What is a sign of good parenting skills

Who is educable?



2.2.1. Legal basis
2.2.2. The role of the youth welfare office

3.1.1. About the main character's rights as a mother and the welfare of their children
3.1.2. The role of the youth welfare office in the film



1 Introduction

During a discussion in the plenum of the seminar about the role of the youth welfare office in the film "Ladybird, ladybird" (Ken Loach, GB 1993) it was stated that the youth welfare office was right because the main character, Maggie, was not "capable of bringing up". But what is “educational ability” anyway? First of all, definitions, but also notions of good and correct upbringing, must be clarified. For this purpose, I refer to the article “Education” by Hubertus Künert (1997) and I will explain my own idea of ​​good upbringing. In my elaboration, I will then analyze the concept of “parenting ability” on the basis of legal texts and statements from a consultant for child and family law in Hamburg. Here I am particularly concerned with the problem of the decisions made by the youth welfare office about the future of families and their bad image. In order to be able to make statements about who is capable of bringing up children, it must also be clarified what the goal of upbringing should be, or how one should act as an educator in order to meet the demands of “good” upbringing. Then I deal with the film “Ladybird, Ladybird” and in particular focus on the situation of the main character and the role of the youth welfare office. Another example of the decision about who is “capable of bringing up” is given in the article “Die Affäre Kutzner” (Augstein 2002). I would also like to use this example to help illustrate my point of view.

2. Who is educable?

In order to clarify the question of which person is able to raise another person, one must first clarify what is meant by education. Of course, there are different definitions here, and transitions to terms such as education, socialization and learning are often fluid. I have based my presentation on the text by Hubertus Kunert and have also incorporated my own conception of upbringing.

2.1 What is education?

“Upbringing is the term used to describe actions through which people try to foster the personality of other people in some way” (Brezinka 1974). This concise definition of the term “upbringing” by Wolfgang Brezinka corresponds to the idea of ​​some seminar participants that upbringing should be judged as a positive act. Education is directed towards a person with the aim of meeting social requirements. In contrast to the concept of “socialization”, education is not understood to mean “becoming social” but rather “socializing”. However, the person to be educated is very much involved in this process; it is an interactive relationship. This person, the pupil, thinks for himself about the meaning and aim of upbringing and thus prevents upbringing from being a purely goal-directed, purpose-determined act. The educational process is to be understood as a conflict process in which the educator and pupil learn to come to terms with each other and to adjust to one another (cf. Kunert 1997, 58).

The question now arises as to whether it is even possible not to raise a child. Because any kind of communication and interaction between pupil and educator is to be understood as education, even if not necessarily as conscious education. The causes of a “bad” upbringing must therefore be looked for in the manner of upbringing and thus in the relationship between pupil and educator as well as their environment. If one hears that a child is “badly brought up”, then the reason for this is behavior that does not correspond to the wishes of society. Norms and values ​​play a role here, which are sometimes not stipulated by law, but reflect the views of behavior and politeness of society. The biggest problem here is that although there are written rules (such as the “etiquette”), these differ depending on the region and trend. Almost everyone has a different view of good upbringing and well-behaved children. As already mentioned, the child's environment has a great influence on the upbringing of the child. The task of the educator is therefore not just to talk to the child and instill social rules in him. The educators should ensure that the dependent pupil grows up in a positive environment in which his development is neither restricted nor endangered. That is, the educators have full responsibility for a child whose needs are to be met. One of the most necessary conditions for bringing up a child is compliance with the duties of the parents as set out in the Basic Law.

2.2 Consideration of parenting ability from a legal point of view

The upbringing of a child is an important task, which for this reason is also observed in the Basic Law and the Civil Code. Here it is determined which rights and duties parents (in the role of the educator) have and which principles must be observed in the upbringing. But also the rights of the child as a person and the laws for the protection of the child's well-being provide indications of a good upbringing from a constitutional point of view.

2.2.1 Legal basis

The legal foundations regulate the possibilities and limits of bringing up a child. One difficulty is to reconcile the rights of the child and those of the parents as legal guardians. First of all, the Basic Law should be observed, which in Articles 1 and 2 protects the rights of the child as a person. A child has the same human rights as an adult, and human dignity is paramount. In this case, the protection of these rights mentioned in Article 1 should be guaranteed by the youth welfare office. According to Article 2 of the Basic Law (GG), a child also has the right to the free development of his or her personality and the right to physical integrity and freedom.

On the other hand, there are the rights of the family or the legal guardian. The concept of the family, as it is used in Article 6 of the Basic Law, must be examined more closely for its application to today's social situation with increasingly more “patchwork” families, single parents or cohabiting partnerships. The filiation principle and the principle of custody are the legal bases for the definition of the term family. This means that a family exists in the legal sense as soon as there is biological parenthood or this has arisen through adoption (filiation principle) and the question of custody has been clarified (custody principle) (cf. Braaksma 1995, 9). In Article 6 of the Basic Law, parents are granted a natural right, but also the duty to care for and bring up their children (paragraph 2). The parents are therefore responsible for the physical well-being (care) and the emotional and spiritual development (upbringing) of the child. This may include the obligation to provide for food, living space, clothing, health, and school and vocational training for your child, as far as possible.

In the BGB 4th book / 5. Title, parental custody is explained in more detail and the rights and obligations of the parents are specified. According to § 1626 BGB, parental custody includes personal care ("[...] the duty and the right to look after, raise, supervise and determine where the child is." BGB, §1631) and property care. You are obliged to support the underage child in his development towards responsible and independent action and to include him in the questions of upbringing according to his level of development. In § 1631 BGB, the child is given the right to a non-violent upbringing. Accordingly, "corporal punishments, emotional injuries and other degrading measures are inadmissible". If the parents violate this, there is a risk to the best interests of the child. According to §1666 BGB, this risk also exists if the child is neglected or the parents fail through no fault of their own. In these cases, the state may intervene in the family. However, custody may only be withdrawn if there is no other way of preventing the child's best interests from being endangered.

The family is protected from interference by the state in their privacy by Article 6 of the Basic Law, Paragraph 1. The state community may only intervene against the will of the legal guardians "[...] if the legal guardians fail or if the children threaten to neglect for other reasons." (Article 6 GG Paragraph 3). However, the “failure” of the legal guardian must first be recognized by the state or the youth welfare office as a guardian. In order to prevent parents from violating the law, the youth welfare office would have to check carefully how the child is doing in the family at all times. Under certain circumstances, however, this could be an interference with the family's autonomy, from which it is to be protected in Article 6 of the Basic Law, paragraph 1. However, if the child “threatens to lose it”, the parents do not necessarily have to be to blame for this. In a comment on the Basic Law it says:

"[...] it [= neglect] occurs when the child's physical, emotional or mental development - for whatever reason - remains so far below normal development that the separation is to avoid further disadvantages for the child is required by the family. "(Münch 1992)

From this it becomes clear that there are parents who are not capable of bringing up children, although they are bringing up according to their possibilities. An example of this is the case of the Kutzner family, which I will explain in 3.2.

2.2.2 The role of the youth welfare office

The youth welfare office takes on the role of guardian and decides whether parents are able to raise their child. The youth welfare office is often portrayed as an institution that stands between parents and child and thus literally tears families apart. In order to get a more detailed insight into the work of the youth welfare office, I asked Mr. Eichenmüller, a consultant for child and family law in Hamburg, on the subject of "Parenting ability". He confirmed to me that it would actually be a big problem to decide whether parents or one of the parents are capable of bringing up children or not. It is precisely for this reason that the youth welfare office often has such a bad reputation. When decisions are made about violations of the specified parental custody, the first step is to carefully check which laws have been disregarded. The first priority must always be the protection of the child, as laid down in Article 2 of the Basic Law. Ensuring the best interests of the child cannot be jeopardized by any other law. Only then does the parents' right to educate according to their goals and means takes effect. Since conflicts can arise here, the solution of which is not always clearly defined by law, the youth welfare office often has to decide at its own discretion and assess the many laws, rights and obligations of the child and parents.

Mr. Eichenmüller used examples to illustrate this problem: Is a single mother who cannot leave the house because of her panic attacks and who also forbids her 9-year-old daughter to do so, cannot bring up the child? Can parents, because of their strict Christian faith, forbid their 18-year-old son to gain sexual experience before his wedding because that would go against their moral standards? Here it is a matter of discretion whether the parents are capable of bringing up or not. In all cases, the situation must also be viewed from the point of view of the parents and their parenting principles must be examined. In addition, the decisions are always personality-dependent and - as far as possible - are brought into line with the parents' ideas.

First of all, there should always be a conversation between social workers (youth welfare office) and parents, in which the child is involved from the age of 14 or, in individual cases, from the age of 7. According to the Child and Youth Welfare Act, the youth welfare office should always offer help and not punish. Before custody is withdrawn, an attempt is made to have a pedagogical conversation and to develop a strategy for preventing abuses in upbringing. If there is no improvement, the case is passed on to the family court. However, if it is found that the child's well-being is massively endangered (through physical or psychological violence), the family court is brought in immediately.


End of the excerpt from 19 pages