1. Sometimes parents may have views with their children on some social issues, how can parents discuss these topics constructively without breaking the relationship?
Young people are at the stage of establishing values and cultivating independent thinking. It is indeed a good sign that they can express their ideas and opinions. However, when opinions differ, parents are advised to stay calm and maintain open-minded, as well as to address the feelings before going into the discussion.
1. Seek consensus with both sides to stay calm during discussion, agree to stop if either party become emotional unstable.
2. Children may have different feelings, like sadness, anger or fear, towards the recent social issues. Parents can first let their children share and ventilate their feelings, they can also share their own feelings and support each other.
1. Parents can clarify the source of information with their children, understand the progress of the issues from different views and perspectives. Also, parents are advised to fact-check before forwarding information and making comments.
2. Social and political issues are complicated. Don't let your children have the perception that "you must be right, I must be wrong." This will only make the situation worse and confrontational. It is better to think together especially when the situation is still not clear.
Source: Ms. Wong, Social Worker, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society
2. My children spend all their time surfing websites and playing online games. I worried that they will have internet addiction but I am not familiar with this problem.
First of all, it is suggested that parents should try to find out the cause of their children’s internet addiction problem. Many parents might simply think their children find the online games too attractive and they are immature to spend their time wisely. Actually, the internet addiction is just the tip of an iceberg. It is important for parents to be aware that the addiction problem is an indicator showing the unmet needs of young internet addicts. For example, children relying on the internet may be a manifestation of their needs for gaining sense of achievement, or they regard this as the only way out to seek excitement and relieve their dissatisfaction. Hence, it is important for parents to find out the cause of the internet addiction problem so as to address the needs of their children.
Source: Ms. Lok, Social Worker, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society
3. I witnessed my classmates having conflicts at school and I wish I know how can I help them.
Your concern about the needs of other students and intention to help them is appreciated. First of all, you should ensure your own safety. In case of emergency, you should inform the teacher or school social worker at once. If the situation allows it, you can try to tell your classmates to calm down and encourage them to seek mediation from teachers or peer mediators. It is crucial to avoid adding fuel to the fire or favoring any parties involved. We believe students can express their needs and feelings in an appropriate manner through mediation, and learn to resolve disputes in a peaceful and constructive way.
Source: Ms. Lee, Social Worker, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society
4. I have heard that “Smart Drugs” are available at pharmacies. I wonder what are these drugs and where can people buy them.
“Smart Drugs” being abused by some students include Ritalin, Adderall and Modafinil. These drugs, controlled under the Dangerous Drug Ordinance and are registered pharmaceutical products under the Pharmacy and Poison Ordinance, are prescribed mainly for hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy and are prescription drugs. They are used for improving attention deficit problems. However, abusing these drugs, not only would not help learning, but is also hazardous to health.
Source: Ms. Siu, Clinical Psychological Service, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society and Pharmacy & Poisons Board of Hong Kong
5. Open examination is approaching so the children are getting nervous. As parents, what should we do to help them?
School social workers have received a lot of enquiries from parents before DSE in recent years. Parents are concerned about their children are stressful in the run up of the examination and would like to learn how can they help to relieve their pressure.
Parents are advised to adjust their worrying level to avoid being affected by their children’s negative emotions. Try not to be critical and compare their children with others. Children will find parents’ company and listening ears very helpful. If parents can share their own experience of sitting for open examinations with their children, children will understand parents have faced similar challenges before and can learn from them how to cope with pressure.
Parents can also support their children in other ways such as cooking soup and children’s favorite dish to show support, arrange a pre site visit to the examination centre so as to find out the most suitable route, etc.
Encouraging children to spend time on doing outdoor activities, such as playing badminton, go hiking or doing other exercises is also good for relaxing.
We do not support parents buying drugs at pharmacies to help ease children’s sleeping problems. Parents are advised to consult doctors and follow doctor’s instructions to take prescribed drugs to help tackle children’s sleeping and eating disorder problems, etc.
Source: Mr. Ng, Social Worker, Hong Kong Family Welfare Society
6. I suspected my kid has special educational needs. What should I do?
The major types of Special Educational Needs (SEN) include:
Specific learning difficulties
Autism spectrum disorders
Attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder
Speech and language impairment
If you suspect your kid has special educational needs, you can seek help from the following services:
Pre-school years: The Integrated Child Health and Development Programme of the Department of Health, Child Assessment Service under the Hospital Authority or Rehabilitation Service of the Social Welfare Department conduct assessment and check up for children in need.
School age years: The Education Bureau mainly provides assessment services for public sector or subsidised primary and secondary school students who have learning difficulties or speech impairment. Referrals will be made for students to receive specialised check up at the Department of Health/the Hospital Authority
Referral of pre-school rehabilitation services for children from birth to age under six with special needs assessed
Rehabilitation services of Social Welfare Department, Department of Health, and the Hospital Authority's Child Assessment Service arrange and coordinate the rehabilitation services for children with special needs
The Education Bureau provides primary and secondary school students with special educational needs in government or aided schools with appropriate education and support services, hearing aids, ear models and related hearing services. Referral to the Hospital Authority's specialist treatment services if necessary.
Ngau Tau Kok Service Centre