«The child of Difficult character» (Andre Bergé) is the title
of a work already classic in psychopedagogy and a concern of many parents when
their first son turns 3 years old.
The three-year crisis, also called
the personality crisis, urges the child to become aware of himself in front of
the world with a word «no.» It’s an opposition crisis. And the more precocious the child, the smarter, the more he’ll suffer this crisis.
It is normal for a child not to be
always easy. Psychologists agree that personalities are forged in opposition. And are necessary for growth. As long as they
don’t chain one after another. As long as they are not excessive in intensity. Without
continuity solution. Without rest for parents and educators.
But is it normal? Parents ask with
It is necessary and advisable to
remember that normality is a very wide area in primary child psychology. But
above all remember, that this child who is in full development of his first
infantile stage, is acquiring the concept of himself, the key to his safety,
the lever in his personal motivation, in the reflection that his parents and
educators emit from him.
If you look at him constantly like a
rare and difficult bug that torments you day and night, he will end up becoming
that rare and difficult bug. As it is decisive the look of parents and
educators in the concept that each one has of ourselves. That is why in education it is more important
to praise than to tell off.
Remember that classic experiment of
doing an IQ test in a class with six year olds and totally random, without
having any relation to the results of the test, explain very seriously to your
teachers that A, B and H are the most intelligent children in the class, which
are outstanding. Repeat that same test
two years later. Note how those randomly marked children get better scores than
the average. This experiment serves to
check the weight of teachers’ eyes on their students.
What degree of relationship would the
experiment get if it was done with parents? Much greater still!
Although it was only for this reason,
it would be advisable to be a little more optimistic, and especially not to label
the child since he is three years old. «This is the naughty,» «The
Wicked,» «The moved.»
And even less in comparison with his younger brother: «This the
Good», «the sympathetic», «the Funny».
A behavior should not be dramatized
in a three-year-old child.
First because there is no bad
intention in a child of that age, because there is no «full
knowledge», then it is out of place to say: «You’re bad.»
the child will grow and in most cases that «no» of constant
opposition will pass. A bit of patience. And a lot of hope.
thirdly, it would be advisable to apply that critical spirit that we use to
judge our child’s behavior to ourselves, and ask, am I doing well as an
educator? Since it is not easy to be a
parent and the child is born without a manual or instructions for use, ask the
experts. Although some people say that council
is rarely well received, because the one who needs it is the least that wants
are parents who always think they are right, the bad intention would come from
the ill will of their children but can a three years-old child have bad
intentions? Where does that bad
intention come from? It is not a
question of pointing out a culprit, in education it is simply a matter of improving,
to try to do «the best possible», as Julian Marias said, being a
person is being able to be more.
difficult child is the one who has difficulties, and deserves our support,
especially our love, even if his behavior also makes us as parents the hardest
life and we also need support and understanding. Unfortunately the mutual difficulties do
nothing but reinforce each other.
get out of this nightmare you only have to ask the elders, this is to parents,
understanding: they understand that they are, we are, inductors, and
are therefore the parents who have to change, at least in perspective, to
modify the process. The reactions of the
parents have a decisive influence, they are determinant in the way in which
children react in the processes of a crisis.
And even more so in this first opposition.
affection, much praise when it works well. Moments of silence when the behavior
is wrong. Patience and perseverance.
It is a responsibility
and a merit for parents to know how to take advantage of crises to grow
together as a family.
- * El
niño de caráter difícil. André Berge. Ed. Morata. Madrid 1972.