chapter  3
19 Pages

Mental health, temperament and behaviour

ByDavid Hall, Jonathan Williams, David Elliman

This chapter considers how parents and children interact, the influences of parental mental health and the child's temperament and the ways in which relationships can go wrong. It is important to take into account the family background and circumstances, and the history of the pregnancy, when considering anxieties about a child's health, development or behaviour. There are inherited determinants of a child's style of behaviour, which are usually referred to as 'temperament' and are not the result of his upbringing. The children with difficult temperaments showed an increased risk of developing behavioural disorders later in childhood. The children of depressed fathers, particularly their sons, have an increased risk of emotional and behavioural problems. Attachment behaviour refers to what you actually see: the clinging, or conversely, the separation anxiety shown by the child at separation from his or her attachment figure.