I recently interviewed Dr Robinson on the Inspired Children radio program where she shared her research on the negative impact of stress in pregnancy as well as ways to help pregnant mothers reduce their stress.
Dr Robinson shares her insights into early detection and support for children with physical, behavioural and emotional issues.
Early signs of future problems
Young children with behavioural problems can display a series of traits at opposite ends of a spectrum from disengaged or withdrawn to aggressive and hyperactive. At the introverted end of the spectrum where a child that is withdrawn and quiet and refuses to engage others in conversation, it is not always easy to tell if a child has a behavioural issue or is simply shy and requires coaching and support in social interactions. By their very nature, children are naturally curious beings, so a child who doesn't want to go out and explore, is sad, cries a lot, or often displays signs of separation anxiety (especially for prolonged periods) it is advisable to seek professional help. Early intervention is crucial because if a child is not given help to overcome these issues, the problems are likely to continue into the teen years.
On the other end of the spectrum is a toddler who is overly aggressive, hyperactive and generally disobedient. Once again early intervention is recommended as a child who displays a lack of forward thinking or deeper understanding of the consequences of his or her actions and is driven by impulses is likely to make poor life choices which can be very dangerous in the teen years.
Childhood issues become an avalanche of emotions in teen years
The wonder and intrigue about human beings is that they are unique and unpredictable, so it’s hard to describe the impact of hormonal changes in adolescents on their behavioural issues. Children who are aggressive as a toddler and into the during the pre-teen years, may not necessarily remain aggressive in the teen years. Some teens become more aggressive, whereas others fall into a state of depression when they realise that their behavioural issues make it difficult for others to bond with them and they feel isolated. On the other hand, there are teens who use this social isolation as an opportunity to seek family or professional support to enable them to re-evaluate, understand their behavioural patterns and make a concerted effort to change in order to break free from their status as social misfits and outcasts.
Sadly, the complications of puberty coupled with issues that are carried over from childhood can create major problems for teens and their parents, especially when more serious issues, like sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, cutting or eating disorders, emerge. Research shows that teaching children life skills can reduce their use of alcohol and other substance abuse.
Parents wanting to know more about how to support their children’s self esteem, resilience and other life skills see Inspired Children: How the leading minds of today raise their kids where Dr Michael Hall shares his wealth of insights into raising psychologically healthy children, Dr Joe Dispenza explains how parents can teach their children emotional intelligence, Maggie Dent discusses how to save our children form this chaotic world by helping them manage stress and anxiety... and so much more. Inspired Children turns the science of child development into the art of parenting. This means parents can make informed parenting decisions based on the latest research into child development.
About Dr. Monique Robinson
As an Australian Rotary Health Post-Doctoral Research fellow at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Dr. Monique Robinson's research revolves around determining the early life risk factors that later lead to mental health problems in kids and teens. She has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has garnered numerous accolades for her contribution to this area of research. Monique is a registered psychologist and she is one of the contributors to the book: Inspired Children: How the leading minds of today raise their kids, where she goes into more detail about her research and how mothers can manage stress in pregnancy to give their babies the best start in life. In the field of Prenatal, Child, and Adolescent Mental Health, one of Monique’s biggest research projects to date looks at the stress experienced by mothers during pregnancy and how these common stress factors can increase the risk of behavioural problems in children.