Parents School

 

A TREE NEEDS ITS ROOTS TO GROW...

An adult's story begins before birth, as it is in the minds of parents that a sort of image will form of what the child in the womb will be and will become. This is certainly why pregnancy is such an important phase in the lives of parents: the future father, the future mother are, in their own way, already anticipating what life will be like with this baby. Experience shows that this is when parents begin to develop and build their ideas about the upbringing that they will provide to their children: they already have an idea of what is good for the child. And in doing so, they also create an idea of how they will fulfil their role as parents. For this, they draw on their experience: what they were like when they were children and adolescents? What relationship have they had with their own parents? How were their parents as a mother and father?

In this way their own childhood, as well as their relationship with their parents (who now become grandparents) continues to live through the upbringing which will be given to the child.

Expectant parents prepare for their role...

It is interesting to see how the couple settles into their roles. This is very important, as when the child is born, it is unable to live if there is not at least one individual who will provide it with what it needs. The child cannot feed itself, it needs care, and more importantly, it must be nurtured sensitively and emotionally. This nourishment is "given" through a relationship: this is why we can say that the relationship is central to every exchange between adults and children. Personality, whose development is subject to genetic determinants, can only be created through a network of relationships. And not just any! We now know that a child needs to be loved and to feel protected. For this, the child's environment must have a minimum amount of stability and be arranged to safeguard a kind of calm and organisation which the child will need for a number of years. Ultimately, educating a child is to make a contribution to a developing being in order to allow it to shape itself. A contribution that comes in part the previous generation and which will be passed down to the next. Educating a child is to teach it what it should do with its own children when it grows up. The future is much like the past in preparation.

For the longest time, we were convinced that only the mother was able to rear the child. This was natural, as we understood that a child's upbringing was like a natural extension of the pregnancy while the little one developed in the womb. Today, and after major changes that affect the definition of the role of men and women, more and more fathers assume, with great competence and a strong sense of responsibility, an important role in rearing children.

Placing limits on children is to educate them in freedom...

Sometimes parents doubt whether they are adequate in their role of rearing their child. Doubt is a good thing, but assurance is even better. You should know that for the child to grow strong, it needs to feel that its parents are there for it, that they know what they're doing. In order to build a stable and secure personality, the child will grow from its parents' personalities, and that is why it is important that they wholeheartedly assume their role as father and mother. To rear a child is to guide it, to create a framework where it can feel secure as well as make experiences of its own. In fact, childhood is about enjoying an environment in which we gain a certain experience of our own abilities, without entailing negative, even disastrous consequences for the child. Parents have woven an "invisible" safety net around the child to encourage it to learn new things.

A major difficulty that parents often talk about is putting limits on their children: they fear that if they do, their children will no longer love them. The opposite is often true: parents who use their authority to guide their child convey a sense of security. The child sees this as a sign of love and concern that parents give. Authority is a central concept when talking about upbringing. We refer to this as good authority, constitutive of all loving relationships, which defines the rules, while continuing to support. The authority is to say "yes" and sometimes "no", but always with support and respect.

Childrearing assumes that the child must always be respected, and for who the child is, not for what we want the child to be. What we know is that a child who is respected is a child who learns to love him or herself. Children who love themselves know how to respect others. It is because children are recognised in their needs, and thereby also in their rights, that we can later make them respect their duties.

Janusz Korczak Parents School (Fondation Kannerschlass) provides maternity classes at the Clinique Privée Dr E. Bohler. These courses are intended to provide information on education to future fathers and mothers. They are designed to educate parents about the great changes they are going to experience with the birth of their child. Our goal is to provide resources for expectant parents in order to prepare the resources of the unborn child.

 

Gilbert Pregno

Kannerschlass Foundation - Janusz Korczak Parents School

12, rue Churchill, L-4434 Soleuvre (Tel.: +352 5959-5959)
Luxembourg : 110, Avenue Gaston Diderich, L-1420 Luxembourg (Tel.: +352 4796-4466 )

 

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