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Love and firmness: the foundation for good education 

Once in an interview the parents of a lazy, bleak, teenage student (without any real academic objectives and at the point of seriously being an educational failure) desperately asked for help realising their son’s imminent abandoning of school. On other occasions, parents of even younger students passed on their circumstances of their children to unwillingly get up and go to school every morning. Many parents are beginning to feel impotent towards making their child study every afternoon, introducing good habits, carrying out tasks responsibly and always maintaining sound consistency. This impotence is latent in a family and generally affects other aspects not related to education.

Generally the childhood of our children continues without any serious problems in terms of education. We can help them, support them and control them… We are at ease. They are clever and are growing up “like everyone else” and after all “they are children”.Everything goes by until… they get to the age where they don’t study by themselves, don’t “get down to work”, don’t see the sense in studying, don’t have objectives and prefers to leave education and choose working. That is when parents decide not to allow a moment more of this irresponsible attitude, without finishing homework and more seriously not going to school. This example of the attitude of parents without resources, without tools and susceptible to the deeds that have already been done could be continued.

This is what is happening: We are reacting after what has been done believing that with the right consequences we are acting as strict parents with authority.

But we are not noticing that with this type of behaviour we are leaving our children without hope.

Parents need to react to inadequate results earlier and realise it is beneficial to amend the behaviour of their children. A lot more can be done and of course much better and much sooner.

There are very few parents who can maintain the balance that our children need to feel in the 21st Century. They are emotional children to who are affected by the way they are treated and the sensitivity shown just the content of what is said.

Many parents are mistaken. Some avoid imposing our opinions to not enter into conflict and others intrude too severely for things that, in a way, could be kept aside.

Our children continue growing with some predictable parents who are changing their attitude depending on the day of the week. It seems that to summarise all that has been put forward, we have to assess that something is not working theoretically. What is the type of education that we must follow? If we impose authority then we would have children studying “without souls”, without any motivation, without finding “their place”. If we leave our children to do as they wish, always willing for them to“be happy”, we are perhaps forming failure, abandonment and absenteeism. Then what can we do?

In Lledó we have been working for a while in a most positive manner, which fits in perfectly with the parents and children of today. A parent is always capable of controlling his or her child, establishing rules and limits, applying consequences to their transgression with a firm hand, without doubts but…also being a parent capable of combining these acts with the most pure love and caring. We can make the child feel that they are worth it and that we appreciate and accept him or her as they are even though their behaviour could be intolerable. Modify and punish their behaviour but at the same time believe and trust in the child.

This appears simple but is really complicated.

We have to act firmly and without fear before any inadequate behaviour knowing that it is what is necessary for our children, helping them to appreciate the consequences of everything they do in life but without forgetting to believe in them, keeping their expectations high and hoping that our children will reach their objectives no matter what.

The type of education based on LOVE AND FIRMNESS is based on good education. Parents who cannot support to see their children “suffer”, maintaining consistency and determination to study every afternoon or weekend, consider that it is enough just to work during the day at school. They are helping their children to avoid making an effort, becoming parents who have an unstable balance in education and when the moment arises they try to gain stability with strictness and impotence, asking for help externally or blaming others, the educational system or society.

Education starts at home. In a family is where we can mould habits and efforts together. It builds character and transmits values which set objectives and maintains expectations. Mistakes do not matter. They continue in the same trajectory.

A pessimistic parent thinks of the imminent failure before the disaster. An optimistic parent sees the way, the future and the success.

And this is the other ingredient in a good education: Prevention. By setting the scene where your child is and not to leave details to chance which could lead to failure. Fix a timetable, teach time-orientation, help to fulfil the objectives, always go over any homework and let your child feel like they are being successful most of the time. This will give hope. Be pending to any wonderful moments and support them. Look for and find these moments. ALL children, EVERY SINGLE ONE wishes to be successful. Speak with care and respect even in the moments when you are enforcing a consequence. Do not suffer with their momentary suffering. You have to see much further, into the future. It is your great responsibility… stay firm in what you wish for your child.

Education is always with an effort and the effort done leads to satisfaction.


Ana Díaz Berbel / psychologist, psychopedagogue and family mediator, Lledó I.S.

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