TODAY -

Catch them Young! Early Childhood
- A Children’s Day Mental Health Series -

Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam / Dr. Meesha Haorongbam *



Childhood is supposed to be the happiest times but given the expectations that a child is born into these days, are they really happy? From the Chagumba ceremony itself, the poor baby is expected to decide whether it wants to be a scholar or pursue business and earn loads of money. Given the current trend of fewer/ single off-springs it is indeed a matter of do or die for the parents.

An experienced School Principal in his letter addressing the parents before the students’ exams sum it all so well: “The exams are about to start and I know that you are really anxious for your child to do well.

But please do remember, amongst the students who will be sitting for the exams, there is an artist, who doesn’t need to understand Math. There is an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about History or English Literature. There is a musician whose Chemistry marks won’t matter. There is an athlete whose physical fitness is more important than Physics.

If your child does get top marks, that’s great! But if he or she doesn’t please don’t take away their self-confidence and dignity from them. Tell them it is OK, it is just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them, no matter what they score, you love them and will not judge them.”

As parents, one must realise that these precious children are not fixed deposits that one can encash or prized possessions to show off and brag about. Their presence in our lives and the joy of being a parent is the reward and our role is to capacitate them to attain what they are capable of, to the best of their ability and help them overcome their shortcomings as and when possible.

Children can develop the same mental health conditions as adults, but their symptoms may be different. Mental illness in children can be hard for parents to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment don't get the help they need. It is important that parents are aware how to recognize warning signs of mental illness in children so that timely intervention can be done.

Defining mental illness:

Mental health is the overall wellness of how we think, feel and behave. Changes in the way we think, feel or behave, that disrupts a person’s day to day functioning could be defined as a mental illness. In children, it is generally delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions.

This could cause distress to the child and disrupt the way they function at home, in school or in other social situations. Childhood mental health disorders are always a challenge due to various factors. Vital signs and clues could be missed as normal part of growing up, and the client (here, the child) would not be able to explain or tell how or why they feel or behave in a certain way.

Concerns about the stigma associated with mental illness, the use of medications, and the cost or logistical challenges of treatment often pose as barriers. Locally, we also have the problem of not having exclusive Child and Adolescent OPDs or enough manpower trained in the field.

Early childhood can be classified as:
o Infancy: 0 to 3 years
o Toddlerhood: 2 to 3 years
o Preschool age: 0 to 5 or 6 years

Types of disorders commonly seen:

1. Relationship disorders: reactive attachment disorder

A child’s development may suffer because of an overinvolved parental attitude- very dominating and authoritative, or on the contrary from an underinvolved attitude- insensitivity or neglect.Such children will need timely intervention with consultation of a specialist in child psychiatry, parental counselling and training.

2. Disorders of food intake: feeding disorders

The prevalence of diagnosed feeding disorders in 18-month-old infants is 2.5%. About 25% of parents subjectively report problems feeding their infant in the first six months of life. Difficulties with food intake arise in up to 80% of developmentally delayed children.

One-quarter of all very low birth weight preterm infants (weighing less than 1500 g at birth) have feeding problems in the first year of life, with persistence into the fourth year in 25% of cases.

If slowing or stunting of the normal gains in height and weight, or a generalized interaction disturbance resulting in intense familial stress is seen, an interdisciplinary diagnostic evaluation and prompt treatment is needed.

3. Disorders of motor regulation/hyperactivity

The child has difficulty regulating his or her emotional, behavioral, and motor responses to sensory stimuli. This could lead to impaired development and impaired functioning (e.g., disturbed parent–child interactions because of excessive crying).

These disorders are classified into hypersensitive types (fearful-cautious and negative-defiant types), hyposensitive types (abnormally low responsiveness), and stimulation-seeking, impulsive types. These signs are reported by the parents as early as 3 years of age. Mild symptoms call for supportive parent counseling and reduction of psychosocial stress factors. Medications may be needed for more severe cases.

4. Affect disorders: anxiety and depression

Children display various emotions from the initial first few months itself. Infants react to caregivers’ anxiety and depressive affects with their own manifestation of distress. Mothers with post-partum depression, disturbed early relationships and a genetic predisposition to depression are the usual causative factors. Parental counselling and where warranted, pharmacotherapy is the line of management.

Parenting Skills Training

Parenting skills training aims to enhance or support the parental role through education and training, thereby improving emotional and behavioral outcomes for children.

Increasing positive parent-child interactions, teaching parents how to communicate emotionally with their children, teaching parents the use of time out as a means of discipline, and supporting parents to consistently respond to their children’s behaviors have shown to have the best effects.

We live in difficult times. It is imperative for the parents/ teachers/ caregivers to help raise mentally resilient individuals. It is also important that they are able to recognize the mental health challenges early on and seek help for better outcome. A stitch in time always saves nine.

Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam (pukningpothasang(AT)gmail.com)-
Assistant Professor,
Department of Psychiatry,
Regional Institute of Medical Sciences

Dr. Meesha Haorongbam (meeshahao(AT)gmail.com)-
Senior Resident,
Department of Psychiatry,
Shija Academy of Health Sciences


* Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur
and can be contacted at pukningpothasang(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on November 13 2023.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #24: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Shaheed Memorial Football Final : Gallery
  • O, Martyrs, Martyrs
  • Remembering the fire at Sainik School Imphal
  • Meephamlen & Life Time Achievement
  • Program: Youth Leadership & Development
  • 7 facts about ancient Goddess Panthoibi
  • Myanmar border fencing; arson in CCpur
  • Research Officer- Financial @ Amethyst
  • Exploring nutritional virtues of maternal milk
  • Fine dining with flavours of Northeast
  • ST categorisation : Not the job of judiciary
  • Growing demand for abrogating SoO pact
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #2 : Gallery
  • Agro forestry for sustainable agriculture
  • Relief materials & interaction at Kangpokpi
  • Exodus from Myanmar justify 'border fencing'
  • Earth Civilization :: Poem
  • Enhancing domestic fish consumption in India
  • Growing call to abrogate SoO pact
  • Acquitting the criminal, penalising the victim
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #7 :: Book
  • Recipe for a full fledged civil war
  • Health Camp at Santhong Relief Camp
  • Farming- loss-making but MSP is not practical
  • Magic ingredients for radiant & flawless skin
  • First Assam LitArt Festival concludes
  • Silence of the guns, for the moment
  • A brighter side of the conflict
  • Interview with Naorem Roshibina (Wushu)
  • Memo to Chief Minister : The Way Forward
  • Best wishes to all students of classes 10th
  • The Power of Poppy - 20 :: Poem
  • Boost student retention power for board exam
  • Claiming ancestral rights over Thangjing
  • Indeed, no comparison with Manipur violence
  • Radio E-pao :: Contemporary (350+ songs)
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs #4 : Gallery
  • Rising above adversity for excellence
  • 7 facts about Meitei Goddess Nganu Leima
  • 149 experts call to find all TB to stop TB
  • Resilient tourism for vibrant career
  • Non-stop assault on Sugnu : The pattern
  • Nearly 5mn candidates for 60k posts
  • Folktales of Manipur 2.0
  • Nothing to kill or die for
  • The Kutsapo Proclamation
  • Nagas oppose border fencing with Myanmar
  • Great game for peace and security
  • IIT Delhi at Abu Dhabi
  • Restraining armed forces vis- Kuki militants
  • Drawing the battle line for Moreh at last
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #23: Download
  • Aira Thoudam - coveted scholarship in Egypt
  • Condemns violence committed in CCpur
  • Last Smile of our Fallen Comrade : Poem
  • Sachinker ties knot with Raina Rajkumari
  • Complex challenges & calls for resolution
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #1 : Gallery
  • Sonia Nepram at 74th Berlinale, Germany
  • Manipur: Best AIFF Grassroots Award 2024
  • Children struggling tough competition
  • Reliance Foundation partners with NSDC
  • Bigger agenda behind CCpur protest
  • When Frankenstein acts as a law unto itself
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #4
  • Manipur imbroglio and our lessons
  • The Living Song :: Poem
  • Entries : Mumbai International Film Festival
  • MG Motor India's new facility in Silchar
  • Self-funded Rail budget earns profits
  • Points Imphal should lay before Delhi
  • Dissenters not to go down without a fight
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS Museum #5 : Gallery
  • Article 371 C aggravates ethnic divide
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #2
  • Delhi's dance with Meitei-Kuki conundrum
  • 'Vividhata ka Amrit Mahotsav' in Delhi
  • 2024 may pose challenges in 11 States
  • FMR scrapped, border fencing assured
  • Time to take a final call
  • Legacies of the Khamba-Thoibi classics
  • Transforming education in Manipur
  • The Power of Poppy - 19 :: Poem
  • Beauty tip to look awesome- Valentine's Day
  • Towards understanding of human journeys
  • If them then why not the Meiteis ?
  • Ensuring basic rights of conflict children
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • Bambam Thounaojam - MMA World Champion
  • Distress Relief @ Sugnu [Jan] : Gallery
  • Manipur's struggle for peace amidst tension
  • Hold govts to account for ending tobacco
  • Meghalaya Cancer Conclave 2024
  • Not the time to take political mileage
  • Way off the mark
  • Abnormal population growth of Kuki from 1881
  • May 3 violence :: Poem
  • Bharat-Burma border barbed
  • Importance of STEM careers for girls
  • Development of mental health in school
  • Displaced children in relief camps
  • Is it the end of Kuki-AR honeymoon period ?
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #22: Download
  • Manipur Technology Innovation Hub Startup
  • As Time Ticks Away :: Poem
  • Architecture & design confluence - BAIC
  • UG Scholarships 2023-24 results announced
  • Occupational therapy role in erb's palsy
  • National Voters' Day @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #1
  • Stop disrespect for places of worship
  • IBSD & NBRC joined hand for research
  • MedTech Mitra : A facilitation highway uptake
  • First edition of Assam LitArt Festival
  • Weed out the illegal immigrants
  • Behind and beyond the rhetoric
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #6 :: Book
  • Training on cultivation of mushroom at Tera
  • Workshop: Exploring genomic resources of NE
  • India-Australia Partnership in Education
  • Why a new dawn of development in NE
  • Healthy Hair : keep it healthy
  • Beyond scrapping FMR
  • The letter of WKZIC to ADB
  • A Northeasterner's Reflection on India
  • Feathers of different birds flock together
  • Manipur : 9 months into endless killings
  • Call to make Big Tobacco pay for health
  • Mahotsav : Richness of Northeast India
  • Noting the call from AMCO
  • Not enough to rest assured anyone
  • Resilience in adversity | Kumbi : Gallery
  • Why effective treatments for TB not out
  • Cease the strife :: Poem
  • Balancing mental well-being of students
  • FM Hi debt funds Rs 45 tr budget
  • Submission of admission, apology
  • Unveiling the mask of Kuki MLAs once again
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Lessons from Manipur on vigilantism
  • Exposure to air pollution can lead to cancer
  • Interim budget: Need comprehensive reforms
  • From exam stress to success
  • Adding more teeth to the silence
  • Still, a far-off land for Mr Prime Minister
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #3
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #2
  • Self Defence Training : for school girls
  • Bharat Ratna for the Mandir man
  • Desi remedy for farm sector
  • Noting the words of caution from UNC
  • The best way to settle Thangjing issue
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #21: Download
  • Maharaj Gambhir Singh #2: Gallery
  • To Our Fallen Village Volunteers :: Poem
  • "It's Not My Choice" triumphs in every aspect
  • Jamir congratulates Advani for Bharat Ratna
  • Climate change needs to be taught
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #1 : Gallery
  • Management fest at Assam University
  • Transformation from adulthood to parenthood
  • NEP's vision is to make India competitive
  • 35th Road Safety Campaign in North East
  • Budget - Welfare with Fiscal Discipline
  • Understanding call against lifting FMR
  • Nine months and counting
  • Statue in front of Western Gate, Kangla ?
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 : Review
  • Auditions: 20th Mega Miss North East
  • Face scrubs for glowing skin
  • Auditions: 13th Mega Mister North East
  • Seaweed: Sea of opportunities
  • Continuing clash: Dialogue the way forward
  • The truth behind the objection
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #2 : Gallery
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #1
  • Gandhiji's Three Monkeys
  • 8th Northeast Fashion Week concludes
  • The Power of Poppy - 18 :: Poem
  • Career in clean energy for sustainability
  • State's response vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • The cries of crisis-hit farmers
  • February Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Parental support to manage children's stress
  • Stop construction of oil Depot in Kangchup
  • Ramji's consecration may calm us
  • JioAirFiber services to cover entire NE
  • State & war on civilians : Failures
  • Trying to stay relevant
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #2: Gallery
  • Seeking solutions, not scapegoats: Response
  • Gaan-Ngai celebration at Delhi
  • Citizens Action for Manipur : Launch
  • Support & Distress Relief at Sugnu
  • Bijou Thaangjam announces Film with Yogesh
  • Redefining matrimony: Prioritizing character
  • Digital Dentistry launched in Guwahati
  • Demand for ST tag: Let authority decide
  • A 'silly' option to end crisis
  • Handloom- loom other than Powerloom #4
  • Support of 8 murdered civilians : Gallery
  • Rs 6.48 lakh to families of 8 murdered civilians
  • Hiring: Hostel Wardens at SAS Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Clarion call to Hon'ble CM
  • Blame on State forces: Propaganda warfare
  • The declarations of ITLF
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #20: Download
  • Release of Annual Calendar 2024 at Pune
  • Machihan Sasa honoured with Padma Shri
  • Painting : World Cervical Cancer Month
  • Where Do We Stand Now? :: Poem
  • Scope as Asst Enforcement Officer
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #1 : Gallery
  • Relief Service @ 16 relief camps : Gallery
  • Lan Nangda Loiroba ! A musing
  • 75th Republic Day at Lamphel Court
  • Manipuri Dance at Republic Day at Chennai
  • Transforming education, building our future
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [17 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Final Photo Electoral Rolls for 2024
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #1: Gallery
  • Guard of honor - W Somorjit : Gallery
  • 13 martyrs brought to JNIMS : Gallery
  • Mangani Leihul of 13 martyrs #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • Ayekpam Maipak (Sepak Takraw) : Gallery
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta (Hockey) : Gallery
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD