How to respect the individuality of children

The individuality of the human being consists in recognizing his originality, particularity and peculiarity. Recognizing and respecting the individuality in our children is one of the main tasks in education, it lies in assess children's preferences, believe in their possibilities and trust their ability to improve the skills that will make them competent in society.

María Montessori (1870-1852), educator and defender of children's rights, was one of the pioneers in betting on teaching based on the respect for individuality of the minor. It postulated that the child learns through activity and the educator must offer him a safe, comfortable and good environment that encourages autonomy, initiative, capacity for decision making, the development of will and effort, and respect for others and for oneself.

The role of parents is to teach your children how to do things, trust their abilities and their particular way of carrying them out, supervising that they progressively reach new challenges, small objectives. Parents guide the child, correct him with respect and encourage him in the achievement of new objectives; Thus, the child is solving stages by himself, with the support of the adult who transmits security and tranquility in the process.

When parents, instead of directing the process, tend to solve tasks for their children, they want them to do them perfect or intervene in your decision making, the child does not learn to make mistakes and does not develop the ability to overcome to face problematic situations in the future.

If we are always in a hurry, we demand that they follow our rhythm and we pretend that they do things as we would… we will end up solving it ourselves or recriminating their actions. If we do not teach them to make decisions for themselves in order to observe themselves and get to know their own interests, they will end up needing reference people to decide for them. If we don't reinforce them when they make small achievements or scold them when they make mistakes… we will be damaging their own self-concept and assessment of their possibilities. If we do not show them the importance of effort, patience and tolerance for their own frustrations, we will educate children who are dissatisfied and unable to appreciate the positive aspects of things.

1- When the child makes a mistake let him be the one to reason why he could have done it wrong, what options you have to improve it and that you choose the one you consider most appropriate.

2- Whatever able to spend time alone, leisure time and obligationsLearning to enjoy their isolation at certain times is the only setting in which we learn to know ourselves.

3- Promote their autonomy, progressively our children have to learn to satisfy their own needs by themselves, it is the only way to feel safe and trust in their own abilities.

4- Increase moments of creativity, ingenuity and spontaneity. Children learn to develop their own interests in more open contexts, in which they can experience different, personal and unique ways of doing things.

5- Reward effort. Valuing your effort in the early stages will be extrinsic, if we teach you to value effort we will get you motivated to achieve your own goals.

In education it is necessary to ensure that the child adapts to cultural norms socially established but respecting your individuality so that you can trust your own abilities and find yourself satisfied with your achievements.

Lucia Boto Pérez


Álava Reyes Psychology Center

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