Bengaluru

Coronavirus lockdown | Parents in Bengaluru struggle to cope with behavioural changes in children

With the city’s resources trained towards tackling COVID-19, the mental health of children, including adolescents, has largely been ignored. With children once again confined to their homes, mental health experts, doctors and paediatricians as well as child rights activists have raised concerns over the increasing number of parents approaching them for help in dealing with their children’s behavioural problems.

The number of people seeking help has increased in the last fortnight.

Nagasimha G. Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust, said that they are receiving around four to five such calls every day. He said that the nature of behavioral changes ranged from aggressive behaviour to bed wetting. Many children have also withdrawn into themselves seeking to remain aloof instead of interacting with friends and family.

K. John Vijay Sagar, professor and head of department of child and adolescent psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru said that since the first week of April, they were seeing around 15 to 20 children with behavioral issues every week. “This is a significant increase compared to March 2021 and even during the first lockdown in March/April 2020 where we saw an average of eight to 10 cases per week,” he said.

These numbers are not indicative of how pervasive the problem is as most parents do not have the luxury or time to seek counsellors for their children.

Fr. Antony Sebastian, Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) pointed out that a large number of parents and children were not able to seek professional help as many of their families had members have tested positive for COVID 19. “As they are unable to step out, they are not able to get help. Some are getting help via video consultations which may not be as effective,” he said.

He raised concerns over cases of parents reporting aggressive behaviour, both verbal and physical. “There have also been cases of teenagers deliberately inflicting self-harm by cutting themselves or taking an overdose of medicines,” he added.

Prof. Sagar suggested that adults should channelise their children’s energy in creative activities or enroll them in hobby classes online. He and his team at Nimhans are planning to come out with a set of guidelines to help parents. “We coach parents on ways to address this aggression and reduce the frequency and intensity of such behavioural problems,” he said.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 12:13:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/coronavirus-lockdown-parents-in-bengaluru-struggle-to-cope-with-behavioural-changes-in-children/article34539643.ece

Next Story