‘Niños autónomos, adultos inteligentes’ escrito por Olimpia Tarda - Niña haciendo yoga en un aula Montessori - International Montessori School en Sotogrande, Cádiz

‘Autonomous Children, Intelligent Adults’ written by Olimpia Tarda

“Could 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,” interrupted the Cat (Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll).

Knowing where we want to go is the first step we must take to start walking and reach our destination. I love January because it is a time when we all get excited about the new year, set goals, and propose making certain changes in our lives. We tend to say, “When I have (money, health, free time…), I will do this or that, and I will be happier.” But it’s actually the other way around as we should consider the phrase, desiring something is transforming oneself to attract achievement, says author Raimón Samsó. Therefore, we should ask ourselves, what do I need to do to become the person who will have what I desire?

I encourage you to ask yourselves, “What do I need to do to be the father or mother that will lead me to have the family I want? What values do I want to transmit to my children?”

In an increasingly interconnected world with a multitude of contradictory information and trends about how children should be raised and educated, parents feel more insecure and fearful, which leads us to continuously question whether each action or decision related to their future is correct or not. We are afraid to say “no” because they might be traumatized or suffer, afraid that they will make mistakes, that they will not be happy… Terms like helicopter parents (those who hover over their children solving their problems, attentive to every movement and their needs), tiger moms (focused on excellence in academic results and excessively perfectionistic), jellyfish moms (excessively permissive who do not set limits and leave decision-making to the children),… highlight that hyper-parenting, as Eva Millet calls it, is an educational trend of this century characterized by overprotection of children and solving their problems, with the belief that children must be given every opportunity to succeed in life. However, as the author says, overprotection is underprotection, if we solve everything for our children, we are telling them “without me you can’t do it, you are not capable.” This undermines their autonomy and makes them fragile and with little tolerance for frustration.

And what can parents do then? From my point of view, never lose common sense, relax, enjoy parenthood understanding that there will be better days and horrible ones, love them a lot without losing authority, accompany them in their frustration, not avoid it, trust them, assign responsibilities, and when you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, remember again the values you want to transmit to them. Any unnecessary help is an obstacle to development, said Maria Montessori. Raising autonomous children is essential for them to become independent adults.

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