Child psychology: a practical guide for parents

Childhood is the stage of change par excellence.

To support children who are going through this turbulent stage, there are not always professionals with a thousand and one specialization diplomas and years devoted to studying at the academy to know how to face the challenges of taking care of children, but, in most cases, parents moved by their willpower, their capacity for effort and, of course, the love and affection they feel for their children. They are the real experts in the field.

However, this does not mean that these parents have to do without the knowledge provided by the child psychologyGiven the large number of hours they spend and the challenge of their way of getting closer to their sons and daughters. This is an area of ​​research and intervention in which there is much to learn and even more to discover, and can be very useful in learning the mental processes and behavioral styles typical of young people.

What is child psychology?

In the branch of evolutionary psychology (also called developmental psychology), responsible for the study of changes in human behavior throughout their lives, the stage of childhood is particularly important. In this vital phase, there are a number of situations that on the one hand, there are many changes in our body, and on the other hand, we are particularly sensitive to both these internal dynamics and to those related to the environment in which we grow up. and learn. This is why it is common today to use not only the concept of developmental psychology, but also, more specifically, that of child psychology.

Child psychology it has important links with biology and educational psychologyThus, their most important areas of study relate to the behavioral and neuroendocrine changes that boys and girls must experience and, on the other hand, the educational styles and learning strategies that may be best suited to them.

Below you can see some of the major conclusions about the minds of children that have been drawn through the lines of research in child psychology.

Understanding sons and daughters: 7 keys to child psychology

1. The scene with the most changes

The stages of cognitive development used in evolutionary psychology they place particular emphasis on the period from the first months of life to adolescence, Since it is in this age group that the greatest number of stages follow one another. This is what happens, for example, in Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

This, of course, has implications for child psychology. The development of cognitive abilities (such as intelligence, memory, etc.) develops more or less at the same rate as the most observable changes as a person grows older. This means, among other things, that it is not uncommon for in the first ten or twelve years of a child’s life that their personality, tastes or habits seem to change dramatically in some respects.

2. The moment of greatest plasticity

Numerous studies suggest that childhood is the vital stage in which the brain is most likely to change with the most insignificant external stimuli. This means that some learning can be done more easily in the first months or years of life, but it is also possible that certain context-related phenomena negatively affect both cognitive development and emotional stability in children.

3. Tendency to egocentricity

One of the main conclusions drawn from both child psychology and neuroscience is that all boys and girls have a distinct tendency to adopt a egocentric thinking. This does not mean that their morals have developed to put their needs and goals above those of others, but that their brains directly are not ready to process information relating to society or the common good. This ability will appear with the myelination of certain neural circuits that connect the frontal lobe to other structures.

4. There are many reasons not to resort to corporal punishment.

Beyond the ethical dilemma of whether to apply corporal punishment to boys or girls, there is a growing body of research that supports the hypothesis that this option has negative effects that they should avoid. To find out more, you can read the article The 8 reasons not to resort to the punishment of children.

5. Not all learning is literal

Even if the little ones do not have the ability to correctly grasp the subtleties of the language, only a very small part of what they learn has to do with clear statements and firm sentences about reality (Usually parents or teachers). Even at such a young age, actions teach more than words.

6. Boys and girls act for a purpose

Child psychology teaches us that while their behavior may seem chaotic and impulsive, there is always a logic that guides the actions of the youngest. Likewise, they may have difficulty adapting to certain contexts if they do not understand why certain rules must be followed. The good adequacy between our visions of reality passes by a good communication with the sons and the daughters, by adapting the speech to their capacity to understand more or less abstract concepts.

7. More is not always better

Although it seems counterintuitive, trying to get children to learn as much as they can in the shortest possible time is not advisable. The development of their brains is dictated by times which do not necessarily have to go along with the difficulty curve of the lessons they are taught. This means, for example, that at certain ages it is not appropriate for them to receive lessons that involve dividing or multiplying, even though they have learned the previous steps that an adult would allow them to learn. these materials.

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