NERVOUSNESS is quite common in children today. Parents, teachers, nurses, doctors and everyone who has to deal with children know only too well how prevalent is this condition.

The nervous child is irritable and ill-tempered, fretful and capricious. His sleep is likely to be disturbed and unrefreshing. He seldom sleeps soundly. His appetite is capricious, his tongue often coated, and his breath bad. He is usually underweight and does not put on weight no matter what food is given him. On occasions he will be a little feverish and may present extreme lassitude. In the worst cases enuresis (bed wetting), diarrhea, vomiting and other evidences of physical disorders are present.

These "trivial" ailments may seem to the average person to bear no relation to the nervousness, but they are truly indicative of an underlying systemic derangement that must be attended to at once if more serious developments are to be avoided.

Nervous children are not likely to be well developed and alert. They are more prone to be limp, underdeveloped and listless. Some of them are said to be "on the go" all the time, but this overstimulation does not last. Soon these lack the zest and eagerness that should be the mark of all young life. They bear every evidence of nervous fatigue and physical exhaustion.

The round shoulders, flattened chest, protruding abdomen, exaggerated spinal curves, loose knees, and sallow, pasty complexion all bear evidence that the child is not well nourished.

Dr. Harry Clements says: "In all cases the condition of the alimentary tract will be found abnormal and far from wholesome. In the worst form we may see the condition known as cyclical vomiting. The child is prostrated under the attack. The face has no colour, the lips may be red but dry, and the muscular structure of the body seems utterly relaxed. The breath is foul, and the bowels are either violently diarrhoeric or badly constipated. The whole picture is that of systemic poisoning, plus a violent reaction of the digestive processes against normal functioning."

Incontinence of the urine, day and night, and incontinence of the feces are seen in extreme cases also.

It should be evident that we are dealing with a condition that requires study and patience, for in a large number of these cases there enters a hereditary neurotic diathesis, which makes the child's nervous system unstable. Dr. Harry Clements astutely remarks. "It will be obvious that the old-fashioned method of looking at his tongue and prescribing a laxative will neither help, the child nor satisfy the parent that the physician has grasped the significance of the problem."

It is necessary to thoroughly study such a child. Its whole life and its heredity must be gone into. Its diet, sleep, social contacts and its studies and mental efforts are all important. Much of the remedy is educational and few parents and physicians are prepared to handle such a case correctly. Indeed parental mismanagement is largely responsible for the condition of the nervous child. The mental overstimulation of children, by our present hot-house method of mis-education, is a large factor in producing nervousness in children. Whipping, scolding, nagging, fault-finding and other such elements in the child's environment, are injurious to the nervous system of a child. Frightening children with scarey stories, bogie men, dogs, etc., and leaving them in dark rooms for something to catch, and locking them in closets are criminal procedures. Parents guilty of such cruelty deserve severe punishment.

Says Dr. Harry Clements: "The nervous child suffers from his contact with grown-up persons who are forever communicating to him their criticisms, their failures and their fears. When he reacts with fits of temper, irritability, fretfulness, he meets with reproofs and punishments which he neither respects nor heeds."

The nervous child needs sympathetic understanding, kindness, firmness, and the best of care. Nothing helps such children like a proper diet and outdoor life. Such a child, if his condition is bad, should be removed from school. All criticism, nagging, scolding, whipping, etc., should be abandoned. The genitals should be carefully cleansed and cared for to remove all irritation that may exist in these. Plenty of rest and sleep are required. By all means avoid drugs, serums, tonics, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, operations on the tonsils and adenoids, etc.