CHILDHOOD TANTRUMS

CHILDHOOD TANTRUMS

What are tantrums?

Tantrums represents a child’s way of communication being upset in the absence of matured language or expressive skills. They can involve sudden bursts of anger, frustration and disorganised behaviour. The child may demonstrate cats of crying, screaming, kicking, falling down, flailing about or running around. Sometimes, they may hold their breath, vomit, break things or get aggressive. It is also a learned behaviour.

Click below to watch a video on how to deal with tantrums

Why do tantrums happen?

Tantrums are very common in children aged between 1-3 years because at this age, the child’s social and emotional skills are only just starting to develop at this age. Children have not learnt enough words to express their emotions yet.

There are some factors which may make a child more likely to throw a tantrum:

  • Stress, hunger, tiredness or being overstimulated. In these situations, a child is more likely to throw a tantrum
  • Situations that children just can’t cope with. A child may not be able to do a puzzle or had a toy taken by another child
  • Each child has different ways of reacting to being upset or frustrated

How to reduce the chance of tantrums

Here are some things you can do to make tantrums less likely to happen:

  • Reduce stress or tiredness. Let your child sleep when he/she is tired.
  • Tune in to your child’s feelings. Help your child manage his/her feelings in a calm manner
  • Identify tantrum triggers so that you can prepare ahead. If your child throw tantrums when you do grocery shopping, it might help to go after your child has had a nap and a snack.
  • Talk about emotions with your child. For example, ‘Did you throw your puzzle because you were upset you could not fix it? What else could you have done?’

How to handle tantrums

Sometimes tantrums will happen, no matter what you do to avoid them. Here are some tips to handle tantrums:

  • Stay calm and do not get angry because it will make the situation worse. Keep your voice calm and avoid showing your emotions of frustration or anger
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings to prevent the behaviour getting more out of control. It also gives your child a chance to calm down
  • Wait out the tantrum but stay close to your child so that he/she knows you are around
  • Try not to give in to what your child wants but instead reason with him/her
  • Do not give rewards to manage the tantrum as it will send a wrong message to the child
  • Be consistent and calm in your approach

Click below to watch a video on 5 tips to handle your child’s tantrums

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Ms Katyana

Ms Katyana

Psychologist

AUTISM: HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SYMPTOMS

AUTISM: HOW TO RECOGNISE THE SYMPTOMS

When you suspect that your child may have some behavioural issues, you need to know what symptoms to look out for.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterised by ‘persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, including deficits in social reciprocity, nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction and skills in developing, maintaining and understanding relationships’.

More than half the children would have the diagnosis by the age of 6 years and over 90% diagnosed by the age of 12 years.  Boys are affected more often than girls.

Source: canada.ca/en/public-health

Definition (DSM-V Criteria)

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities
  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capabilities or may be masked by learned strategies in later life
  • Symptoms can cause clinically significant impairment
  • Disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability and Global Developmental Delay (GDD)
Source: harkla.co

What are these repetitive patterns of behaviour?

  • Stereotypes or repetitive motor movements, use of objects or speech
  • Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines or ritualised patterns of either verbal or non-verbal behaviour
  • Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • Hyperactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects on environment

Click below to watch a video on 10 early signs which may suggest ASD

There are 3 levels of severity in ASD

Level 1: Requires support

  • Without support in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments
  • Difficulty initiating social interactions and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful responses to social overtures of others
  • May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions
  • Inflexibility of behaviour causes interference with function
  • Difficulty switching between activities
  • Problems of organisation and planning hamper independence

Level 2: Requires substantial support

  • Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills even with support
  • Limited initiation of social interactions (reduced responses to social overtures from others)
  • Inflexibility of behaviour, difficulty coping with change or other repetitive behaviours appear frequently enough t be obvious to the casual observer
  • Difficulty changing focus or action

Level 3: Requires very substantial support

  • Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning resulting in limited initiation of social interactions
  • Minimal response to social overtures from others
  • Inflexibility of behaviour, extreme difficulty coping with change or other repetitive behaviours markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres
  • Great distress when changing focus or action

Take your child to a child psychologist or therapist for assessment if you have any concerns.

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Ms Katyana

Ms Katyana

Psychologist

OUR PICK ON TOP 5 HEALTHIEST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

OUR PICK ON TOP 5 HEALTHIEST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Image Source: Pixabay

Psst.. check out our pick on top 5 healthiest new year’s resolution.

With 2018 coming to an end, making too many new year’s resolutions might be difficult to accomplish. Try to focus on simple and healthy resolutions. Pretty sure you can achieve at least one resolution from the list below, now go for it!

Image Source: Stock Unlimited

1. Lose weight

This resolution tops everyone’s list every year. Are you guilty of it too? Now that the holiday season will be over soon, it’s time to eat clean after a month-long of binge eating with family and friends. Party is over! Time to hit the gym.

Learn more on ‘How much should we exercise daily’ here and ‘Part 1 of what is your body type and how to lose weight’ here and ‘Part 2 of what is your body type and how to lose weight’ here. 

Image Source: Fit Girl Code

2. Drink more water

Cut down on caffeine, alcohol or unhealthy fizzy drinks. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day and you’ll see major improvement on your skin! It’s recommended to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses which is equal to 2 litres.

Learn more about healthy eating ‘Let nutrition determine the way you age’ here and ‘Bad calories, good calories – know the difference’ here.

Image Source: Next Avenue

3. Quit Smoking

This resolution was in your list last year? Try again and never fear to fail! Identify your triggers and patterns to overcome it. If you tend to smoke due to peer pressure or social circle (it’s hard to avoid when your family, friends or co-workers smoke as well), let them know that you can’t join them for smoking break session anymore. Try to go for healthier routines such as taking a break with non-smokers or go for a short gym session during your break.

Image Source: The Balance

4. Volunteering

Volunteering benefits yourself and others. You’ll get the feel good factor and increased happiness by helping other people. You can also meet new friends and create an opportunity for a social change. Besides meeting new people, you’ll also get to learn new skills or info from volunteering work.

Learn more about ‘Healthy Aging’ here.

Image Source: Fotolia

5. Travel

Be it a short trip or a long trip, try to plan for a trip twice a year. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, luxury trip. Discovering new places or countries can be exciting and intriguing. A trip is always something you’ll look forward to everyday and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a trip!

Learn more about ‘Healthcare checklist before you travel abroad’ here.

 

SLEEP DISORDERS

SLEEP DISORDERS

The normal sleep cycle consists 4 stages of non-REM sleep cycles and 1 cycle of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep throughout the night. When your sleep cycles are disturbed, you wake up feeling tired and difficulty concentrating during the day.

  • NREM sleep. These four stages start from very light sleep during Stage 1 down to very deep sleep in Stage 4. Throughout NREM sleep, there is little muscle activity and it is very difficult to wake someone in stage 4 sleep. Deep sleep helps to restore your body and muscles from stresses of the day
  • REM sleep: This is the stage of sleep in which most dreaming occurs and our eyes are thought to move in relation to the visual images of our dreams

Each cycle lasts around 90 minutes consisting of the 5 stages of sleep.

During the night, the amount of time spent in each stage varies; we spend more time in stages 3 & 4 in the beginning of the night and more time in REM stage towards the morning. Increasing age also changes our sleep patterns as we require less time sleeping while babies spend 50% sleep time in REM stage.

Our internal clock situated at the hypothalamus dictates our normal circadian rhythm which helps us stay awake during the day and gets us ready to sleep at night. However, this rhythm can be disturbed by travelling through different time zones (jet lag) or doing shift work. Psychological issues such as stress or depression can also disturb your sleep pattern.

How can sleep deprivation affect health or quality of life?

  1. Good sleep is important for healthy brain function such as thinking, memory, learning, decision making and creativity
  2. Important for physical health such as:
  • Healing and repair of the body
  • Growing in children
  • Maintaining balance hormones (growth hormone)
  • Sleep deprivation results in poor blood sugar control
  • Obesity risk in sleep deficiency
  • Ensuring good immune system

Common Sleep Disorders
Common sleep disorders include insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

  1. Insomnia

Image Source: iStock

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep or wake up too early in the morning and feeling tired. The usual time to fall asleep is 10-20 minutes.

The causes can be:

  • Primary (not related to any medical issues)
  • Secondary (related to medical issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, chronic pain from arthritis, asthma, cancer or side-effects of medication)

Treatment involves practising good sleeping habits such as:

  • Going to bed (and waking) at the same time every night
  • Follow the same routine to help you relax before sleep
  • Avoid playing with light emitting devices just before sleep as they stimulate the brain and makes it harder to fall asleep
  • Try to avoid a heavy meal prior to bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine 3-4 hours before sleep
  • Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime as the adrenaline release stimulates the brain and body making it difficult to fall asleep
  1. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnoea. Around 15-20% of adults experience OSA and it is associated with being overweight, older age groups, smokers, rhinitis, pharyngeal reflux and in males. During sleep, our muscle tone relaxes and the airway lumen diminishes which requires more respiratory effort. This increase in respiratory effort results in negative airway pressure causing the airway soft tissue to flop back and obstruct the airway.

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HEALTHY AGEING: HAVE A PURPOSE, DREAM AND GOAL IN LIFE

HEALTHY AGEING: HAVE A PURPOSE, DREAM AND GOAL IN LIFE

Read 10 points to healthy ageing here.

When we discuss ageing issues the first thing that comes to our mind are the physical issues. However we humans actually should look at ageing from the perspective of Mind, Body and Spirit. We actually are a combination of this three ‘things’. The Spirit I talk of here is really our Purpose. I will define Purpose as simply the reason we were born. All of us are unique and each one of us has our own unique purpose.

However a lot of people go through life without ever finding out their purpose. Sometimes I agree it can be difficult. Most of us go through life like been on a treadmill and been stuck in our daily rut. Our purpose can be something unique to us. How do you know what is your purpose? It will be something that excites you when you think about it. You feel happy when you are doing it and will do it even if you do not get paid for it.

Image Source: Pixabay

Why is purpose important for healthy ageing? I have seen that purpose driven people seem to age better. In addition, it drives you to get up in the morning to complete your tasks. There are enough studies to show that people who retire too early and have nothing to do and do nothing have shorter life spans. Be it a hobby or any activity, do something even if you have retired. Always have new dreams and new goals to achieve.

Image Source: Pexels

So, if we still do not know what is our purpose, then just start with dreams and goals. Your dreams can be materialistic in the beginning and goals can be put in place to achieve them. Again your dreams and goals must be specific. There are enough books written on these subjects and you can read them but never under estimate the power of the mind in healthy ageing.

Keeping the mind active is also a key element in healthy ageing. Mental stimulation keeps the deadly disease Alzheimer’s away. Always keep your mind active by reading and engaging in mental activities. That’s why having Dreams, Goals and a Purpose will keep you active both mentally and physically. This helps to release the right chemicals and hormones in your body that will energize you and keep you feeling younger. People with dreams, goals and a purpose also are more happy and less at risk from loneliness and depression.

Image Source: Pixabay

So in your quest for longevity and ageing well, remember that that your Mind and Spirit are the most important and you need to get them right before you even look at the physical elements.

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Dato' Dr. Rajbans Singh

Dato' Dr. Rajbans Singh

Wellness & Anti-Ageing Consultant

SURVIVING CHILDHOOD TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES

SURVIVING CHILDHOOD TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES

Growing up, we experience many new, unexpected encounters – and many of those encourage new behaviours to form which we then can classify them into separate clusters in our memories. One may be happy events which are unthreatening in nature and we classify them fondly in our memory banks as loving and cherished events which fosters our well-being as individuals. Another one may be unexpected, tumultuous events which we can classify as possibly threatening and classifying them under life-skills might be helpful when we run into a similar scenario again – for instance, how did we cope when a friend we were having coffee with unexpectedly fainted?

However, there exists a third category of events which is unsettling, and is not in the normal scale of events – the crisis. As we all currently are gripped with the ongoing crisis of the Thailand boys’ soccer team caught in a cave during the monsoon storm, we need to also understand the mental and emotional changes they might be facing, not just the physical and physiological demands their bodies will be making on them.

Image Source: Pexels

During the initial phase of the crisis, one’s body and mind is thrown into a ‘flight-or-fight’ response whereby the priority is to keep one alive – so when we are faced with a crisis our internal system cries ‘Danger! Danger!’ and we utilise tunnel vision to get to safety. Once that is done, our bodies then send out signals that indicate we are safe and it’s time to let down our emotional and mental guard, and usually that’s when we become aware of being physically tired and drained, as our system does a ‘internal maintenance check’ and demands fuel in terms of rest and food and water.

However, in cases whereby these resources are scarce, or very little, it is useful to utilise a ‘mind over matter’ approach to help the body utilise its own resources – and done in a mindfulness manner can help calmness spread over not just our internal self, but can affect those in our environment in a positive, way too. In a way, this was encouraged by the Thai coach who taught the boys mindfulness techniques to keep calm. This approach also gives the panicked brain something useful and congruent to focus on.

Image Source: Pexels

Once rescued from the crisis scenario and environment, we need to be aware that our brain processes events differently and we might be impacted via nightmares, not being focused at work or school, having difficulty sleeping or eating, and at various points during the day we might become reminded of the stressful event seemingly without a trigger and the memory which washes over us can be an extremely anxiety-provoking event. It’s important that once we leave the scenario of a crisis we take the time to not just do a physical examination of our body, but also complete an on-going ‘internal maintenance check’ of our mind.

 One of the ways as mentioned above is to be able to calm our minds with mindfulness on a regular basis. By practising this, when we are caught unaware during a trigger memory, we can utilise the mindfulness method to help us calm down.

Another one is to keep a daily journal of thoughts that arise from the trigger memory – the most debilitating feelings we tend to associate with crisis and trauma is fear and helplessness – and those two feelings tend to hold us in paralysis. Once we are able to become aware of the strength of these feelings which hold us in a grip, we can then consciously decide to process them – either with a trusted friend, or in cases whereby the re-experience is intense or we are concerned that it will become debilitating, to process them with a trusted professional such as a mental health counsellor.

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Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Psychologist

 

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