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16 - 22 June , 2012

expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: My 10-year-old brother sleepwalks at night at least seven or eight times in a month and this is causing a lot of problems. Once, he even opened the front door and went walking down the road before he was discovered by a neighbour and brought home. My parents feel that it is simply a teenage issue and will sort itself out. I am his elder sister and worry about him. Should we consult a doctor? Worried Sis
Sleepwalking or somnambulism is hereditary and psychological in origin. Identical twins are often sleepwalkers! Often, there are several sleepwalkers in the family. In most cases, the problem settles down by itself by puberty, rarely do adults sleepwalk. So, your parents are quite right. Sleepwalking usually occurs with deprived sleep syndromes, chaotic disturbed sleep schedules, high fevers, emotional traumas, stress and magnesium deficiency. Home treatment is with meditation or relaxation exercises at bedtime, the avoidance of stimuli, reassurance and support. Keep the environment safe and lock doors and windows. Generally speaking, there is no need for medication unless there are EXPERT ADVICEreal fears of injury etc as the excitable young mind settles down sleepwalking will diminish and stop. For more personal advice you should consult your family doctor.

Q: I have to go to college in the public bus but I hate the commuting because of the crowd I have to deal with. I get pushed and touched in the ladies compartment and stared incessantly by the men, I am a 16-year-old girl and new at travelling in public transport. I travelled to school in the school bus. My friends tell me that I will soon get used to all this, but it is really getting me down. Maria Ali, Karachi
Is it possible for you to avoid the rush hour even if it means you will have to leave home much earlier? You should also raise a loud protest whenever you feel being pushed, and as for staring, you cant really do anything about it. It is something genetically embedded in men. A loud, 'Kya kar rahey ho?" is often enough to show that they cannot mess with you. If you display a confident and bold demeanour, you will find that no one will dare to harass you. Hide your fear, look others straight in the eye, and loudly ask to be given space. Or if you fear this, then try taking the abaya, and see if you feel any different. You can also consider having a travel-pool where three girls could share a rickshaw to college. But it is best to know the method of dealing with roadside Romeos than running away from them.

Q: I am a 15-year-old girl and one of the brightest students in the class. I am caught in a moral dilemma! Many of the girls cheat in their tests, and manage to get more marks than me. The teacher turns a blind eye to all this, even when I have privately complained about this. I think she does not want to create unpleasantness, and wants to let sleeping dogs lie. I have never copied from hidden notes and books, but now I am wondering whether I should also join the gang. Else, I will always be behind them, and they will get all the prizes. After all, even the teacher is condoning them, isn't she? Faiza Khan, Lahore
It is surprising that your teacher is not correcting these offenders. Perhaps, you should bring it to the notice of a higher authority, like the headmistress, or even the principal. One can understand your frustration, but do you really think you could drop yourself to the level of your cheating mates? You may get better grades but you will feel ashamed of yourself, and you will fall in your own esteem. It is better to fight the evil than to join the bandwagon. These girls may be able to do well in class exams but when it comes to the boards, they will not be able to cheat. You should study well and beat them at their own game by achieving better, honestly-won grades.

Heart TO  Heart Dermatologist General Physician
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