“The most important thing is that the children are dreamy”: What is going wrong in our society

DUSSELDORF. Have children changed? Do you have a harder time accepting rules these days? And: Does this possibly show a fundamental evil in our society, namely that parents no longer take sufficient care of their offspring – and increasingly leave the pedagogical work to the educational institutions? Daycare and News4teachers reader Marion started a nationwide debate with a post in our site’s discussion forum, which we would like to continue at this time. She has responded to criticism by simply arguing backwards and sentimentalizing past problems. We document their new statements here again prominently.

“Today, however, it is considered ‘doubtful’ to set boundaries for children themselves.” Illustration: Shutterstock

From Marion’s response in the discussion of the post “‘The children have changed. They have a much harder time accepting rules’: A daycare worker reports”

No, not everything was better in the past. In the past, people who did not follow the usual norm were excluded, condemned, and ignored. Thank God we are much further than that today. Whereas in the past children were demanded of one-sided respect and obedience, today they are perceived much more as independent, complex personalities, whose wishes and needs must of course be heard and taken into account.

That’s good and right. I certainly will not go back to the days when it was thought that teasing, austerity and even corporal “punishment” were drummed into children. Today, however, the pendulum swings completely in the opposite direction. “The alarm bells are already ringing”, if you just say that you consider it important to adhere to the usual rules of order in everyday life.

But that does not mean we are breaking these rules into our children with a cane. Of course, rules are discussed with the children and explained to them. And of course, there have always been kids who have had a hard time with it. Then one had to find ways to integrate these children into the group and everyday life, which for the most part succeeded because it was just isolated cases.

Today, however, it is already classified as “doubtful” at all to show children boundaries. And the alarm bells are probably ringing again for one thing or another, because I’m talking about “showing boundaries”. But we all have limits.

The children 20 years ago were no longer “drilled” oppressed beings. We were already living then in the 21st century

Both the kids and us adults. I think children also want to know when our limit has been reached. They keep testing it. If I have never made it clear to them where my border goes, they will not recognize it either and will therefore continue to cross it. This is exactly what I observe today in the way parents and children interact with each other. Parents are called “stupid mom or dad” and they only smile mildly. It is normal for children to say such things when they are angry. But it must also be allowed to make it clear to them that it is not okay. I think it is just as important that children are allowed to criticize us adults and that we are also willing to admit our mistakes and apologize to them. I do not think respect is a one-way street.


As for the work 20 years ago, I would like to emphasize that, of course, it was not easy or comfortable even then when having to look after 25 children on your own. And even then, one would have wanted more staff in such situations. But it was somehow manageable for a short period of time, whereas today I would absolutely refuse to work like that. Incidentally, 20 years ago, children were no longer “drilled” oppressed beings. We were already living then in the 21st century. The time of “black pedagogy” was long gone. Even in my own childhood (70s) there was not much left of practice and compulsion for absolute obedience.

I do not blame the kids for more stress in my work and we have never had a child forced to eat. We maintain an appreciative, friendly and open attitude towards all children in our facility.

Yet there are certain rules and recurring processes in the complex structure of a day care institution that everyone must generally abide by in order to avoid complete chaos. (Of course, one can always negotiate exceptions to the rule.) I do not think it has anything to do with exercise or a negative attitude towards autonomous children. On the contrary – I think it has something to do with mutual respect.
I am just advocating for more autonomy and freedom for children, but in our current education system, which is based almost exclusively on institutional care, there is very little room for that.


I have already tried to explain my point of view again in several responses to comments on my text. Here is the last one:

I do not long for past times, nor do I expect women to put on their aprons again and disappear behind the stove. I do not expect undeniable obedience from children, nor do I try to drum rules into them by shouting or waving the cane. My text is about so much more. But I have the impression that there is only one topic being addressed here: children and rules.

Yes, I find that children have a harder time knowing than they did 10 to 20 years ago. I also see differences between the city and the country’s kindergartens. This is probably because back forest farmers still shuffle their children on a daily basis. (Warning, irony!)

Why do you think the teaching profession has become so unattractive to so many?

By the way, I have a really good relationship with “my” children. We always look forward to each other when we meet. I still enjoy working with them. Nevertheless, I am aware that many small everyday things that used to be taken for granted (again the awful word) are much harder to deal with today and require more time and energy, and that in a job where many people already working performance. the limit has been reached. But I do not hold the parents alone, and not at all the children, responsible for this. It is a development that affects society as a whole.

I also wrote that I personally feel the same way. If you and other commentators here see things differently, that’s fine. But there is no reason to assume that I am backward and that I can not handle autonomous children or to deny myself the necessary skills for my job. Even you must have gradually noticed that the cottage is burning in the public day care. There are no longer enough staff to maintain the right to full-time childcare for children aged one year and over. Why do you think the teaching profession has become so unattractive to so many? Just for the money? I do not believe that. I also exchange ideas with female colleagues. I’m not the only one noticing changes in children’s behavior.

More and more children need additional external support measures in the form of early support, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc. etc., or parents are increasingly seeking support from educational counseling centers and the like. In any case, the amount of care needs in day care institutions has increased enormously. In addition, of course, there are also more bureaucratic tasks, such as. creating complex development sheets for each child.

But if there is a growing need for public care places plus higher demands for pre-school education and care, but at the same time fewer and fewer people who want to work in this profession, then how should it really work? Who the hell should look after, raise and raise all the children if there are not enough staff left? Kindergarten should preferably not cost more.

To summarize: Children must be cared for full-time in public care facilities by highly qualified staff from one year of age. They should be brought up in a needs-oriented manner and educated in the best possible way, according to their individual interests and abilities. The facilities must be well-equipped and preferably not only day care institutions, but family centers. The highly qualified staff must of course be paid accordingly and it would be nice if all this could be obtained for free.

You can wish for everything, but it does not happen, because no one can pay for it anymore.

The future will look more like this: More and more day care institutions will have to limit their operations, because otherwise they will no longer be able to carry out their supervisory tasks. Parents are increasingly having to look for alternative care for their children. Or they have to do the task themselves. Perhaps the standards of kindergartens and crèches are simply being lowered. A little more kids in the group, but a little less staff. Let’s see how it is needs – oriented in our day care institutions. But the most important thing is that the children are dreamy. News4teachers

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“The children have changed. They have a much harder time accepting rules”: A daycare worker reports


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