When children are born, we believe that there needs to be an instinctual way of parenting them. Very often, we adopt the one-size-fits-all notion and group children as one type. Hence, applying the same techniques and strategies to parent them. We also tend to fall back on age old stereotypes and myths, that can be detrimental to a child’s development. Here are some of those myths busted:
Myth 1 – Children do not experience stress or
depression like adults
Truth – Every person goes through some form of stress. The expression of that stress is also different. It may be hard to understand or observe depression in children, but it can happen. Depression can affect individuals as small as infants where it is recognized as ‘anaclitic depression’.
Anaclitic depression is a severe deterioration of the physical, social and psychological development of the infant when separated from the mother for a long period of time. Not all children who are sad, can be diagnosed as depressed. But parents should look out for drastic sudden mood changes, lack of appetite, a feeling of hopelessness, sudden outbursts of tantrums and anger. If you have noticed that your child is experiencing some of these changes and it is affecting his/her daily life, please consult a mental health doctor.
Myth 2 – Children have to be the ‘best’ in their field
Truth – It is natural to want your child to be the best. But you are also putting undue pressure on a child who will grow to believe that making mistakes or failing is the worst thing in the world. Children experience unspeakable amounts of psychological stress when they are subjected to high amounts of pressure. Encourage your child to improve themselves, have goals, accept their failures and most of all, just love themselves as they are.
Myth 3 – A slap never hurt anyone
Truth – Parents have a challenging task of disciplining their child with all the pressures from the outside world. So no one can blame you, if you in anger, raise your hand against your child to discipline him/her. But parents, it is never a good practice to start. What you are teaching your child, is that whenever he/she experiences anger or frustration, the way to solve the problem is to physically react. Children learn from the behavior of the adults around them and will replicate that behavior in front of their peers and other individuals around them. Discipline is good but it can be inculcated in better ways.
Myth 4 – Children who practice problem behaviors will eventually outgrow them
Truth – Misbehavior is not uncommon in children. We all want to break rules, play pranks, do things independently but the concern starts when some of these behaviors get worse or start physically and mentally hurting the people around us. Children with severe problem behaviors grow up to continue those behaviors if not treated. Parents, when you notice that your child has been acting out or misbehaving to a point of hurting someone else, either physically or mentally, please seek help immediately. Sometimes these behaviors can go unnoticed and therefore unresolved.
Myth 5 – Children who develop late can grow out of it later
Truth – In my experience, there are a few children who develop later than the appropriate age and have managed to catch up to their developmentally appropriate peers. But a majority of children who develop late need extra support in bridging that gap so that they are able to perform like their peers. More than three fourths of children with disabilities have a history of delay in their developmental milestones. Parents, if you observe that your child has not developed appropriately in terms of motor skills,speech, language expression, please consult a clinical psychologist today. There is nothing better than seeking the right kind of support for your child at the right time.
The opinions here are of the Author.