Between the authoritarian model of the generations of the great-grandmothers and the unbridled permissiveness, today it is widely shared (and recommended) by psychologists and experts of the evolutionary age an authoritative educational approach, yes, but far from any extremism.

“Educating – we will never say enough – derives from educere, that is to drive without suffocating: affection and reproach, in short, have equal importance”, claimed Giovanni Bollea, father of modern child neuropsychiatry ( Mothers never fail , Feltrinelli).

All agree, then, the rules are used to grow well and live in the world, together with others. However, very often, it is a real business to be heard – most parents think.

Children need rules

“In recent years, parents have increasingly played a central role in the fact that they are loved (as a result) by their children. Often, authoritativeness is totally replaced by affectivity.

This is why they take away everything that may provoke a negative reaction on the part of the child “, says Giuliana Franchini, psychologist and psychotherapist, specialized in the age of development and support for the family, author of numerous essays (the last with Giuseppe Maiolo, Mamma , what a laugh !, Edizioni Erickson, offers parents ideas and valuable tips to deal with educational challenges even with a dose of humor).

How come today’s moms and dads manifest this strong request to be loved as much as possible by children? “In today’s society, the child, very often, is the narcissistic response to certain needs of the adult, it is what must realize an expectation. Now, I can do it even at the age of 50 … And, in any case, unconscious and non-child expectations are often enormous “.

The risk of this attitude on the part of parents is to abdicate the role of educators.

Children need clear, precise rules and …

“The child is an active force, ‘bright silver’ and must be regulated – continues the psychotherapist Franchini – but every rule must make sense based on the age of the child and pay attention to the number of those established. For a little three years, the rules can be five to six, the minimum ones, which concern his daily life … Of course, not 20! “

The rules must also be established first by mom and dad. For example, “a three-year-old should sleep at least 10 hours a day – and do not go to bed at 10 pm – it is necessary for his well-being, so in this case, the rule is triggered. We must not scream but establish together, as a couple, what rules to give the child … When you eat, at what time and how … If your mother, for example, feeds half a sandwich standing up and then asks her son to eating, sitting, the soup, it’s hard to be convincing “.

Another example yet. When we go out on the street we must always give our hand: ‘We do it because we want you to stay well as long as possible’, you can explain to the child – suggests the expert. It is important to make the child understand that on certain things he is not able to decide for himself.

… and adapted to their age

One aspect that should never be underestimated is the age of the child: the type and number of requests from the adult change in the course of growth.

” We have to ask ourselves, as educators, if a certain rule is adequate for our child’s age – continues the psychologist – if he can do what we require. To pretend that a child of three to four years, for example, tidy up his whole room is a little excessive.

His day revolves around the game, any other element for him is a source of trouble, so it makes no sense to repeat 500 times to wash your hands. It is appropriate to find a strategy, for example, to tell him a story and tell him that there is someone who calls him and smells it. All children love the idea of ​​the stink and so can be actively involved with humor. Laughing with the baby, in general, works.