There are several causes of behavioral problems and psychological disorders that befall our children, some of which afflict them throughout their lives — such as introversion, aggression and lying. Some of the following causes are fundamental to most of the problems:
• Bad role models
A child could fall into the habit of telling lies if he finds one of the adults telling him a lie or telling a lie to anyone else. A child could learn to cheat and steal when he gives his mother the sum of money that remains after buying bread, for example, and when she finds an extra pound or loaf, she neither rejects the child’s behavior nor orders him to return it to the seller.
What does a smoking father expect from his child when he grows up? How could he order him not to smoke if he has been smoking in front of him for many years? Thus, a bad example is among the greatest causes of psychological and behavioral problems from which our children suffer.
• Contempt and humiliation
To beat a child with a shoe, to kick him, slap him on the face, abuse him with the foulest words, criticize him, or humiliate him all lead to the same result: i.e., behavioral and psychological troubles. It will become easy for the child to tell lies, steal, transgress against others, abuse, curse and take what he is suffering from his parents out on other children. Humiliation also includes exaggerated blaming and reproaching, and misusing the reward-and-punishment approach: all of these lead to most behavioral troubles.
• Family problems
What should we expect from children whose fathers and mothers quarrel day and night and probably for the most trivial reasons? Instead of mutual understanding and making arrangements to rear their children, they exchange abuse, insults and accusations. Moreover, the father might beat, drive away or divorce the mother. All of this will lead to psychological and behavioral distortion in the children’s character, particularly if a child loses the sense of security that his peers, who have happy parents and quiet homes, enjoy. This loss makes it easy for the child to steal, tell lies, and act aggressively. A child who lives with feuding parents feels inferior, resents and hates others.
• Excessive cruelty
Some fathers and teachers have the misconception that they will only be respected if they beat the child severely, or if they appear stern, and gloomy, staring and frowning all the time. A father may feel that he will not inspire awe and obedience in the house unless he slaps his children severely on their soft cheeks, even for the most trifling mistakes, and do not contend themselves with maintaining absolute abstention from kissing and embracing them. He does this under the pretext that this might reduce his awe in the sight of his children. However, this reminds us of the man who saw the Messenger of Allah kissing Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn thereupon he said, “‘I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them.’ On that the Messenger of Allah replied decisively to this cruelty: ‘Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.’” Such excessive cruelty with children develops within them a lot of behavioral disorders and psychological troubles in the future. Enuresis (involuntary urination), fear, introversion, telling lies, and other problems are mainly caused by cruelty.
• Spoiling children
Spoiled children are the ones whose parents are over-protective, closely guard them, place them in an incubator-like environment and never let them leave it. Rather, they bring them everything they want or ask for, and such children turn into distorted characters who are indecisive and feel afraid of all that surrounds them, besides being excessively timid, telling lies and harboring feelings of inferiority. The spoiled child’s failure to bear any responsibility (since all his demands are answered); subjugating his parents (who, in turn, submit to him); his feeling of haughtiness and arrogance, as evidenced by his repeating the phrase ‘My parents never say no to me’; his rebellion against the authority of his parents, and disrespect for them or refusal to comply with their commands: all turn the spoiled child into a person who is incapable of social adjustment, since he always expects his friends and fellows to comply with his arrogance and demands. This is why he is always alone without friends.
The direct exaggerated observation assumed by the parents and caregivers to the child deprives him of a sense of security and independence, gives him a false feeling of inferiority, and may, sometimes, force him to tell lies. A child must be observed, but in an indirect, moderate way without interference in all that the child says and does. Excessively domineering parents and caregivers may ask the child, “Why are you looking out of the window? What are you doing in the kitchen? Why are you wearing that shirt?” And other similar questions which only indicate the clear domination of such parents and caregivers, since their children are not in need of that, and its contribution to the upbringing process is negative.
Dear parents and caregivers: let us contemplate the real causes of these problems, given that almost no house is free of them and that they have a negative impact on the upbringing process.