Children’s Mental Health
It is as important to care for your children’s mental health as to care about their physical health. Back in past centuries, people automatically assumed any discussion related to a person’s mental health to mean that the individual had a problem with his sanity. Today we know that such assumptions are incorrect.
What was termed insanity may well have been a state of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. These are all problems that medical professionals can correct.
There are several behavioural disorders, and they are also often referred to as disruptive behavioural disorders. They are quite common in children of all ages and are usually why some children are referred to specialized health care practitioners for evaluations and/or treatment.
Contrary to what many parents might believe, all children’s mental health problems are not the same. Among the behavioural disorders you probably hear of are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.
ADHD is one of the most researched subjects within the field of children’s mental health. Parents and teachers can see it in children at a very young age, and the symptoms most often occur altogether. Many parents recognize that their children are inattentive, impulsive, and are highly active.
For most, the signs of ADHD are not blatantly clear until the child reaches elementary age and begins attending school. Regardless of what age a parent realizes that their child may be suffering from this disorder, they surely want to know what caused it to happen and what can be done.
What is known is that ADHD is a biological disorder of the brain; although it has yet to be confirmed, studies suggest that the disorder is genetic. Additionally, it has been found that children having ADHD have a lower brain metabolism in the areas that control attention, social judgment, and movement.
Conduct disorder is characterized by antisocial behaviour; children suffering from this disorder invariably exhibit actions that violate others’ rights. They often act outside of age-appropriate social standards and rules. Some of the behaviours seen in these children or adolescents often include irresponsibility, delinquency, and physical aggression toward others.
Those affected by conduct disorder resort to truancy or run away frequently, and they even commit crimes of theft, assault, or in extreme cases, rape. With the effects of conduct disorders being so extreme, it’s natural to wonder if you, the parent, is at fault and what you can do to help your child.
Many medical experts have concluded that conduct disorders are multi-factorial and often caused by biological, physiological, and external factors. Over time and with help, experts can correct this problem.
Oppositional defiant disorder is another of the common types of behavioural disorders, and it’s characterized by uncooperative and annoying behaviours towards others, especially authority figures. Children and adolescents with ODD cause a lot of stress and trouble for the people around them.
Though there is no definitive cause of ODD, there are a few theoretical explanations for the development of the disorder. One such developmental theory suggests that the problem starts when children are toddlers; they have difficulty learning from their primary attachment figure. Thus, their autonomous skills don’t properly or fully develop. Learning theory suggests that ODD characteristics are learned attitudes that reflect the negative reinforcements that parents and authority figures commonly use.
Although the exact causes of these different types of children’s mental health disorders are not always known, various research has identified that both biological and environmental factors cause disruptive behaviour disorders.
In any such case where a child is suffering from or thought to be developing a behavioural disorder, it is always important and necessary to seek the assistance of a qualified medical professional for advice in dealing with the situation.