Independent children, intelligent adults
´Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.
I don´t much care where...said Alice.
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat” (Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll).
Knowing where we want to go is the first step that we must take in order to begin to walk and reach our destination. We tend to say that when we have (money, health, free time…) we will do something or other and be happier. However, it is precisely the other way round that we need to consider the phrase, wanting something means transforming yourself in order to attract the achievement, says the writer Raimón Samsó. Thus, we need to ask ourselves, what do I need to do to be the person who ends up getting what I want?
I encourage you all to ask yourself; What do I need to do to be the father or mother that leads me to have the family I want? What values do I want to instil in my children? In an increasingly interconnected world with a lot of contradictory information and trends about how children should be raised and educated, parents feel increasingly unsure and more fearful, which leads us to constantly ask ourselves if each action or decision relating to their future is correct or not. We are scared to tell them “no” because they could be traumatised, or for them to suffer, or scared of them making mistakes, not being happy… Terms such as helicopter parents (those who hover over children to resolve their problems, paying close attention to every movement and their needs), tiger mums (focused on excellence in academic results and excessively perfectionist), jellyfish mums (excessively permissive with no limits set, they let their children take decisions)….highlight that hyper-paternity, as it is called by Eva Millet, is an educational trend of this century characterised by the overprotection of children and resolving their problems, with the belief that it is necessary to give children all kinds of opportunities in order for them to succeed in life.
However, according to the author, overprotecting means failing to protect, if we do everything for our children, we are telling them “you can´t do it without me, you aren´t capable”. This reduces their independence and makes them fragile, with little capacity to tolerate frustration. So, what can parents do then?
From my point of view, never lose sight of common sense, relax, enjoy parenthood with the understanding that there will be good days and horrible days, as with everything, love your children a lot without losing authority, support them in their frustrations, don´t prevent them, trust them, assign them responsibilities, and when you find yourself in a situation where you don´t know what to do, remind yourself of the values you want to instil in them. Any unnecessary help is an obstacle for development, said María Montessori. Raising autonomous children is essential in order for them to become independent adults.
by Olimpia Tardá,
DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL
CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST, FAMILY COACHING SPECIALIST