Monday, December 30, 2013

Minors on the Catwalk

My recent interview published in Sunday Life & Times, News Straits Times on Dec 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why do children cheat in exam?

I notice that the trend of children cheating in Malaysia is consistent with the reported data in the U.S.

Clinical psychologists and other educational experts found that grades are more important than learning—it is linked to higher rates of cheating. Because children constantly receive messages that they are good when they have achieved something, they cheat to win as they want to be the best!

Children may cheat in exam to keep up with their peers or to please parents or teachers. Other children start feeling pressured by sports, co-curriculum activies and skills enrichment programs that they have been left with little time for study.

Some parents get stressed up, consequently, they become too involved in their children's homework and school activities. Children are enrolled in abundance of tutions in Malaysia. Some schools have prolonged learning period till very late afternoon. In fact, apart being 'programmed' by their parents, the children themselves request for tuitions due to stiff competitions.

Clinically, children appear fatigue, irritable and have fear, which can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

To my surprise, children with poor study skills or learning disabilities are especially vulnerable; poor impulse control is linked with a higher readiness to cheat, says 2010 study of 189 children in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Peer pressure to cheat is huge. If your classmate asks for answers and don't share them, it can be a major offense among the kids.   According to a 2012 survey of 23,000 high-school students by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, in Los Angeles, cheating rates rise through middle school and by high school, 51% of students admit to cheating on a test in the past year, and 74% say they have copied another student's homework.    This figure is worrisome, what do these figures imply- our future generation?

This is totally not a healthy phenomenon! Definitely, it's the talking topic in child clinical psychology currently.

Friday, March 15, 2013

School Refusal

It has been a busy week .....

I have received many school refusal cases especially  after the Chinese New Year school holiday.

Common reasons of not wanting to go to schools among Malaysian children that I have encountered are peers rejection, homework pressure, overly protective  or neglect parenting, anxious-shy personality, low self-esteem, learning disorders, and inept coping skills. Sometimes it also includes complaints about the disturbances from the spirits.

Children often manifest their fear and worries the night before going to school the next day. Getting ready to go to school is really a struggle.

My treatment approach often involves the following: addressing the learning and academic issues, parent work and/or filial therapy cum behavior therapy, expressive art therapy or play therapy, social skills training and problem solving skills.

I wish to highlight that , it is hard to get suitable social skills training programs for children in Kuala Lumpur, and at large in Malaysia. While most commercialized social skills programs are too 'advanced' for children with special needs or psychology issues, other social skills  programs offer by NGOs are too simple for these children. Almost close to none that the public or private schools provide formal social skills training. As such, the burdens fall back on parents' shoulders to form an appropriate peer group for their children. Psychologists in Malaysia, sometimes, are also at their ends' wits to recommend a suitable social skills program.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hi everyone,

Our new website has been launched. Kindly visit