The Solomon syndrome is the tendency of children to make decisions or adopt behaviors to avoid excelling, highlighting or shining in a given social group due to the pressure that the group exerts on it for different reasons.
In this way we usually put obstacles and complications to ourselves, so we follow the steps of the people who make up our circle of friends even though we know it is not appropriate.
Although we do not believe it unconsciously, we are afraid to draw too much attention, this may be because we fear that our achievements and virtues offend the people around us.
So, we can say that this syndrome makes us show our lack of belief in ourselves, that is, in our self-esteem and confidence. Making us dependent on the value that people around us give us.
In addition, we can also conclude that even today our society condemns the talent of other people as well as the successes they can reap. It can be said that, even if nobody says it, we do not like that someone else does things well. This leads us to present the following concept that forms the Solomon Syndrome, the envy.
What is envy?
The Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines envy as “sadness or regret for the good of others”, as well as “emulation, desire for something that is not possessed”. From these two small definitions we can get that envy is the feeling of aspiration to possess something that you do not have as another person enjoys it.
On the other hand, it can also be considered as a desire that the person who is enjoying what we do not have and want to lose or be harmed (Montañez and Iñiguez, 2002).
So we can conclude that envy arises when comparing ourselves with other people we realize that they have something that we do not have but that we still crave. This will trigger feelings of inferiority towards the other person.
Is there a group pressure or social pressure?
There are many studies like those of Asch, which we present below and Crutchfield that have shown that there is the force of the impact of the group on the individual and the strength of the pressure exerted by the group when trying to impose uniformity of opinion on an individual that does not think or act like others.
According to Moscovici in Sacristán (S / F), nonconformity can sometimes allow the group to adapt and act. For him, there are basic forms of social influence: conformism, standardization and innovation:
A person can change their attitude or behavior toward a particular idea or object due to the pressure exerted by the group on it, whether real or imagined. Therefore, the person feels obliged to change both their ideas and their behavior to take as their own the group that surrounds them.
Conformism appears in this syndrome because individuals, even though they think differently about some topic in question, tend to accept what others think and feel, abandoning their thoughts and beliefs to accept those of the group as their own.
It would be a synonym for negotiation since it consists of leaving the differences regarding a subject or object aside to accept a common denominator. It is a pressure that is exerted by both parties and leads to a rule that is accepted by all members of the group.
It can be considered that it is an influence exerted by an individual or by a minority group whose objective is to promote new ideas as well as ways of thinking or behaving different from existing ones. This minority group can introduce changes (Sacristán, S / F).
Are there studies that corroborate this Syndrome?
The name of this Syndrome is given by its discoverer, an American psychologist. He conducted an investigation that consisted of a test related to human behavior and very influenced by the social environment or social pressure.
This study is known as Theory of Asch or the Power of Majorities was to show a couple of letters to a group of 11 subjects, of which seven of them knew the nature of this study and had to play a certain role; Express your opinion before the rest did. This opinion had previously been programmed with the researcher, since the object of study was the rest of the people.
Once their collaborators responded as well as their objects of study, the answers of these people were verified that in principle responded freely. It seems that these people allowed themselves to be guided by the wrong answers. One in 4 agreed in half of the time.
This study was updated with three-dimensional images. According to the data that was extracted, the subjects seconded the erroneous answers imposed by the group in an average superior to 40 percent. Thanks to this experience, the social conformism that exists in the brain was proven.
According to these studies it can be highlighted that “the discomfort of being alone can make a majority opinion seem more attractive than sticking to one’s own beliefs” and “if the ideas of others can affect the way in which someone perceives the outside world, then the same truth is questioned “(Sacristán, (S / F).
Is there Solomon Syndrome in schools?
Solomon Syndrome is a very common disorder in the classrooms, since there are many students who for some reason trust very little in themselves and fear being excluded from their group of friends. We have to remember that for minors it is very important to be accepted by their peers, so if they have to go against their ideas to be accepted they will do so.
It is important that as educators and professionals of education, we are able to be aware that these situations are very present in the classes of the educational centers.
So we have to train our students to know how to properly manage their emotions so that they can be themselves and express themselves without fear and / or negative consequences from their peers. If you work properly, we will have a class in which the students will not feel so vulnerable in the face of peer pressure.
It seems that as humans, we have always been afraid to stand out and excel above a group. Either by the exclusion on the part of the group that this entails or by the feeling of insecurity that this action brings with itself.
How to overcome Solomon’s syndrome in the classroom?
At this point we can think that combating this syndrome can become something tremendously complicated by the amount of emotions and feelings that characterize and surround it.
As professionals of education we must observe our group-class with the idea of having the necessary information of both their strengths and their weaknesses to subsequently be able to act. Here are some guidelines:
1- Create group cohesion
For a group to work it is important that we take into account their cohesion. That is, its members must be proud to belong to the group and for that we must take into account that we must favor the right conditions (Cascón, 2000). An example to achieve this goal could be to perform group dynamics in the classroom.
2- Promote education in values
It must be a constant in the activities that are carried out to avoid this disorder in order to make people more just and worthy. In a transversal way, values can be worked on in any subject, although it is true that some lend themselves more than others. In levels as primary a good idea would be through the story or stories.
3- Teach social-emotional skills
The development of socio-emotional skills is becoming increasingly important today. These have a great impact on personal, academic and employment development as well as the prevention of antisocial behavior.
Skills such as knowing how to appreciate the other person and demonstrate it, understand it and have empathy; They can be acquired easily if you work well from childhood, something that could prevent this syndrome from developing in childhood.
As educators, we must know that there are many socio-emotional skills programs that can be done both in the centers and in the classrooms. Some programs are offered by the education ministry, while others are carried out by the professionals themselves.
4- Regulate conflicts
Although it is true that we can not prohibit conflicts because they are something natural. It is advisable that we know how to regulate them and solve them in time, because if they are not treated they can lead to feelings of malaise in the group in general and in some of its members in particular. This can lead to the creation of these types of disorders and even bullying.
Therefore, depending on the age range of our students it is advisable to treat the difficulties that may arise in their relationships, not giving them any less attention, even if they seem silly. Dialogue or mediation are practices that can help us (Grande, 2010).
5- Promote positive reinforcement in the classroom
It is very important that we take into account that students have a hard time participating in class. One way to encourage those who participate little for whatever reason, is positive reinforcement. It consists of rewarding the effort through the word, an example could be: very well, you have raised your hand (Martinez et al., 2010).
6- Encourage good communication skills in class
If we have good communication skills, we will be assertive and therefore we will express what we think in a good way since we will have the necessary tools.
Thanks to these skills we can prevent conflict and have more confidence in ourselves (García, 2015). Although there are many programs that help develop communication skills, the best example for your students is yourself.
7- Promote resilience
Through resilience we can be able to gain self-confidence because thanks to this we are able to take on any situation that puts us to the test (Henderson and Milsteil, 2003).
These and other similar guidelines can be effective in preventing or improving coexistence in the classroom with this syndrome. The important thing is that we know what can be effective with our class group and even with our students, since there can be many differences between them.
As we have seen, this syndrome is very common not only in schools but in society in general. Throughout our lives, we will have to face negative values of which we have to be aware if we want to achieve the goals and goals we set for ourselves in life.
Therefore, it is important that as educators and family members, we encourage communication and social-emotional as well as social skills in our children and students so that they have the right tools to face all the problems that life poses for them.
If we do not, they will not be able to achieve their dreams, which will lead to negative feelings and emotions that will harm their emotional well-being.
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Finally, we must emphasize that from the classroom it is important that fear be banished and that a culture of recognition and effort be promoted, in which individual merits can transcend the class group. This will make the Solomon Syndrome not invade our classrooms as it is currently doing.