Sophie's World Blog

Crowd-hating children

Developing Problem or Developing Process?

Crowd-hating children

What does crowd or too much means to different people? As Earth is getting overpopulated, we have to get used to the crowd, but this is not easy for everyone.

Our ancestors did not have to handle this kind of crowd that we are living with nowadays, day by day.

They were living in communities but this group of people was about 100-200 people only, mostly relatives and close friends, they all know each other, and meet day by day. They knew each other’s problems, life, and personalities.

But today, crowd means thousands of unknown people who we are living with in the same town or city.

We are just basically not able to know everyone from this crowd by name or face. What can we do? And what can we teach to our children when it comes fitting in and feeling comfortable in this new kind of situation? This is our responsibility and don’t forget that they were born here, so they have to live here.

For an adult, it’s easier to get over the frustration caused by the crowd, because we are able to recognize what the problem is exactly, and why we are feeling so nervous. A trip to the spa, meditation, a movie, or a drink on the terrace may give us enough relaxation to let the stress go day by day.

But children won’t even know what the problem is, they only get nervous, frustrated, and will cry all afternoon for all possible reasons.

So when nothing helps, and you cannot even find the problem and solve it, it can simply be the crowd that he must face during the day. Too much people with too much faces, color, and noise. For a child aged 2-4, this can be a real torture. At that moment, he may not take it as a direct frustration but he can’t handle so much impulse so all these “stuck” information must come out somehow, somewhere. Usually at home, when the setting is familiar, he can let out all his feelings.

At this point, when these cries become a usual occurrence, the parent may think that there are two ways to solve it:

  1. force the kid to go out
  2. or keep him at home and save him from unknown impulses.

I think neither of the two is the best solution.

Isolation and separation won’t help take care of this overpopulated situation. Our goal is to help the child feel comfortable not only in our everyday life at home with the family, but also in new situations, with new people.

Solution is not closing more; it’s opening more.

But what’s most important is to not force this opening, and only give opportunities and help the child to GENTLY get used to more and more people. If your children are seeing how the parents are behaving with strangers, neighbors, friends, and with other people, they will follow sooner or later. Kids are sensitive, and they learn from the parents. If the parents are open, conforming, loving persons, their kids will see how the old wisdom works: “you get what you give, even good or bad.”

Of course there are situations – and there will be for sure - when our kids are not feeling well in the situation, which could be caused by many things, not necessarily the presence of the crowd. We have to see and feel their reaction and ask them what is wrong. If they are not able to explain, we can go out from the situation. We don’t need to make them cry. We have to understand that something made them feel bad. Maybe at home or right after we “save” them from the uncomfortable situation, we will know what the problem was. Forcing to stay in the stressful situation won’t result to any good, and please never say anything that can make them feel worse. Don’t call him a dastard or any other name that can hurt or cause him more stress. It won’t lead anywhere.

Never forget the differences of perception: we can still walk in a crowded place even if we only see heads, but down there, a child may feel that the people will push him to the ground.

Empathy is an important capability and not pushing the situation more than they can handle can be the best way.

Yes, there are children who don’t like crowds, and there are many adults who don’t like crowds as well.

Question is, why are we considering this as a problem for a child and why we accept it as a mental situation for an adult. Is it because an adult can identify his fear?

As the crowd grows, I think moving on a top of a mountain to be alone is not the solution. Rather,

  • we need to help them to stabilize their place in the world and to be so self-conscious to handle the crowd well.
  • Also, we can teach them how to recognize the problem and let frustration go when we arrive home.

Please don’t forget that if your child has a problem, he will expect help from you: teaching and “coaching” is a form of help; forcing is definitely not.

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Copyright: Zsófia Michelin-Corporatum Oy, Content pictures copyrigh: Shutterstock, Development: e-Com