Carles Capdevila said, with enough common sense, that ” our children have to be children and make mistakes, but they must also understand how adult life works. ” On the contrary, reality tells us that sometimes we restrict them so much that we turn the little ones into boys in straitjackets. A custom sewn uniform for some modern parenting styles where error is the devil and over-protection the norm.
I explain. Modern parenting, on too many occasions, seeks to make children so happy and admirable that they cannot be disappointed, they cannot see what is wrong for them, they cannot be frustrated. They have to be perfect in everything or at least aspire to be, being more prisoners of this utopia than motivated by it.
The modern parenting mistake
These children so perfect and happy on paper, in reality, they do not seem to be such. In fact, some parents seek to be so above their children so that they do not make mistakes and get frustrated that they strip them of their right to make mistakes, and with their right to make mistakes they take away the possibility of learning.
This is denoted by a study carried out in 2011. In it, preschool children were offered various toys. Later, the experimenter returned to enter the room in which the child was. The conditions of the experiment were determined by the way the researcher acted in the room. One of the options was to explain to the child how the toy he had chosen works. He was finally leaving, leaving the little one alone.
This research showed that children who were taught how to operate a toy later played more repetitively and in a limited way, thus becoming bored faster.
Meanwhile, the boys who did not receive instructions were faced with the mission of finding out the operation of the toy autonomously. This challenge made them develop their creativity, trying to play with the toy in more ways and, therefore, taking longer to get bored.
For this reason, University of California Psychology Professor Alison Gopnik believes that current child rearing, directed excessively, is a mistake. Parents have to help children to develop successfully, but bearing in mind that their intervention involves helping, accompanying or facilitating discovery. Not by facing the challenges that are presented to them and that they can overcome with the capacity they have at that time.
The modern foster parents
Alison Gopnik defines these types of parents, advocates of modern parenting, as carpenters. It is because his constant search is to model, as if his children were a piece of wood to work and mold. In this way, these types of parents are very concerned about children adopting their norms, their values and their dreams. In fact, they are capable of dumping their frustrations and desires on the little ones. Therefore, they are characterized:
- For organizing even the smallest detail in the lives of the children. There is no loose end and they totally control the child’s agenda.
- Any dream of the child that does not coincide with his own, is usually neglected and of little value. They always have the last word.
- The values transmitted to the boys are marked in the form of doctrines, almost dogmas. There is no freedom of thought, reflection or criticism possible. Any attempt in this regard is punished or ignored.
- The father offers all kinds of educational toys and activities that he considers useful for the boy. However, he does not usually think about the enjoyment of the son, but about the stimulation of his abilities. Even so, this attitude is exempt from observation, the opinion of the boy is not taken into account, only that of the father.
- They consider that children have a debt with their parents, so they believe that they have the right to manipulate, even when the children are adults.
- They tend to protect and isolate children from the real world, as they consider them highly valuable possessions. They do not offer development tools appropriate to the profile of their children and their own tastes.
There is another way of parenting
On the other hand, Gopnik considers that there is another way of parenting much more positive, that of garden parents. Consider parents as adults who water flowers that grow to support love and care.
“Live in such a way that when your children think of justice, affection and integrity, they think of you”
-H. Jackson Brown-
That is, for Alison Gopnik, parents must let their children grow while keeping the temptation to control and intervene too much at bay. Children have to explore the world, make mistakes, stumble, learn to resolve conflicts, with tolerance for frustration and solving their own problems.
For her, the opinions of children must always be taken into account. The boy must explore and discover his own hobbies and abilities. To do this, you have to stimulate him, give him freedom of thought and let him reflect and make his own decisions in those sections in which he is enabled to make them; usually more than parents think that this type of modern parenting advocates.
However, not everything is so simple: for fear of controlling them too much, we can end up straying too far too. We simply have to be there to protect and help them, to solve their curiosities and needs, so that they do not lack anything. It is a challenge, but it is a precious challenge when we see how they grow up accompanied by the pride of having done alone what months before they could not even dream of. Let’s be there, without over-protecting them, to accompany them.
And yes, they will fall a thousand times when they learn to walk, but it would be better for them to fall then, when their body is ready and rubbery, than later. Our role in this sense will be to offer them our hand and motivate them to get back up.
“Only two lasting legacies can we hope to leave our children: One, roots; the other, wings “