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Why does my daughter not interact with others or us?

Q: I have two children. My daughter is 8 years old and my son is 3 and half years old. My daughter does not have any friends at school or at home. She is not responsive in class. Her grades are not very encouraging either. She watches a lot of TV, mostly cartoons. But she does not seem to pay attention, because when I ask her question regarding the cartoons, she does not answer and keeps quiet. At times, she seems lost when we call her. She is not very interactive with her peers or strangers and very rarely speaks out her mind. She also has developed a habit of picking things without asking. For example, if she wants to spend money at her school canteen, instead of asking us, she quietly takes the money from our wallet, which at times is very embarrassing. She is very shy and does not interact much. I am a working mother and also stay away from my family for almost a month, due to my work. My mother in law and husband take care of her. Please advise.

A:Your unfinished letter is itself an indication that you feel rushed and feel that you do not have enough time to take care of your children in the way you would like. It might even be that you do not want the family to know that you see something about your daughter as a problem and that you just pressed the SEND button as soon as possible. I think she needs to have a lot of time with a patient, caring adult. From your report, you do not have the time and one is not sure whether her father and grandmother spend quality time with her. The little girl does sound lonely and confused. As far as taking money from your purse, she may not consider it a wrong thing to do. Have you talked about this to her? It seems to me more an example of the trust that she has, that your money can also be used by her and for her needs. It is likely that the snacks that she takes from home are not adequate and that she wants to buy something from the canteen. This in itself should not be a problem. But you must make sure that she does not treat money as a substitute for the attention she craves from her mother. She needs to be reassured that her parents and grandmother love her unconditionally. Her self-confidence has to be built up gradually and only after that will she communicate openly with you and other adults. Please take some time off to attend to your daughter at the earliest. Consult a friendly Psychologist or Counsellor for details and procedures.

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