What big problems will our children have?

Upbringing Problems: Four Classic Cases - Well Solved!

When children cause grief, we parents have to look into our own causes too. Because children often carry out our own conflicts. In this article, an expert reveals how parents should behave.

Behavioral problems, fears, aggression - more and more parents are complaining about difficulties in the development of their boys and girls. Why is that? "Undoubtedly, children and their genes bring with them certain characteristics, character traits and temperaments that are independent of their upbringing," says Christiane Lutz, child and adolescent psychotherapist in Stuttgart. "In the case of major abnormalities, however, the suspicion that there are disruptive factors in the relationship between parent and child."
What to do? Christiane Lutz demands something from parents that is not easy, and sometimes even painful: firstly, to look at one's own behavior critically, and secondly, to see children as they are and not as we want them to. "Children are like a mirror," says Christiane Lutz time and again in her work with children and parents: "If we dare to look closely, they show us our weaknesses and inadequacies and thus the solutions to many problems with upbringing. When adults show their behavior change, so often do the children too. "
This becomes clear in four classic parenting problems:

Attention, child listens: 20 thoughtless parental sayings

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1st problem: the child does not follow the rules

Parents often give in to be accepted and loved

It is the story of Astrid Lindgren's "Karlsson vom Dach": Lillebror, a seven-year-old boy, is visited every day by Karlsson, an ageless man who dares to do everything Eric would like to do: He's voracious, snotty, knocks, sayings he even explodes a steam engine. Scenes to laugh about when we read them to our children. But what if they become a reality? When your own son or daughter is constantly provoked by crossing borders?
"Then the parents may have misunderstood something," says Christiane Lutz. "Everyone is talking about the freedoms that children need in order to be able to develop. But this freedom must not be limitless, children also need orientation. And that is exactly what parents have to give by setting limits." That seems to be difficult for many. Instead of acting consistently, parents react at will: Chocolate before lunch? TV marathon despite five in math? "If it has to be..."
"Parents give in to be loved by the child," suspects Christiane Lutz. "Instead of gaining acceptance through arguments, they buy affection through generosity." It's easier and saves time - but only for the moment. Because the children are becoming more and more strenuous: They develop enormous expectations. And their desperate attempts to reach a dispute with their parents through provocation are becoming more and more nerve-wracking.

The therapist advises:

Ask yourself how consistent you are with your child and think about: What could be the reason for giving too quickly: Do I want to make up for the lack of time together with my concessions? Or am I driving a problem of authority - the fear of being disliked if the upbringing is more strict?
These worries are unfounded, because children want parents who give them support and enable them to find their way around the world. Knowing this makes it much easier to introduce family rules and make sure that they are followed. Dare to be consistent!

2. Problem: The child is aggressive

No one can always be kind and peaceful

"Difficulties in relationships with children are often related to the parents' unlived feelings and wishes," says Christiane Lutz. Psychologists speak of "shadow" in this context. What is meant is that we overemphasize the positive side of ourselves and suppress the dark side.
"It often happens that children take up such dark sides of their parents and act out", says the therapist. Example Jasmin, eleven years old. Until recently, a dear, cuddly child. Striking: Jasmin never really had a phase of defiance. This makes the atmosphere that jasmine has been creating at home since the beginning of puberty all the more lousy. She slams doors, grumbles, blames, and at school she was seen threatening and blackmailing classmates.
"We have always taught our children how to resolve conflicts peacefully," says the mother, shaking her head uncomprehendingly. "Maybe that's the problem," says Christiane Lutz. "Nobody can always be kind and peaceful. Aggression then simmers subliminally and piles up - until it explodes."
Some children direct their aggression against themselves: "Anorexia, for example, is an extremely aggressive form of communicating to the outside world," says Christiane Lutz. "Anorexic girls stay forever mothers or daddies little daughters because of their physical refusal to grow up."

Four typical situations in everyday family life - how would you have reacted?

I don't want to argue with my child

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The therapist advises:

Honestly, ask yourself: Is there an open culture of argument in my family? Or do I often send messages like "Don't argue!", "Pull yourself together!", For example by avoiding any open argument with my partner? If I want to relieve my child, I have to find out where my behavior comes from. Ask yourself, "How come I am so addicted to harmony and indulgent?" And: Try to remember your own childhood: Did I want to be the brave princess or the daring Pippi Longstocking?
If you can see through which patterns shape your behavior, you can counteract it more easily. In the event of a dispute, this means: You can encourage arguments instead of just preaching harmony. The benefit for your child: You can allow them to live out their own needs and send a liberating message: Don't become anything for my sake - become yourself!

3rd problem: The child is over-anxious

"Anxious children often have parents who cannot let go," says Christiane Lutz and remembers one case from her practice: "Nele only knew a permanent mum presence. For example, she only dared to go down a slide when the mother was down stood and caught her. An encouraging 'Try it alone!' never existed. "
At first, children of overprotective mothers and fathers often seem adjusted and loving, but they usually cope with kindergarten without any problems. "School is then experienced as a worrying threshold situation, because now the child inevitably takes a step away from the parents," explains the therapist.
The situation developed dramatically for Nele: Even as a first grader, she suffered from psychosomatic symptoms such as nausea and headache, which, however, disappeared every time during the holidays.
At the age of twelve she came to Christiane Lutz for therapy with a pronounced school phobia: Nele had stayed at home for almost a year for fear of vomiting in front of her classmates. After a few conversations with the mother it is clear: She is the core problem. She unconsciously holds her daughter back because she can't really let go. Nele's school phobia almost suddenly disappears when her mother is more concerned with herself than with Nele because of a further training measure: "You could see how one caused the other."

Setting limits: how often do I have to say that?

How many more times do I have to say that?

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The therapist advises:

Do you often worry? If so, please consider how this attitude is received by your child. For example, the way to school: "Be careful when you cross the street" or "Don't come under the car" may be interpreted by your child as follows: Mom or Dad don't trust me to do it right. I probably really can't.
It has a completely different effect when you say, for example: "You are so capable. I know that you are careful when you cross the street!" Such sentences show the child: My parents trust that I will do it right.
Parents have to say goodbye if their encouragement is to make their child more independent. But there is nothing worrying about this independence. After all, there is nothing better than having children who go into life with confidence. Children of parents with persistent worry lines, on the other hand, often become worried people with little self-confidence.

4. Problem: The child suddenly refuses

Children should make their parents' dreams come true

It's always the same pattern: a boy is doing tutoring so that he can get recommended for high school. Because the father - he is a clerk - has not come this far himself and has the feeling: my son can catch up. Also common: mothers who forego work for their children and who are now defined by their children's school grades. "In the beginning, these children usually meet the expectations of their parents. But at some point there is a surprising collapse. Or a sudden no-go attitude," says Christiane Lutz.
Interestingly enough, the problems often only emerge in the second generation. Seen in this way, children are not only a mirror of their parents, but also of their grandparents: The father, who failed miserably as an entrepreneur, conveys to his son: "You have to be better than me." The son sees it easily, is content as a freelance artist with a small income.
But the subliminal task of making money the maxim of life remains. "You will achieve something!" He finally whispers to his own offspring - even if they actually have other talents.

The therapist advises: