Teacher and educational psychologist
"Rather than allowing children to make mistakes, live and fail, we pressure them to be successful"
Mar Romera analyzes how we overprotect our children, which damages them on an emotional level.
I truly believe from my own experience that we have to try to help our children develop in any way we can. I was lucky to find some role models at university who helped me to discover that, for many reasons, if we can do this I really think we can find a solution for the future, because I did. 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 hyper-super-overprotecting your children 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.
By overprotecting our children so they don't learn how to live, fall down, break things or fail, we're not helping them to prepare for any traumatic situations they may encounter. 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.
Find out more about Mar Romera
- Mar Romera has a degree in teaching and educational psychology and is one of Spain's leading authorities on emotional intelligence. Ms. Romera thinks that people learn how to deal with their emotions through their family and that by overprotecting our children, we're making them emotionally fragile. She has experience in all educational stages: Pre-school, primary and secondary school education, professional training and university.
- Are some educational methods better than others? Methods are not important. 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. What children need is someone who is full of love, able to listen properly and show admiration and who not only protects them, but who is also a reference point. What we can't do is merely transfer knowledge, as nowadays children have access to a lot of information. The problem is that they might not know how to use all this information, so, as a parent or educator, you have to train them how to use the information they already have, rather than giving them more information. This means that people are more important than methods.
"School 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"
See the full video here.