How to Understand an Insecure Child

· September 2, 2016

One of the most acclaimed and talented writers and poets that this world has seen, Pablo Neruda, said quite rightly that “everything is a ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.” In the face of such an obvious reality, how is it possible that so many parents and educators don’t know how to understand an insecure child?

It is important to not forget that an insecure child, beyond their own genetic inheritance, is defined by experiences that they have suffered throughout their childhood and which haven’t been handled, understood or recognized correctly.

What causes insecurity in a child?

There are many diverse causes that an insecure child may experience and which can produce certain states of sadness, anxiety and even much more serious pathologies such as social isolation, depression or guilt, if these are not caught and handled in time.

A traumatic episode can be the origin of a young one’s insecurity. The causes can be varied, such as the death of a pet, experiences in institutions for children or within the family nucleus. It can even be provoked by a move.

sad child

We should never forget that routine is the source of security for little ones. Stability in their first years of life is necessary. It is therefore necessary for parents, tutors and educators to be understanding and empathetic in these situations, and to recognize the importance of stability for the child.

Discovering an insecure child

The sooner we recognize that a child is struggling with insecurity, the easier it will be to study it, reorient it and even tackle it. Thus, it is important to observe a series of symptoms:

  • Emotional maladjustments: if you observe emotional instability, aggression, timidity and even an excessive need or demand for affection and attention, this could be a symptom of insecurity.
  • Altered personal hygiene: if they are excessively dependent on their parents for their hygiene, they could be showing inappropriate behavior.
  • Inadequate motor development: their motor skills can evolve in an inappropriate way, presenting shifting problems when they walk, in their fine motor skills when they are drawing, etc.
sad girl with bunny hat

  • Altered health and sleep: a balanced diet and sleep are basic parts of every child’s development. If they have problems falling asleep, they get upset, have nightmares, lose their appetite, excessively vomit or are even incapable of using silverware, this could be a clue.
  • Erratic behaviors and poor performance: erratic behaviors, such as radical changes in their attitude while they play or the lowering of their psychological performance can show a pattern of insecurity.
  • Solitary social behavior: A child that shows excessive delay in their communicative skills or dramatizes too much may be developing insecurities.

Understanding the insecure child

Once we have the diagnosis and we have detected insecurity in a child, it comes time to understand them and be able to reorient their behavior little by little.

The first thing is to remain calm. Children receive an enormous amount of stimuli during their childhood and may go through varying stages of insecurity. We should keep in mind that their physical and psychological abilities are in mid-formation. Thus, it doesn’t have to be a cause for undue alarm, unless it becomes very prolonged in duration.

sad child with wings hugging moon

Empathy will be your biggest ally when it comes to understanding an insecure child. When it comes to their communication problems, we should be very caring and compassionate. Try to remember how you were at their age, what scared you, what you liked and what you didn’t like, how you saw the world…

A specialist in child psychology will be a big source of support during this time. In order to handle an insecure child and know what you should do, no one knows better than them. So they can serve as a guide when it comes time to be more understanding and empathetic.

Obviously, we should keep a careful eye on the child’s behavior. It is important to detect which stimuli and situations cause their insecurity, be it at home or at school. This way you can reorient the situation so that the child will find a more adequate routine for their character.

Lastly, affection is very very important for insecure children. Knowing that they are loved and cared for by the people around them, that these people understand them and offer them the type of calm routine-filled environment they need is a vital part of their recovery.

As you can see, understanding a child that suffers from insecurity doesn’t have to be impossible. You have to fill yourself with patience, caring and empathy and get to work in order to avoid letting the problem persist and get even worse.