The Nervous Child eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about The Nervous Child.
laxatives, and drugs with a direct action on the stomach will have but little effect.  Nor is there as a rule anything to be gained by modifying the diet or by excluding this or that article of food.  The frequency of the vomiting is such that it is apt to have brought discredit one after the other upon almost every article of food which the child can take, with the result that many useful and necessary foods have been abandoned for long on the ground that they are the cause of the dyspepsia.  A permanent cure will only be effected when the faults of environment have been overcome, when the cause of the nervous unrest has been removed, and when the child’s mind is at peace.

Nervous vomiting of this kind is not difficult to control, if those in charge of the children can be made to understand that the cause lies in the anxiety which they themselves show before the child, increasing his own apprehension or adding to his sense of power or importance.  Once the child is convinced that his conduct excites no particular interest, the vomiting soon ceases.  In more than one instance, vomiting which has persisted for many months has stopped at once after the matter has been fully explained to the parents.  In the most inveterate case of this sort which has come under my notice, the child was regularly sick as soon as he caught sight of a white cloth being laid on the table for meals.  Yet even this child never vomited when he was under the charge of a particular nurse who had to return more than once to the family, and on each occasion was successful in breaking the habit.



So far, almost all that has been written—­and there has been a great deal of unavoidable repetition—­has been devoted to an attempt to determine the causes which lead the child to refuse food and the methods which we adopt to prevent or overcome the difficulty.  Other neuroses may be studied in less detail, because they depend for their existence upon the same causes.  For example, the habit of refusing sleep, which is as common and almost as distressing as the habit of refusing food, depends both upon a perversion of suggestion and upon the phenomenon that we have called negativism.

If struggling and crying has occurred upon a series of nights, the child comes to associate his bed not with sleep but with tears.  If a mother values her peace of mind, if she would spare herself the discomfort of hearing her child sob himself nightly into uneasy sleep, she must be wary how this all-important event of going to bed is approached.  With a nervous and restless child the preliminaries of preparing for bed must be managed carefully and tactfully.  The hour before bedtime is almost universally the most interesting of the whole day for the child.  Then the baby, with his best frock on, and books and toys, is the centre of interest in the drawing-room, till the clock strikes and the nurse appears at the

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The Nervous Child from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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