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What if the latest findings on the child's brain allowed us to make our children happier? This is the proposal made by Catherine Gueguen, pediatrician specializing in parenting support.
1) Better understand the emotions of the child
- What's going on in the brain : Laughs, tears, sometimes both at the same time ... The reactions of a toddler can be surprising: "The children have emotional storms", summarizes Catherine Guéguen. As an adult, our center of emotions is connected to our center of thought and reason. When we are angry or sad, we can take a step back. A child, for his part, is not able because his brain structures, especially those located in the orbitofrontal cortex, are not mature enough for that.
- How to act on a daily basis: Help him tame his emotions and get to know them better.Many adults are not able to identify what they are feeling. It is important to teach your child how to do it. To know if he is sad or anxious will allow him to appease the amygdala, that part of the brain which is the center of fear and anxiety. He is crying ? From 1 year old, ask him how he feels: "Are you crying because you are sad or angry?"
2) Always act with empathy
- What's going on in the brain Researchers have shown that being caring and empathetic with your child allows the brain structures that manage your emotions to mature. Conversely, raise the tone for no reason because it cries and stress unnecessarily impacts directly on the development of neurons.
- How to act on a daily basis: Your child is angry at the supermarket? Try to keep calm and ignore others' eyes: "It is necessary to succeed in soothing one's child, with gentleness and without threat. Just tell him: "I understand that you want this toy but I will not buy it," advises Catherine Guéguen. "The limits can be laid gently, no need to scream louder than the child," she continues.
3) Is he afraid? Reassure him!
- What happens in the brain: The amygdala, the center of fear, is mature at birth, but brain structures that allow your child to reason are not yet fully functional. That's why your toddler is frightened by a wave or the black ... fears that seem to us irrational, to us adults.
- How to act on a daily basis : Show him that you take his fear seriously. Do not say "Do not be silly at last!" On the contrary, comfort it. The benefits of touch during a hug also allow the secretion of oxytocin, the hormone of well-being. The more you are benevolent with him, the more his brain circuits that go from the emotional circuit to the rational circuit will grow. Another advice from Catherine Guéguen, "before 5 or 6 years, avoid reading scary stories to his child.It risk developing fears he can not handle." To meditate…