"Child Behavior Explained At Last"
Chinese Medicine has a very practical view of child behavior. Children behave the way they do because they are developmentally immature.
They behave in ways that adults may find insane at times. But it's perfectly natural and appropriate for their stage of development. After all, if they didn't they wouldn't be so cute and you wouldn't want to take care of them!
Child behavior is natural. It stems from being born with three weakened Organ Systems of the Spleen/Stomach, the Lungs, and the Kidneys. On the other hand the Liver and Heart organ systems are very strong. In fact, the Liver takes up a huge amount of space in the upper abdomen.
"Some Weak Organs, Some Strong Organs"
Kids are physically born out of balance. And they stay that way until adulthood, if they eat healthy foods and lead a healthy lifestyle. A great many children growing up today, in the rich West, are not so healthy.
As newborns, children
• Are susceptible to colds and flus, due to a weakened Lung System.
• Are susceptible to weak digestive function, due to a weakened Spleen System, eq. collick, spitting up. They may also have stomach aches and maybe hernias.
• Are also susceptible to development of phlegm which adds to susceptibility to colds and flus.
• Tend towards excessive growth and development, especially in the first year.
• Inherit fetal toxins during pregnancy.
• Are susceptible to emotional stress (excessive Liver and Heart).
• Are prone to convulsions (excessive Liver)
The Liver is very strong in newborns. A baby's blood cells die quickly so they need a large liver to deal with that. That's the reason for jaundice. They have lots of heat in their Livers. This explains the near typical child behavior of being impatient. When they're calling, they want you now.
The Heart governs the pulse. Remember it's in excess mode. That's why a newborn's pulse is extremely rapid. Around 140 beats per minute is normal. This only settles down toward puberty.
Love, ruled by the Heart, is a natural state of being in children. It's unconditional love.
"Child Behavior Includes Being Emotional"
The Heart also feels all of the emotions. Kids have to be emotional in order to get their point across to you because they know that they need you to survive!
This accounts for the strong expressions of desire from a baby. Hunger is especially a strong stimulus. Their cries seem to be fueled as much by fear. It's like this is the last meal they'll ever get. So there's often a great deal of urgency in their cries. Child behavior is due to a very strong survival instinct.
Kids also feel the emotions all around them. Their subconscious mind is wide open. The conscious mind or Intellect, remember the Psyche, isn't fully developed until 7 years of age.
For instance, my mother apparently didn't like her mother-in-law, my grandmother. And perhaps it was mutual. So as a baby, I refused to be held by my grandmother. My mother didn't know why.
Kids cannot reject the opinions and thoughts of the people (or TV or radio or music played) around them. Good and bad opinions may get instilled into their tender psyches and there's nothing they can do about it.
These get incorporated into their belief systems. These belief systems play a role later in life, that determine happiness and success.
"Child Behavior Is Due To Weak Constitution"
Their tummies are tiny. A newborn's tummy is just the size of their tiny little fist - no wonder they're hungry every 2 or 3 hours, 7 X 24 the first few months.
Because they eat constantly, they develop a special type of mucous (Damp/Phlegm) in their bodies that doesn't occur in adults. Their digestive systems are very congested.
Because the Lungs are weak, kids are very susceptible to viruses and germs. They may often get colds and flus because of that weakness in the Lung system. Ever notice how some very young kids catch every cold that goes around? Ever notice how, as they grow older, they often catch fewer colds. As they mature, kids should be developing stronger immune systems, if all the right things are done.
The Spleen is underdeveloped for the first 6 - 7 years of life. This also happens to correspond with the development of the Intellect (conscious mind) in the Psyche.
Both the Lungs and Spleen govern the immune system in the body. If they are deficient, then the immune system is weak too.
They have no control over their elimination of body wastes, so diapers are the order of the day. The Kidneys are deficient in that function. But they also supply Kidney Essence for growth and development.
This is what normal kids are like in their bodies.
"Child Behavior Is Due To Being Yang By Nature"
Babies are practically all Yang. They have a great deal of growth going on. Lots of activity and development, as seen in the section about the Psyche in Chinese medicine. Their bodies are miracles of growth. So they need a great deal of fuel to do this work, which is all done without conscious effort.
Being so Yang also explains their high energy levels. It also explains child behavior such as being highly active or overactive.
On the other hand, kids are so overstimulated these days. They are exposed to so much more now compared to previous generations. Society is generally more Yang today. Busy, busy, busy. But you can slow things down.
There's too much protein in the diet. Not enough rest and calm. Kids are exposed to too much TV, over stimulating and violent video games, too many structured activities.
They are exposed to too many adult things. Such as inappropriate entertainment, including films and TV shows. Exposure to a lot of plastics and pesticides makes them susceptible to unwanted and unnatural hormones.
"Child Behavior Is Due To Deficiency in Yin"
Remember Yin and Yang? Because babies are so Yang, they are relatively deficient in Yin. So they want stability and security. They can't tell you what's going on. They can't run away from danger. So they need to know they can depend on you.
That's why really young kids sometimes hit their mother when they fall down and hurt themselves. They're really saying, "You didn't protect me!" Bizarre to an adult, but perfectly natural child behavior.
Kids scream with so much pain when they get hurt because they don't know that the pain will end. They need you to reassure them each time this happens. Recently I was following a dad and his little girl after she apparently received the H1N1 flu shot. She was distraught and he told her that it was over, to forget about it.
I suppose that's a rather typical thing to say to a small child. Instead, opt to recognize that kids aren't born with experience. Opt to explain instead. Even when they may not understand you. The effort WILL be appreciated, because you are showing respect. A little empathy always goes a long way. You'll both feel better and your kid learns something positive, like it's OKAY to cry when it hurts.
You have to be emotionally attached to your kids. You have to be able to show them love. That means spending time with them, getting to know them well.
Build a relationship with your kids. That's healthy: you're the loving authority. They are trusting you to lead them and protect them for the time being. You'll know when it's time for a healthy letting go.
"Children Naturally Know How To Rebalance"
Happy kids also like repetition and routine. That relatively lower level of Yin (compared to the great amount of Yang) makes routine feel comfortable. That's why kids love to watch their favorite movies and shows over and over. It gives them some stability and security. Routine is a Yin tonic for kids.
So they look to you for that security and stability. If they get it from you, they'll grow up knowing it and they'll have it deep inside their little souls and their psyche. Don't underestimate how important that is to you either.
Having a solid feeling of security grounds you. It is the foundation of your self esteem.
Making decisions uses up Yin. If you have enough Yin, it's not a problem. It becomes a problem when you're asked to make a lot of decisions that you're not ready to make.
It's the same for kids. Certain important decisions are meant to be made by you, the parent, not the kid, as mentioned in Parenting Skills. Never defer your authority to your kids when it comes to important things that they don't have any life experience.
If you often subject your kids to making decisions before they're ready, it absolutely and negatively affects their self esteem as well as their inner sense of security.
You'll know when your kids are ready. If you take the time to know your kids. And listen to their response. No parent has ever failed because they listened and observed more than they spoke. Child behavior is influenced as much by how you treat them as to their physical imbalances.
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