“Coercion is essential to become a social being”

Do parents “psychologize” their children’s education too much?

Caroline Goldman: I do not believe that it is generalizable, the fact of questioning oneself about the psychic functioning of his child still depends a lot on the socio-cultural environment. There are families in which we give room to the parameters of development, and others traditionally less. On the other hand, I see many parents who are hampered in the exercise of their authority by the sometimes eccentric conceptions associated with positive or benevolent education which circulate massively in the media. They retain that one should not say “no” to the child, under penalty of traumatizing him.

Why is saying “no” sometimes necessary?

CG: It floats in the air of the times the absurd idea that only love could be enough to build a child. However, the question of psychic containers (limits, prohibitions) constitutes the other component leading to happiness. I consider it almost as important, in terms of impact, as the tenderness received during childhood. Because the integration of the constraint is not nothing in the happiness of a child: it allows him to get out of the closet fusional with his parents to become a social being who will respect the “codes” of decorum of the society which is there. ‘welcomes. The two ways of development in education are to offer him love but also to give him the tools to evolve with others and to nourish them. I have never met a child satisfied with being transgressive. Everyone wants to be helped to become fit – another word for “wise”.

Is it also about preparing him for adult life?

CG: Adult life is responsible for reminding us of how much the world of work is demanding, often not very rewarding, the logic of ruthless productivity… Employers, internship supervisors and older teachers generally complain about these new profiles of young people who are coming in late. ‘having not been equipped for this reality.

How to regain control and also prepare future united citizens?

CG: Solidarity is a mixture of empathy transmitted by identification with parents and the ability to contain oneself. For this last point, the only method that I have been promoting for fifteen years in my office and which follows the recommendations of the Council of Europe is simple. In order not to give in to violence and hear the child’s call for limits, I recommend “temporary isolation in his room”.

I regret that this method did not accompany the advertising campaigns against educational violence, they would have avoided tipping society into the opposite pitfall, that of infantile tyranny, which constitutes another form of contemporary violence.


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