Episode 003: Nature vs Nurture Part 1

Some kids are born sassy, spirited, and strong-willed while others become that way because of their external environment.  It is essential to better understand why your child behaves the way they do so you know what to do to help them.  I know that this understanding has been critical for me and I hope that it will be for you as well.

Let’s get started:

Nurture: External influences/factors (further discussed in next week’s episode)

  • The environmental factors that affect your child’s behavior: Events at school, trauma, parenting styles, etc.

Nature: Internal influences/factors

  • Your child’s genetics (family history) or if they were born pre-maturely.
  • These are issues you child will deal with their entire life
  • If you diagnose early on, you can proactively give your child the tools they will need to be able to become happy, healthy adults

Genetics

Family history is a great tool to know if something is going on.  If someone in your family has a mental health disorder, chances are very likely that your child will deal with it as well.

POSSIBLE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES YOUR CHILD COULD HAVE

Autism:

Characterized by delayed speaking around age two or being into something obsessively (i.e. trains, Legos, etc.)  Your child will need a diagnosis from a pediatrician.

High-functioning Autism:

These kids present themselves as 90% typical 10% atypical.  They are very rigid thinkers, tend to see things in black and white.  This is harder to diagnose and is often missed by pediatricians.  Parents of these kids can tell that something is going on, but can’t quite figure out what it is.  A counselor that specializes in children will be able to diagnose.

ADHD:

These kids are usually very happy, positive kids with tons of energy.  They are generally very impulsive.  They act-stop-think instead of stop-think-act

ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION:

This can be harder to recognize as a parent because younger kids will not exhibit the usual signs of anxiety or depression.  Rather, they will have angry outbursts as a way to release the anxious or depressed feeling they have.  These kids need help knowing how to process their emotions.

OCD:

This is a sub-category of anxiety.  Children in this category are trying to calm their anxious feelings by counting steps, washing their hands repeatedly, etc. These kids are very easy to set off.

OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT:

This child fights you on everything, not just some things, but everything. They can have angry outbursts as well.  Parents of these kids can feel like no parenting approach is working.

CAN HOW OR WHEN A CHILD IS BORN AFFECT THEIR BEHAVIOR?

Yes!  A child who is born early didn’t have a chance to have their brain develop fully.  They often have autism or exhibit some mild autistic behaviors.

ADOPTION

Without making generalizations, there is always a chance the birth mom used some sort of substance during pregnancy drug abuse.  There is also a high-correlation of mental health issues in birth moms such as impulse disorders, ADHD, depression, and anxiety.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

There is hope for all kids, no matter what issues they may be born with.  When parents are helping proactively, most kids will grow up to be happy, healthy adults.

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