Playtimes April 2014 - page 47

hen Dallas Edwards
scanned her five-year-
old daughter’s most
recent report, she
was surprised to see a comment on
her child’s behaviour in class. “They
said she was a joy to teach, helpful
and caring towards classmates,”
says Dallas. Most parents would
be delighted with such feedback,
as Dallas was, but she was also
perplexed. At home, her daughter had
been answering back, defying almost
every request, whether it was to do
homework, eat dinner or change for
bed. And rather than caring for her
siblings, she’d banned her younger
brother from her bedroom. “At times,
it felt like living with a teenager,” her
mum says.
Behavioural difference around
others is a natural tendency, and not
just among children, says Professor
Cynthia Leung, a specialist in
parental training at The Hong Kong
Polytechnic University. “Ask yourself
if you behave differently around
different people,” she says. “We all
do, and to do so is part of a normal
spectrum of social skills,” she says.
There is often a clear underlying
reason for a child acting up at home,
says Cynthia, who created parental
empowerment programme, HOPE-
20. The quest is to find out what that
reason might be.
Is your child fooling you?
Elle Kwan
to find out why your child is an angel
everywhere else and a monster at home.
What’s the problem?
A long day at school dealing with
adults and kids socially and, perhaps,
reining in emotions, can be tiring for
children, who may relinquish that
control at home, either in floods of
tears or through defiant behaviour.
General tiredness can make the most
cheerful among us cranky, and can
be worse for kids at the beginning of
the school year when a routine is new
and challenging, or at the end, when
everyone (including Mum) is counting
down the days to a holiday. Being
rundown or coming down with an
illness can also bring on unexpected
bouts of awkward or uncompromising
behaviour. Such reasons can be
April 2014
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