Primary Negativity of the Child Under School Age

Primary Negativity of the Child Under School Age

  Autor Claudia Gabriela Dumitriu, psiholog Data: 11.09.2009

Primary Negativity of the Child Under School Age
Around the age of two, the child goes through a period that begins the conquest of his own identity, and that is as opposed to others. With the acquisition of walking, the child gets more idependence and begins to show more acutely a tendency to explore the environment, experiment of different activities that previously he only observed them. He becomes increasingly more aware of himself, his potentiality, develops his abilities and skills. 

It is an important step of identification. If ever he was totally dependent on family support and care, especially the mother, to satisfy his needs, now he becomes more competent to satisfy them himself. The process of personal development is extremely important in shaping the child's personality. Primary negativity can be recognized in a behavioral plan in a behaviour of child's opposition in relation to adults. This opposition has the specific coordinates for the development of this age. A 2 years old child cannot express verbally, coherently and reasoned the disagreement against the actions and demands of parents. Therefore, he will scream, cry, will roll down, refuse food, strike, to express his opposition. The causes underlying this behavior may be varied: 

Testing the limits. As mentioned previously, the child takes his first steps towards independence. He does not know yet what is allowed or not, how much freedom parents provide him and how much are they disposed to give up. But he can find out, testing their limits. He notes their reactions when they react negatively: if the parent gives up, leaving him to do or get what he wants, he will continue to use this behavior to always get what he wants. For this reason, we meet children at age 5, making use of 
regressive mechanisms, to satisfy their desires. If, however, the parent traces gently, but firmly, the limits, when the aggressive reaction occurs, the child will give up in time to this behavior, because, by his reaction, the parent does not strengthens it. The best ways to strengthen a behavior are praise, reward and attention. Whenever we see a positive behavior that we want to keep, we can call these reinforcements. Conversely, if we want to de-structure, or rarefy the emergence of this behavior, one of the ways listed is ignoring, of course, provided the child is not in danger. To compete, or be in open battle with him is a mistake, because in this way, we pay him attention at that moment, which acts as a reinforcement. 

Dealing with prohibitions. A prohibition is freedom limitation of exploration and action, therefore, it will always generate a certain degree of frustration. The child does not have enough self control to handle 
frustration in a constructive manner, consequently he will react aggressively when faced with prohibitions set by parents. "It is not allowed there!", "Do not touch" or simply "no!" are reactions of the parents that can trigger aggression and negativism. It is therefore advisable to use as little as possible the dictatorially, imperiously and imperatively formulated prohibitions. We can distract the child when he does not want to perform a particular action, engaging him in a game, or showing him an interesting object, we can propose him some activity he likes, or put him to choose: "Should we go in the park, or to grandma?". 

Asserting independence. Like adults, since the first years of life, children need to know that they can be free, that their freedom is respected, and that they are allowed some degree of autonomy. Even when it is obvious that what they undertake far exceeds their skills, they will still want to do what they have proposed. When adults intervene to limit this freedom, the child will come into opposition. Opposition may be active, with aggressive events or passive: the refusal to open his mouth to eat, pretending that ohe doesn't hear when called, etc.. And these behaviors should be handled with great gentleness and tact, because the child can earn in two ways: when we lose control and get annoyed, and in this case he will also resort to this behavior in other situations, for revenge, and then when, to comfort him, we succumb and lelet him do what he wants. The temptation to yield is of course great, but it is best to think every time we do it, as we do it in his detriment. Independence is gained gradually, and it does not imply lack of any limitations. It is better to use the child with some degree of limitation, because later he will meet, with the entrance of organized social forms (nursery, school), a series of rules that he will have to comply with. If this capability is not developed he will have difficulties in adaptation. 

The period of primary negativism is a normal part of child's development, and it should be treated as such. It is important to understand that a child at this stage of its development, is not a 'bad' child, but a child looking for his own identity. It is equally important not to lose confidence in ourselves, believing that what the child does is the evidence that we are not good enough parents. 

Therefore it is best to accompany him with patience, understanding, constancy, kindness and firmness, although it can be difficult, but we should always have in mind the ultimate goal - the development of aharmonious personality. 

Read the English version of this article: Primary Negativity of the Child Under School Age