Most parents of special needs children have a tough time dealing with the experience.
Ar Man, for example, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder since primary two, is now in primary four with a list of worsening behavioral symptoms at home and in school.
At first, whenever he threw a tantrum, he would aimlessly throw things around, making a mess. At school, he would search for pieces of paper and tear them all apart.
Lately, he has been roaring like a lion and biting others.
Ar Man’s parents are under pressure raising him, not knowing how to correct his behavior.
During the session, I was listening to the anxious mother while watching the father seated quietly beside her.
“My son has already been prescribed a higher dose. Why has he not improved at all? Do you think the doctor is wrong?” the mother asked.
I told her to take a break and wait outside the consultation room.
I then asked her husband, “Why do you think Ar Man shouts and roars?”
He said: “My wife often shouts and complains about his behavior.”
We then overheard a dispute — Ar Man was yelling at his grandfather while the mother was trying to calm him down.
“Besides us, Ar Man is also being looked after by grandpa as well,” the father said.
“Obviously we are talking about three different parenting styles here. Your wife is the toughest, with high expectations from him. You are in the middle and do not go into strict parenting entirely. As for grandpa, he is too lenient, letting Ar Man behave as he likes,” I said.
Frequent quarrels have broken out between husband and wife over raising Ar Man.
It is important to come up with a consistent parenting style, where adults should reward and punish certain behavior, so that children will follow and respect the rules.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 10
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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