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As a result, they may work even more.

As a result, they may work even more.

On the one hand, children should learn at an early age that they can determine their own bodies. On the other hand, many parents quickly slip out a sentence like: "Give grandma a kiss!" Why such statements are not so useful.

"Give grandma a kiss!" "Give the aunt a press!" In the end, such sentences do not contain a good message for the child, explains Ulric Ritzer-Sachs from the online advice service of the Federal Conference for Educational Advice. Because they imply: "You are responsible for making sure someone else is okay."

What if the child doesn’t want to have their fingernails cut?

Children should learn that they can determine their own bodies. But what happens if the child just doesn’t want to cut their fingernails or wash their hair? Can parents then insist because they think hygiene is important? "Yes" thinks Ritzer-Sachs. "Without dragging the child into the bathroom, of course. And it would be even better if you could find a way that the child would like to participate."

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Sometimes it can help to let the children play a little longer or read a story in the bathroom. Otherwise, Ritzer-Sachs advises calmness: "They have to endure personal hygiene."

Sources used: dpa-tmn news agency

Fathers are becoming more and more involved in raising children and taking on new roles. However, they can only do that if the mothers also change a little bit, says the Swiss educationalist Margrit Stamm.

In an interview, she explains what makes a good father, how caring differs from mothers and fathers, and why helicopter parents harm their own children. Ms. Stamm, your current book bears the title "New fathers need new mothers". What is new about fathers in today’s society and family life?

Margrit Stamm: The new thing about fathers is interpreted very differently. Some understand by one "new father" a man who takes Friday afternoons off or can change diapers, another one who attends pregnancy classes or works part-time. There is no prototype of a new father, it depends on the perspective. The most visible thing in public is that the new fathers are much more concerned with the children – be it on the weekend, in the evening, during the holidays or on the days when they are at home.

Still, women often criticize that their husbands don’t lend a hand enough.

The fathers are more concerned with the children, but the division of housework is still at the expense of the mothers. Fathers have caught up here, but not in the way that a modern, equal partnership would correspond to.

That is why you are demanding "new" Mothers. What’s the problem with that "old" Mothers?

If fathers are supposed to tackle more at home, it is too one-sided to focus only on their domestic presence. Our studies have shown that. For quite a few of the couples, women play a dominant role. They give their partners little autonomy. They tell them how to swaddle the child, how to lull it to sleep, how to clean the bathroom, etc. Such women are typical determiners. In the US, research speaks of "Gatekeepers" so bouncers. These are women who have their own quality standards and want to transfer these standards to their men, albeit mostly unconsciously.

Margrit Stamm, born in 1950, is professor emeritus for educational science and educational psychology, most recently she taught at the University of Friborg in Switzerland. She has headed the Swiss Institute for Educational Issues in Bern since 2012. Stamm is married and has two grown children.

How do the partners react to such behavior?

Men often respond with withdrawal. As a result, they may work even more. That is why I believe that we cannot just demand: "Men, finally change!" and women remain superior in the family sphere. Women should develop a willingness to change themselves and not see the father’s involvement as a disruptive interference when he wants to do something different.

Does that mean, in a nutshell, that fathers are less involved in the family and in the household because their wives won’t let them?

Yes, at least for the part of the couple where women are "Gatekeepers" are. In our study, mothers were women in a third of the cases "Gatekeepers". And I think every woman knows such tendencies. I myself am the mother of two children and I also remember such behavior, which means that I always told my partner what to do during my absence and how and what not to forget.

Is this behavior because women have different, perhaps higher, demands?

In my opinion, it is mainly due to the social prejudice that women have a maternal instinct and therefore naturally know better than fathers how to raise a child and run the household. Quite a few women have internalized the conviction that they are the best possible carers for their children. And that men, even if they wanted to, could never be as good and sensitive as women. This assumption has been refuted by research: Fathers can be just as caring, but in a different way.

Which one?

Attachment research presents empirical results that show that men and women treat children differently. The father – or the male element, even with same-sex couples there is always a more feminine and a more masculine element – usually treats the children differently: He is more playful, exploratory, more risk-taking and more competitive than the mother, which is why he is in the Give the child more freedom.

What about the mother?

The mother, or the female element, is usually very empathetic, caring, emotional, protective, and more symbiotically connected with the child. These two different elements – the feminine and the masculine – are what make a child grow up so valuable.

When is a father a good father?

A father is certainly not a good father a priori just because he works part-time or takes parental leave. A good father is one who is committed to the children, who gives them what they need – love, affection and this discovery. So a good father can also be a father who works full-time. But it can also be someone who works part-time. It doesn’t matter which model he lives with his partner. Much more important is that behind the model that a couple has chosen, both can stand and it is the result of a negotiation process. It is just as important that they look to the future, what the effects of this model can be when the children are older or the partnership fails.

So quality counts instead of quantity?

Yes exactly. In our study there were some men who worked part-time, but still ran a small company during their family days and were mostly present for the children, but not really approachable. On the other hand, a relatively large number of full-time working fathers were very intensively with the children in the evenings or on weekends.

Margrit Stamm: The educationalist advocates not overprotecting children. (Source: Andreas Muhmenthaler)

You say that with the next generation, the emancipated woman falls back into old role models.

There are many empirical studies that come to the same conclusion: couples who move in together distribute the work relatively equally, i.e. household and work, so that they have about the same amount of free time. But as soon as the first child arrives, the couple must decide: How do we do it now? Who’s back now? Who is more devoted to the child? And, data shows, it is women in particular. Often because they earn less. One also speaks of the traditionalization trap.

But in this context you also speak of one "Mama myth". What exactly do you mean by that?

The new mom myth is a phenomenon of the past thirty years. He assumes that a woman is only a real woman if she has children and approaches motherhood in a way that puts her needs at the bottom of the list. Becoming a mother has become more important than finding a partner or getting married. Many women, including those with good career histories, believe that having a child answers basic existential questions and provides some kind of unconditional love. They over-idealize motherhood and believe in the norm of the perfect mother – the woman who replaces all other identities with having children. These women then partially or completely quit their jobs. Because that’s how they want it. Not because they are forced to.

Why do they do that?

That is a difficult question. An important feature of the mom myth are the enormously increased and expanded expectations of mothers over the past twenty years, also because they are employed. Science has an important influence on this. Because it is primarily findings from developmental and family psychology, such as the importance of breastfeeding or the attachment relationship, that have been declared to be central maternal tasks. The focus on the mother-child relationship in particular left little room for the father for a long time, which is why he was only allowed a minor role in the lives of his children. In addition, there is the stress at work and the competitive, globalized work structure, which, together with the high demands on mothers and their main responsibility for the family, mean that women with children are increasingly reluctant to work. The family becomes a place of retreat, an island to which one can withdraw.

Even on this one, it is not always free of pressure. In her previous book "Let go of the children" describe how parents put a lot of stress on their own upbringing. Where does the pressure come from?

In our society, parents are always to blame. Parents should, must, must not … It is wrong if we always do this parent-bashing. Because parents behave according to the roles and trends that are current in society. With the development of educational science, a kind of determinism has crept into our society.

What does that mean?

Parental determinism means the notion that the child’s abilities and the parent’s ability to be good parents are directly causally linked. In other words, if problems arise and a child does not develop according to the norm, then the parents are to blame. Conversely, a productive child who can read or play the violin well by the age of four is the merit of his parents and thus proof of their competence. This determinism weighs on the parents, which is why they try not to make mistakes.


Margrit Stamm: New fathers need new mothers: Why families can only succeed togetherOrder now from Amazon

For many, the pressure expresses itself in a striving for perfection. How is this idea of ​​perfection expressed in education?

The perfectionism shows itself first of all in the enormous and often strategically arranged support of the children, in addition to the kindergarten or school.