Is your child at risk of mental disorder?
Founder’s Insights • 18 April 2022, 9:00 AM
“Mental disorder is distress at the mind level. Some of the common triggers for seeds of Mental Disorder in growing up children are as follows:
If we can ensure that our children continue to have faith in life which is bigger than any tragedy or pressure or failure, you can sleep fearlessly about your children as mental disorders will never occur in your child.
However, you probably have no way to know if this is happening. In the past, we had innate faith in religion. Mythology helped us believe that someone is always there to rescue or protect us. This did not let events of life erode our faith in life.
#2 Death in the Family
If one of the parents or grandparents or someone very close to the heart of the child, dies then help the child accept the loss and make sure that the child cries enough. The gross mistake we make is that we teach our children to be brave or we pay more attention to our direct loss and remain oblivious of the loss they have experienced.
When 5 years old, Vibhu lost his mother in suicide, the family head made sure he sees the dead body, he held him but encouraged him to cry and helped him to carry out all the rituals for his mother. The conversation around his mother for several weeks helped him become emotionally strong and stable.
The major contributing factor found in almost all severe mental disorder patients is a loss of such large magnitude which was not addressed at the time of the event. Children from age 7 to 14 are more at risk than children below 7.
Ego is the ability to defend emotions arising out of an event that threatens our survival. While we have a natural instinct of survival for physical dangers, emotional survival needs to be taught. Grooming of ego in a child is essential for those moments when faith lapses.
The reason mental health is in question is that our loss is not acceptable to us and the family and community support system is almost negligible and rituals have become a shallow routine and are done in fear or to tick a check box rather than understanding the wisdom behind it. Now, how do we cope with this suffering when the outside support system has collapsed and the wisdom behind the rituals is lost?
#4 Social Withdrawal
Be alert at the first sign of the child beginning to withdraw from social engagements and friends and choosing aloofness. Often parents make the mistake of talking more about not using gadgets than actually being involved in their stories with friends.
Every mental disorder when begins to take shape begins by withdrawing from social connections. Pursuing hobbies and joining classes to learn is becoming a very safe environment for a child to express their spirit. They enjoy being there and have no fear that they have to prove excellence.
When my kids were growing up, we kept introducing multiple such courses for hobbies one after the other with an idea that they shall explore their natural expression. Their mother made sure that our kids do not develop a feeling that they have to excel in it. But she kept ensuring that they are enjoying the process of learning and are curious. This also helps the child learn how to manage stress naturally by getting in touch with their natural expression and their spirit. Emotionally liberate the departed soul to allow his onwards journey
To accept life with the loss of the departed soul
To decode the wisdom of the departed soul and to take over the responsibilities
To move from grief to pain to connect with the mystery which is the source of all humanity
People from family and community used to come together to run these rituals for 13 days to help the family bounce back to life with higher acceptance, more wisdom, pain, and compassion.
If there is any full-proof prevention for mental disorder then it is sports. Sports helps at many levels. Their ability to accept losing and yet getting up and working towards improving the next day is a natural tendency of the human spirit because bliss is assured in this process. No matter what career or relationships they chose when they grow up, it is their well-groomed sportsman spirit that will help them sail through rough weather.
Two situations of relocation need to be done with awareness if there has been a tragic event in the past.
If you are relocating from a well-networked place to the outskirts of the city (often families buy new apartments in the outskirts and move from a rented house in the heart of the city or move out from a joint family), it takes away the emotional support system of a child. And the ghost of the past tragic event begins to overwhelm the child with hopelessness and insecurity.
The second scenario is when a child is going to another country for studies.
#7 Relationship of Parents
It is inevitable that no matter how careful you are, children will witness your coldness towards each other and of course your arguments. This is normal for ages. We are no exception. The solution does not lie in being careful, though it is necessary but not sufficient. But it lies in expressing your own emotions to the child about your behavior without blaming your spouse in front of the child. No self-pity, no blame, and no justification.
The sheer expression that you failed to articulate your emotions in a better way and it became an outburst. Share your learning and acknowledge that in spite of your best intentions, there are moments when you fail to be the best parent. This will help the child release his emotions which were building inside and reduce stress and anxiety naturally. Yes, humor on self helps a great deal in such situations.
While all the above points are good for prevention and awareness, but you can reverse the damage to your child, if any. When parents work on themselves during our programs (Chetna or Treatment Program), the child’s issues begin to get resolved on their own. For example, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Autism, Hyperactivity of the child healed as the parents (especially the mother) worked on themselves with us.