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The other day I went to the park with my son and I saw a girl of about 3 years crying inconsolably because her ice cream had fallen on the floor. The caregiver in charge did not pay any interest to calm the anguish and sadness of the girl, who did not stop complaining. What the woman sure did not know is that ignore children when they cry, do not calm them, it can have fatal consequences.
Faced with this scenario, which is otherwise quite everyday, the following reflection arose. That caregiver did not provide emotional support, that is, she did not calm the little girl, for two reasons. First, because there is some normalization of children's tantrums. We live in an 'adult-centric' society, where everything is thought for and by adults, minimizing the emotional experiences of children. The second reason is related to the fact that the caregiver, probably in her childhood, did not receive quality emotional support. Therefore, it does not know how to contain because it was not contained during its childhood.
These two aspects often cause adults to mistreat children. They do not know the implications of these actions, which leads them to manifest a certain normalization of ill-treatment. Phrases such as: "they hit me with the belt strap and I am an excellent person" are common, "it is necessary to give a pat so that he behaves well" or "let him cry and he will pass alone." As a consequence, there are actions such as slapping or inactions such as letting them cry and not going to calm their sadness or anger.
However, these behaviors have consequences at the brain level in children. These are some of them.
1. Decrease in important synaptic connections, which later facilitate learning.
2. Enlargement and activation of certain areas of the brain that are designed to self-protection. In this way we find violent and hostile children.
3. Secretion of the hormone cortizol, which is that of stress. As a consequence, in adulthood a greater tendency to a depressive personality, to suffer from anxiety or to have interpersonal difficulties could be generated.
In short, as adults we must be able to discover new strategies to calm our children, but also to be a real help and be emotionally available for our children.
To avoid a negative attitude towards your child, and have a little more patience with our child, the following is advised:
There are always things that could make you more angry than others. Identify what they are for when they take place you can start resources such as asking someone for help, playing music that relaxes you, doing some physical activity such as jumping or squeezing a cushion.
- Time out
This technique consists of physically getting out of the situation where you think you are losing control. Go out for a few minutes and breathe 5 times consciously. You will see how calm you return.
- Choose a part of your child's body
It can be his hands, his feet or his nose ... Every time you are about to scream, look and see how small he is and how much he needs a loving adult to show him how he has to grow.
As you can see, the challenge ahead is complex: you have to try to connect with your inner child. Think about how you would have liked to be treated, how little content you were. Become that adult that you needed in your childhood.
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