‘How do I help my daughter manage her weight?’

My son has chosen to do mathematics in class 11, but is not faring well, despite tuition. As a parent who wants to encourage her child but also knows the reality of cut-offs for college admissions, how do I approach this? I would like him to consider another subject.

Mathematics is one subject that usually has students either loving it or being terrified of it. Having said that tuition which may involve repetition of current topics or concepts may not necessarily fix any gaps in learning that could have occurred in his earlier years. Mathematics depends greatly on the concepts mastered earlier and therefore an effective strategy to help him will be to understand the mastery level of his skills for all previously learnt concepts and then systematically addressing them.

Unless your son wishes to choose another subject, it would be wise as a parent to play a supportive role by helping him and supporting him through his choices. Pushing him to quit may result in him perceiving parental support as a lack of parental trust in his ability.

I caught my kid brother watching porn. Should I tell our parents, or simply have a chat with him, and if yes, then what should I say?

Since you have not mentioned how old your kid brother is – if he is a teenager, have a friendly chat with him and also let him know healthy limits in use of the internet and about internet safety. Don’t limit it to your interaction involving porn.

Also try and monitor his usage of the internet for safety. If your brother is younger, it will be wise to speak to your parents and also restrict the use of the internet and have more supervision of his internet usage by allowing him to use a desktop or laptop in the living room where adults are likely to be around.

My daughter is overweight and does not like to play games. How should I broach the fact that she needs to reduce weight with her?

An active and fit lifestyle is often just modelled behaviour. Unless your daughter has the opportunity to observe all the adults at home making healthier choices including diet and exercise just talking about it will not help. Join her for small walks initially and let her enjoy the bonding and the conversation that goes along with the walk. Slowly you can include sport as part of the process.

Help her become a part of small cooking projects where she can make interesting and healthy recipes along with you. Your approach needs to be supportive to help her develop health and fitness and not just losing weight which can lead to complex interpretations like body shaming and poor self-worth as a result of her body image.

Aarti C Rajaratnam is a Salem-based consultant psychologist at Million Smiles, and is specialized in childhood and adolescent mental health with close to two decades of experience, working closely with parents, teachers and students.

Nothing in this column is intended to be, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek independent advice from a licensed practitioner if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. Email us your questions at

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Printable version | May 4, 2021 9:15:44 PM |

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