Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
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Discipline for a disruptive child

In this file photo, a schoolboy takes a dangerous short cut over the fence of St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston. - File

Q. I have a nine-year-old son who has been consistently indisciplined when it comes to his schoolwork. He has been disruptive in class and he refuses to do his classwork. I have tried every possible thing I can think of to win him but my efforts thus far have proved to be futile. Can you refer me to a child psychologist? Are there any Government organisations that provide such services at a minimal cost?

A. You can get child psychology services at the Mico CARE Centre in Kingston (929-7720), the Vista Counselling Centre in Mandeville (382-7034), the Family Counselling Centre in St Ann's Bay (972-7598) and at many Government hospitals and clinics across the island. Go to your local clinic or hospital and ask when the persons who provide mental health services visit. These professionals will test your child and if the specific help is not available at the hospital or clinic, they will guide you to professionals who will be able to help you. Remember, this counselling will not just be individual counselling for your son, but for your family also.

Q. My son is great at music and wants to do nothing else in school. He is 15 years old. How can I convince him to study?

A. You can let your son know that he will need to be able to read and write well so that he will understand contracts that are given to him to sign. Let him know that good math and accounting skills will help him to monitor and manage his money. Have him sit with a responsible musician or his music teacher who will be honest with him about the music business. A counsellor or a psychologist can also guide him with regard to options and opportunities in the field of music. Keep encouraging him to use his God-given talents.

Q. I came across a large amount of money in my daughter's room last week. She said that she is involved in a partner at school. I do not want to pry, but is it okay that I check it out?

A. It is very important that you check out the source of this money right away. You need to know who, what, where, when, why and how this money came about. Partners can be risky ventures. You can teach her to save by opening an account with a local bank or credit union. Remember, you will be seen as ultimately responsible for all actions that your child takes. Keep on being involved in all aspects of her life. Be involved but ensure that you do not overdo it or you will push her away.

Orlean Brown-Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems across the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to helpline@gleanerjm.com or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.

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