Very often we come across parents who complain how their kid is growing up to be a difficult child. They cite many fancy words like ‘defiant’, ’emotionally insecure’ and ‘hyperactive’. In fact so much information is available over the internet about the types of behavioral problems in children that they self-diagnose their child and many times even start counselling them. As parents we want to make sure that we raise our children to be confident and self-sufficient personalities who can excel in whatever they take up and we are absolutely correct in wanting so. So how should we discharge this responsibility?
Lets begin with first understanding what actually makes the character of a child and what factors play a role in affecting it.
A child’s personality is partly inherited and partly the product of his environment – the effect of his parents’ and teachers’ personalities and attitudes, and the personalities and behaviors of his siblings and friends.
So it begins not with the birth of the child, but even before that. It dates back to the parents’ childhood and disposition, to the sort of family life that they had, to the amount of love and affection that they received. A child brought up in an environment devoid of love and affection will in turn be unable to receive or provide the emotion himself.
It depends upon the age of the parents, their desire for a child, their preference for a particular sex. If a pregnancy is rejected right from the time of its conception, it does have psychological effects upon the kid. Very often it is seen that a woman with an unplanned pregnancy, not wanting to continue with it suffers from vomiting throughout the 9 months of her pregnancy. It is like her mind connected with her body is rejecting it – after all vomiting is simply the act of removing from our body that which we do not wish to retain. Her overall attitude towards her baby will also suffer, hence weakening the mother-child bond.
When it is a precious pregnancy, or elderly parents conceiving after many years, after taking various kinds of treatment for infertility, the natural over-anxiety of the parents can tend to make the child hypochondriac. Many such pre-conceptional and prenatal factors affect the temperament of the child; so many of them we are unaware of as they occur at a subconscious level in our minds.
With this kind of a background, many parents are trying to provide as much as they can to keep their children happy. They stretch themselves so much, go above and beyond what is required and in the process are making their children dependent upon them. It includes over-protective and over-anxious mothers who do not allow them to play outdoors, get dirty in the mud or rain, interact with other children. They land up getting engrossed in toys, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets leading to lack of physical activity. It includes yielding to their wishes and actions which no normal parent should tolerate – lack of discipline, not leaving them alone, not letting them fall to stand up on their own. They are not given the opportunity to choose, to stimulate their thinking and analytical capacities. The child is convinced that he is incapable of looking after himself; he learns that he need not make any efforts himself because his parents will always rush to help him. The result is a spoilt, under-confident, lethargic child.
On the other extreme are parents who are haunted by the fear of ‘spoiling’ their children. It is a paradox that it is to these mothers that most spoilt children belong. Mothers are advised to not pick up their wailing babies so as to not get them into a habit. Always remember – the more your child is happy, the more he will be healthy physically as well as emotionally. Conditioning process in an important one in the study of behavior. The child who at mealtimes is threatened, bullied and smacked in an effort to make him eat may come to associate eating with discomfort and develop a poor appetite. A child who is compelled to sit on a potty when he is struggling to get off it becomes conditioned against it, associating it with tears and discomfort and may develop constipation and bed-wetting.
Constant reprimands and criticism with the intention to better them, lack of acknowledgement of their achievements, scolding them in public – some of the practices that scar the developing ego of children.
Children are sensitive, intelligent and interesting. They learn quickly by imitation. They learn to give respect, kindness, politeness, sharing, expressing from the people who are a part of their environment. If a child observes that obstinacy and embarrassing the parents in public will get him what he wants, he wont forget it. And it is most tedious to make them un-learn an undesirable habit. Punishment is irrational because children learn far better from rewards, praise and encouragement than from punishment, blame and reprimands. It is futile to attempt to treat the symptom – the thumb-sucking, the aggressiveness, the lying – without treating the cause which is so often insecurity, fear and lack of love.
While the handling of a child plays the utmost important role in managing these issues, there may still be some children who might need more help. Here, Homeopathy has a lot to offer. It is a well known that Homeopathic medicines have the potential to modify emotions and behaviors which in a conducive environment can lead to a great change in the personality of a child. It has shown immense scope in many behavioral problems like Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder as even Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In conclusion, a child’s behavior problems are the result of conflict between his developing personality and the personality and attitudes of his parents, teachers and peers. There is no one answer to these problems. In order to help your child, you need to understand the basis of this problem, which is individual for every child and every family and which is also the conceptual basis of Homeopathy. Talk to your child. Listen. Observe. Act.
By: Dr. Priyanka Joshi
MD (Hom) Paediatrics