The Connection Between Childhood Experience and Adult Behavioral Problems

Many professionals in the mental health field can tell you that almost everyone who has walked through their doors suffering from issues such as depression and substance abuse went through some form of adversity when they were growing up. When you listen to most of the stories, you start to realize that how a person will go through their life as an adult is determined by what they went through when they were growing up. When you look at a child or teen who is showing signs of disturbance at an emotional level, or whose adolescent mental health is in question, you are looking at the possible beginning of a problem that could last for a lifetime if it is not addressed in time.

Here are some ways in which helping kids manage their experiences can avert serious emotional issues later in life:

Anger management

When a child gets to the age of 2 years, they start experiencing the full range of emotions whose aim is to help them understand and process their interactions with the environment. It is the age when a child will throw a tantrum because mommy will not buy their favorite toy at the store, or refuse to eat their greens because they are not yummy. What starts as a harmless show of emotions could morph into a serious anger management situation if a child gets past the terrible twos without understanding that while feeling angry is normal and okay, they are supposed to control their emotions and not let the emotions control them. If a child reaches her or her teenage years and they are still having these emotional outbursts, counseling from people who they respect and therapy could help them manage their anger and go ahead to form healthy relationships as adults.

Health and fitness

This is another area of development that people rarely think about, but which shapes the future and quality of life of a person in a huge way. Nutritionists always confide that most people who struggle with weight loss as adults were also overweight when they were young. Apart from the few exceptional cases where a child has a genetic condition slowing down their metabolism, dietary discipline and learning a healthy lifestyle in terms of working out at all times is one of the ways how to help kids stay out of trouble when they grow up. There is also a connection between unhealthy eating habits and the emotional state of mind. Teaching kids how to handle emotional stress instead of using food for comfort will save them from serious physical health complications when they are grown up,

Substance abuse

By the age of 14, the average boy has had their first alcoholic drink, and by the age of 16 for girls. Most kids learn how to do drugs from their peers, but there are cases when the attitude of the parents and other significant adults in their lives also plays a role in determining how the kids will behave towards them later in life. As parents of guardians, it is your responsibility to let the kids understand that they need to stay away from addictive substances. When kids grow up seeing you use drugs and alcohol as an escape from emotional issues, they will also learn that the role of drugs is to numb emotional pain.

Our kids model your behavior as adults a lot. There are some experiences which may not be your fault, but it is your response is what determines how well adjusted the child will be when they mature. Therefore, to prevent most of the adult problems traced back to childhood from happening to your child, always ensure your actions set a positive example.

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