Love as an Emotional Reaction in the Child

Love as an Emotional Reaction in the Child

Why Is the Child’s Love Affection Towards People Important?

Already in the first year of life, the child shows love affection towards people who deal with it in a friendly and gentle way. Since the mother is regularly the first person to give the child a sense of comfort, it is understandable that the mother is also the first object of the child’s love. The child carries within it an instinctive need to be loved, to be accepted as one’s own, to feel belonging to someone. The mother is usually the first person who gives it the opportunity to gain such an experience about itself. On that experience, the child builds self-confidence, a sense of security, and courage in the face of the reality of life. This encourages it to be active, to get to know the environment, to solve problems, and to overcome difficulties. The warm emotional attitude of the environment stimulates it to learn, to adopt an increasing number of work habits, to develop its abilities, to fully express its individuality.

What It Takes for a Child to Return Love?

Although a child has a natural need to be included in the human community, it still cannot do so, at least not completely and harmoniously, if it does not experience the intense love of its surroundings. A child can only give as much as it receives from the people around it. It can love, respect, and accept them as authorities only when it feels that they also appreciate and love it. The child’s loyalty to its parents and other educators is, admittedly, its natural need, but not a necessary quality. Every child wants to love their educators, but sometimes they can’t love them. It cannot do that if the environment is cold and disinterested in it, or rude and cruel.

Why It’s Wrong to Force the Child to Love and Affection Towards People?

It is ridiculous to talk about the duty of a child to love its parents and to respect its teachers. It will do so on its own, without any instruction, persuasion, or coercion if its educators deserve it, i.e. if they treat the child in an emotionally healthy way. On the contrary, bad educators of a child, those who do not love it or are too strict with it or undermine its authority before it, will not gain its love. It is unnatural and pedagogically completely wrong to require a child to still love such educators and to appreciate them only because they are its parents or teachers, or because they are adults.

Why Is It Important for a Child to Feel Love From People?

The real love of the adult environment is a very important condition for the proper development of the child’s whole personality. It is indispensable for shaping a healthy emotional life in a child, for gathering emotional capital that will enable healthy, socially-positive affective reactions. Under the influence of an emotionally warm environment, the understanding of other people’s emotions, the compassion for other people’s misfortune, the feeling of pain or sorrow, develop from the child’s age of three. Such a child becomes increasingly tactful, considerate and gentle, able to adapt to others, to understand, respect and love them. The love of the environment is a necessary condition for a child to develop in a natural and complete way into a social being, into a man who is capable of acting as a positive member of human society.