Love is fundamental for wellbeing and mental health

Child abuse is a widely discussed and studied topic, but there is one aspect that stands out above all others in the opinion of an expert in neurology and psychoanalysis: the lack of love. In a revealing interview, Boris Cyrulnik, renowned neurologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, professor at the University of Var and leader of the clinical psychology research group at the Toulon hospital in France, shares his valuable insights.

Beyond physical and psychological damage

Physical and psychological harm can have devastating effects on a child’s life, but Cyrulnik emphasizes that the absence of love can have even more profound repercussions. This lack, he says, not only causes immediate harm but can also determine the child’s life trajectory in emotional, cognitive and social aspects.

Why is love so crucial?

  1. Brain development: Love and attention are essential for optimal brain development. Lack of love and care can affect the formation of neural connections, impacting cognitive and emotional skills.
  2. Emotional security: Love provides a sense of belonging and security. A child who does not receive love may develop anxiety disorders, depression and self-esteem problems.
  3. Social skills: A loving environment teaches empathy, understanding and social interaction skills. Lack of love can affect a child’s ability to relate to others.

The Essence of Love in Individual Well-Being

The well-being of an individual has been studied from multiple perspectives and disciplines. However, there is one constant that stands out and that, according to the renowned neurologist and psychoanalyst Boris Cyrulnik, is fundamental: love. In this reflection, we delve into Cyrulnik’s vision of how love acts as the foundation of well-being and the vital importance it has in a child’s life.

Love as a Fundamental Pillar

Boris Cyrulnik is not just any expert. His work in neurology and psychoanalysis has given him a deep insight into the workings of the human brain and the psychology of the individual. According to him, love is much more than a feeling or an emotion; it is the core upon which a person’s mental and emotional health is built.

Mistreatment vs. Lack of Love: Two Faces of the Same Dilemma

While society focuses on combating and preventing physical and psychological abuse, which are undoubtedly serious and devastating problems, Cyrulnik argues that a lack of love can be just as damaging, if not more so. Here are some reasons:

  1. Emotional Development: Love nurtures self-esteem, self-confidence and self-assurance. The lack of this affection can lead to insecurities and emotional disorders.
  2. Brain Connections: The presence of love and care early in life affects how brain connections are formed, influencing cognitive and emotional abilities.
  3. Future Relationships: Experiencing love in childhood lays the foundation for healthy relationships in adulthood.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Love

Although the absence of mistreatment is essential, we cannot overlook the need to provide love and care. As a society, we must understand that preventing abuse is only half the job. The other half is to ensure that each child grows up in a loving and supportive environment.

Children’s Mental Health

Children’s mental health is a fundamental pillar in the full and balanced development of a child. Boris Cyrulnik, a leading neurologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and professor at the University of Var, gives us his advice and best practices based on years of research and experience.

The environment as a foundation

For Cyrulnik, the environment in which a child grows up plays a vital role in his or her mental health. A safe, enriched and loving environment is essential for a child’s emotional and cognitive development.

Best practices recommended by Cyrulnik

  1. Establish routines: Routines provide security and structure for children, helping them to understand the world around them and know what to expect.
  2. Open communication: Foster an environment where the child feels safe to express his or her feelings and concerns. Actively listening and validating their emotions is key.
  3. Quality time: Spending quality time with children, playing with them, reading and exploring together strengthens bonding and promotes emotional well-being.
  4. Limit exposure to screens: It is essential to balance time spent in front of devices with outdoor activities, physical and social play.
  5. Foster resilience: Teaching children to face challenges, adapt and learn from adversity is crucial to their long-term mental health.
  6. Mindfulness practices: Mind fulness can help children connect with the present moment, manage stress and develop greater self-awareness.

The community as a support

Cyrulnik stresses the importance of having a strong support network, including family, friends and professionals. The community plays a crucial role in promoting children’s mental health by providing resources, education and emotional support.

The interview with Boris Cyrulnik highlights the imperative need for love in child development. It is a call for reflection on how our society perceives and deals with child abuse. Beyond preventing harm, it is vital to ensure that each child receives the love and attention he or she deserves.

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