Education: Have parents forgotten how to educate?

Children need clear rules

Buddy parents harm their children

07.07.2015, 09:16 hrs | Nicola Wilbrand-Donzelli

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Don’t parents know what parenting is? According to a study, they don’t do their educational job properly, they are not a reliable authority that gives children security and orientation. Educational scientist Albert Wunsch explains what goes wrong.

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“Parents, educate us again!” With this demand the “Stern” recently titled a report on everyday family life in Germany. The magazine had commissioned a study from the Rheingold Institute on the subject of “Demanding kings or caught in excessive demands”.

28 girls and boys between the ages of eight and 15 were interviewed about their everyday lives, their worries, fears and wishes. A comparison with another 200 interviews with other children and adolescents provided a differentiated insight into the state of mind of the young generation.

Children want rules and commitment

Surprising: Although many children in Germany lack nothing materially, they often do not feel safe and secure. Their deficits are therefore more emotional and emotional in nature. According to the study, children often perceive their parents as unstable, inconsistent and unpredictable. This is a stress factor that should not be underestimated. The consequence: children long for commitment, which is a prerequisite for building up basic trust and living carefree.

There is a lack of clear rules and roles in families

The authors of the study comment that the unstable family structures are one of the reasons for the deep uncertainty. “Through experiences of separation and patchwork families, the world of children has become fragile (…). Even everyday life in an intact family is only rarely determined and ritualized by clear routines and rules. Father and mother no longer have a clear role model (. ) The parents are therefore often experienced by the children as unreliable. They vary in their role, sometimes as guardians, sometimes as friends or confidants for the child.”

Parents want to be buddies with their kids

The renowned educationalist Albert Wunsch also believes that many children lack a framework on which they can orient themselves. Too much modern parents wanted to meet their children as good buddies at eye level, never want to touch them and appear strict.

“They often do not position themselves clearly enough towards their offspring, because our society already classifies this as hard and authoritarian and thus not up to date,” the expert explains to “My impression is that today we are permanently educated in the subjunctive, also because parents are constantly afraid of doing something wrong. But if the match lacks the friction surface, there can never be a spark”.

“Children need clear cornerstones.”

With this soft pedagogy, which reflects the fear of laborious confrontations, parents acted above all in their own interest. They would not do their children any favours, criticises Wunsch.

With phrases like “Think for yourself what’s right” or “If you don’t want, then you don’t need” you can’t convey stability and orientation.

“Children need clearly defined cornerstones. Parents must always make clear what is important to them. Otherwise, their daughters and sons will grow up in a waxy ‘both and the same’ world with thousands of variations between right and wrong and will adopt the same indifferent attitude without ever having learned to fly the flag.”

Do not remove all obstacles from the way of children

The educational style of excessively caring “helicopter parents” is also counterproductive to child development. Parents who want to make their children’s lives as effortless as possible slow down their independence and self-discovery.

“Whoever constantly removes obstacles from the way of children, wants to spare them effort and sweat, daily necessary work or cooperation (…), leads them purposefully into a terrain of failure and fear of the future”, writes Wunsch in an article for “The European”.

“Meet your children benevolently clear.”

But how can mothers and fathers fulfil their tasks better and educate their children to be more self-reliant? “In any case not by always stealing their problems,” says the educationalist. Parents should understand that they are not friends, but those who have the adult overview and the responsibility to lead their child into the future.

Uncertain parents are advised to desire pedagogical “tutoring” and orientation in special courses, such as those offered by the Child Protection Association and other institutions.

The expert’s appeal to all parents: “Use your common sense and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you can’t know everything. And very important: Meet your children in a benevolent and clear manner, this can also have a confrontational effect. Because only strong parents can make their offspring strong.”

Book tip: Albert Wunsch: “The pampering trap. For an education to more personal responsibility”, Munich, 2013

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