Imagine a picture: a supermarket in Italy, slender rows of shelves with groceries, in a new dress I pretend to be looking at a package of cereals, but in fact I am making eyes at a pretty brunette about 30 years old. Finally, he notices me and smiles back, after which he takes out his smartphone and begins something like the following monologue: “Mom, I’m at the supermarket. There is no sauce you ordered, which one to take? And please prepare a Parmigiana today, I’m so tired at work! And don’t forget to iron the shirt, the blue one with the white collar. Everything, kiss.“
As you can imagine, after what I heard from the breakfast department, it was blown away by the wind. After all, I met a typical Italian “mammon”, or, more simply, a mama’s boy and the victim of a child-centered Italian upbringing.
Unfortunately, childcentrism is increasingly becoming the chosen model of upbringing in our families. Therefore, today we will try to understand why focusing on children in a family can be so dangerous.
What is childcentrism and where does it come from?
Child-centrism is a style of upbringing in which the personality of the child and his needs are a priori put above the personalities and needs of other family members. This passion for the child came to Western society to replace the more traditional model of patriarchal upbringing, where children played a secondary role and fulfilled any will of their parents.
Childcentrism in Europe and America became possible only after the Second World War, namely during the baby boom, when an era of prosperity began to replace the hungry war and post-war times with a high level of child mortality.
In Russia, childcentrism began to clearly manifest itself only in the 2000s, after the post-Soviet unrest subsided and the economy began to revive.
Marketers have also had a hand in developing an obsession with children. When manufacturers realized that it was very easy to manipulate parental feelings, they happily began to churn out advertisements for baby products and broadcast the idea of the value of motherhood and childhood. Under such a sauce, people happily agreed that a child should have only the best, and fulfilling any will of a little person is more important than taking care of himself.
After such an explanation, it becomes obvious that the desire to focus all your attention and resources around the child does not always turn out to be beneficial for the family and the growing personality. Moreover, childcentrism often produces results that are the opposite of what the parents expected.
How is it harmful to children?
When a child appears in a family, many parents (especially mom) for a long time cannot realize that this little person is not their continuation, but an individual with his own desires, character and values. The child grows into an adult and lives by himself in society. And the easier it is for him to enter society, the better the parents will cope with their task. When mom and dad concentrate all their attention and resources on the child, then most likely the development of one scenario out of two:
- A) If a child has a weak nervous system, then he grows up dependent, unable to make a decision, downtrodden and lack of initiative… In addition, constant control, combined with indulging any whim, leads to the fact that a person turns into an eternally offended at all (yes, yes, and parents too) egoist. Any rejection or negative feedback will be perceived as a deep personal hurt.
- B) If the child has a stable nervous system, then selfishness and pride will take on an arbitrary form.… The desire to get what he or she wants at any cost will dominate moral values, and being pushed around by loved ones will become the norm. In addition, the habit of manipulating parents from childhood will take on complex and sophisticated forms.
How is it harmful to parents?
Child centrism in the family, especially in the first years of a baby’s life, affects the relationship between a man and a woman. Most often, after giving birth, the mother focuses all her attention and care on the child, forgetting that both she and the husband are also individuals with their own interests and needs.
And if in the first few weeks of a child’s life such a “bias” is justified, then over time it can hurt family happiness very painfully. When a couple gets used to fulfilling only one parental role, romantic feelings gradually recede into the background and at some point people live in the same apartment as caregivers, servants for their child and neighbors. When childcentrism manifests itself in one of the partners, the second, most likely, will very quickly begin to move away, because in this house they will begin to treat him as a resource for improving the child’s life. And such an attitude is clearly not what we expect when we say “yes” in the registry office.
How to avoid the child-centered parenting model?
- Don’t forget about yourself and your needs… You are the most important person in your life. Observing this, the child will respect someone else’s personality and develop healthy selfishness.
- Be considerate of your partner… The child will at some point grow up and leave your home, and the partner is the person with whom, ideally, you walk arm in arm for a pension.
- Learn to build your boundaries… If the concept of personal territory (physical and internal) does not exist in the family, the child will not feel safe and will grow up neurotic.
- Be objective… For healthy self-esteem, it is necessary for the child to have an understanding that he is not always the best and most talented (but from this no less beloved).
- Learn to scold and praise while explaining… Motivated rewards and punishments will instill in the child a sense of justice and an understanding of their responsibility.
- Introduce your child to household chores… And we are talking here not only about washing floors and dishes, but also about managing household finances, choosing a joint vacation and discussing plans for the summer. The more parents tell their child about the world around them, the easier it will be for him to start an independent life.
The child-centered parenting model is a very difficult and dangerous path that often leads parents in the wrong place. In this approach, the likelihood of raising a healthy personality and surviving on our own is very small. If you don’t believe psychologists, look at men in their forties who were raised by mothers and grandmothers and who drink all their adult life and blame everyone for their failures. In the end, children love their parents not for the best sections and branded clothes, but just like that, because they are mom and dad.
Dear Parents! In raising a child, it is very important to remember the gender principle. Yes, until about 5 years old, your baby, regardless of gender, should feel like a king (or queen). Until this age, it is useless to educate him, give instructions, etc. After all, he simply will not understand you due to his age. Up to 5 years of age, a child is important and needs to be surrounded with care and attention as much as possible. This will help build high self-esteem and self-confidence in him. The kid will understand that his parents love and appreciate him, which means he will grow up happy.
I believe that childcentrism in a family with a small child does more good than harm. But what to do when the baby has grown up? This is where it is worth remembering the gender principle of upbringing:
- A son… If you want your son to grow up as a real, serious and independent man, give him the right to do so. Show a worthy example of the father, the head of the family. Subconsciously, he will start copying dad. You should not bring up a boy in an atmosphere of permissiveness. From early childhood, he must understand that to get what he wants, you need to make an effort.
- Daughter… But with a girl, the strategy should be different. She will become happy only if she receives parental protection from early childhood. It is useful to pamper, delight and encourage the girl in every possible way. She should feel loved. Such a girl, when she grows up, will have high self-esteem and surround herself only with worthy people.
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