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Help! My child needs a counsellor

Published:Monday | April 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q. The reason for this message is to state that I have an eight-year-old child and I am having difficulties with him since he started primary school. I must say that he is a very bright student with a lot of potential, but he has a problem focusing, listening and following instructions. I
found your email address in an article in the paper last week. I have
asked the school's guidance counsellors for a reference so that my son
can get counselling but, up to this time, I have not received it. Can
you please recommend a child counsellor to whom we can both go, so that I
can help with his development before he gets older?

We are happy that you are showing such important interest in your child's life. If you are in the Kingston area you can call Family Life Ministries at 926-8101, in the Mandeville area you can call 382-7034 or if you are in Western Jamaica you can call 579-5634 for help with educational and psychological services for your child.

Q. My 10-year-old is an only child and insists on being next door where there are several other children. The problem I have is that they are not monitored and I am fearful of them getting into trouble. Is it okay for me to say so to the neighbours? I have heard that they say that I think that my son is better than their children and I do not want him to visit their house.

A. You are on the right track. No child or children should be left unsupervised. As an adult and a responsible parent you need to share your concerns with the other parents; and, be frank with your son and let him know why you are concerned. If possible, you can have the other children visit your home with their parents' permission, from time to time.

Q. My son is two years away from GSAT but his school has already started the frenzy about the examination. How can I keep him calm amidst all the hype over this exam? They have sent home info regarding pre-GSAT summer school.

A. As a parent, you need to start reassuring your son that you only want him to do his best and be supportive of him. Ensure that if you do send him to the classes he still has fun over the holidays. Continue to do what you have always done. Check his homework, play fun academic games with him and keep his social life as normal as possible.

Orlean Brown Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.