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In trouble for being inquisitive

MY son, who is nine years old, studies in a Chinese school. He is intelligent and a top student. My problem is he is very talkative, inquisitive and at times, annoying. Every answer is another question to him.

Since he started Primary One, my advice has fallen on deaf ears. He gets punished every day for talking in class. When I queried him, he replied that he could not control his mouth from talking.

I do not want him to be severely punished by the teachers for talking in class. Punishment – a blue-black thumb; a plaster over his moth; caning on his palm – does not seem to stop him from talking. I do not want to be called up to meet his teachers. Please advise me as to how to get him to keep quiet and behave in class. - Worried Mum

I FEEL sorry for the way your son is being treated in school. It is obvious he is interested in learning. Children who want to know more are often inquisitive and talkative. The problem lies with the teachers who treat them badly.

Set up a meeting with your son’s class teacher and have him sit in during the discussion. Your child needs to hear what his teacher has to say about his talking in class and her/his suggestions on how he should behave when he has a question or an idea he wants to share.

You may suggest to your son that he try writing down his ideas and approach his teachers when they are done with the class. Instead of constantly interrupting a lesson, he can contribute to it by taking notes of what the teacher says that intrigues him. When he is inspired to speak out loud, he may want to seek permission in a polite way.

MY three-year-old daughter has been sucking her thumb since birth. I tried giving her the pacifier but she always spat it out. She will poke her thumb into her mouth before sleeping or whenever her hand is not occupied with anything.

Now that she can understand things better, my husband and I have explained to her many times the negative effects of thumb-sucking (i.e. ingesting all the germs, the risk of bad breath, having others tease her, etc). But she doesn’t seem to care. A few times, her thumb even got sore from the sucking.

How can I stop her bad habit? Should I try putting something spicy on her thumb, following the old wives’ tale? - Helpless Mummy

THUMB-sucking is a common behaviour among toddlers. It is unsightly and embarrassing for parents, who worry that this habit will continue when the child is older. But is it really a problem? For whom?

Most children stop sucking their thumb by the time they go to kindergarten. Occasionally, some children may do it when they feel bored or anxious. In my opinion, thumb-sucking is more of a problem for parents than it is for children.

If you are really worried about her thumb getting sore, you can help her to keep it clean. Make sure you show her how to wash her hands and dry them. Remind her to wash her hands before and after she eats. You can start to teach her personal hygiene so that she will be healthy and happy.

You can also get your daughter to spend more time doing things with her hands. Plan hands-on activities such as playing with puzzles, play-dough, water and sand, paper-cutting with scissors, and threading with beads.

The idea is that the more time she spends working with her hands, the less time she will spend sucking her thumb.

To successfully get rid of this problem, your daughter has to be ready to do so. When she feels confident and secure, she may not need to do any thumb-sucking. So, avoid scolding or punishing her for her habit. Instead, focus your attention on helping her to feel good about herself.


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