Spoil today's generation
Psychologist: "Life is not a fun pool"
Deutsche Welle: In your book "Die Verwöhnungsfalle" (The Pampering Trap) you described the German youth as increasingly underage, not very resilient and spoiled, as early as the turn of the millennium. What has changed since then?
Albert Wunsch: For 20 years we have seen that children are being led less and less into the seriousness of life, practically a kind of meadow is kept ready for children and young people - with the problem that afterwards, when real life sets in, they get into it not find your way.
I have this aspect in my new - co-authored - book "Where are you going to Stanford?" taken up because the prerequisite for studying successfully is also impaired.
What are the parents doing wrong?
The parents are conflict-shy, they seem to have excluded the task of moving as a friction surface with their children and taking the children seriously, leading them into life. They want to avoid conflict by not taking a position - because they are worried that they might appear authoritarian. Many people worry about being an authority - which we all should be as adults! This is easily mistaken for authoritarian. And authoritarian is then equated with Nazi thinking and violence pedagogy.
Today, parents orientate themselves more closely to the children than the children to the parents and want to be friends and buddies of their daughters and sons. This thwarted the educational mandate.
Young people have fewer and fewer everyday skills, says Albert Wunsch
What are many young people unable to do today that should actually be taken for granted?
You have forgotten how to persevere and want to have as much fun as possible. They give up quickly if they don't notice success immediately: whether in math, languages, music, science or sports. The children are getting more and more "pounded", the way is always made very easy for them.
But life is not a fun pool. At the moment when certain challenges have to be mastered, they lack the strength. My observation: Long-term insufficient demands later lead to objective-subjective excessive demands.
Wanting and practicing are the key qualifications for learning. The "I-am-done-but-happy feeling" when a challenging goal has been achieved is withheld from the children.
When the young people then leave the safe home of their parents, does the excessive demands really begin?
Many still live at home, but when they move out, it is often not the fighting that sets in, but rather the resignation. I know from my students that there are three main problems for those who move out of home: the refrigerator does not fill up on its own, the garbage can does not empty on its own and the laundry does not clean on its own. They also have no sense of price.
Because of this limited capacity for everyday life, depression and college drop-outs are common consequences. Studies show that 25 to 33 percent of students in Germany drop out of their studies - depending on the subject area.
Girls, so wish, have a different kind of social behavior, are a little "more intensive to learn"
Isn't the older generation always critical of the younger?
Yes, it should be, because it is a necessary process. If the older generation really does get to grips with the younger generation, the older generation has to be asked whether they can convey their position as worth preserving. And the younger generation would have to ask: Can we make our position clear to the older generation as an important and acceptable change?
If such a dispute leads to positive results as a serious struggle for important things, then a society has a good survivability. Because many young people constantly orient themselves too strongly to their peers, this dispute no longer takes place, the socially necessary transfer of values is missing Base.
So do we experience eternal adolescence?
This tendency can be observed strongly. The motto is then: "Forever young!" This is indirectly linked to excluding many everyday skills and not wanting to take full responsibility for one's own life. Many young people today are also unwilling to make decisions. You are invited, say: "I'll have a look", and mean in new German: Wait to see if something better comes along. You don't want to commit yourself: because if you don't commit yourself, you (supposedly) have all options open.
But that's not how life works. If you keep new options open, you can't do what's right now. Because real success requires full concentration on the goal. These young people have the impression of being self-sufficient and capable of living. There is a massive gap between self-perception and perception of others.
How do parents have to change their behavior or their attitude?
Parents should be much more aware of the fact that you can have a child quickly - but that today, in a pluralistic society with many external influences, it takes a lot to be able to perceive the upbringing as parents.
And the children have to be confronted with the seriousness of life earlier. They should find out that money has to be earned before it is spent and that they therefore cannot simply get on with the day when they are fixated on their own interests. Because only if you learn how life works in give and take can you achieve your goals independently and with personal responsibility.
Dr. Albert Wunsch is a psychologist and educationalist. He teaches at the University of Economics and Management (FOM) in Essen / Neuss, at the University of Düsseldorf and works as a couple, parenting, life and conflict counselor as well as a supervisor and coach. His publications include "The Pampering Trap", "Farewell to Fun Pedagogy" and "Where are you going to Stanford? How parents can encourage their children to perform" (with Isabelle Liegl).
The interview was conducted by Dagmar Breitenbach.
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