Hyperactive, aggressive or oppositional children are not new. But offering more direction and process-oriented solutions, the behaviour clinics run by psychiatrists and psychologists come in handy for parents, who are in the dark.
Take the case of nine-year-old Manish*, who was pampered excessively. His hyperactivity and demanding nature have left his parents baffled. “A number of sessions with an expert at a clinic has helped us find a way out from giving into his demands. He is far more sharing and accommodating and is willing to listen now,” said Veena*, his mother.
Ananya, an eight-year-old, always ends up quarreling with her friends and her mother Sitalakshmi, attributes it to her attention-seeking behavior as she is a single child. However, experts say that the behaviour of the child can be changed if parents change how they approach the problem. Dr Vivian Kapil, Consultant Psychiatrist, SIMS Hospital, pointed out that the busy schedule of the parents is among the many reasons for behaviour issues in children.
“It is often that both parents are working and they don’t know the way out,” he added. The experts, who added that they have been seeing several cases in children of different age groups, said that the source of the problem is often the parents.
“It is not to blame them; they aren’t aware of it. The conflict starts at home, when parents bring the differences they have between them in front of the child. There is nothing to change in the child or the adolescent. They only need to work on their approach.
Most often they expect discipline and control when the child crosses 10 years. In that stage, they are wired to seek independence and their behaviour is shaped in the first 10 years or so, when the parents should have controlled them,” added Dr S Arunkumar, psychiatrist and parent educator. The clinics therefore focus on the parents, making them undergo sessions to empower them with ways to work on the behaviour or the kind of conversations they can have at home.
Arunkumar, who also conducts regular workshops for parents, added, “When they begin working on themselves, they will see the change in the children. There is no way to bring about immediate results.”
The other interventions include aversion therapy, that is given to make children give up a bad behaviour after associating a negative experience with it and reinforcement (which involves emphasising on a positive trait and praising them for it), apart from time outs to discipline.
Dr Arunkumar shares a number of quotes with the parents that emphasise on the responsibility, patience, apart from suggesting to involve teens while making decisions. Dilli Babu, a psychologist, who runs WOW Mind and Behaviour Clinic, also bats for art and play therapy.
“There is nothing called as good or bad parenting. Today, everyone takes pride in saying their child Is busy with a number of activities. But most often that is where the trouble begins and the pressure on them results in a behavioural problem,” he added.
Consistent efforts bring desired results, added Dr Kapil.
"If you keep praising them for something positive in them, they are more likely to display that trait often. That is a longdrawn work, but it works better than beating or insulting your child. You can also discipline younger children with time outs, when they have to be ideal, especially when they are mischievous or throw tantrums," he said.
MISTAKE PARENTS MAKE
- Spoil Children with gadgets
- Try to control them in their adolescent age, while pampering them in first 10 years
- Mothers tend to mollycoddle boys
- Don’t understand changes in the child’s mind and body as they grow older