EDUCATION —October 2014, I become a mother for the first time. Immense happiness. We go from discovery to discovery with our little girl, from wonder to wonder. Admittedly, the nights are sometimes difficult, we discover an intolerance to cow’s milk proteins which complicates the situation a little, but overall really, it is easy. Very easy even! (I will become even more aware of this with the years – and the number of children! – who pass…)
At the end of 2015, Petite I. is 15 months old, we are starting a new level in our parenthood: we have to manage her emotions, help her to express herself when she has not yet spoken. Very quickly, we see that she lives things very VERY intensely. However, out of the question to put it in any box at its age – never, for that matter -, so I begin to learn slowly about the ways of doing things. And I fall, like a lot of parents of my time, on positive education, otherwise called benevolent education. Having very few friends then. e. s parents, I immerse myself in it on my own, without real critical thinking.
A world opens up to me, to us. I devour reference books (Isabelle Filliozat, Catherine Gueguen, Thomas Gordon, Jane Nelsen…). I have the impression of discovering a universe of incredible possibilities and there, big revelation. Neuroscience fascinates me… I find it extraordinary (and so reassuring) that we have found tangible proof of the validity of a respectful education for children. I tell everyone about it, I even have my mother read a book on the subject. I tell myself that another way of doing things is possible to educate our children. I who often have a subject on the legitimacy of my actions, I tell myself that I can be the mother I want based on scientific and medical evidence: the foot! I create my Instagram account, I am still learning more and more about what then seemed to me to be “new revolutionary methods”!
Do you want to tell your story? Did something in your life make you see things differently? Do you want to break a taboo? You can send your testimonial to [email protected] and consult all testimonials that we published. To find out how to submit your testimonial, follow this guide!
We talk a lot with my husband about all of this. Not having especially received this type of education (although non-violent and rather listening!), We learn a lot and we agree that this is what we want for our children. We listen to our daughter a lot, communicate with her a lot, speak “real” to her, hardly ever shout, respect her in her development, her choices, her motor skills, her language, the appropriation of her body, her relationships…. And the management of his emotions. We listen to her joys as well as her sorrows or anger, accompany her with non-violence and without cries, even when the situation is quite critical (the crises of Little I were very intense and long). Looking back, it was during this time that I was most often tested in managing anger. e my children, and it is therefore this period that allowed me to acquire the reflexes to manage anger as calmly as possible. For that, I do not regret it. But it was work!
And then Little I grew up, the real stage of “education” arrived, Little A. was born, and finally Mini B .. Professionally too I have walked, and I have been working in perinatal and parenting for 6 years now. years. Today, I am a mother of 3 small children, I work, a life at 100 km / h, and I am also much better in my trainers and much more assertive. And today, I can say that benevolent education as the ultimate rule, I am back!
Little by little, the precepts of positive education became species of dogmas (to tell you, I sometimes dreamed of them at night) from which I could no longer get out. Several times I found myself crying or mentally flogging myself after having “dared” to cry out at my children who were pushing the limits; at the slightest cry, I apologized; at the slightest wrong word, I liquefied; in fact, at the slightest negative emotion I aroused in one. e of my children, I felt guilty and I had the impression of frying his brain …
I also remember a sequence on a mainstream parenting show that really struck me. One of the great figures of benevolent education confessed, with undisguised shame, that “There is no [avait] nothing to feel guilty about, obviously [elle] [avait] [elle] also already shouted on [ses] children… once each in their lives. After that [ils] on [avaient] talked a lot with the family to understand what had happened. ” …………. Cried out at her children ONCE EACH in their lives ?! While on my side I could not even keep my calm as I was exhausted by my triple days … I felt miserable and at the same time it was that day that I began to see the image to crack… I who also accompanied future and young parents, how such a guilty word (pretending not to be, it’s even worse) could be worn in a program so watched and by a person who served as the ultimate benchmark?
It had become very difficult to live with, for me at first, but also for my children, who saw me fail at the slightest hold of authority. What limit, what framework I offered them? “Positive” education at all costs ended up making me doubt my ability to be a mother. It is constantly hammered at us without really setting nuances or allowing it to be easily applied in real daily life. In fact, authoritarian dogmas have been replaced by dogmas, certainly “benevolent”, but just as confining, making us believe that there is only one good way to do things – and the same with all children… – and that in “transgressing” it, one becomes a “bad parent”. Anyway, that’s how I ended up feeling it …
And then just the name; who doesn’t want to be a “positive” parent frankly? So in fact, every time I shout, that I punish, because I am at the end of the line and have no more resources, that I say that I am fed up or that I think of myself before them, I am “negative. ”And harmful? No really, it was getting too guilty.
I could no longer find my happy medium and my balance, and the 1st confinement obviously shattered a lot of things. It was when I reopened a book that I had adored 6 years ago that it jumped out at me; it was full of “must”, “must not”, disguised injunctions to be “the good parent”, once again without nuance or flexibility brought to face the life of today. I felt a wave of anguish come over me and I closed it. I made the link with the show I saw a few years earlier. I told some friends, my husband, and we both decided to do it a little differently. It was also the meeting with a psychologist for one of our daughters who opened our eyes … We decided to listen to each other more, we adults (and between us too, because the couple forgets each other). easily in all these questions), I let go of the ready-made sentences that I took out of the books, my convictions constructed, but not necessarily aligned. And I tried to find some common sense and to TRUST myself.
So obviously, the precepts of respecting the individuality of each of my children, listening to their feelings and emotions, sharing, empathy, encouragement, non-violence, remain masters at home! But I now reject any form of parental guilt enacted by a particular model.
Since then, this is what I try to convey as a message to friends who become mothers and who ask me questions about education. I recommend books to them if they wish, but I insist on the fact that they should not be taken at face value. It is a different way of seeing things than the one we experienced as children and it is important to deconstruct certain things.
Personally, for example, three concepts have particularly marked me and never leave me; the fact that empathy is learned and nurtured in children; the attachment theory that plus one. the child will be attached. e to his parent when he is a baby / small, more secure and independent he will be afterwards; encouragement rather than devaluation or repression as a method of education in learning, even when the child fails. But I realize that these concepts resonate with me, because I’m sensitive to them for a lot of reasons, and other parents will do or feel things differently. Beware of the precepts that divide parents. We need mutual aid and support, not pitting or dividing ourselves. Parenthood is hard enough!
We realized that these concepts, as meaningful as they are, should not replace our common sense and the connection with our children. Every child is different and a particular method decreed as an absolute rule will not suit everyone and will exhaust us. Parental burnout is a reality and a real scourge in our society. Let us not forget that by dint of completely forgetting ourselves for the benefit of our children, it is as deleterious for them as for us. Damn it, damn it!
I will add one small thing … The big problem with caring education – which we find in many other questions related to parenthood – is that this burden still rests on women. Who reads the books? Who evangelizes in the family? Who is “supposed” to be the “benevolent surety” and the “carer”? Despite all the goodwill in the world, few fathers will take the initiative to read a book on the subject, to tell their mother about it. s child. s and to introduce it into the functioning of the family… All the more reason to let go a little, dear mothers!
In short, I dealt with benevolent education and things are going SO much better! Of course, there are more screams in the house, more letting go, more overflowing emotions, more “not now”, “I’m fed up”; there are things that I no longer accept under the sole pretext of “benevolence”, but we are so, so much more serene!
This post is also published on the blog É (mother) gency.
See also on The HuffPost: What is it to be a good mother?