Disciplines your kids beating them actually

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Defeats can also be successes.

Exactly. But only if the necessary energy for a new start is applied. Above all, you need positive emotions for this. Children who come home after a bad grade or an argument cannot go straight to the agenda, but want to be comforted and gather new strength in the security of the family.

Are children afraid that bad grades will displease their parents?

All children want to please their parents. It is all the more important to convey to the children that bad grades do not diminish parental love and appreciation.

Would you like children to develop positively in school?

Children and young people need holistic experiences in order to stay physically and mentally healthy and to really feel good in the community. But they can hardly have these experiences today. How often do they climb trees, throw themselves into a haystack or pick a bouquet of flowers to bring home to their mother? That is why we started in Heidelberg in 2007 to implement our main school goal of “physical and mental health for pupils and teachers” by introducing the new subject “happiness”.

Was there a special moment for this idea?

When a student told me that I was the first person who would have trusted him. This trust and trust is, so to speak, the continuation of the basic trust and responsible for how valuable we feel as human beings.

"The school is an artificial event."

What should happiness teach children?

We want to strengthen the students by showing them the prerequisites for a successful life. The subject is not designed to maximize performance, but rather to help you develop your personality, for example by learning early on to deal with challenges, avoid stress or calmly master phases of extreme stress.

Doesn't personal development take place at home?

Parents' homes set the mainstay, so to speak, and create the conditions. The school develops the free leg and opens up new possibilities. If the mainstay is not firmly developed - for example through isolation, the media, our multi-option society - the children quickly become independent externally, but their inner psychological needs are not recognized or not satisfied. Then they are insecure and seek confirmation elsewhere - through many friends or through material things that represent self-worth to the outside world.

How do children get happy?

When you help them discover their own potential and believe in themselves.

What can parents do about it?

That is the crucial question. What do we want for our children? That they are disciplined and work well? Or that they lead a happy life? There have never been so many so-called problem children. You are hyperactive, spoiled, aggressive, want to become a top model or a superstar and hide in the Hotel Mama. But are we really surrounded by little tyrants or nestlings? No! For fear that our children will fail in an achievement society, we focus too much on their problems. But if you only hold children against their weaknesses, they become unhappy and discouraged.

You speak of an outdated school system. Can you explain that briefly?

We have a pedagogy that is 200 years old and is based on a different social system: an upper class where people reflect; a middle class from which craftsmen emerge; as well as an underclass from which servants and maidservants should arise. We have an emancipatory society in which social origin should be neither an advantage nor an obstacle. Schools are all too often used to adapt people to economic and social conditions that no longer exist. School teaches something different from what is needed now.

What do you suggest?

To finally break away from this antiquated construct. Every child has a potential, even if they come from a class that is not intended for an academic life. We should ask ourselves: Do I want to waste all the potential?

What do you think about the prevailing error culture in school?

I have nothing against troubleshooting. But I wonder if it should be the heavyweight. Understanding a culture of mistakes correctly requires learning from mistakes. For me, a real error culture means that the teacher becomes a companion and offers alternative possibilities. So showing the children alternative solutions instead of commenting negatively on them. Today's exaggerated "search for errors" only generates negative emotions. Everyone withdraws when they hear they said something wrong. In terms of evolutionary history, fear, anger, disgust, etc. should ensure that we are protected from something. But if I get encouragement and positive emotions, this leads to an opening. That's what I call potential development.

Do you remember an example from your school days?

The teacher asked me in first grade: How do clouds form? I said: by the locomotive. He simply replied: "This is nonsense." For me, however, my answer was logical, because we lived on a railway line and every day I saw locomotives emitting clouds of steam. But my teacher at the time completely ignored this realization. The solution would have been to say: yes, that's interesting, how does a locomotive work?

"The inner needs of children are often not recognized."

Was your potential discovered at school?

No. After my father explained to me that the grammar school was out of the question for me, I initially stayed in the elementary school and then went to a commercial school because it was predicted that I would find my home in the commercial sector. The parents and the school prescribed this as “my” way. I was not intended for anything else in this classroom system. Today it is certainly different, as many parents believe that their children absolutely have to go to university.

Is that wrong?

In principle not, but excessive expectations can make children unhappy. Such children feel left behind and make school easy in order to meet their parents' expectations and not lose their relationship with them. It leads to great dependency when self-esteem is only linked to grades and performance. It doesn't surprise me that so many young people live, partying and drinking sprawling free time until it crashes. Nobody can take this pressure to meet expectations in the long run.

So what should parents do?

Listen to your intuition and follow it. Realize that children can do a lot. That they don't just rate them based on their academic performance. Don't say: good grades, good child. This chain of causality simply cannot be successful.

What Makes a Child Successful?

Believing in it realizing that it is doing the best it can. Parents should break away from the school system instead of reinforcing it. The child is not allowed to think: If I have a 6, I'm great, if I have a 4, I'm short, but okay, and with a 3 I'm worthless. This worthlessness means limitation, negative feelings. You can then quickly get into such a grid. I saw this with my daughter.

In what way?

Her elementary school teacher recommended her for high school and told her on the way: "You can do it somehow, you're good at languages, but less at math." She really believed that. But that changed in tenth grade. She studied every now and then with a nephew of mine who was studying physics. She thought if I understand what he's learning, I'm okay. And she understood more and more. In her Abitur she achieved the highest grade in mathematics, then began studying natural sciences and graduated with a doctorate.

And your second daughter?

In the first grade she had difficulties switching from free learning to structured learning. So that she didn't sit down, she was literally powered through school by my wife at the time, it was horrible. This drill was of little use. The turning point only came when my daughter was doing an exchange year in the USA. There she took a lot of courses that made little demands on her, babysitting for example and German courses and all that. She came back and wanted to quit school first and do something practical. We persuaded her to hold out two more years to graduation. She agreed, but on the condition that she would never be exposed to this homework and study drill with her mother again. And what happened She graduated from high school and became a special education teacher.

"A child's self-worth must not only be linked to grades and performance."

What do you know from this?

Both daughters have taken a path that school and, in some cases, the parental home have more or less only hindered. My conclusion: you should trust your children and not attach so much importance to what is said to you in school.