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The feelings of guilt in children It is not something innate, we are not born with it, we learn to feel guilty about the things we do or say as we grow up and we learn from the social situations we live in.
It is a feeling that is built gradually and that has to do with the moral development that the boy or girl builds throughout his life, but above all, the feeling of guilt has a lot to do with the parenting style under which has been educated.
From a young age we learn to blame others so as not to feel bad or to blame ourselves for almost everything that happens. The messages we receive from our parents or significant others (teachers, grandparents, ...) of the type 'it's your fault that ... ' or 'look what you've done, you're not ashamed! ' They influence us throughout our lives and make us feel guilty to a greater or lesser extent.
There are many theories that have been studied and tried to explain why some children are more likely to develop a greater sense of guilt than others, and many agree that the feeling of guilt appears and occurs in disciplinary situations in which parents, above all, show the negative consequences of their children's actions towards others.
This type of discipline is a double-edged blade because, although children must learn the consequences of their behaviors or behaviors, many parents tend to use guilt as the only means of holding the child responsible for their actions. And this is where we went wrong it is not the same to blame than to blame.
It is true that we must educate our children in what is right and what is not, establish norms and limits that help them understand the consequences of their actions, but we must do so from responsibility and not from guilt. Responsibility means teaching our children to do things knowing that by doing them they are doing the right thing, to do them feeling good, not out of obligation or fear of what might happen.
To take responsibility means to educate in independence and autonomy, trusting in the capacities of our children, admitting the error as part of the development and the path that our children must trace.
Parents have the obligation to try that the child assume the consequences of their actions without hurting their self esteem. But if as parents we spend the day highlighting mistakes, pointing out how wrong this or that thing has done, we will create insecure children who will feel guilty for not being the children we expected to have.
In the long run they will avoid making decisions or being spontaneous. They will feel fearful and will probably lie to us more to avoid further reprimands that make them feel guilty. Ultimately, we will be limiting our children, who will become increasingly elusive, submissive and vulnerable.
Let's think that by constantly berating a child, everything he does wrong ends up seriously damaging his self-concept and self-esteem. What produces a deterioration of their social skills and consequently a maladaptive way of relating to others and to himself.
In short, guilt is an emotion highly destructive and paralyzing. Consequently, we must avoid saying phrases of the style to our children 'again because of you ... ', “'You are the cause of…', 'because of you I feel ... ', 'if you are not good nobody will love you ', ... Phrases that feed the feeling of guilt and that do not lead to anything because they are not educational, pedagogical or emotionally acceptable.
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