THE CHRONIC CHILD


Somewhere between the actual and theoretical lies the field of possibilities open to us; it is to the extent that we avail ourselves of these possibilities that our success may be measured. We must face the face that there are always obstacles that may prove insurmountable; there is the ever present possibility of conditions beyond our control. There are hereditary tendencies that may be cured but may not be eradicated in one generation.


Theoretically, if we could have the child under homoeopathic treatment from birth, and if we would govern diet, hygiene and environment as well, there would be little adult practise for us. Actually, there are other problems to consider, conditions over which we have little or no control; and there is always the problem of our own insufficiency or lack of knowledge: lack of understanding of the childs actual condition, of his needs, of the needs of his parents or more distant ancestors; and worst of all, too often lack of knowledge of our materia medica, its possibilities and how and when to utilize it.

Somewhere between the actual and theoretical lies the field of possibilities open to us; it is to the extent that we avail ourselves of these possibilities that our success may be measured. We must face the face that there are always obstacles that may prove insurmountable; there is the ever present possibility of conditions beyond our control. There are hereditary tendencies that may be cured but may not be eradicated in one generation.

There are the problems of ignorance and poor environment and difficult financial conditions – too often a vicious circle. There are always those who are destined to rise strong and healthy from the worst environment and difficult financial conditions – too often a vicious circle. There are always those who are destined to rise strong and healthy from the worst environment and hereditary; there always will be those who sink to a lower level, mental, physical and spiritual, from the best conditions.

If we could have an adequate endowment for homoeopathic care of under-privileged children, who are sick of mind, body or spirit, we unquestionably could save many to useful futures who would be otherwise not only problem children but problem adults. If homoeopathy were given a free hand in treating the chronic child, homoeopathy could render tremendous service in spite of discouraging backgrounds.

Everything else being equal, we may assume that a sickly child prognosis a sickly adult; that is, the chronic child becomes the chronic adult sufferer. If the childs need is met homoeopathically early in life, whether this be the similar remedy or the similar disease, it will do much to correct the chronic tendency; but the normal course of a similar disease all too often meets with suppression and the result is more deeply rooted chronicity.

If we can teach the parents the dangers of suppression, and to comprehend that a succession of acute illnesses is in reality a chronic manifestation in ever-repeating and ever-varying forms, we shall have gone far toward laying a basis for constructive treatment of the chronic child.

Consider a typical history. At a very early age the babe presents feeding problems: the mothers milk disagrees, or she may wish to avoid the trouble of nursing. If the child is taken to a clinic probably evaporated milk will be recommended as making the baby “fat and healthy”. Rapid gain in weight is a real danger in these days of baby clinics and the frequent comparison of weight with other babies. Presently a rash appears; ointments are prescribed.

If this is a successful suppression the next step may be bronchial “colds”. Probably the child has had a succession of nose colds for some time. Too often there is abnormal perspiration. If this rate of progress is maintained the child will be a confirmed chronic -probably asthmatic – by the time he is two years of age, and perhaps even before he reaches his first birthday. This picture is not an exaggeration, but the actual observation of case histories in many small patients who have been under popular treatment, either through clinics or under the care of intelligent but uninstructed physicians.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.