Child psychology: a practical guide for parents
What is child psychology and how can we benefit from its knowledge?
Childhood is the stage of changes par excellence.
To give support to children going through this convulsive stage there are not always professionals with a thousand and one specialization degrees and years dedicated to study in the academy to know how to face the challenges of caring for the little ones, but, in most cases, parents moved by their will, their ability and their desire to help, parents driven by their will, their capacity for effort and, of course, the love and attachment they feel for their offspring.. They are the real experts on the subject.
However, this does not mean that these parents should disregard the knowledge that child psychology offers us. child psychologyGiven the great amount of time they dedicate and how much is at stake in the way they relate to their sons and daughters. This is a field of research and intervention in which there is much to learn and even more to discover, and it can be extremely useful when it comes to understanding the mental processes and behavioral styles typical of the very young.
What is child psychology?
Within the branch of developmental psychology (also called developmental psychology), in charge of the study of the behavioral changes of human beings throughout their lives, the stage of childhood is of special importance. In this vital phase there is an accumulation of situations that cause, on the one hand, many changes in our body, and on the other hand, we are especially sensitive to both these internal dynamics and those that have to do with the environment in which we grow and learn. That is why nowadays it is common to use not only the concept of developmental psychology, but also, more specifically, the concept of child psychology.
Child psychology has important connections with biology and psychopedagogy, so that its most important areas of study have to do with the behavioral and neuroendocrine changes that children have to undergo.Thus, its most important areas of study have to do with the behavioral and neuroendocrine changes that children have to experience and, on the other hand, the educational styles and learning strategies that can be better adapted to them.
Below you can see some of the major conclusions about children's minds that have been reached through the lines of research in child psychology.
Understanding sons and daughters: 7 keys about child psychology
1. The stage with the most changes
The stages of cognitive development with which we work in developmental psychology place special emphasis on the period in which put special emphasis on the period from the first months of life to adolescence, since it is in this period that the most changes occur.It is in this age range where the greatest number of stages occur. 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.) develop at about the same rate as the more observable changes as a person grows older. This means, among other things, that it is not uncommon that in the first ten to twelve years of a child's life his or her personality, tastes, or habits seem to change radically in some respects.
2. The time of greatest plasticity
Many studies suggest that childhood is the stage of life in which the brain is most prone to change with the most insignificant external stimuli.. This means that certain learning may be easier in the first months or years of life, but it is also possible that certain phenomena related to the context may negatively affect both the cognitive development of children and their emotional stability.
3. Tendency towards egocentrism
One of the main conclusions reached both from child psychology and neuroscience is that all children have a clear tendency towards an egocentric style of thinking. egocentric thinking style. This does not mean that their morality has developed to place their needs and goals above those of others, but rather that their brains are directly unprepared to process information relating to society or the common good. This capacity will appear with the myelination of certain neuronal circuits that connect the frontal lobe with other structures.
4. There are many reasons not to use physical punishment
Beyond the ethical dilemma of whether to use physical punishment with boys or girls, more and more research reinforces the hypothesis that this option has negative effects that should be avoided. To learn more, see the article The 8 reasons not to use physical punishment on children..
5. Not all learning is literal
Although the youngest children do not have the capacity to grasp the subtleties of language correctly, only a very small part of what they learn is literal, only a very small part of what they learn has to do with clear statements and firm sentences about reality (usually coming from parents and teachers). (usually coming from parents or teaching staff). Even at such young ages, actions teach more than words.
6. Children act according to a purpose.
Child psychology teaches us that, although their behavior may seem chaotic and impulsive, there is always a logic that guides their actions, there is always a logic that guides the actions of the youngest children.. Similarly, they may have trouble adapting to certain contexts if they do not understand why certain rules must be respected. The proper fit between our visions of reality requires good communication with our sons and daughters, adapting the discourse to their capacity to understand more or less abstract concepts.
7. More is not always better
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, trying to get children to learn as much as they can in the shortest time possible is not advisable.. Their brain development is dictated by a time frame that does not have to keep pace with the difficulty curve of the lessons you are trying to teach them. This means, for example, that at certain ages it is not appropriate for them to be given lessons that involve dividing or multiplying, even if they have learned the previous steps that would enable an adult to learn these subjects.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)