Parents don’t know this truth but many things come into your lives disguised as “focus” or to be precise the “lack of focus”. In today’s world it seems to be a scarce skill that each parent wants his child to learn because it is an important element for academic and personal success.

I have seen parents with children of all ages asking me to help their child be ‘more focused’. I have coached children from 7-17 years who are struggling with a lack of focus and unable to concentrate at school, during class, and the worst offence, during exams. Some children struggle with being focused even while brushing their teeth, forgetting to rinse their mouths afterwards.

Of course, most parents argue that it is because they are so distracted by their “gadgets”, peers, etc, which is the partial truth. But there are many problems hidden behind the guise of lack of focus.

Focus is the symptom that is visible to you in the form of low grades, school complaints or your child not finishing his tasks to the best of his ability.

The underlying issues that I have dealt with in my coaching practice with children and parents range from gaming addictions, peer pressure, bullying, low self-confidence, anger management to being witness to domestic violence.

Focus is something we are born with. If you remember holding your new born, you would also remember that your little baby had eyes only for you. How he/she gazed deep inside your eyes and that connection would make both of you smile.

Those connections become weak as the child grows up and finds more enticing things in his or her environment. In the external environment, negative distractions at school, family, peer pressure and gadgets could cause children to fall off the track.

In the same way, the internal environment — lack of confidence, negative thinking, low self-esteem, stress and anxiety can throw them off gear too.

Children are not always capable of processing information the right way. I recently coached a young girl who overheard her parents having an altercation and imagined her mother leaving them. This distracted and made her anxious at school. So when your child begins to show some signs of being unusually distracted, sit them down and find out what is going on with them.

Children might sometimes struggle with opening up and coming up with the answer if it involves you (parents), so the first step is to always check in with yourself. Are you managing your emotions and creating a family environment that is healthy and open for your child to share his/her issues and then take further steps to check on other areas that impact your child?

As lack of focus is endemic, log on to our Back on Track programme, which will help your child develop focus and concentration, and many other life skills, while giving you the tools to create the right environment to help your child sustain it.

This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to or call 056-1399033.