Helping Children

Some Topics

Child Psychology

Every child enters a competitive world in which he or she will be compared with other children. Social acceptance will depend on the child’s ability to form and maintain alliances with other children and key adults such as teachers, coaches, and counselors. One of the tasks for parents is to help their children navigate through a maze of obstacles and threats. A good parent teaches survival skills and provides reassurance that the taunts and threats of teasers and bullies are not as serious as they sometimes seem. At the same time, the good parent is alert to the possibility of real danger and intervenes strategically whenever threats do become serious.

Child psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas, miscellaneous observation, opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. If psychologists, physicians, and educators are confused, what about parents? The best parents are pragmatic and not theorists. They stay involved with their children, follow some basic guidelines they learned and tend to do whatever works. Good parents improvise childcare with a combination of innate generosity, common sense, love and concessions to the demands of modern life. Professionals have a variety of opinions about child-rearing that range from helpful suggestions to misleading and even bizarre ideas.

Here are typical statements from professionals that reveal common but wrong ideas such as:

“Children with a poor self-image become depressed, leading them to eating disorders or substance abuse…

“The poor self image is based on a culture where kids at a young age are focused on their bodies, particularly differences in their bodies."

"In the media-saturated life of children in the 90's a message has been repeatedly drummed into their heads."

The problem with these statements is that they specify cause and effect relationships that do not exist. Often, a more likely cause and effect sequence is inverted. Children are innately concerned about their appearance; "society" did not invent this concern. Children discriminate in the same way adults do but with less finesse and are often less concerned about the feelings of other children. Children are normally competitive and form groups with inclusion-exclusion rules.

If the child’s brain is not working properly, emotional outbursts are associated with disordered appetite, disturbed sleep, poor concentration, poor judgment and poor performance of tasks requiring motor skills. Brain chemistry may be faulty because of an inborn genetic mistake but more often brain chemistry is disturbed because the child is eating the wrong food, using drugs, has nutrient deficiencies and/or is inhaling neurotoxic chemicals in the air, both deliberately and inadvertently.

Adding drugs, obtained on the street or at a pharmacy, to a bad chemical mix of food and air just makes the problem worse. Should children be give prescription drugs to alter their mood and behavior? No, they should not be given prescription drugs to modify their brain function unless the benefit has been clearly established and there is no other form of management available. See Dr. Gislason's Blog Drugging Children.

Should a child’s diet be revised if his or her brain does not function well? Yes, definitely. Diet revision should the first method of management and will often solve the problem if diet revision is carefully implemented and sustained by well-informed parents.

Beginners Brain