Psychotherapist and Counsellor Minu Budhia (Founder – Director, Caring Minds) answers your questions on behavioural changes in adolescents and tech addiction in children.
Q. My son is 14. He’s lost interest in his hobbies, his friends, wants to stay alone, and is frequently rude and angry. Please suggest how to handle this situation?
A. It is usual for teenagers to undergo a number of physical, mental, and emotional changes that make them feel awkward, frustrated, unattractive, and misunderstood, leading to low self-esteem and low self-confidence. Lashing out and wanting to stay alone for a small period of time is part of growing up, but if this behaviour has been getting worse for over a month, a positive action to take would be to visit a counsellor.
Q. My 11-year-old daughter is glued to the screen. She won’t eat, sleep, or do anything without my phone. She even cries, hits, and throws tantrums in public when I don’t give the phone. What should I do?
A. Children today are given phones and tabs from their diaper days. While parents often do this to keep them quiet, still, entertained, and safe in one place, it has undesired side-effects. The ideal way to go about it is to slowly reduce the screen time. Make a routine covering each day of the week and have fixed times where she can use the phone under supervision. Explain that screen time is a privilege and not a 24×7 affair. At all other times keep your internet disconnected or password protected. Children mimic the behaviour of their parents, so actively limit your own time using the phone to set a positive example. When she does follow what you say, reward her with positive experiences instead of material things or food.
Find solutions to your other questions in her column Mind Matters https://minubudhia.com/writer/mind-matters-articles/
Send her your questions on firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet them with #AskMinuBudhia