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Treatment of Child and Adolescent Problems
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Dear doctor, I have a 12 year old son. He does’t show any interest in studies. He always likes to play computer and mobile games or watch TV. He studies and writes very little, compared with the syllabus for exams. This is happening from class I on words. He is studying with state syllabus. He studied well up to UKG only. Even when I try to show interesting videos in internet related to studies, he does’t like. Even when we scold him, he doesn't care. He frequently bunks classes. Even brushing teeth and bathing does not do regularly, even when we - parents put a lot of pressure. But he loves us and plays with us well. He behaves well with friends and neighbors. He also likes to eat junk food daily, because of which he is getting frequent health problems. I like to know whether there is anyway to change his behavior and create interest in studies to him, avoid junk food.
If your child has become increasingly addicted to sweets and other sugary items, this addiction can lead to certain behavioral problems (like mood swings, irritability, anger, etc) in children. Moreover, a high sugar intake can lead to your child falling prey to serious diseases and conditions, including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Here's what you can do to break your child's indulgent habits and wean him from ill-health causing culprits like cakes, ice creams, candies, chocolates and rich and creamy desserts etc.
1. Practice what you preach -
In order to develop healthy eating habits in your child, it is imperative for you as a parent to lead by example. When it comes to weaning your child from sugary foods and sweets, you yourself should limit your intake. So, if you tell your child to avoid sweets but love sweets yourself, you'd be setting a bad example by eating them yourself and not letting your child have them. The best thing to do is to be a role model to your child as children learn everything from their parents.
2. Curb consumption of sugar by deferring intake to a later date -
Instead of depriving your child completely, it would prove to be more useful to tell them that they could have sweets on some other day. This is because if you deny him his indulgence, your child would invariably go on an eating spree the moment an opportunity arises. A study on a group of restrained eaters and non-diet individuals revealed that restrained eaters were found to consume more food than the non-dieting individuals. Not knowing when they could have their favourite foods again, they went on an eating spree.
Make frequent yet small offerings of sweets while explaining to him the importance of moderation and why he/she shouldn't overindulge but space out sugar intake.
3. Try the 90/10 rule -
Teaching older children the 90/10 principle is another sure-shot way of breaking your child?'s addiction to sweets. The rule calls for 90% of the diet to be made up of healthy food with the remaining 10% being devoted to foods your child wants to indulge in such as junk food, sweets or foods with high sugar content. The total calorie intake that arises from consumption of about 10% or 1-2 fun foods is only about 100-200 calories everyday.
4. Present your child with healthy alternatives to sugary items -
The next time your child wants to indulge in his sugar craving, instead of giving a processed sugary food, give healthier sweet foods like dates, honey or a fresh sweet fruit. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!