Positive education: a beneficial approach for children, less for parents

“For her to fall asleep, I tell her I can understand her emotions, I try to make her realize the importance of going to sleep. A

Elsa is 40 years old. The mother of a small alma mater in the midst of a “terrible two”, she was one of those parents who enthusiastically invested in so-called positive (or beneficial) education during the birth of their child, making sure that the educational system Will solve whatever they may encounter on the way to paternity.

The key to a peaceful family life?

It must be said that the job titles at the top of the shelves in the “Science of Education” section already conquer any parent who faces the wrath of their child on the train or in the supermarket. “Cool Parents Make Happy Kids”, “Live Happily With Your Child”, “In The Heart Of Kids’ Emotions”, “So That Kids Will Listen, Listen That Kids Talk” … Many Best-Selling Promises To Take Care Of Parents The key to a peaceful family life, but also the maximum development of their child. Because after all, no parent wants their child to be the happiest in the world.

Read more >> Children: What if we stop putting pressure on them?

But for Elsa, applying positive learning principles on a daily basis can sometimes be a headache. “I admit that it is not easy, I want the beneficial method to always be practiced, the children listen to everything, the young mother acknowledges. But sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes you split and you cry. A

And he is not alone. In online forums, many parents say they are tempted by the principle of positive education and still struggle to apply it on a daily basis. For Beatrice Kamer, a journalist who specializes in education and parenting and the author of “Really Positive Education” (ed. Laraus), this difficulty is partly due to the ambiguity surrounding the definition of positive education. Currently, the only evidence is the Council of Europe, which Beatrice Camara considers to be “not very specific” and has been abbreviated as “ideal fatherhood, which aims at the best interests of the child and his growth”. “Positive education calls into question the principle by which incompatibility between parents and children creates an authority,” the author continues, summarizing its core principles: educational nonviolence, the suppression of rewards and democratic relations with children.

Many ambitions which, on paper, believed Elsa. But those are sometimes very difficult to implement. “I try my best to get everything right, to water my wine, but sometimes I become authoritarian to shout, even though I’m on my own. When I realized it was useless, “Elsa admits.

Merchandise error

For Alex, a 40-year-old mother of two, aged 12 and 17, the book’s advice worked well in “off” moments, when the family environment was peaceful. “But when I’m tired and someone is infinitely angry for something trivial, it’s hard to shout that enough is enough, that we can’t take it anymore. A

“Concerned neo-hippies and their global warming, i’ll tell ya.” Get out of the positive guardianship order ”(ed. Laraus). “However, when one seeks the help of books to lead a more peaceful family life with less conflict, the reason is to nurture one’s child happily in one’s mind and to ‘help you to be a happy and strong adult’.”

“Parents have an idea that they are not worthy without miraculous educational recipes! A

For Béatrice Kammerer, the concern is that parents are wrong about the purpose of positive education. Or rather, it is deliberately deceived by the book mentioned. “When you tell parents, ‘We’re going to sell you miraculous methods so that your children are not only perfect and intelligent, but they cooperate and there are no more conflicts’, this is a very strong argument. However, according to experts, these methods are practical. It is not a question of forcing the child or putting the child under parental authority. “

We “don’t raise a child since we open a pond”

Another problem with positive education is its orthodoxy, Beatrice Camara noted. In his book, he wisely reminds us that “you don’t raise a child like you open a pond”. “Once you start saying ‘don’t say no, but stop’, ‘don’t say it again’, ‘do it’, it doesn’t work very well. Parents have the idea that they are not qualified when there is no miraculous educational recipe! A

He regrets that books promoting this nonviolent pedagogy hide behind the logic of neuroscience to justify it. But, “when you really see what is being said there, it is often a biased populism, of low quality, which reinforces orthodoxy because there are things that are interpreted in a very unnecessary way.”

For his part, Aude Sécheret points to the perversion of the language of parents seeking to apply the principles of nonviolent education on a daily basis. “With kids, all the little gestures every day can be a source of excitement: food, bathing, brushing teeth, housework … if we deal with all of these situations, which are innumerable on Parents’ Day, think in advance about everything (which parents say Almost forcing them to speak in a language other than their own), they become uncontrollable, the parents get tired and the child may feel his / her dishonest parents and stalks even more.

“We hold on to the idea of ​​an ideal that rarely exists in everyday life.”

This is what Elsa saw. In all the situations in which she wants to be able to boast of being a “benevolent mother,” she finds herself regularly confronted with stages of opposition that push her to her final entrance. “Later I feel guilty, frustrated, I have the impression of being useless, he says. That, if it is written, it means there are people for whom it works, where it does not work for me.”

“Sometimes I think these books are examples of perfect parenting,” Alex notes explicitly. We cling to the idea of ​​an ideal that rarely exists in everyday life. Beatrice Blacksmith agrees. “We must not forget that positive education is about striving for an ideal. It’s great to give yourself the ideal, people can not do without children! But an ideal, by definition, cannot be achieved. We can strive for positive and non-violent education, but we cannot achieve it in all situations. And that, writers of benevolent education never tell parents. Then we come to the part where we talk about the middle ground, which is to say that positive education is beneficial for children, but not so much if it is for parents. A

Requests are made constantly but if there is always a feeling of doing too little or badly, the parents get tired and then the parents may burn out. According to Moira Mikolajak, a professor of psychology, an evil that will affect 5 to 8% of families. For Aude Sécheret, this “evil of the century” is a symptom of a society that puts too much pressure on parents. “They are incessantly and sometimes explicitly responsible for their child’s present and future happiness, depending solely on how they raise them and how they address them. They need to be forced to play sports, they need to be exposed to nature, they need to be helped at school – where all parents do not have the means to do so. A

“Parenting is DIY”

What do you do when you want to raise your children as well and kindly as possible, without forgetting yourself and getting tired? The first step is not to mourn the idea that one can be a perfect parent, as in the book of positive teachings, which Beatrice Camara calls a “parent-researcher.” “Parents are DIY. We have the right to make mistakes, to give up, to start all over again. I like the idea that we can criticize what we try. It allows parents to question themselves, to give them confidence, to make them wrong, “underlined the author, who further reminds you not to play with every word or attitude in your relationship with your child. “Just because we cried once or we always wanted to be a parent doesn’t mean it’s all over, far from it. On the contrary, it can be a way to show your child how to overcome your difficulties when you did not behave as you wished.

Do not hesitate to challenge those who have set themselves up as experts in caring parenting and acknowledge that such strategies work for others, but not for your child or for yourself. “There is no single answer, the answer is in the daily routine and it depends on each family to create it. A

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