Childhood Development and Behavioral Problems
Normal child development can be both exciting and challenging as the child moves from one phase to the next. Every child needs to progress through each of these phases to develop fully into a well balanced, functioning adult. Being aware of what these phases are and understanding what they are helping to develop in the child gives us an awareness that can help us to help them move through any challenges that may come up. Keep in mind that every child is unique and the way in which they will approach these may be different. Behavioral problems can arise when the child is learning to balance each stage, but they can also arise when one the lessons of the previous stages where not fully learned and incorporated.
Using the paradigm of the Chakra System here are the developmental stages each child can be expected to progress through:
First Chakra (Root Chakra)
Mid-pregnancy to 1 year.
The first chakra relates to the formation of the physical body. Their main focus at this time is on the development of their body and their learning skills in operating that body. This is the time that the most rapid physical growth takes place and it is the time to learn skills like sucking, eating, digesting, holding, sitting, crawling, standing, walking. They are learning how to deal with the physical world. These tasks are very demanding. The awareness in this stage focuses on survival and physical comfort. Erik Erikson has defined eight stages of psychosocial development. He defines the struggle of birth to 12 to 18 months as one of Trust vs Mistrust.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues around the physical family and group safety and security; ability to provide for life’s necessities; ability to stand up for one’s self; ability to feel at home in the world; social and familial law and order.
Second Chakra (Sacral Chakra)
Six months to 2 years.
The second chakra relates to sensations, feeling and mobility. There is some overlap with this chakra and the first chakra. At about 6 months when a child first starts to sit up they begin to become aware of objects outside their immediate range and their focus starts to change to become more outward as opposed to being more inward. During this stage they learn to crawl and walk and develop the ability to move away from their mothers, the beginning stages of independence. As the child explores they experience their first distinctions as binary choices — good or bad, pain or pleasure, close or far, themselves or someone else. At this point they are all about needs, sensation and desires. This stage focuses on the formation of an emotional identity that is mainly interested in self-gratification. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of 18 months to three years as one of Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues around blame and guild; money and sex; power and control; creativity; ethics and honor in relationships.
Third Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)
18 months to approximately 4 years
The third chakra relates to self-autonomy and self-identity. It often begins with what is known as the “terrible two’s”. Now that the child is feeling secure enough to be separate in the world they want to experiment and make their own decisions. What was powerless wishing in the second chakra stage now becomes an act of will. The development of language skills also allows the child to conceive of time in terms of cause and effect. This realization makes it possible for them to begin to control impulses and delay gratification. It is here that the unconscious, instinctual states of the lower two chakras begin to come under conscious control, which signifies the emerging of a conscious self and the awakening of the ego. This is the stage of the formation of a personal ego identity, mainly focused on self-definition. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of 3 to 6 years as Initiative vs. Guilt.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues of trust; fear and intimidation; self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect; care of oneself and others; responsibility for making decisions; sensitivity to criticism; personal honor.
Fourth Chakra (Heart Chakra)
Four to seven years.
This chakra starts to develop as the child begins to develop more of an interest in relationships outside of those with the immediate family. The autonomy developed during the Third Chakra stage will form the foundation for all other relationships. The child now beings to have playmates outside of the family and learns to interact on a different level with others. This stage is the beginning of the formation of our relationship programs and our social identity. The successful formation of a healthy social identity is based on self-acceptance, which then allows for acceptance of others. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of 6 – 12 years as Industry vs. Inferiority.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues of love and hatred; resentment and bitterness; grief and anger; self-centeredness; loneliness and commitment; forgiveness and compassion; hope and trust.
Fifth Chakra (Throat Chakra)
Seven to twelve years.
The Throat Chakra relates to creative expression. Once the social identity has developed and one has an understanding of the relationship one has with the world a period of personal creativity unfolds. There is now a desire to move the energy forward into creating something of one’s own and giving it back to the world. The ability to make this offer and be appreciated for it is essential for maintaining ego strength. The child’s thinking is now able to operate on a more symbolic level which allows creativity and more abstract thinking. The stage is about the formation of a creative identity with the important aspect of self-expression. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of 6 – 12 years asIndustry vs. Inferiority.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues around choice and strength of will; personal expression; following one’s dream; using personal power to create; addiction; judgment and criticism; faith and knowledge; the capacity to make decisions.
Sixth Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
Adolescence – twelve to eighteen years.
The awakening of this chakra relates to an ability of being able to recognize patterns and to being able to apply them to life decisions. It is a time when the adolescent makes a more conscious choice with respect to their social identity. There may be an awaking of interest in spiritual matters, mythology, or symbolism and this could be through music, lyrics, popular movie icons or the latest fashions. When allowed to mature, this leads to the formation of archetypal identity, whose interest is self-reflection. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of the adolescent (12 – 18 years) as Identity vs. Role Confusion.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues around self-evaluation; truth; intellectual abilities; feelings of adequacy; openness to the ideas of others; the ability to learn from experience; emotional intelligence.
Seventh Chakra (Crown Chakra)
Early adulthood and beyond.
This chakra is related to the pursuit of knowledge, the formation of a worldview and the awakening of spiritual pursuits. Its development leads to the formation of a universal identity, which is found at the core of the awakened Self through self-knowledge. Erik Erikson defines the struggle of the young adult (19 – 40) as Intimacy vs. Isolation; the struggle of middle adulthood (40 – 65) as Generativity vs. Stagnation and the struggle of maturity (65 – death) as Ego Integrity vs. Despair.
Mental and emotional issues related to this chakra being out of balance (at any age) include: issues around the ability to trust life; values, ethics and courage; humanitarianism; selflessness; the ability to see the larger pattern; faith and inspiration; spirituality and devotion.
Dosages and Dilutions
The amount of essential oil and the essential oils used will vary depending on the age of the child.
Essential oils to be diluted in 30ml (1 ounce) Carrier Oil (vegetable oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed etc).
Newborns : 1 – 2 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
2 – 6 months: 1 – 3 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
6 – 12 months: 1 – 4 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
1 – 4 years: 5 – 8 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
6 – 7 years: 5 – 10 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
8 – 12 years: 5 – 12 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
12 years and older: 10 – 15 drops essential oil synergy in 30ml carrier.
Essential Oils to Choose From
Just as the dilution will vary as the child grows older so will the choice of essential oils increase.
Newborns: Choose from Lavender; Roman Chamomile; German Chamomile.
2 – 6 months: Mandarin and Neroli can be added to the above.
6 – 12 months: Palmarosa; Grapefruit and Tea Tree can be added to the above.
1 – 5 years: Ginger may be added, however keep in mind that ginger may not form more than a third of the total essential oil synergy.
5 – 7 years: Ginger, Peppermint, Rosemary, Clary Sage and Geranium may be added. Again none of these oils should be more than a third of the total synergy used.
7 – 12 years: All of the above oils can be used plus Fennel, Frankincense, Cypress and Sweet Basil (linalool chemotype). Again none of these oils should be used at more than a third of the total synergy.
12 years and above: All of the above oils can be used a full dose plus rose, geranium, marjoram and bergamot.
Methods of Use include diffusers, room misters, baths and massage oils. The ways in which essential oils can be used are listed in the Newsletter, just make sure that the dilutions and oils chosen are appropriate for the child’s age.
Essential Oils and Emotions
Anger/Rage: Bergamot; Roman Chamomile; Cypress; Lavender; Neroli; Rose; Rosemary.
Anxiety: Basil; Bergamot; Roman Chamomile; German Chamomile; Clary Sage; Cypress; Frankincense; Geranium; Lavender; Mandarin; Marjoram; Neroli; Rose; Rosemary
Concentration: Basil; Cypress; Geranium; Lavender; Peppermint; Rose; Rosemary
Confidence: Grapefruit; Marjoram; Neroli; Rosemary
Fear: Basil; Roman Chamomile; Clary Sage; Frankincense
Grief: Bergamot; Cypress; Marjoram; Neroli; Rose
Hysteria: Basil; Bergamot; Roman Chamomile; Clary Sage; Frankincense; Geranium; Lavender; Marjoram; Neroli
Impatience: Cypress; Frankincense; Lavender; Marjoram; Rose
Panic: Basil; Bergamot; Roman Chamomile; Clary Sage; Frankincense; Geranium; Lavender; Marjoram; Neroli; Peppermint; Rose; Rosemary.
Shock: Basil; Roman Chamomile; German Chamomile; Lavender; Geranium; Neroli; Peppermint; Rose; Tea Tree.
Sleep: Lavender; Mandarin; Marjoram.
Tantrum: Roman Chamomile
Anodea Judith,Eastern Body, Western Mind
Caroline Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit
Caroline Myss, Why People don’t Heal and How they Can
Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oil Book
Valerie Ann Worwood,Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child
Valerie Ann Worwood,The Fragrant Mind