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What happens when you cut or scratch yourself? You get a wound that hurts or, at least, annoying. Sometimes it bleeds, but it can also bruise or leave the skin red. Sometimes it is enough to wait a few days and this wound will be gone. However, when the damage is very great, a scar remains that accompanies us forever. Something similar happens on an emotional level. There are certain signs that should alert us that the children could be suffering certain emotional wounds.
To learn more about these emotional injuries, which can leave certain scars that remain beyond childhood, we have spoken with the psychologist Dafne Catalonia, founder of the European Institute of Positive Psychology.
Emotional wounds are a pain that both parents and children can experience for psychological damage that has occurred. Often this damage is unintentional. However, these samples end up producing in those who suffer a small injury at an emotional level that can end up having consequences in their way of perceiving the world around them or, even, of perceiving themselves.
To know if our children have suffered one of these emotional wounds, we must be watch out for some signs that should sharpen our sensitivity. These are some of them:
1. They manifest rebellion
Our children can often surprise us with disruptive behavior that does not correspond to the emotional state we expect. Rebellion, when it appears suddenly, can be the manifestation that something is happening to a child.
2. They show ongoing rage or anger
Other children, however, often turn to rage or anger when they are emotionally unwell. This means that they are in a bad mood for a long time or may even have outbursts of anger.
3. They are sadder
Another of the common emotions that children can manifest and that should make us be alert is sadness. In these little ones, we begin to notice them downcast or saddened.
4. They seem more withdrawn
On the other hand, a symptom that should concern us is to appreciate that our sons or daughters are more withdrawn or that they do not dare to do things that they used to do alone.
5. They talk less
Some children, when they are not feeling well on an emotional level, tend to lose the desire to talk. They communicate less with their parents, but also with other close figures such as friends or classmates. In the most severe cases, cases of selective or absolute mutism can occur, that is, children talk only to certain people or stop talking altogether.
6. Are afraid of experiencing new things
In some cases, children can become insecure and self-confident. This causes, for example, that they do not dare to experience new things or that they stay a step behind because they do not feel capable.
And what are the most common emotional wounds in children? The ones that most concern parents?
- The feeling of abandonment in children
There are many situations in which children can experience a sense of abandonment (and this is not always due to a family model in which the father or mother is absent): because their parents have to go to work, because they have stayed behind. school, because they miss their grandparents ... And the fact is that children interpret reality in their own way, always depending on their age and experiences.
This feeling can lead to an emotional wound that is difficult to handle and often results in anger or anger. We must accompany children in these emotions, since they could end up causing scars that remain in adulthood in the form of dependence on other people or, even, borderline personality traits.
- Lack of affection and affection in childhood
The fact that a child does not feel loved can cause an emotional wound that remains in his life as an adult. We cannot forget that there are two essential factors that must be present in parenting for a healthy psycho-affective development to take place: unconditional love and limits.
When the child does not feel loved by his attachment figures, he cannot develop his self-esteem and security. And you can only feel that you are 'a valuable person', when those who love you do so unconditionally.
- Children's fears can cause emotional wounds
Fear is an adaptive and frequent emotion in children. And, although little ones need some space to explore and know the unknown, they also need to feel support and accompaniment from their parents.
The fact that our sons or daughters begin to fear something new, or that they regain certain fears that they had already overcome, can be an indicator that something may be happening to them on an emotional level. Given that it is often difficult for children to verbalize their fears, it is our task to be aware and propose different resources (dramatizations, games with dolls, etc.) to get to know what is happening to them and, in this way, prevent the fears from becoming turn into emotional wounds.
- The put-downs or 'jokes' towards children
Sometimes, as a joke, parents say 'thank you' about, for example, a physical feature of our child or an aspect of their way of being. Without realizing it, this can turn into a humiliation for the little ones that can also turn into an emotional injury. Therefore, you should never appeal to jokes or a sense of humor if it denigrates the other person. We must always seek a constructive sense of humor.
Sometimes, parents carry a series of emotional wounds that we suffered in our childhood and that, to this day, have become scars. These can influence the way we educate our children in two ways:
- We can repeat the patterns that we live in our childhood unconsciously. For example, we return to being authoritarian parents because that is what we saw, in turn, in our parents.
- We can go to the other extreme. For example, we are the most permissive parents since we do not want our children to suffer the authoritarianism that we experienced in childhood.
But, we must reflect, is any of these positions the most convenient for the education and upbringing of our children? It is about doing a self-observation and self-evaluation exercise to build a foundation that provides security and love for our children.
Furthermore, we should not fear the ask for help from a professional if we believe it appropriate. As Dafne Catalunya indicates, the simple fact that our communication or our climate at home does not flow as we would like, can be a sign that encourages us to go to therapy. In this way, we will be able to solve problems before they occur.
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