Emotional Difficulties in Children


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Something to help you make transition from one stage of growing up to the next, easier, for your child!

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  • Besides the basic requirements of food, clothing, shelter and love, additional needs are for physical closeness, individual attention, an intellectually stimulating environment, meaningful activities, and respect. When children's needs are not filled, they do whatever will get attention. As soon as the child is able to perceive itself as separate from the parent, which happens around 6 months of age, the fear of abandonment sets in and in a child, abandonment by the parent is equivalent to death.
  • Children are too young to understand the rules of the complex adult world. They have to be taught and explained for discipline to be brought about.
  • This is perhaps the most important, but most misunderstood reason for unacceptable behaviour. Children are not very eloquent about expressing their feelings verbally. Instead, they tend to show their feelings through their behaviour
  • A child who is afraid of something will not be able to express the fear in words but will show it through behaviour, e.g. a child who is afraid of the class bully, having been beaten up earlier, will cry and fight in order to not go to school. An alarming issue is of abuse of children especially sexual abuse. Children who have been sexually abused are usually abused by a known person, a family member. These children are unable to voice their concerns and are often threatened by the performing adult. The child who has been sexually abused generally withdraws into a shell and does not maintain eye contact readily. Behaviour is that of a scared, insecure child. Bed wetting, stammering etc could be some of the outcomes. Children may scream, cry, laugh , play intensely to release pent up emotions. This is the child’s way of dealing with stress. Sometimes children cry and rage about seemingly insignificant issues. They are usually attempting to heal from earlier trauma. Our role is to support these natural stress releasing mechanisms which creates a healthy outlet of pent up emotions.
  • Anxiety could manifest in a refusal to go to school, attend a class, go out with friends, depending on the trigger.
  • The question is , “when is that magical moment when a seemingly innocent misbehaviour starts taking on shades of a serious underlying emotional problem?
  • Children do not have the benefit of comparison when they are young. Their parents are therefore, Godlike creatures to their eyes.
  • For a child who has a difficulty with writing, if he presents a not quite finished essay, it may not be appropriate to say, “Try harder to complete it next time.” It might be better to say, “That’s a good effort.” This signifies the appreciation and acknowledgment of the hard work that must have gone into the task.
  • It serves no purpose, to pass a judgment over an activity or behaviour of a child w/o understanding the reason behind it. (Incident of the boy who let his mother’s cell phone go away in the cab so that she would know ‘how it felt’)
  • Your child must know that he is special to you. Parents think that children understand that but frequently, children don’t, unless they are told. A word or a hug of praise will do wonders for the self esteem of the child.
  • Children are very critical of themselves especially the ones who are above average in intelligence. They may give up quickly or believe that a piece of work is not good enough when it is. Emotionally they may harbour wrong beliefs about their relationship with a parent. That needs to be addressed gently and corrected, if there is no cause for such a belief.
  • This gives them more power to handle situations and will generate more faith in themselves. Montessori method - 3 crayons etc.
  • The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering that it brings, is inherent in all human beings. Some of us will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the problem and the suffering that it is supposed to cause and in doing so, we end up suffering much more than the suffering that the problem would have brought.
  • To be able to ach this is the essence of good parenting. It is obvious that these tools must be in the possession of the parent before he can teach it to his child.
  • Suppose your teen hasn’t been invited to the party of the season, how would you deal with it?
  • I want to drive even though I am 15. Teach me. Pam’s dad teaches her. I am not Pam’s dad X If you had your way, you would have your drivers license right now then you could take me for a neat ride.
  • Parent: “You’ve just recovered from flu.” Teen:” All my friends are going.” Parent:” I know. I wish it weren’t so cold outside” Teen:” I wont fall ill” Parent: “I wish I could make up for this missed trip. Lets go to the bookstore in the car so you get an outing”.
  • make the rules simple. A clean list of ‘things we can do and things we cannot do’ around the house
  • If you feel that the child’s behaviour is getting out of hand, distract the child by changing the focus of attention. You need to ‘nip it in the bud’.
  • Clearly define what the difficult behaviour is. Keep a record of incidents that led to the behaviour and what happened after in an attempt to find a pattern – what triggered the behaviour and what can keep it going.
  • Try to view discipline in a different way e.g. if a rule is broken, discipline with a time out a short, quiet time alone, without play. Alternatively ignore minor behaviour difficulties as your attention will often inadvertently encourage the very behaviour you want to stop.
  • When tensions rise and anger builds up in you and the child, take five minutes to cool down and ask yourself, “Why am I getting angry? Try to identify the real problem so you can look for the solution
  • -Research has shown that hitting the child does not help, and can do a lot of damage. Try to avoid striking the child in anger. Smacking is not effective in reducing poor behaviour, as it does not teach children good behaviour.
  • Words hurt, too. Try to avoid yelling at your children in anger. Do not put down your children. If they break a rule, tell them what they did wrong and why that makes you angry. Be angry at what they did, NOT at who they are.
  • When you feel frustrated, angry or overwhelmed, let your feelings out safely away from your children. Call a friend over or leave your children with someone trustworthy. Get out. Exercise. Do not stay alone with your children when you are overwhelmed. Get help and support .
  • Emotional Difficulties in Children

    1. 1. Emotional Problems in Children How to be a Supportive Parent/Teacher
    2. 2. Understanding Behaviour <ul><li>Why do children behave as they do? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we need to understand the behaviour of a child? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does certain kinds of behaviour seem unacceptable to us? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we manage this ‘unacceptable behaviour? </li></ul>
    3. 3. What Drives the Behaviour of Children?
    4. 4. Possible Roots of Misbehaviour <ul><li>The child is attempting to fill a legitimate need by asking for attention </li></ul><ul><li>Children do not understand rules </li></ul><ul><li>The child is suffering from unhealed stress or trauma </li></ul>
    5. 5. 1.Asking for Attention - A Legitimate Need <ul><li>People often say of the misbehaving child, “He is just asking for attention” implying that asking for attention is inappropriate. It is not. </li></ul><ul><li>Children need a lot of individual attention and are unable to ask for attention in a mature way. </li></ul>
    6. 6. 2.Rules <ul><li>Children do not understand the concept of ‘rules’ till they reach the age of two where they just about begin to understand. </li></ul>
    7. 7. 2.Rules Explained <ul><li>By the age of two, children begin to understand the concept of ‘rules’. </li></ul><ul><li>Each rule has to be given with an explanation that the child will understand. Reminders need to be given frequently. </li></ul>
    8. 8. 3.Unhealed Stress & Trauma <ul><li>Most important yet most misunderstood reason for unacceptable behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>Children not eloquent </li></ul><ul><li>Feelings displayed through behaviour. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Emotional Problems- Basic Triggers <ul><li>Fear and a feeling of insecurity. </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual Abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Release of pent up emotions - healing from earlier stress. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Signs in young children <ul><li>A fall in school performance </li></ul><ul><li>Signs of anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Hyperactivity - constant fidgeting, movement, facial grimaces </li></ul><ul><li>Unexplained temper tantrums </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent disobedience and /or aggression </li></ul>
    11. 11. Signs….ii <ul><li>Persistent nightmares </li></ul><ul><li>Talking in one’s sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep walking </li></ul>
    12. 12. Pre Adolescents & Adolescents <ul><li>Significant change in academic performance </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in eating & sleeping habits </li></ul><ul><li>Many physical complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Depression - thoughts of death </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol/drug abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Aggression, consistent violation of others rights </li></ul>
    13. 13. Pre adolescents & Adolescents..ii <ul><li>Persistent nightmares </li></ul><ul><li>Threats of harm to self or others </li></ul><ul><li>Self injury or self destructive behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Truancy, thefts ,vandalism </li></ul>
    14. 14. The Root of Emotional Problems <ul><li>A low SELF ESTEEM </li></ul>
    15. 15. What is SELF ESTEEM? <ul><li>Self -Concept : The way a child feels he should be </li></ul><ul><li>weighed against </li></ul><ul><li>Self -Image : The way a child feels he actually is. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Self Esteem <ul><li>Self esteem is closely related to achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Young children are driven to achieve to gain parental approval. </li></ul><ul><li>Parental approval inculcates a sense of security - the most important requirement of a child! </li></ul>
    17. 17. Self Esteem and Learning Difficulties <ul><li>Children with LD are likely to suffer from a lowered sense of self esteem because of their obvious difficulty in achieving. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Raising Self Esteem <ul><li>Highlight strengths and underplay weaknesses </li></ul>
    19. 19. Raising Self Esteem - ii <ul><li>Do not be judgmental </li></ul>
    20. 20. Raising Self esteem - iii <ul><li>Make your child feel special and appreciated </li></ul>
    21. 21. Raising Self Esteem - iv <ul><li>Identify and address inaccurate beliefs that your child might have. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Raising Self Esteem - v <ul><li>Assist and encourage the child to develop decision making and problem solving skills. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Raising Self Esteem - vi <ul><li>Do not let your ego come in the way when disciplining your child. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Raising Self Esteem - vi <ul><li>Provide opportunities for children to help children. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Raising Self Esteem - vii <ul><li>Allow children to develop a sense of control by having realistic expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your expectations are realistic too! </li></ul>
    26. 26. Raising Self Esteem - viii <ul><li>Be spontaneous and affectionate with your child. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Raising Self Esteem ..ix <ul><li>If there is a problem…like a learning difficulty, explain it. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Emotions and LD <ul><li>According to a study, 50 % of suicides below 15 in L.A had been diagosed with LD </li></ul><ul><li>85 % of juvenile offenders have reading problems (U.S dept of Ed) </li></ul>
    29. 29. Learning Difficulties
    30. 30. Emotional consequences of LD <ul><li>Anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Frustration </li></ul><ul><li>Anger </li></ul><ul><li>Depression </li></ul>
    31. 31. Anxiety <ul><li>Most frequent </li></ul><ul><li>Fearful due to constant failure and confusion in school and other places </li></ul><ul><li>Unable to anticipate failure - heightened levels of anxiety </li></ul>
    32. 32. Frustration <ul><li>The student wants to access information but cannot </li></ul><ul><li>Frustration tolerance is low and that leads to anger </li></ul>
    33. 33. Anger <ul><li>Generally directed towards the mother - perceived as a safe haven for venting </li></ul><ul><li>Directed towards playmates, schoolmates and teachers </li></ul>
    34. 34. Depression <ul><li>Low self esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Afraid to turn their anger towards their environment so they turn it on themselves. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Discipline
    36. 36. The Importance of Discipline <ul><li>Basic set of tools required to solve problems in life. </li></ul><ul><li>Problems, by their very nature, are painful. </li></ul><ul><li>Problems are avoided because they are painful. </li></ul><ul><li>That makes life difficult. </li></ul>
    37. 37. Problems and Pain <ul><li>“ Those things that hurt, instruct.” </li></ul><ul><li>B. Franklin </li></ul>
    38. 38. Dealing with Problems <ul><li>Tools for constructively dealing with the pain that problems bring: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delaying Gratification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acceptance of Responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedication to Truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balancing </li></ul></ul>
    39. 39. Managing Teens
    40. 40. Dealing with Feelings <ul><li>Do not dismiss a ‘feeling’ </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge it’s presence </li></ul><ul><li>Try and identify the feeling </li></ul><ul><li>What caused it </li></ul><ul><li>How to handle it </li></ul>
    41. 41. Dealing with Feelings - ii <ul><li>If logic and explanations don’t work… </li></ul><ul><li>Use humour and fantasy. </li></ul>
    42. 42. Dealing with Feelings - iii <ul><li>If your teen wants to go against your better judgment… </li></ul><ul><li>accept the feeling as you redirect unacceptable behaviour. </li></ul>
    43. 43. Teen Management Strategies <ul><li>Instead of giving orders…describe the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of being accusatory…describe how you feel </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of orders…offer a choice </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of lectures…say it in a word. </li></ul>
    44. 44. Managing difficult behaviour in a Positive Manner
    45. 45. Way 1 <ul><li>Establish house rules </li></ul>
    46. 46. Way 2 <ul><li>Effective Communication - </li></ul><ul><li>Let natural consequences occur in case of refusal to comply. </li></ul><ul><li>Use ‘I’ messages rather than ‘You’ messages </li></ul>
    47. 47. Way 3 <ul><li>Prevention is better than cure. </li></ul>
    48. 48. Way 4 <ul><li>Attempt to understand the Childs’ behaviour. </li></ul>
    49. 49. Way 5 <ul><li>Discipline With Short Time-Outs </li></ul>
    50. 50. Way 6 <ul><li>Take Five </li></ul>
    51. 51. Way 7 <ul><li>Never Strike In Anger </li></ul>
    52. 52. Way 8 <ul><li>No Yelling Allowed - </li></ul>
    53. 53. Way 9 <ul><li>Get Away </li></ul>
    54. 54. Way 10 <ul><li>If nothing seems to work - </li></ul><ul><li>SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP </li></ul>
    55. 55. Thank You
    56. 56. References <ul><li>Faber Adele & Mazlish Elaine, ‘How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen so Teens Will Talk’. Picadilly Press (2005), London </li></ul><ul><li>Gill Andy, ‘Practical Parenting Advice’ </li></ul><ul><li>Peck Scott, “The Road Less Travelled”.Simon & Schuster(1978) </li></ul><ul><li>Raja Bela, ‘Children with Learning Difficulties – How to Help. A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Vakils, Feffer & Simons Pvt Ltd (2006), Mumbai. </li></ul><ul><li>Solter Aletha,Ph.D (Developmental Psychology), ‘Aware Parenting Institute’ . </li></ul>