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Is my child the impulsive kinds?

Tuesday, 06 February 2007
Answered by: Dr. S. Anandalakshmy
Consultant in Child Development & Education,

Chennai
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Q. My 8 year-old son rushes through everything, especially his schoolwork. He tends to take the easy way out when it comes to schoolwork. He makes As & Bs, but one of his grades has dropped and his teacher said it was because he is rushing and not taking his time. He just began piano lessons and is rushing with that as well. He memorises the keys once he has read the notes but doesn't keep the correct tempo unless his piano teacher instructs him to do so. He also takes Taekwondo classes and often rushes through his form movements except on the day of testing for the next belt. His pre-school teacher used to make the same comments. If he were only rushing through his schoolwork and making poor grades, that would be one thing, but it appears that he just rushes through with most of the things. What could be causing him to want to rush so much?

A.  Children, like adults differ in temperament and working style. There is a standard test in Psychology, where the categories are ‘Impulsive’ and ‘Reflective’. I have not favoured use of the test as I feel that dividing all people into only TWO categories will not be very useful. There is a continuum along which all of us will be found to function. Some children may just be closer to one end of the spectrum than others. In itself, it is not a problem, but it can result in minor glitches because sufficient attention is not paid to details. Perhaps you should start your son on Chess, where he will have to think of his moves and develop patience. Or even model making with Meccano. I think his leisure time is fully taken up with Piano lessons, Taekwondo, etc. Perhaps he needs to have some unscheduled time to read books or play games, where he can initiate the change of activity. Possibly he is rushing through his activities because he wants to do something else. Talk to him and explain why you are concerned. A child who is fast at everything also has a head start, in a manner of speaking. He will also be the best source of information about himself!

A.  Children, like adults differ in temperament and working style. There is a standard test in Psychology, where the categories are ‘Impulsive’ and ‘Reflective’. I have not favoured use of the test as I feel that dividing all people into only TWO categories will not be very useful. There is a continuum along which all of us will be found to function. Some children may just be closer to one end of the spectrum than others. In itself, it is not a problem, but it can result in minor glitches because sufficient attention is not paid to details. Perhaps you should start your son on Chess, where he will have to think of his moves and develop patience. Or even model making with Meccano. I think his leisure time is fully taken up with Piano lessons, Taekwondo, etc. Perhaps he needs to have some unscheduled time to read books or play games, where he can initiate the change of activity. Possibly he is rushing through his activities because he wants to do something else. Talk to him and explain why you are concerned. A child who is fast at everything also has a head start, in a manner of speaking. He will also be the best source of information about himself!

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