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Boyfriends and girlfriends, essential social relationships for the child

Lilia has not left Ophélie since her return to the small section “ because they both love spinning dresses, puzzles and hot chocolate! ”. Gaspard and Théo have decided to meet at the end of the afternoon at the square to play and share their snack. “ Because it was him, because it was me ! This pretty sentence from Montaigne speaking of his great friendship for La Boétie also applies to the friendly ties that the little ones forge between them. Yes childish friendships are born around 3 years old, the soil in which they will flourish is prepared well before, because everything begins from the first moments of the baby’s life thanks to the interactions he has with the adults who take care of him, parents, childminders, adults -parents… As clinical psychologist Daniel Coum explains: “During the vocal exchanges, the games, the contacts, the glances, the care, the child accumulates in his physical and emotional memory experiences of communication which will condition his relationship with the others. If these relationships are pleasant and give him satisfaction, he will seek them out. If these experiences are negative and cause him discomfort, tension or anxiety, he will avoid exchanges, he will be less sociable and less eager to reach out to others.“. that’s why lyrics, lullabies, hugs are so important for your baby. Around 8-10 months, the baby becomes aware of the ego and of the non-me, he understands that the other, in particular his mother, may come to miss, he experiences what shrinks call “8th month anxiety”. And to overcome this anguish of separation, he begins to imagine the loved one absent in his head, to form a mental image of it. After the first year, a baby placed next to another child will take an interest in him, try to grab him with his hands, possibly bite him to show that he likes the other and that he does not want to. let him go.

Relations between children: the first muscular exchanges

His curiosity is accompanied by brutality because he does not yet have the capacity to bear not mastering “the object of his interest”. Pushing, banging, pulling your hair… These “violent” demonstrations are all attempts to enter into a relationship, to provoke reactions.

From 18 months, he becomes psychomotor autonomous and able to live the separation with enough security to be able to begin to love the other. First of all, intrigued by this sort of double of himself, the child observes him, watches him play, copies his movements. Playing side by side allows everyone to enrich and develop the game, by grabbing new ideas with brief glances at the neighbor. It is the very beginning of games between children and cronyism. The word of the adult is essential to accompany these first attempts at sometimes too muscular contact, it is necessary to explain, to name each one by his first name and to explain that the other wants to play with him, but does not know how to tell him. When you’re not yet 2 years old, pricking your boyfriend’s toy is a frequent way to show him the interest you have in him. TAs long as there is no danger, it is better for the adult to observe from a distance and let “the aggressor” and “the aggressed” go to the end of the exchange, because this is how both will learn to take the other into account, to assert themselves, to pose its limits, to negotiate, in short, to socialize. We also note that a moment of crisis often ultimately leads to a tuning. The first exchanges are born spontaneously, quickly increase in intensity but last little. These are not elaborate games, with rules, a beginning and an end. These are fortuitous encounters through which, little by little, each child will find happiness in the presence of his peers. But at 2 years of age, the moments of attention to the other remain fleeting. After a session of bursts of laughter or a conflict, without warning, both go off to play alone, each dreaming in their own bubble. As Daniel Coum points out: “The child must feel sufficiently secure to develop a peaceful sociability, a benevolent, peaceful and quiet relationship with the other, not to consider him as a threat. Children who are very anxious about separation will instead behave aggressively towards the other to keep him or her and will prefer to destroy the other rather than lose him. This is what gives adulthood behaviors of influence. »

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From 2 years old, children will discover the pleasure of “playing together”. Mastery of language will allow them to refine their way of relating to others. Rather than pushing him or pulling him by the sleeve, they now say: “Come on! “. The more the language is enriched, the more interactions evolve towards a more elaborate way of playing, where invention, imagination and “pretending” take up more and more space.

2-3 years: the time for real friendships in children

When an 18-month-old child arrives in the nursery in the morning, he goes to the adult who is his referent … When he’s a 2-3 year old, he heads straight for his friends, even if, of course, the presence of the adult is always a basis of safety, what matters the most to him, it is the plays which he will set in motion with his peers. He has crossed a milestone! The more the child grows, the more his awareness of himself and of the other is refined, the better he differentiates each child and the more the friendships evolve towards true friendships.

Friendship, the true one, exists in children around 3 years old. Entering the nursery school is a key moment, when schoolchildren learn to dance and sing, but above all to socialize. Each child seeks first to be the favorite of the teacher, but since this is impossible, he turns to his friends and girlfriends, and spots the two or three children with whom he prefers to play. The first friendships are formed and the first rejections of the kind “ Him, I don’t like him, I don’t want to play with him! ” too. Sometimes friends choose themselves in mirror image, based on their similarities.

Sometimes, it is the complementary extremes that attract, the shy and the extrovert, the sweet dreamer and the go-getter, the talkative and the very wise… These surprising alliances allow to open the horizons and the parents must accept the friendly choices of their children, not deciding who is the right boyfriend or the right girlfriend because they have the right style and the right look! The child’s freedom in the classroom breaks with the criteria of his family, without prejudices, and that is precisely what is in his interest!

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From 4 to 6 years, friendships are richer and richer. Children have their first real conversations with friends. They exchange confidences, share their opinions on love, parents, death… The games are enriched with much more elaborate scenarios! Between the ages of 5 and 6, imitation games allow girls and boys to experience the social relationships in which they will participate later. We play mistress, mum / dad, doctor, prince and princess, super heroes, going to work … Friends become important points of reference and reassurance. They help to penetrate territories that one would not dare to cross without them, allow to leave the parental cocoon, to emancipate oneself and to discover the other. It is in this back and forth between home and outside, family references and those of peers, that each child builds his own ideas, his own universe and his personal identity. At this age, the little ones work more in tandem than in groups because it is difficult for them to form real relationships with several people. They often make friends with children of the same sex because the best friend (the best friend) comes to reinforce their sexual identity. Hence the importance of the double, of the alter ego, the one in whom I can trust, who does not repeat secrets, who provides services and who is the strongest. It is very reassuring for a child who always feels a little vulnerable in a world of grown-ups.

Develop your relational intelligence

The more it grows, the more your treasure wants to play with others, and to have friends and girlfriends. Knowing how to build relationships with others, children or adults, is what shrinks call relational intelligence or social intelligence. This type of intelligence, which is essential for living well with others and for success in adulthood, relies on various qualities that you can encourage. First, the ability to detect and understand the emotions of others and to distinguish them from one’s own. To help your child develop his QS (social quotient), teach him to decipher the actions of others. Chat with him often, encourage him to listen and ask relevant questions, to distinguish the reactions and judgments of others, to accept that they are different from his own. If such and such a child made fun of him, explain to him why some individuals make fun of others, because they are afraid of being made fun of, because they are not sure of themselves …

Also teach him to be patient, to postpone his satisfaction instead of wanting “all right now”! Children who know how to wait and who do not give in to their impulses are more socially competent and more self-confident than others. If such and such a child wants to take his toy away from him, tell him to exchange it for one of his own instead of refusing outright and risking a fight. Bartering is the best way to make friends. On the other hand, don’t make her lend her toys, share and be nice to others because you think it’s okay! He’s still way too small to empathize! To identify with the other and to be capable of benevolence, it is necessary to be sufficiently individualized not to fear to be absorbed by the other. You have to wait until the NO period has passed before you can ask a child to lend his toys, otherwise he feels like he’s losing a part of himself. The child is not a miniature adult, and it is not good to impose an ideal of behavior on him that we often do not respect ourselves!

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As Daniel Coum explains: “ Before 3-4 years, a child’s basic safety is built on the idea that he is unique in the eyes of his parents, that only he is important. Whenever he is asked to forget himself for the benefit of the other, he feels that he is not loved and that the other is more important in the eyes of the parents or the teacher. According to him, he suffers a damage all the more devastating when the one in whose name he is asked to give up his toys, is smaller than him. What he understands is that it is more interesting to be a baby than to be a big one, which adults prefer the small ones. Whereas, paradoxically, adults ask him to be tall without showing him that being tall has advantages and rights that will make him want to grow up. »

Education in sharing is not imposed by force. If we force a child to be kind to the other too early, if we tell him that he is not nice or, worse, if we punish him, he will comply with injunctions to please his parents, because he submits. Altruism, genuine empathy, that is to say the ability to put oneself in the other’s shoes in thought and to conform to their expectations, are not not possible before 6-7 years old, the age of reason. The child has integrated parental values, he knows what is good and what is bad, and it is he who decides to be nice and sharing.

Friendship in childhood: what if my child has no boyfriends?

No sooner has your daughter set foot in the classroom when you bombard her with questions: “Did you make friends?” What are their names ? Parents want their kids to be the star of the nursery and birthdays or the most popular little guy at recess. Only here, all children are not sociable in the same way, some are very surrounded, others more introverted. Instead of putting pressure, it is essential to identify the “social style” of your child, to respect his rate of development and his temperament. Otherwise, we risk being counterproductive and creating a blockage.

 

It is very valued today to be popular, but there are also timid, reserved, dreamers, who are more discreet and like to play alone or in pairs. So what ? A friend or a friend is enough! Invite his best buddy over to play on the weekends. Stimulate his team spirit by enrolling him in extracurricular activities (dance, judo, theater, etc.), fundamental to allow shy children to live in a rhythm other than that of school. The rules are different, the groups are smaller… Board games are great for learning to lose, to be in the middle of others, and to make your team win! And watch out for the first wounds of friendship that can really hurt them. Because the age of the first true friendships is also that of the first friendship sorrows. Don’t take them lightly, listen to their complaints and cheer them up. Organize snacks to help him make other friends …

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