Sunday, October 17, 2010
Most of us have had firsthand experience observing the incredible stress and frustration experienced by a parent dealing with a child that behaves in an unacceptable manner over and over. It is understandable that most parents in this situation occasionally react to their child in a way that they later feel was not how they would want to respond.
(photo "Worried" by angelic shrek at flickr.com)
Beware of phrases like “he’s all boy”. Being a male child is not the same as being a child who repeatedly behaves in an inconsiderate or unkind manner. Lots of young boys are consistently kind, focused and polite, while some girls behave in ways that some would call “all boy”. I guided and documented the transformation into "student of the month" of one “all boy” boy who was failing academically and socially. His transformation was in part due to diet change, and accomplished without the medication that had been recommended by his school psychologist.
As a rule, most children don’t want to misbehave. They don’t like the cycle of distressed interaction that their misbehavior feeds. Most children are as confused by their poor behavior as are their parents. Many of these children develop poor self-images due to the repeated reprimands, punishments, and the obvious distress that their parents and others display.
Entering school systems, behavior problems often become compounded. Conflicts with fellow students are common. Teachers, not having the luxury of dealing with 1-3 children as an average parent would, are called upon to magically respond to the moods and behaviors of 25-35 children at a time, and can find themselves short on patience and needing quick answers in order to maintain a functional environment in the classroom. Quick answers are often in the form of Ritalin or amphetamines; but that is another story.
Diet change can be difficult for families; particularly with children who are picky eaters and demand certain foods. Often, these picky eaters have behavior issues fueled by the foods that they demand, and get. While dietary change can be difficult, I can assure you that it is nothing compared to the suffering and damage done to a family and the misbehaving child when change is not made.
My hope is that this brief discussion will awaken families to the increased harmony that usually accompanies dietary change. It is painful for me to watch parents, usually mothers, driven to distraction, and children learning to question their own worth. It is also painful for me to watch so many children put on prescription drugs without any prior attempt to explore the role of mind-altering foods in their life.
Children that I have worked with are often obviously relieved to begin behaving in a functional manner, and to learn that the problem was not that they were defective, but rather that they were eating things that negatively affected their mind, mood and behavior. Parents too are relieved to find that they just didn’t understand the powerful chemical factors that were influencing their child’s behavior.
One of the most notorious food groups that causes poor behavior is dairy products. Others foods include, gluten-containing grains, sugars, eggs, corn, nuts, colorings and additives.
I am not saying that every case will be an easy fix. What I am saying is that when “time out” is not working; parents need to take “time out” to include careful and knowledgeable assessment of food reactions as a cause or factor in their child’s behavior.