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The basic tenor of modern educational approaches is clear: we should treat our children lovingly. Educators refer to findings that prove the positive effect of a sensitive upbringing. Nevertheless, the obvious question is: How feasible and realistic is it in practice for parents to educate their children without authoritarian upbringing components and punishments? This issue is probably the one that troubles many parents the most. The key lies in a flexible parenting style that excludes extremes. Where it is necessary, the child gets to feel its limits. But always against a background of mutual respect and parental goodwill. Today we would like to introduce you to the details of this approach and what distinguishes it from other parenting styles.
The Modern Education
First of all, one should be aware of the dynamics of constant change of values. People tend to act in extreme ways. A strict way of acting, following certain values, gives us security. In the long run, however, it is better to reconsider one’s own actions again and again. Thus, discipline is sometimes quite necessary. On the other hand, there are situations when the child should live out his freedom.
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The ultimate goal is to raise children to become self-confident and happy individuals. They should acquire as many qualities and skills as possible during their childhood, which will make their adult life easier. The “right” way to raise children has been a topic of debate since time immemorial. First and foremost, we ourselves are shaped by the upbringing methods of our parents. Depending on what we ourselves have experienced and learned, we treat children more or less carefully. Some parents are patient, others are controlling, and still others are ruled by constant fear for their child. Most adults want to do better than their own parents. Thus, the image of proper parenting changes from generation to generation.
Individuality And Flexibility As Basic Principles
There is no such thing as the one, ideal parenting recipe. What is always valid is the rule of always critically questioning oneself and one’s own methods, asking for feedback from others and considering the well-being of the child as the top priority. The right parenting style is an individual, personal mix of known parenting styles. Depending on the situation, a more or less strict approach may be necessary. The child should benefit from the upbringing and not suffer any harm. Therefore, one should refrain from extreme parenting methods. The better alternative is to remain flexible without dogmatically following one path. Just like children, we adults are (hopefully) subject to constant development. Values change, just as we can change our opinion in educational matters with increasing experience. Therefore, we should admit to accepting advice, new concepts and ideas without becoming inconsistent with the child.
Depending on the situation, authoritarian or anti-authoritarian action may be more appropriate. Sometimes clear boundaries and rules are needed for the child’s safety. On the other hand, there are many everyday situations in which possible courses of action can be discussed and decided democratically. Basically, it does not always make sense to involve the child in important decisions. Here one must take into account that children do not have the experience and knowledge of an adult. Although they are equallyiindividuals whose human rights must be respected. In some situations, however, children cannot be decision-makers because they do not have the necessary experience and, on top of that, would be overwhelmed. In the flexible style of education, the educator can act according to the situation. In doing so, he or she is interested in the child’s well-being and tries to give the child enough freedom to develop self-confidence and creativity.
Discipline As A Controversial Issue
Discipline has become quite a negative word today. We all know that discipline is necessary to achieve certain goals in life. Discipline also has to be learned and usually does not come easily to us. With the changing values of the 1960s, independence, self-realization and personal responsibility came to the fore as the top competencies of young people. Here, too, the rule is to find a sensible middle ground and turn on your gut feeling and intuition. Most of the time, it is right to act according to one’s own intuition as well as “common sense”. Discipline has its place in parenting, as do warmth and affection.
Optimal Development Opportunities
Modern educational science is based on the knowledge that children have the best chances of development in democratic environments. They are particularly mature, self-confident and content. Because these kids are neither neglected nor overly disciplined or repressed, they usually have exceedingly good chances of becoming happy adults later on. They have learned to build and maintain relationships. Respect and appreciation is part of their environment and thus of their own personality.
This Is What Modern Child Rearing Looks Like
Briefly summarized, the ideal upbringing according to modern findings has the following characteristics:
- Situational, flexible upbringing.
- Democratic environment and respectful interaction.
- Mutual respect between parents and child.
- Clear rules despite democratic upbringing.
- Comprehensible consequences in case of misbehavior lead to a learning effect.
- No reproaches, but I-messages.
- Parents encourage their children to make the right decisions.
- Praise and appreciation are predominant.
- Emotions may and should be lived and discussed openly.
- Consideration of the child’s strengths and table.