1. My daughter is getting bullied at school because of her weight, which is undermining her confidence. She used to love going out with her friends, but now she only stays in. I have tried talking to her teachers, but nothing has worked. How can I help my daughter gain her self-esteem back? (Parent)

With media (TV, magazines, social media, internet) promoting the “perfect body,” it is difficult to shield children from it. Additionally, children as young as three years old can have body image issues as they interact with their friends and observe adults in their lives react and make comments about their body image.  As a parent, you can play a critical role in helping your child develop positive body image and self-esteem by changing the conversation you have with your child.

  • Be aware of your body image issues and actively share about people you admire based on attitude, kindness, or the work they do rather than how they look.
  • Be aware of how you react when you look at yourself in the mirror or when you take pictures. Children observe and inculcate values through our reactions.
  • Talk to your child about using Photoshop to alter pictures.
  •  Talk about eating healthy rather than about dieting.
  • Talk about being physically fit and ready for any activity and being strong rather than exercising to lose weight or to look good.
  • Praise your child about her inner rather than outer attributes.

Additionally, talk to your child’s teacher about this issue so that the teacher can address it to the whole class and ensure that children are developing positive body image and self-esteem.


  1. I just finished my SEE and my parents want me to take up science stream but I have no interest in that. I want to study humanities and take up English as my major subject in college. But they do not think I have any future in that line of work. How do I convince my parents? (Student)

The fact that your parents have given you a reason for not suggesting to take up English in college, gives me hope that they love you a lot and are reasonable people. Now all you have to do is, do your homework on what it is that you plan to do in the future and how your choice of major would aid in it. Then, share that with your parents. I am certain that as long as your parents see that you have a clear plan for your future, they will be more than happy to support you in your endeavors because they care for your happiness. Good luck!

  1. As a teacher I want to add more extracurricular activities in my school. When I proposed this to my supervisor, he refused my proposal saying that students need to focus on their academics, and extra activities will only distract them. How can I convince my management that extracurricular activities are also important?

I’m really happy to hear that you value extracurricular actives despite being a teacher of other subjects, which is not very common. Contrary to the popular belief that extracurricular activities distract children, resulting in poor academic performance, extracurricular activities and the academics complement each other to raise a well rounded student. You can share studies that show benefits of extracurricular activities with your school management. Some of the benefits that studies support are:

  • Students who participate in extracurricular activities have a marked improvement in their grades as a result of skills and attitude they learn in the process such as time management, determination, communication and expression.
  • Students who participate in extracurricular activities have better leadership skills as they learn skills such as teamwork, social skills and critical thinking skills.
  • Students who participate in extracurricular activities have a sense of commitment to whatever they are involved in as they have to commit and work hard to excel in such activities. This combination of passion and commitment or ‘grit’ has proven to be more important than IQ when one is trying to be successful.

Change is difficult but having shared this, you should be able to convince your school management to take small steps at a time to introduce activities in school. Good luck!