emotion recognition”, “beliefs” and “pretend play”.

The developmental period for children’s theory of mind is from approximately 3 to 7 years of age. However, before the age of 3, children need to master the following skills to effectively develop theory of mind skills.

1. noticing and imitating the behavior of people around them
2. recognizing the emotions of others and using words to express them (e.g., happy, sad, angry, surprised)
3. participates in pretend play
4. understands that different people have different desires and preferences
5. understands that people will act to get what they want (e.g. reach for candy)
6. understands the causes and consequences of unsympathetic emotions (e.g. if I hit my brother, my mom will be mad and then she will scold me)

Ways to improve theory of mind are:

1. Use more psychologically relevant words when talking to your child

Using psychologically related words to communicate with children can help children understand their own and others’ psychological conditions more specifically. Examples of psychologically related words are “think,” “pretend,” “know,” “believe,” “feel,” and words related to emotions. Pay attention to what your child is trying to say and then respond. For example, “Ah! You want cake”, “Don’t be afraid! You think I’m gone, but I’m still here,” and “Mommy’s mad at you for hitting your brother. Parents can also explain to their children the psychological situation of others, e.g., “Mei-mei is smiling so much when she receives a birthday present, she should be very excited.

2. Participate in role-playing games with your child

Role-playing games encourage children to put themselves in different situations and characters’ perspectives to draw inferences about their behavior. To begin, children can pretend to be common everyday characters, such as mothers, doctors, teachers, and drivers. Parents should pay attention to the fact that both the words and behaviors in the game should be substituted for the role played. This activity helps children experience a variety of emotions, thoughts and interactions in different social situations, and learn to observe, imitate, anticipate, review and adjust their thoughts and behaviors.

I hope parents can make good use of the opportunity to share and communicate more with their children in daily life, so that they can learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes” (meaning read people’s faces) and become a “mind-reading detective”!

Source:
Hollin, P., Baron-Cohen, S.,& Hadwin,J.(1999). Teaching children with autism tomind-read. West Sussex, England: Wiely Press

Lowry, L.(2015).” Tuning in” to others: How young children develop theory of mind. The Hanen Centre.

Spastics Association of Hong Kong (2005). Connecting: Developing social skills in children with autism. Spastics Association of Hong Kong.