But, the tests show that there is nothing wrong with the child
The child complains of frequent headaches, but nothing shows up in the different diagnostic tests. The number of children in high school and junior college complaining of frequent headache, stomach ache and severe weakness has increased. But, the tests show that there is nothing wrong with the child.
Government General Hospital Department of Paediatrics head N.S. Vithala Rao says that cases of ‘malingering' are on the increase. If it is not headache, stomach ache or weakness, it is vomiting or fake fits. Malingering is a medical term that refers to fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms of mental or physical disorders for a variety of ‘secondary gain' motives, which may include financial compensation avoiding school, work or military service; obtaining drugs; getting lighter criminal sentences; or simply to attract attention or sympathy. Prof. Vithala Rao says that this could be because of the high stress that students were being subjected to in schools.
“The long periods and study hours, cramped classrooms, lack of breaks for relaxation and rejuvenation and various other factors contribute to building up of stress,” says Prof. Vithala Rao. Even the medium of teaching could cause stress in children, he says. Children learn better, faster and with less stress in their mother tongue. But everyone wants to send their children to a school that had a foreign language as the medium of education. Without support at home the children find it stressful to study all the subjects in a foreign language. Such children finish school with great difficulty or drop out, Prof Vithala Rao said. A study by the Centre on the Developing Child in Harvard University said children in the 9 to 13 years age group were most vulnerable to stress. Research showed that stress in childhood was associated with long-term vulnerability to poor health. The study showed that the effect of stress was stronger if the parents (mothers in particular) demonstrated low levels of responsiveness to the children. Another study showed that prolonged exposure to stress resulted in children resorting to coping strategies that may end up causing behaviour patterns that were difficult to change if the child sees the strategy as being effective.