Are we raising our children properly in the West?

When journalist and writer Micheline decided to take an interest in education, her daughter Rosie was two and a half years old. This young mother is tired, overcomes depression and no longer knows how to manage her child. Anxiety, endless demands, crying, sleep problems … she faces problems that all parents face. All? Maybe not. Accustomed to reporting in remote corners, he decided to live with Rosie, immersed in one of the three most respected communities in the world: Maya, Inuit and Hadza. From this experience, he drew his book Hunters, collectors, parents Which invites us to ask questions about ourselves Western model of education.

The pros and cons of Western education

Magicma : What do you think is the biggest illness of western parents?

Michelin Duklef : I think Western parents now don’t know how to communicate with children in a productive way, that is, in a way that does not create conflict and resistance. We have forgotten how to cooperate with our children and how to teach them to cooperate with us. Our relationship with children is centered on control: either the parents control the child, or the child controls the parents. This method creates conflict, resistance and hostility because no one likes to be controlled! When we take control out of a relationship (or reduce it), the relationship can truly thrive. Finally, I believe that Western parents have forgotten how to “be” with their children in an easy and stress-free way. My book teaches you these three things: how to communicate with a child in a non-violent way, how to cooperate with them and how to spend time with them in a simple and even enjoyable way.

Magicman: Do you really think that Western parents have everything wrong with education?

Michelin Duklef : Some aspects of Western education are excellent. We are very good at teaching our kids to read, do math or develop their imagination. We are also good at teaching kids to argue, advocate or argue for what they want. The key to achieving their individual goals is given and followed with enthusiasm, which is a very important skill in our culture.

But in my opinion there are a number of aspects that need to be corrected and improved. In the beginning, we gradually forgot to teach children to be helpful, kind, generous, helpful. In many cultures, children voluntarily do household chores – not punishment or scheduling. Children voluntarily share with their adults and are kind to them. It’s not perfect, but far from it Sibling competition And intense competition is widespread in Western families. Furthermore, Western culture has seen epidemics of stress and anxiety among children. In the United States, for example, one in three adolescents will show clinical symptoms Mental health Before you are old enough to go to university. I believe we have lost the ability to protect our children from this chronic stress. After all, Western culture doesn’t really instill confidence in children. We often increase their resilience to being resilient and not self-sufficient.

Basically, all three questions are connected. When children learn to cooperate and work with their families (without the necessary rewards), they form strong emotional bonds with their parents and other adults. This connection protects them greatly from stress and anxiety.

Raising children in other cultures

Magicman: Why did you decide to meet these three isolated people, Maya, Inuit and Hadzar?

Michelin Duklef : My daughter was two and a half years old when I decided to study education around the world. Our relationship was incredibly stressful and, as I saw it today, void. We argued endlessly and he got angry almost every day. We were drawn into this vicious cycle of screaming, crying, and anger. I was upset. I have already made reports on Mayan lands and other communities, and I appreciate how they have worked. The problems of anxiety, stress and depression that have become so common among Western children are completely absent in these families. These three cultures shine in the field of parenting where Westerners like us fall short. It was an incredible playground to run this experience.

Magicman: What should Maya, Inuit and Hadja teach us?

Michelin Duklef : So much, you can’t even imagine. Mayan parents are incredibly skilled when it comes to transmitting values ​​of integration and cooperation. They can teach us how to raise helpful and kind children. In these chapters of the book, you will learn how to motivate children for work and other home related work, purposefully and how to interact with children in a way that maximizes mutual support.

Inuit parents have a wide range of tools to teach their children to handle their emotions, especially anger. There is so much to teach us about their emotional intelligence. They teach us how to control not only our anger towards children but also how to be less angry with them. So we can teach children the same thing.

For Hadza, they teach us the ingredients needed to raise our confident and independent children. It turns out it’s not as difficult as we think. A lot of times we should stop rushing and wait a bit before telling the kids what to do.

MagicMaman: What is the main difference between the children raised by these people and the Western children?

Michelin Duklef : When you travel to many communities outside of Western culture, some of the differences are immediately apparent. In Yucatan, kids jump off their bikes to help a parent in the yard. They will be quick to help their mother prepare lunch or dinner – not play on purpose. For example, when Rosie climbed a fairly high wall before I noticed, an 11-year-old boy helped her down.

Children also tend to be incredibly generous. In the Arctic, kids would come home from the store with a candy bar or share almost all the candy before biting themselves. In Tanzania, I gave a 5 year old girl a muffin and she gave it to her younger brother. The whole muffin! We see the same thing with toys. Children will easily share toys. There is no constant struggle for equity and ownership.

I was also impressed by their confidence and in many cases their knowledge. By the age of 8 or 9, many children are already incredibly skilled at the tasks reserved for adults in our home. They can prepare food, cook by the fire, take care of younger siblings, hunt or feed in the forest, and make sincere and meaningful contributions to their families and communities. This real contribution inspires them, but also builds confidence and pride.

In general, children are also calm. Very, very quiet. There is less screaming, crying, emotional outrage. None. But much, much less. There is less hassle and argument.

Raising a child by applying other methods of teaching

Magicman: Not everyone has the opportunity to go and live with other people to discover all these benefits. So how can you as a parent apply your experience in our daily lives?

Michelin Duklef : Thanks to the book These methods are actually quite easy to apply, as the advice focuses on the parent-child relationship. It’s about learning to communicate with the baby in a different way – a calmer, more peaceful and less conflicting way. And it’s really independent of the environment. From the tundra to the Savannah of Tanzania to the mountains of San Francisco to the regions of France you can have this kind of relationship anywhere in the world.

Every time I came back from a trip and tried a parent council from one of these communities, I was completely taken aback that the council worked in our San Francisco home, but it greatly improved our lives. Rosie’s behavior has improved. Our relationship has improved. She grows fast and matures. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to write Hunters, collectors, parents : Because the tips are not only great tips to apply in a busy urban family, but it is essential for this family to work well and peacefully. As a working mom, I couldn’t have done everything so quietly without the advice of the book. Now Rosie and I are amazingly together. We rarely and never argue like before. He has become incredibly kind and helpful. Just yesterday, she helped with laundry, shopping and cooking dinner. He chopped the green beans, mince the garlic and basil, then stirred the sauce into the oven. Anyway, everything is!

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