We all want our kids to love life, learn easily, feel good about themselves and have fun. Unfortunately it is not that way for all kids. Think about being a child that finds learning difficult and that is too anxious and unhappy to be carefree. Life is not that much fun for them because they are filled with a sense of inadequacy. Teachers and parents give them negative feedback, focusing on their shortcomings in an attempt to help them. With the very best of intentions they are taken from doctor to psychologist, to yet another medical specialist, to OT, PT, biofeedback, sensory integration and other therapies. Often these kids are involved in a range of activities that they may not have any desire to do – because ‘this might help them with their problem.’ They see mom and dad’s worried and anxious faces and they believe that this is because they are disappointing them because they cannot learn and be like other kids.
Parents are motivated by the very best intentions, searching for, and trying anything and everything that may help their child overcome the learning, behavior or mood issues that hold them back from being the happy, healthy, motivated and talented child they want to be. A huge amount of time, money and energy is spent to help the kids overcome their problems. And too often, the problems persist, sometimes to a lesser degree, but most often they do not go away.
I believe that parents and healthcare providers are asking the wrong questions. They are asking, ‘WHAT condition does this child have?’ instead of, ‘WHY is this happening in this particular child?’
To find the answer to the question ‘why?’ we need to stop focusing on all the outward signs and symptoms, like looking only at the outer layers of the onion, instead of going to the center of the onion where we will discover what the real essence of these issues are. The list below represents the outer layers of the onion. When we focus on treating these outer symptoms, the central underlying root cause remains unidentified and untreated and kids continue to struggle. Dealing with symptoms instead of going to the core of the problem is a vicious cycle that has a negative effect on the entire family, emotionally socially, financially and physically because it does not make the problem go away.
While parents and teachers are focusing on these outward symptoms, labeling and diagnosing the kids, seeking help from all kinds of healthcare practitioners, talking about this, feeling stressed and overwhelmed, what they are not doing is dealing with why this is happening. What is the root cause?
You will know that you are focusing on the outer layers of the onion and not the real cause when you spend time, money and emotion on trying different ways to remove the child’s following symptoms:
- Cannot focus and pay attention.
- Have a number of learning deficits.
- Are underachieving.
- Are continuously unhappy, anxious or angry.
- Have health issues – overweight, eczema, asthma, amongst many other possibilities.
- Behave in ways that elicit negative feedback.
- Are bullying or being bullied.
- Have low self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Are obsessive compulsive.
- And the list goes on and on.
What is at the core of these problems?
- Emotional Stress. Of course there can be many reasons for this. One of the major reasons is that we focus on superficial values, such as achieving high grades, excelling in sport, and being the popular kid. The message this sends the child is: Who you are is not as important as the grades that you get, the friends that you have and being a winner on the sports field.
- Physiological Stress created, amongst other things, by unhealthy eating and by the lack of physical exercise.
So what can parents do differently?
- Take a long deep breath. Let yourself know that your child has unique talents that can be uncovered and released by identifying and removing the true root causes that are preventing the child from tapping into his/her true gifts.
- Stop dealing with the outward layers of the onion and start looking at the root cause/s.
- Find a healthcare professional who knows how to do this. The majority of mainstream healthcare professionals do not. To find the right healthcare professional you need to ask whether they practice a combination of functional behavior and functional or systemic medicine.
To learn more about functional behavior and functional medicine and how this is helping children overcome learning, behavior and mood challenges and tap into their true potential go to www.parentstakecharge.com or www.teacherstakecharge.com