This third confinement, even if it is different from the previous ones, once again disrupts the life of families, and confronts adults with new anxieties. Parents have generally explained the situation to their children who are of school age. But many wonder about the little ones, those who do not yet speak. The explanations of the psychoanalyst Claude Halmos.
franceinfo: Is it important to talk to them about what’s going on, and especially how can we do it?
Claude Halmos : Many parents today understand the need to explain, even to very young children, the events of family life: divorces, moves, bereavement … But, when it comes to problems related to the outside world, this does not They do not always seem necessary, because they have the impression that a child who does not yet speak, cannot be concerned by what is happening there. And this is a mistake.
The problems of the outside world affect all children, even small children and babies. Because they are crossed, permanently, by what the adults they meet feel. So they need to be told about it.
And how does that help them?
Small children and babies feel the anxieties of adults, and they disturb them because they invade them without their being able to identify them and, moreover, they often imagine, for lack of explanation, that they are responsible for it. And they can express it by various symptoms: difficulty sleeping, eating, crying, etc….
It is therefore necessary to explain to them that these anxieties are not due to them, and especially to what they are due.
And this even a baby can understand?
Of course. Knowing how babies understand is very mysterious, but it is certain that they understand, and we have proof of this in the consultations.
When a baby, for example, does not sleep, that one identifies an anxiety of his parents, that one explains it to him, and he goes back to sleep, he has understood.
And there are a thousand things today, in the current situation, that we should be able to explain to babies.
It would be necessary to explain to them, as to the older ones, the virus, the contagion, and its consequences: the absence of their grandparents, the masks… And especially explain to them that this virus worries all the adults, and therefore their parents. And that is why they can sometimes be more angry, and more irritable than usual. By specifying that it is only a bad moment to pass, and that we will get out of it.
And then we should also explain to them the changes in the organization of family life: telework, for example; because it leads them to see their parents a lot more, and they risk, without explanation, then not understanding the return of separations. Not to mention that they see them motionless in front of a computer, and not available to them, it is not easy to understand.
And when speaking to them, remember that to explain to a child, with tenderness, the truth of a situation is to give him, whatever it is, the strength to go through it without damage. And therefore prepare for the future.
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