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How to address the stubbornness problem in children ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 336 Questions
I am always receiving complaints about my children from school. My children are nine years and six months old. They are born twins delivered in 32 weeks. Both children are odd in many ways. They were too afraid of crackers, even drums (but now one of them sits in a jass class without complaint).
The teachers at school says they are very stubborn. They donot respond to the teacher—donot answer any questions in the class when teacher asks something –donot obey when teacher asks them to come to her with the book—nor do they answer if teacher tries to talk to them personally. They are too dependent on other children in that if they want to communicate something to the teacher, they tell it to the next child and asks him to tell to the teacher. Even if they wants to go to toilet, they go only if someone accompanies them. Teacher told the other boys not to accompany him to the toilet, then he was waiting for the teacher to accompany him. For the last one week, one of the boys is not going for assembly and is also not letting two of his friends to go too(but my own child who is his sibling and studying in the same class is not kept back). When the bell rings for assembly he feels he is having stomach ache and wants to go to toilet(He goes to toilet at home in the morning and when I heard this problem I told him to go go to toilet a second time before going to school which he is doing. Still he complaints of stomach ache in school.)
My own complaints about their behaviour--- they are always squeezing their hand, bending their head as if in curious thought—that is something troubling their mind. My personal belief is that something is going on in their brain, the process which is uncontolable for them at present.

Is there any doctor in this world who can identify this problem? Please let me know whom I should consult for a solution. What is this problem called? Is this a neurological or psychological problem or both together?
Posted Mon, 7 May 2012 in Parenting
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 1 hour later

From the description provided it seems that your kids might be having separation anxiety disorder (fear of going to school).

Going to school is usually an exciting and enjoyable event for young children. However, for some kids it can cause intense fear or panic. Not wanting to go to school may occur at anytime, but is most common in children 5-10 years. These children may suffer from a paralyzing fear of leaving the safety of their parents and home.

The child may complain of a headache, sore throat, or stomachache shortly before it is time to leave for school. The illness subsides after the child is allowed to stay home, only to reappear the next morning before school.

Children with an unreasonable fear of school may:

1. feel unsafe staying in a room by themselves
2. display clinging behavior
3. display excessive worry and fear about parents or about harm to themselves
4. shadow the mother or father around the house
5. have difficulty going to sleep
6. have nightmares
7. have exaggerated, unrealistic fears of animals, monster, burglars
8. fear being alone in the dark, or
9. have severe tantrums when forced to go to school.

The child may also develop serious educational or social problems if their fears and anxiety keep them away from school and friends for an extended period of time.

This condition is easily treatable under guidance from a child psychiatrist who can counsel the kids and help them overcome their fears and issues.

Other psychological disorders which need to be ruled out include :-

1. dependent personality disorder
2. behavior disorder
3. Attention Deficit disorder
4. Childhood Depression.

You might consult a child psychiatrist who can examine your kids and then counsel them to overcome their fears and cope up with their stressful issues in a better manner.

I hope this helps.
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