A pediatrician manages a child's overall physical and psychological health condition. While most parents consult a pediatrician when the child falls sick, they miss the importance of regular visits to the doctor even if the child is seemingly healthy. There are recommended schedules which prescribe regular visits to the doctor from about a week after the birth of the child. The visits are more frequent up till the age of 6 or 7, after which a monthly visit is usually sufficient. The following is a list of reasons why your child should be taken to a pediatrician every month:
1. Documenting the rate of growth
The pediatrician measures the child's weight and height during every visit and charts them. This is important for comparison with the average rate of growth and pin pointing the problems in normal growth (if any) and the reasons for these problems. For example, if a 4 year old girl is in the 80th percentile for height, it means that 80% of the girls her age are shorter than she is and 20% are taller than she is. The rate of growth is an indicator of a child's general health.
2. Detecting deviations in developmental patterns
There are well-defined physical and emotional developmental patterns for children of all ages. For example, a child starts using signals to communicate by 4 months, or starts talking by the age of 2. A pediatrician can spot deviations from the standard patterns better than parents can. Apart from the measurement of height and weight, sometimes hearing, motor skills and vision tests are also conducted on your visit to the pediatrician to ensure that these basic systems and functions are developing properly.
3. Identifying reasons behind behavioral problems
Behavioral issues in children can be caused by a number of reasons - their inability to correctly express physical discomfort, bonding or attachment issues with the parents or caregivers, interactive problems with peers in school etc. Common behavioral problems are snoring, sleep walking, bed wetting, outbursts of anger, lack of social communication etc. The problems can be prevented from becoming complicated conditions if treated early.
4. Prevention of diseases
The schedule for all the required vaccinations is maintained by the pediatrician. Apart from immunization, regular visits to a pediatrician are important for pointing the beginning symptoms of certain diseases. Nutritional deficiencies, which are very common in children, can be diagnosed and addressed before they lead to health problems. Often parents become extremely apprehensive about the child's health- their queries can be answered and their worries can also be put to rest by these visits.
Behavioural disorders are a type of psychological disorder in which abnormal patterns of behaviour are observed in an individual for a long period of time, at least for 6 months. Behavioural Disorders are very problematic and parents usually take their children for mental health assessments due to the problematic behaviour in external settings. These problems can also occur in adults. When the behavioural problem is not treated in childhood at the appropriate time, then these can cause hindrance in the other aspects of an individual’s life such as the career, and maintenance of the interpersonal relationship.
Types of behavioural problems
There can be various types of behavioural issues that can be commonly seen in children as well as in adults and these are mentioned below.
Symptoms of Behavioural Problems
There are mainly two types of symptoms: Emotional and physical
Emotional symptoms involve becoming nervous or anxious very easily, unable to handle stress, blaming others, aggressive behaviour, disregard for rules and laws, showing temper tantrums, etc.
Physical symptoms involve various types of things that can be observed such as fever, headache, substance abuse problems can lead to the appearance of various physical signs and symptoms such as bloodshot eyes, shakiness, burnt fingertips etc.
Causes of Behavioural Problems
There can be biological and environmental causes for behavioural problems in an individual. Biological causes involve health issues such as any disease or chronic ailment, improper diet, damage to the brain or hereditary problems. On the other hand, environmental issues involve any stress in the family such as divorce or death of a family member, neglectful parents or authoritarian parents, poor discipline and disinterest in education etc. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Blessed are the parents whose children enjoy going to schools. Some parents have to sweat it out to convince and cajole their kids into going to schools. Every morning brings in a new struggle. You will often come across kids who hate going to schools. From complaining of a headache to stomach aches, they will try everything under the sun to give the school a miss. With time, however, things get under control, much to the parent's relief.
The situation gets dicey when children continue to panic, get stressed out at the mere thought of going to school (for a longer duration of time). With time, things get more and more complicated. A situation as critical as this is known as School Refusal Behavior. School refusal can affect children, adolescents, and even teenagers.
Factors that trigger school refusal behavior:
School refusal in children may be an amalgamation of many factors:
The symptoms characteristic of school refusal behavior include
Diagnosis and Treatment:
School refusal needs to be dealt with as early as possible since the longer the child stays away from school, the more difficult it will become for him/her to return to school.
Parents, physician, and school authorities should together chalk out a plan to deal with the situation.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
OCD - It stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. This disorder is characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted and repetitive thoughts or behaviours. You can characterize it as OCD if your obsessive thoughts persist for more than an hour a day. There are over 1 million cases of OCD reported in India alone. There are two components to OCD - obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are the repetitive thoughts that occur and compulsions are the urges you have to satisfy the obsessions. For example, a fear of being contaminated by germs is an obsession and washing your hands to the point it is pruning is the compulsion. Here are some ways you can combat OCD:
1. Practice relaxation techniques:
Stress can trigger symptoms or make them worse. Mindful meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can help lower your overall stress and tension levels and help you manage your urges.
2. Face your fears:
Avoiding your fears make them seem scarier. Instead, expose yourself to you triggers and try to resist the urge to complete the compulsive behaviour.
3. Refocus your attention:
When you are experiencing OCD thoughts and urges, try shifting your thoughts to something else. It could be exercise, reading or listening to music among other things. Continue this for 15 minutes then reassess your urges.
4. Anticipate urges:
Anticipating the urges by creating a solid mental picture of you performing the act previously so that you do not go and do it again.
5. Create a worry period:
Rather than trying to suppress your obsessions, set aside one or two 10 minute periods in your day to worry about them. Consciously delay thinking about your obsessions until then.
Diagnosis & Management of Behavioural Disorders in Children
Disruptive behavioural disorders are complicated and may include many different factors working in combination. For example, a child who exhibits the delinquent behaviours of Conduct Disorder may also have ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, and a difficult home life.
Diagnosis methods may include:
It is important to rule out acute stressors that might be disrupting the child’s behaviour. For example, a sick parent or victimising by other children might be responsible for sudden changes in a child’s typical behaviour and these factors have to be considered initially.
How can habit disorders affect behaviour?
Most children develop certain repetitive behaviours at an early age, but it is the frequency, persistence or its effects on the overall well-being of the child which could qualify it as a ‘Disorder’. These habits include
This refers to the behavioural issues of your child which cause the child to misbehave more often; this can be due to a variety of reasons such as Improper Parenting, Persistent Family problems, child abuse or Neglect, or any other incident that has traumatised the child in the past, both psychological problems or Medical illnesses etc.
Treatment of behavioural disorders in children
Untreated children with behavioural disorders may grow up to be dysfunctional adults. Generally, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome is likely to be. Treatment is usually multifaceted and depends on the particular disorder and various factors contributing to it, which may include: