Chile is a living paradox when it comes to raising and educating our children. Moreover, it is not only a paradox, but two, which I have seen, and which will help us to understand the current crisis in both areas.
The first paradox is more global, typical of industrialized countries. The paradox is as follows: parents often shout loudly that children are the most important aspect of our lives, but ironically, since the first years we usually have them away from us (cradle room, playground, school, and university). We are a country with children, but always far away. Or rather, we are a “country with and without children”. The second paradox is more interesting, and also contains an irony that is unfortunately quite sad. The following is proposed: there are studies that when you ask parents what they expect most about their children, the higher the percentage responds that it is happiness, well-being, physical and emotional health, and that they do not live painful experiences. But in 2008, UNICEF published a study that asked children that they think is the most important thing for their parents, and the result was great: almost independent of the question, the answers were the same: to my parents what interests them is “academic performance”, “academic effort”, “be good”.
I don’t think it’s relevant to dely into the question of Who’s Lying? The most relevant thing is that both paradoxes show that in the game of parenting and education, children always lose.
There are 5 multicultural studies conducted in several countries, and all show that Chilean children from 1 to 5 years old are living through a very serious epidemic of mental health and socio-emotional well-being problems. But even more worryingly, the latest study (14 countries), Chile showed that we raise “on the basis of punishment, cry, prohibition, and above all on the non-expression of stress and emotions”. Although these studies have all been published in scientific journals and books, and some have been public knowledge, no one seems to realize that we are talking about children from 1 to 5 years old!!
The most terrible problem is that 20 years of psychobiological studies have shown what education and parenting we need to not have our children sick with unhappiness. Based on these hundreds of research, we urgently call for a new education and parenting. We ask for more socio-emotional learning and less formal education. We ask to open the pandora’s box of education and parenting, because when we open it we will find hundreds of studies that are on the side of the children, and that clearly guide us on the path of how to make an education and a parenting that is really for them, and not TO WEIGH them.
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