Carolina Counseling Services - Understanding Guilt – (to Free Your Child from It)
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Understanding Guilt – (to Free Your Child from It)
Guilt is often used by adults on children as a strategy to make them behave properly. More and more studies are showing that reinforcing guilt in children is a big step to make them anxious thinkers. This can also make them vulnerable to a lot of negative manifestations, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, introversion, shame, poor of self-esteem, indecisiveness, and lack of initiative.
The Science Behind Guilt and the Brain
According to Joan Luby, one of the researchers behind a 12-year study about the guilt’s effect on the brain part called anterior insulas, children with high levels of guilt have smaller insulas. This brain part is known to function in the regulation of emotion, perception and self-awareness. Having small insulas predisposes them to depression sometime later in their lives.
This study points to the importance of how changes in the brain structure can be used as a sign of a latent emotional condition as early as age 4 to 12, which may appear later. This study has been published JAMA Psychiatry. The study underscores the importance of recognizing the early symptoms of excessive guilt and early intervention. The negative effects of guilt are supported by other studies. One study shows how guilt can make a child internalize their issues leading to emotional concerns, such as depression and anxiety.
Guilt and Anger
Though anger is a normal human emotion, it can take the form that is unhealthy or unwholesome. It is complex; even adults may have difficulty understanding it. Adults who do not know how to resolve their anger properly are likely to have children who can’t understand or resolve their anger either. These adults are also likely to use guilt as a tool to control their children’s behavior and anger. According to Lynne Namka, Ed. D., anger can be used to mask their guilt as well as shame and vulnerability.
In another study undertaken by Tolvanen et al. (2013), which was published in the Journal of Family Psychology, it was shown that parenting based on creating guilt can increase distress and anger in children.
How to be the Positive Factor in Your Child’s Life
When you understand what guilt is all about and how it can hurt your child, it would be easier to be a positive factor in their life. You will strive not to use it (whether consciously or unconsciously) in an effort to control your child. You will seek professional help for your children (and possibly yourself) when you see the signs of unhealthy guilt because you know it can make them vulnerable to many other negative emotions.
If your child is showing signs of excessive guilt, don’t ignore them. It will be best that interventions are done while they are young and their brain has not yet been affected by long years of depression, anxiety, etc. With the help of a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services in Fuquay-Varina, NC, you can support your child’s emotional health this early to their adulthood. Make that call now to stop guilt from making a dent in your child’s life.
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Confidential / Private Sessions
Carolina Counseling Services contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists that provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Carolina Counseling Services Fuquay-Varina contracts with friendly, caring therapists who assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, it will always been a pleasure to work with you. CCS and the independently contracted therapists are able and happy to assist active duty dependents and retired military and their families.
Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services
Counties: Wake County NC
Cities: Fuquay-Varina NC, Holly Springs NC, Angier NC, Duncan NC, Chalybeate Springs NC, Feltonville NC, Garner NC, Kennebec NC, Willow Springs NC, Cokesbury NC, Holland NC, Wilbon NC