Posted on August 29, 2018

Manifestations of behaviour changes in children during the initial days of school or soon after holidays shouldn’t be considered as a disorder, says an expert.

A child may have behaviour changes due to the change from home to school environment and it should not be medicalized, said Dr Abdulhamid Afana, Psychotherapy Consultant and Trauma Specialist at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). “Symptoms like change in appetite, sleeping pattern of the child or getting easily provoked are normal behaviour. This is not an illness. We should not pathologise or medicalise the normal actions of children. Parents should observe the child for two or three weeks. If the behaviour change still exists, it is fine to get professional help,” he said talking to media persons yesterday.

Pathologising is the practice of seeing a symptom as indication of a disease or disorder. In mental health, the term is often used to indicate over-diagnosis or the refusal to accept certain behavior as normal. “Ninety percent of symptoms children have during the early days at school are related to behavioural choices,” said Dr Afana while speaking about how to prepare children for first days of schooling. He also emphasised on the importance of parents having a conversation with children about their difficulties and interests at school. “Parents should spare time with children and listen to them. Give them proper attention and discuss issues. Help children to develop social life, than living in the virtual world on social media,” Dr Afana said.

Further, preparing for the first day at school is a joint responsibility of the school, parents and students. “It is important to remember that the child’s education is a joint responsibility between the school, student and parent. We have a triangle here: This triangle should be working together,” said Dr Afana. School should provide an environment which is safe, respectful and easy to cohabit as children come from diversified backgrounds. The school has to prepare the students and parents for the first day, not only focusing on education but other activities. Make the school environment healthy and children should feel belonging. Parents, students and teachers should get familiarized with each other at least two weeks before the school opens,” he added.

To recall, HMC provides services in psycho therapy, counseling and interventions for parents and children who need professional advice and support.

source: The Peninsula