Getting to the Root of Bad Behavior or Problems and Deciding Correct Treatment

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1999

Some children/individuals have behaviors which are unhealthy not only for themselves, but for their families and society.  The roots of this behavior may be of an origin that you haven’t thought of.  When a behavior exists that cannot managed there are steps that you should take.  These are they:

1.  First and foremost, make sure that the steps you are about to take are sanctioned by the Lord.  Gather in the information about each procedure or step you are considering.  Then make an informed decision.  Finally, ask the Lord if your decision is the correct thing to do at this time, for this problem.  This way you are not blindly running from one supposed cure to another, all the while never helping your child and even possibly hurting him/her or allowing the problem to worsen.

2.  Check to see if the problem could be medically based.  The child/person could have a hormonal or chemical imbalance, be allergic to a food or the food could be causing an excess of a brain chemical to be released which causes the behavior.  The reduction or avoidance of some foods can completely change the chemical make up in the body/brain and make all the difference in the world in the child's/person's behavior.

Many people do not put much stock in homeopathic medicine or the treatment of illness with herbs because there are many charlatans in this field, but there are many times that the lack of a certain vitamin or mineral will cause poor health and/or unwanted behavior.  Make sure that you have checked with the Lord and this is not the avenue to proceed with. 

Make sure you have the right health professional, whether it is a homeopath, counselor, psychiatrist, or medical doctor.  Seek out information from others in his/her field, and his/her patients to establish his/her credibility.  Then seek out the counsel of the Lord to see if you have made the correct choice.  If you have, then ask the Lord to help your health professional to have the wisdom and ability to help you.

3.  Check to see if the use of medicines are not the answer.  Many times doctors or psychiatrists promote drugs as a cure-all for just about anything.  You may not know what drugs if any may help your child, but you access your an all-knowing God, He will tell you the truth and help you make the correct decisions- if you will but ask Him to. 

Remember, just because a doctor says it so doesn’t  mean that it!  Since everyone’s body reacts to chemicals differently, doctors do not know what drug/s if any will work nor what the dosage should.  Doctors can only guess what drugs to use from reaction they have gotten from the average person.  What if your child or you are not part of the norm.   Some drugs especially those for depression can cause some individuals to fly into an uncontrollable rage or become profoundly depressed. It is true that this accounts for about 2% of the population, but what if your child or you are part of this group?

Also, there are many drugs that will alleviate the symptoms of the problem but have terrible side-effects that have the potential or are worst that the original problem.  Remember, before taking steps on behalf of your child or yourself, always be informed, make a rational decision and then check it out with the Lord.  Don’t make decisions like these blindly.

4.  If a problems is not physical or psychological, it has to be behavioral. That means the problem is caused because the individual has a habitual behavior that s/he cannot eliminate on his/her own or s/he feels that this behavior is a good tool to overcome or forestall  problems because it has had seemingly positive results even though its use in most cases is now causing more negative results than positive ones.

For example, a child is frightened and strikes out hitting an aggressor.  The person or persons go away.  The child has now learned that hitting gets him/her what s/he wants.  This child may now opt to hit siblings or parents to get hat s/he wants. 

Before  a behavior which has given positive results is thrown away, the child/person will intensify its use before giving it up.  For example, the child that is hitting to get what s/he wants finds that the parent or sibling is not giving in to his/her demands so now s/he intensifies the hitting in to a fully blown rage including a barrage of hitting, kicking, biting, and hurtful, foul language.  When this surprising tactic gets him/her what s/he wants, s/he learns that by intensifying the attack s/he can get what s/he wants.  The modified tool of hitting is now added to the arsenal of behaviors which the child will use to get what s/he wants.

If the original behavior or the intensified version of the behavior does not gain the wanted results, then the child/person will abandon the behavior for a time, but will periodically retry the behavior to see if it will again gain him/her the wanted results.  Remember, a behavioral based behavior only exists because it gains the child/person what s/he wants. 

When trying to modify a child’s behavior the most important thing is to be consistent.  Do not give in or the child will know s/he can use that behavior to get what s/he wants. 

See:  Helping Our Children Over Come Bad Behaviors

5.  Do not forget that a problem often has several roots which can be mostly one thing but also parts of the other domains.  For example:  A problem can be physical, but its effects have caused the individual to react unhealthfully to counteract it, thereby producing psychological and/or behavioral problems.

To summarize then…

1.  Behaviors or problems can be:

§         physical warranting medical treatment

§         mental necessitating psychological and/or chemical assistance

§         behavioral requiring behavior modifying parenting and/or counseling assistance

§         a combination of any or all of the above mentioned

2.   To get to the root of a behavior or problem and decide the correct treatment, remember to make God part of the process.

Best wishes in your endeavors,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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