I have been busy screwing up my children of course.
So I get the Scientific American Mind Magazine because I am a psychology lover. So imagine my delight when there is an article about children having Mental Health Disorders and that it isn't all us. I will be talking about the March/April 2012 issue if you want to run out and buy it.
Funny thing that comes along with this issue is the fact that it talks about possible signs your child is "prone" to mental health disorders and events in their lives that can "trigger" them becoming active disorders. The focus in the journal article is mostly focused on Schizophrenia.
So the odd thing is, hmmm, part of the issue talks about the predisposition for some children to have disorders. I mean for example if there is a history of depression in your family, maybe not even close, maybe aunts and uncles, etc. The next thing they state is, "We've gone too far in the direction of blaming bio-chemistry and not taking responsibility for shaping our children's brains." So it isn't all our faults right? I mean really, we can't be responsible for biochemical reactions to the things we say, do or even feed them? How far can we go blaming the parents? It isn't like when we conceive our children we can tell if the have a predisposition for depression, schizophrenia or mania right. Well we can if we know the family history on both sides of the family.
So here, in this article it blames things like, giving birth in the winter (man a huge part of our population is destined to have mental health disorders), maternal malnutrition, chaotic household, or disease agents like having the flu. I mean seriously, wouldn't that change things biochemically? Can we take blame if we get the flu, is it our fault? What if we like the idea of having a winter baby? OH and parents, just so you know, if you have any mental health illness in the family, PLAN your babies or you are going to ruin them having them in the winter. (Insert eye roll)
Truth is, there is no real proof of how children end up with the different ailments, these mental health breaks but the fact is there are some signs we can spot when they are young. Things to look for are social deficits, trouble interacting with others, a strong belief in imaginary friends that cause fear or distrust, or children who are highly needy, I am talking beyond colic, I am talking if you put me down I am going to scream my head off and even a child who has very limited affect at all.
What is the point, if we see that the children have certain signs and symptoms can we protect them with a loving environment? Not always, not always would be the answer. I mean the article was great, but the truth is, it is super easy to end up doing more harm to our children than good, it isn't because we want to, but we are all born with a different sensitivity level and a different genetic make up. We all process and react to situations in our lives differently. That is why two or three children living in the same household will describe their growing experience very differently.
If I was to take this article in a very literal sense I would tell you it is of the utmost importance to tell parents to take some time, watch your children from birth on very closely. EVEN THEN, if you watch your children 24/7, you still might not see the signs.
FYI Suicide is the Silent Killer. I am sad to report that many children that do kill themselves are children who never showed outward signs of illness. They often don't even realize how sick they are inside and many times, it's chemical. Remember the most important thing we can give our children, to help balance out their lives is LOVE and our TIME.
Be blessed and love your children today.