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Okan University Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychology Uzm. We talked with Emel Güler, a clinical psychologist, about what should come to our minds when we say “Happy Child” and our share as parents.
Hello there! In a way, it is difficult to define the happy child. However, a happy child does not mean a child without problems. Generally, when it comes to happy children, it comes to mind; There are children who do not cause any problems, do whatever the family wants, behave and obey the rules.
However, since children are constantly growing and developing, the curiosity, interest and desire to experience that increase with their growth bring conflict with them. Therefore; Children who can overcome the conflict between the boundaries of the family and their own needs, and who can maintain the balance between desire and prohibition, can express themselves, are happy children even if they have problems.
Of course, the happiness of the child is very related to the family structure and the family environment the child is in; It is known that children who grow up in environments where the family environment is balanced, parental attitude is consistent, there are limits at home but the rules are understandable, self-confidence development is more positive than children who do not grow up in such a family environment.
The need for love, approval and attention from their parents, starting from the moment children are born, continues for life. Although it is very difficult to make a single definition of “Happy Child”, if it is done, we can say that children who are satisfied with their needs for affection, approval and attention by their family are happy children.
Children’s happiness is actually the biggest desire of parents. However, as a society, we focus on the physical needs of our children. For example, our biggest goal is to eat his food, be full, cold, not sick… Can we say that we do not take into account the emotional needs of our children as much as the physical ones? What are the emotional needs of children, and what can we, as parents, do for the emotional development and happiness of our children?
Yes, you are right, in our society, meeting physical needs such as feeding, drinking, and protection from cold is prioritized and emotional needs can be ignored. Man is a bio-psycho-social being, and perhaps it is our characteristic of being a psycho-social being outside of our biological structure that separates us from other living things.
The importance of emotional needs in the psychological development of children has been the subject of many different studies in psychology. In this sense, the “Still face experiment” is an important experiment that shows how the baby’s reactions change according to his mother’s facial expression. It is seen that the baby, who sees the expression of love, interest and happiness on the mother’s face, responds to his mother by laughing peacefully, and when the mother looks at the baby with an unresponsive and dull expression, the baby becomes uneasy after a while and begins to scream.
This experiment shows that children need their parents’ affection, attention, and acceptance by them.
Children have special skills in reading their mothers ‘facial expressions and position themselves according to their mothers’ facial expressions. The mother’s love and emotional support is one of the most important factors in the formation of personality development, which gives information about what kind of person the child will be in the future.