I have three kids, two girls and a boy, all below 12. I find it very difficult to give my daughters the attention and the quality time they need, as my son, the youngest, monopolises my attention every waking hour. Any suggestions?

Firstly, let us tell you, you shouldn’t feel guilty. You are trying to do your best and that counts for a great deal. However, in this situation, consistency is key here to reduce the impact of this on your family life. Every time he crosses those boundaries you need to respond in the same way and don’t ever give in to unreasonable demands. To do this, give one clear verbal warning if this is appropriate for the age of your son. If this is not heeded and he is old enough, give him a timeout for a number of minutes corresponding to his age, and keep doing this until he apologises for his behaviour. It will be intense at first, but if you remain solid in your responses, you will break the pattern of ‘tantrum = attention’. It may be a power struggle or even time consuming at first, but it will pay off. And if not done, you will make a rod for your own back, later, in his teens, as the negative behaviour will be harder to change as he gets older, so it’s worth starting this immediately.

My seven-year-old daughter talks a lot about deaths these days. She suddenly starts crying thinking we all will die. How can I counsel her?

It is a normal phenomenon for children to have some specific fears at different points in their childhood. As your child grows and is exposed to sources to learn more about the world, certain things definitely becomes frightening and confusing at the same time. However, you need not worry about this and understand that this and such similar fears usually disappear on their own as your daughter further expands her experiences of life. Moreover, it’s common for children of your daughter’s age to start having fears and curiosity about death and dying, as they develop these feelings for themselves and/or for other people close to her in the immediate family and within the friend circle.

What you can do is…

• Be receptive to her concerns and queries, try resolve them for her.

• Be patient, comforting and reassuring.

• Be careful not to criticise or minimise her fears.

• Have positive conversations as much possible in front of her.

• Indulge her in some creative and physical activities.