Children and Behavioural Problems
Many children currently struggle and face daily challenges with their behaviour. Children as young as 4 and 5 battle with opposing mental, emotional and physical forces driving them to behave in destructive and uncontrollable ways. Gripped by the drive to act out wild, erratic and unacceptable social behaviours many children feel helpless to behave in any other way. At such a young age, many an Australian child is already experiencing a life sorely lacking in happiness fun and a relaxed carefree innocence that is meant to come with being a young child.
Speak to a child suffering from these wild behavioural challenges when the are out of ‘heat of the moment’ and they will openly and freely admit they don’t like feeling and acting that way but they feel powerless to themselves. Such behavioural challenges can very often mean that a child underneath it all is a good and decent boy or girl but is labelled and viewed by society as a problem that needs to be ‘medicated and/or drugged’ in order to comply with how society deems they should be.
Are Drugs A Safe Option
With as many as 400,000 scripts each year for ADHD drugs, including Ritali, Strattera, Dexaphetamie and Concerta issued each year in Australia to our children’s behavioural challenges are fast becoming one of the most heavily medicated issues parents and children are facing.
According to Dr Jon Juriedini, head of Psychological Medicine at the Adelaide’s Women and Children’s Hospital, “There is clear evidence that stimulant drugs (such as those prescribed for conditions such as ADHD) cause or precipitate psychotic episodes in children” Dr Juriedini also states, “Children’s behaviour problems are generally a reaction to something that’s happening inside the or outside them and I can almost always find a better explanation for what’s going on than calling it ADHD so the idea of whether to use drugs rarely arises.
It’s Not ADHD?
As Dr Juriedini stated, very often behaviour problems are a reaction to something that’s happening. When a child is experiencing distress yet not able to effectively manage, deal or resolve the distress they revert to reactionary ‘fight or flight’ behaviours. Depending on the child and situation this may mean aggressive, impulsive behaviours such as violence, loud and physically abusive behaviours (more ‘fight’ type behaviours) or anxious, worried, panicky or withdrawn, emotionally shut down and subdued behaviours (more ‘flight’ type behaviours).
Whether the child is behaving in an aggressive, violent or anxious and panicked way the underlying cause is still the same, the child is experiencing distress and they are doing their best to try and respond. However due to their young age and lack of ability to effectively deal with stress they are very often not well equipped and subsequently behave in ways which are undesirable and destructive.
How Can I Tell If My Child Is Distressed?
The signs and symptoms of a child struggling to deal with internal or external distress can vary greatly, some of the common indicators include:
- Poor concentration
- Poor grades
- Poor or low self esteem
- Poor Peer Relationships
- Poor attendance at school
- Social isolated
- Often being unwell
- Disturbed Sleep
- Mood changes including depressive tendencies, angry outbursts, irritability
- Loss of enjoyment in pleasure activities such as sport, dancing, music or hobbies
- General anxiety
- Expressions of self loathing
- Self harming
With a focus on resolution to the underlying stressors in conjunction with learning and mastery of techniques to better manage and deal with both themselves and situations children who once were at the mercy of such terrible behaviour can once again be happy, healthy and joy filled children.
How Can Kinesiology Help With My Child’s Behaviour?
With Kinesiology there are several areas we work with and address to help children with behavioural problems. The primary focus with Kinesiology is restoring and balancing Brain Integration within the child.
What is Brain Integration?
Brain Integration describes the state where the communication within a child’s brain is properly functioning and optimal. They have full access to all their faculties such as reasoning, the ability to manage their emotions, handle and deal with everyday stresses and challenges. A state of optimal Brain Integration can be likened to a well conducted orchestra. All the individual musicians are playing their part and are in harmony and time with each other musician. The conductor is in communication with all the musicians within the orchestra and they are responsive and receptive to his instruction. The result is a beautiful sounding piece of music. This is analogous to a how a child feels and behaves when they have optimal Brain Integration. Their behaviour is relaxed, balanced and they are happy. Learning new information, skills or knowledge is easy and automatic from a state of optimal Brain Integration.
Just as with the orchestra the music sounds terrible when the harmony disappears, so to does the quality of a child’s behaviour when they lose Brain Integration. When a child is lacking in Brain Integration they can experience a wide ranging number of symptoms. It is important to remember that they symptoms not the cause of the problem. A child who is feeling excessively anxious or fearful or even angry and aggressive is not deliberately intending to do so. But rather their Brain is doing its best to try and cope with the limited resources it has currently available. When there is a lack of Brain Integration a child will literally feel they are limited in their choices in how to respond and behave in situations.
Because of this lack of communication, or Brain Integration within the child they are severely limited in how they respond. One of the first functions a child ‘loses’ with a lack of Brain Integration is the ability to reason. Consequently children are very often only left with the ability to emotionally respond. This is why it is so difficult to ‘talk and reason’ with a child in the middle of an outburst.
Both Chiropractic and Kinesiology is very effective at restoring Brain Integration within children allowing them to have greater capabilities and faculties available to them to deal with life. A variety of different Chiropractic and Kinesiology techniques are employed to determine what is disrupting the Brain Integration in the first place as well as to restore it. Kinesiology employs physical techniques like simple exercises and movements to help restore Brain Integration. Emotional and Stress diffusion techniques are also employed. The focus of Chiropractic and Kinesiology is diffusing the triggers that cause the Brain Dis-integration.
When specific techniques and exercises are utilised with children who are suffering from a lack of Brain Integration the result is a resolution to the underlying factors disrupting harmonious brain integration. This allows children greater access to their mental faculties allowing them to feel happier and behave in a more ideal way. This is very beneficial for children who are struggling with feelings such as fears and anxieties, with their Brain Integration coming back into balance, feeling such as fears and anxieties start to automatically fade because they no longer need to feel them.
With Chiropractic care and Kinesiology restoring greater levels of Brain Integration this translates into greater levels of resilience and resourcefulness for children. These therapies allow children the greatest gift, increased choice as to how they respond and deal with life rather than being trapped as a victim, reacting to stress.
Who do I see?
Rather than simply attempt to mask or cover up such behavioural symptoms with drugs such as Ritalin or Strattera (which a black box warning was recently placed on advising consumers it causes suicidal tendencies), Therapies like Kinesiology seeks to diffuse and resolve the stressors creating Brain Dis-Integration so children are no longer being triggered to behave in such destructive ways.
At Vital Chi we use team of experts to help get your child as happy and healthy as possible.
Our practitioners have successful experience working with a variety of young children who have struggled with behavioural problems.
How can Naturopathy Help with My Child’s Behaviour?
Naturopathically there are several things that we address when treating and supporting children’s behavioural problems. Food sensitivities can have a huge effect on your Child’s behaviour. Allergies change the way we produce neuro- chemicals in our body, and imbalance in these chemicals is often the cause of aggressive and oppositional behaviours. We use a simple finger prick test to test for major Food Sensitivites that your child may have.
Chemical sensitivities to artificial sweeteners and food colouring have also been proven to alter children’s delicate brain chemistry, testing for these sensitivities and then removing them from your Child’s environment can have a huge and positive effect on your child’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
Nutritional deficiencies will also play a major role in children behavioural issues. Food sensitivities will cause inflammation in the gut which leads to a suboptimal absorption of nutrients from foods. Testing for and taking a thorough case history will allow your naturopath to determine if there are nutritional deficiencies and then treat them using good tasting practitioner only products.