Mar Romera

Teacher and educational psychologist

"Rather than allowing children to make mistakes, live and fail, we pressure them to be successful"

See the full video here.

I truly believe from my own experience that we have to try to help our children develop in any way we can. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to learn this idea from certain role models. Therefore, I firmly believe that there is a solution for the future because I was able to find one. As I found a solution, I feel it is my duty in life to help others do likewise.

It upsets me when I ask parents, "what do you want for your child?", and they reply, "for them to be happy". I often say that I don't want my daughters to be happy, because happiness, which comes from pleasure, involves dopamine. Dopamine is addictive. This means that, whereas one day you can be happy with a certain amount of dopamine, the next day you will need a bit more, and then a bit more the day after. Happiness should be a quest, not a state. Therefore, as a parent, by overprotecting your children to the extreme so they can be happy, you're fueling a pipe dream that can never be achieved. What we really need to do is to learn to choose the right emotion for the right circumstance. Our children have to experience all emotions, including joy, fear, anger, sadness. And this cannot be taught with words. It has to come from the heart. And you can't teach from the heart by focusing on notes. Education in the twenty-first century, as described by Gerver, or as discussed by many others, requires learning how to be rather than how to acquire knowledge.

"Schools should teach children how to live, not just how to read. However, schools insist on making children read and on giving them more and more content. We don't allow students to make mistakes, learn through living or fail"

By overprotecting our children, they do not learn how to live, fall over, break things, or fail. As a result, they are unable to deal with the traumatic situations that they encounter in life. It's a matter of training. First, I lose a game of Parchís. Then, a friend doesn't invite me to her birthday party. After that, a pet might die, or my parents might separate. And, at some point, one of my grandparents will die. If your parents haven't helped you to adapt and acquire the emotional resources you need to deal with these situations, you won't be able to cope with them when they do occur.

This transformation involves emotional intelligence rather than knowledge. People don't learn by being taught. They learn by doing what they love and by reacting to the situation at hand, when this becomes a reference point. This reference point is crucial. Furthermore, to get there, you can use a traditional or alternative methodology, it doesn't really matter. You can write in round, square or triangular letters and use a tablet, paper and pencil or charcoal, it's all the same to me.

Mar Romera has a degree in teaching and educational psychology and is one of Spain's leading authorities on emotional intelligence. She believes that people learn how to deal with their emotions through their family and that by overprotecting our children, they become emotionally fragile. She has experience in all educational stages: Pre-school, primary and secondary school education, professional training and university.