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Normal Psychosocial Development

What does child mental health mean?

Normal mental health in a child means he is being able to :

  • Enter and sustain mutually satisfying personal relationships continuing progression of psychological development. Play and learn so that attainments are appropriate for age and intellectual level
  • Develop normal sense of right and wrong

Psychological disorders among children range from 12% – 29% worldwide, and about 13% in Malaysia according to The National Health & Morbidity Survey, 1996.

What is normal psychosocial development?

Psychosocial development is a life long process, but tasks learnt in the first five years of life will shape the development. Development can be divided into:

  • Cognitive (mental process) – understanding, calculating, reasoning, coordinating motor functioning, perception etc.
  • Emotional – rapid development during pre-school. The tasks include :
    • Recognizing the significance and types of emotions. Learning to control emotions
    • Understanding the impact of emotions on behaviour
  • Social – influenced by nature of attachment to the parents or primary care giver
  • Moral – involving issues of right and wrong

What are a child’s mental health needs

Mental health needs are mainly in two areas:

  1. Basic Survival Needs
    • Safety and Shelter
    • Food
    • Physical Care and
    • Health Care
  2. Psychosocial And Spiritual Needs
    • Faith in God
    • Unconditional Love
    • Security and stability
    • Adequate stimulation and new experiences
    • Positive supervised play
    • Education
    • Appropriate guidance
    • Assertive and instructive discipline
    • Predictable routine
    • Positive parenting

If the basic needs are met, the child will develop positive self-esteem. If needs are not met mental health problems may result.

Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Baizury binti Bashah
Reviewed : Dr. Zarina Zainan Abidin