Dr Keo Forde-St Hill told a symposium entitled More than Just Misbehaviour hosted by the Juvenile Liaision Department on Saturday, that mental health disorders sometimes emerge during adolescence but are often ignored or misdiagnosed.
She expressed concern that some students who were manifesting such problems were being mislabeled as “difficult or hard ears.”
Forde-St Hill who is the registrar at the Psychiatric Hospital advised parents to get their children tested immediately when they displayed signs of alarming behavior.
“If you don’t deal with the issue then you end up with a child that had an issue that could have been dealt with early on and then they go to the extreme,” she cautioned.
“Violence is a result of many different things, each case is going to be different and I think the most important thing for parents as well as teachers is to be vigilant with each child and if you see a behavior that you are concerned about raise the alarm from early.”
The psychiatrist went on to suggest that disruptive behavior was also due to the lack of discipline and structure in the home.
Forde-St Hill pointed out that due to changing family structures and teachings, children were exhibiting more erratic behaviour.
“Something as simple as a child having a bedtime from early and having a routine makes a difference. A lot of children are allowed a lot of freedom and a haphazard environment … that results in haphazard behavior and that is a lot of what we are seeing,” she stressed, while adding that there were often red flags before the adolescent spiraled out of control.
Meanwhile, another member of the panel family therapist Jomo Phillips urged parents to be reminiscent of the power of their words. She emphasized the need for positive speaking to help children to make better choices.
“We live unfortunately in a society or a community where there is a lot of popping down of people. I think that goes to our history, we have a history where we have experienced … people [being] very tough on each other.
“The things that you say can influence the choices that young people make, choices in relation to themselves and choices in relation to each other,” warned Phillips.
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