7 advantages of having children alone for a while | Mirror
Although the Greek philosopher Epictetus “distinguished loneliness, as a negative behavior arising from feelings of emptiness, despair and weakness, and isolation as a positive state of interaction with oneself and the exploitation of mental potential”, the confusion between them continues today.
According to the American journalist, master of psychology, Michelle Brunetti, “most people still look at isolation with apprehension and underestimate its importance, because they believe it is the same feeling of loneliness.”
This confusion between these two cases is what explains parents’ view of their children as having a constant need for instant gratification and not leaving them to be silent or isolated alone, for fear of harmful isolation.
From the middle of the twentieth century, “parents began to believe that children are weak and vulnerable, and that the world around them is a danger”, which led them to constantly monitor them and involve them in continuous activities “to ensure their physical safety and success in the future, ” says Christine Lachoa, a historian at Vanguard University in California.
Children are often not allowed to spend time alone, to process something or to deal with it in their own way, “although this is one of the ways in which children discover their own personality”, according to psychotherapist Marc O’Dwyer.
Thus the historian of solitude David Vincent explains: “Those children who naturally like solitude are not necessarily antisocial loners, but normal children who are always present.”
Isolation skills and the consequences of their deprivation
A child acquires special skills from time spent alone, to learn how to relax, think, meditate and have fun, without the help or input of parents, siblings, friends or babysitters. “(These skills) take about 20 minutes to build gradually, and children can overcome any discomfort and learn to sit with their feelings,” says Virginia Thomas, professor of psychology at Middlebury College, Vermont, USA.
On the other hand, there are several consequences of depriving children of isolation, of which perhaps the most important are the following:
Raises spoiled children
Peggy Drexler, author and psychology researcher, says, “Our children’s constant partying, splurging on material possessions, overeating and excessive attention are creating a generation of spoiled children who are always looking for support,” while studies show that “children who know how to be alone, spend time alone, they rarely feel alone.
It makes them tired
The obsession with monitoring children “makes them exhausted and distracted, between school, activities, family noise and social media, without any possibility of controlling their days,” says Paola Corsano, a child isolation researcher at Italy’s University of Parma.
It takes their breath away
Some children need time to breathe, to get used to being alone, to deal with difficult thoughts and feelings “and we have to learn to love that and give it to them without any interference,” says Dr. Robert Coplan, a psychologist from Canada’s Carleton University.
A child can play alone, be happy and not suffer from any loneliness, until we start preventing him from spending time alone, which creates pressure, says Michelle Brunetti.
Benefits of Solitude Skills
Isolation has several advantages that parents may miss, the most important of which are:
satisfy a natural need
The researchers note that “children may turn away, after participating in group activities, to engage in individual activities such as reading or drawing, or even wearing headphones.” From birth, babies seek moments to themselves to process overwhelming emotions, avoid eye contact and cry if someone insists on re-engaging them in something they don’t want. “Even babies withdraw from some interactions,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Support the child’s independence
As children grow up, they go through a period of self-exploration, and their need for solitude in their rooms, independent of peers or family members, grows, which gives them a sense of calmness and comfort and makes them feel more confident in themselves. before any situation.
Therefore, Coplan emphasizes the importance of “freeing yourself from the spotlight and the pressure of social control.” Brunetti believes that “encouraging them to have some solitude will teach them to rely on themselves in difficult times.”
Development of skills
Just as children need adult supervision, they need isolation to help them grow, but they don’t get enough of it. The researchers told the American magazine “The Atlantic” that “there are difficulties in accepting the idea of a single child”, as most parents feel that their children’s free time is a void that needs to be filled and worry if their child does not have many friends or spends a lot of time alone. But Paola Corsano confirms that “individual play develops the child’s skills, especially concentration and planning.”
freedom of choice
Children need some alone time, but they choose it, not adults.
Studies have shown that “children’s decision to self-isolate has more positive effects than if they were forced to.” And although children today enjoy more freedom, more free time, socialization and play, “childhoods of freedom, individual private periods provided opportunities for quiet space and a clear mind,” says Stephen Mintz, a historian at the University of Texas.
“Isolation can help teenagers breathe and recharge their batteries, as they begin to focus more on identity issues such as: Who am I? What do I believe? What does this mean? Where am I going in my life?” says Virginia Thomas.
Rather than being easily influenced by the people around them, they are more likely to make decisions that align with their own values. One of the things where solitude can really be helpful is “a sense of freedom to explore a child’s own interests, to explore nature, to explore the world around them.”
Regulation of emotions
says Dr. Robert Coplan “Children who are scolded by their parents often go back to their room, play with a doll, and begin to think and practice independently, to better regulate their big emotions and learn from their mistakes.”
Better grades and less depression
Research shows that teenagers who spend a moderate amount of time alone “have better grades and lower rates of depression than those who don’t.”