PARENTING – “He’s a child, he has the right to express himself, to do stupid things, to be annoyed, to be tired or to be embarrassed!”, exclaims Catherine Verdier, reached by telephone, to HuffPost. For the psychologist and founder of the firm Psyfamille, the attitude of Prince Louis during the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place at the beginning of June, is very “normal”.
Appearing hands over ears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace or pushing away his mother during the “Platinum Jubilee Pageant”, the third child of Prince William and Kate Middleton was noticed during the celebrations organized in honor of his grandmother.
If his behavior has been the subject of humorous covers, it has also been much criticized, many media or Internet users judging Prince Louis, 4, “unmanageable”, “untenable”, even “insolent”. “Regardless of his status or the context in which he was, he had normal reactions for a child of his age,” said clinical psychologist Aline Nativel Id Hammou.
“It’s a situation that happens daily, there is no parent who has not experienced this!”, adds Sandra, journalist and mother of two boys under four years old. Asked by The HuffPostshe recalls like Catherine Verdier and Aline Nativel Id Hammou that the behavior of Prince Louis is classic for a 4-year-old child.
“Typical” reactions for his age
“The fact that he puts his hand on his mother’s mouth is something typical, which we find at this age of child development”, underlines Aline Nativel Id Hammou. “He may have received a lot of requests, solicitations from adults, and for him it’s a way of saying stop, of showing that it was too much,” she explains.
“He may have received a lot of requests from adults, and for him it’s a way of saying stop, of showing that it was too much”
– Aline Nativel Id Hammou, clinical psychologist
“He simply went through body language to express reaction”, continues the specialist. If after the age of 2, children can express their emotions through words or gestures, “adults are more likely to come when the children are going to show physical discomfort, discomfort”, remarks Aline Nativel Id Hammou. “It’s also at this age that you develop your personality and character,” she adds.
For Catherine Verdier, it is necessary to take into account the fact that Prince Louis is “not a mini-adult”. “There are times when he wants to play more than follow all this protocol. After 6 years, it is easier to explain what is expected of them”, specifies the psychologist, noting that at the age of the prince, children have no notion of time. “He wonders, has it been five minutes or an hour that I’ve been here?”, She illustrates.
Let the emotions speak
“What would worry me more in fact is a child who does not move”, continues Catherine Verdier, evoking the scene where Prince Louis covers his ears. She explains: “In these images, he expresses something that bothers him, and it’s very good to be able to express his emotions, especially something that does not suit him”.
“He was impressed by the height, the fact of being on a balcony, the crowd, the noise”, adds Aline Nativel Id Hammou. “We may have had to try to anticipate, to prepare him in relation to certain protocols, but between the preparation and the child’s ability, there is a gap. A child remains in the immediacy, the present and it is difficult to take a step back”, she explains. “The expression of their emotions is spontaneous at this age”, adds Catherine Verdier.
“If ever there is something that is inappropriate, that someone attacks him, he must be able to verbalize it. However, if he is asked to be silent today, afterwards he will not be able to say anything.
– Catherine Verdier, psychologist
“It is important for the future, if ever there is something that is inappropriate, that someone attacks him, he must be able to verbalize it. However, if he is asked to be silent today, afterwards he will not be able to say anything”, continues the psychologist. Before adding: “Especially since he is a little boy, we often expect them to not show their emotions”.
A difficult situation for parents
For parents, the way each other looks at their child’s attitude can be difficult to live with. “It’s a situation that happens on the train, at the supermarket, at the beach, at a wedding, everywhere”, underlines Sandra. Mother of Jules, 3 and a half years old, and Andrea, 16 months, she notably draws the parallel between the queen’s jubilee and the fact of taking transport with her children.
“It’s an enclosed place, where there are a lot of rules to respect, where people like to be quiet and it’s happened to me a thousand times that my children, we don’t know why, get angry or start wanting to run “, she explains, mentioning having felt “a lot of empathy” for Kate Middleton.
“It brings stress, guilt, and anger too,” continues Sandra. Before illustrating: “I once flew with my two children on a long-haul flight, and I really felt like people were like ‘she should have stayed home’ ”.
“It’s a shame because we end up putting them in front of a screen, to please them, but above all because we don’t want to bother others”
– Sandra, mother of two boys
“It’s a shame because we end up putting them in front of a screen, to please them, but above all because we don’t want to bother others, because it’s tiring and stressful to take a 3-hour train ride with a toddler,” she says.
Better accept children in public spaces
For her, there is indeed “an intolerance towards the fact that children are growing up and therefore do not have the same reactions as an adult”. “Until the child is a certain age, we should contain him at home, we just make him run in a park,” she explains.
“These situations are very innocuous but representative of the fact that in society children do not have a lot of room in the public space”, she continues. “Kate Middleton was in a situation where she had no choice that her child be there, it’s the same thing in transport or at a wedding. If I need to travel, often my child travels with me, and that shouldn’t be such a problem”.
“But Kate Middleton managed to take it upon herself”, she underlines. “The main thing is that Prince Louis’ family reacted well, that his grandmother did not have a glare,” echoes Aline Nativel Id Hammou. “From what we have seen, the adults around him have remained benevolent and that is essential”, concludes the clinical psychologist. On social networks, many Internet users have also shown their support for Kate Middleton as noted The HuffPost American.
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