Consultant Psychologist, Doctor Julius Gilliard, has warned that children should be encouraged to express how they feel and those feelings should not be summarily dismissed.
He recalled an incident in which parents told an eight year old child that the minor was too young to be depressed.
‘You are dismissing children’s feelings that way, then all they have to do is keep it inside,” Gilliard, who was a guest Tuesday on Real FM’s Newsspin, stated.
He told programme host, Timothy Poleon, that depression can affect people of any age.
“The risk of depression starts from birth,” the Consultant Psychologist explained.
He said dismissing children’s feelings forces them to deal with their emotions in their own way.
“So you have children taking it out on themselves. So they find it inappropriate to express their anger at the adults so they take it out on themselves and become angry at themselves – ‘I’m a horrible person. I am an ugly person. I am unloved – I will never move forward in life. I am stupid; I am dumb’”, Gilliard told the programme on Real FM.
He lamented that some parents reinforce that idea by chastising children who bring home a school performance report that is less than an ‘A’.
“You re more or less letting the child know that you are worthless. If you don’t have an ‘A’ you are worthless, and so the child has all those emotions dealing with, and he or she does not know how to deal with it,” Gilliard disclosed.
He said as a result, at times suicide becomes an attractive option.
While acknowledging that children are encouraged to succeed, Gilliard said they must also be equipped to deal with possible disappointments.
He asserted that it would not be good to encourage a child always to be the best and not let them know that if they are not, it is not the end of the world.
Gillaird stated that otherwise, children will be terrified to come home and let parents know that they have fallen short.
“That kind of emotion when children have fallen short can cause issues now or later,” he explained.