Why do some children have varying levels of experience? The answer is quite possibly the varying ways in which they were interacted with throughout their lives. How parents respond to children might well be the most important factor in a child’s range of practice, and recent studies have shown that experiences provide more happiness for the human mind than possessions.
Children can view themselves in specific ways in response to certain situations. They gather ideas about how to act and interact, and what to do and not to do, when being responded to. They will set boundaries for themselves depending on the outcome of these interactions and learning experiences. Negative responses can lead to strict boundaries which inhibit them from pursuing a range of experiences.
For example, a child finds a seashell on the beach where they have been exploring and brings it back to show their parent because they think it is beautiful. The parent then replies with “That is dangerous! You are naughty for going there!” and scolds the child instead of acknowledging the child’s intention. The child then feels ashamed, disappointed, and angry about it all. They might then be much more cautious or conservative with reaching out to people or having the same excitement. They also might begin to rebel and do more dangerous things in response to criticism. We should instead be encouraging happiness and excitement and allowing them to feel safe and expand their confidence with new things. If they have been doing something dangerous, we could sit them down later on and explain to them why the situation was a danger to them, rather than shutting them down initially.
Experiences are key to our personal fulfilment, and it is important to try to have access to as many different ones as is humanly possible. It is an enormous benefit to our education and therefore to our quality of life. If we encourage our children and pay attention to their development, they can happily and confidently approach new situations and broaden their understanding, thus leading to a more well-rounded and positive existence.
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