The child’s need for activity, independence and self-worth is opposed by a series of educational mistakes that are usually linked to the educational system, which we call compliant upbringing or cuddling. The notion of cuddling in an educational sense should not be confused with the notion of pampering a child and gentle action. Such a procedure is not only natural but also essential for the proper emotional development of the child. Cuddling contains above all a compliant attitude towards the child. Although the educator does not share his will with the child, he is not strict with it, but he allows the child to command him. He does not put any specific demands on the child, does not forbid it anything, does not confront it with any tasks or responsibilities. A compliant educator lets the child do whatever it wants, follows its current moods and satisfies its whims.
Here is an example of such indulgence:
An 8-year-old boy who spends his summers at sea needs to get up a little earlier one morning to get on a ship with his father to go home. The father wakes the boy up and persuades him to get up, but he turns sullenly to the other side and continues to doze off. The father begs him to rise, but it’s all in vain; the boy stubbornly sticks to his decision not to fulfill his father’s wish this time. When he finally got out of bed, however, it was too late: the ship had already left. The father arrived at his job late, so he had some trouble. And all because he does not dare to be energetic with the child and because he has lost his authority with indulgence.
This scene also speaks of the indulgence in children’s whims:
A mother made white coffee for her 4-year-old daughter for breakfast. The girl frowned and said that she did not want to drink coffee today, but would rather drink milk. Her mother readily warmed her milk, but the girl then found that she would most like to drink cocoa. This time, too, it was not difficult for the mother to satisfy her daughter’s whim, who then took pity on her and ate breakfast. By satisfying the children’s whims, the educator necessarily becomes inconsistent:
Parents with a 5-year-old daughter stand in front of a children’s toy store window. The girl persistently demands that some expensive doll be bought for her. Her parents prove that they have no money, but the girl remains persistent in her request. Her persistence finally wins: to calm the girl’s screams and her furious stamping of her feet, her parents eventually buy the doll she’s looking for. They usually fight an unsuccessful fight with the child first, and then give in and satisfy the child’s whim.
Indulgence cultivates arbitrariness, egocentrism and capriciousness, builds the belief that every wish must always be fulfilled immediately. The child thus becomes inflexible. In later life, that kind of person finds it difficult to bear frustrations: they do not know how to postpone the satisfaction of a wish, they do not know how to be patient, they do not know how to give up, so they suffer greatly when their wish is not fulfilled. They then consider themselves to be endangered, they are convinced that they are being treated unfairly, that they are being neglected or underestimated. The egocentrism of a compliant person does not allow them to understand the needs of others. They consider their interests much more important than the interests of anyone else or the community. In addition, they are not able to harmonize their demands with the situation they are currently in, they are unrealistic and biased, and they always look for the reasons for their difficulties in life outside themselves and never in themselves.
Components are also cuddling and excessive, unjustified serving of a child. It is quite understandable that the educator will perform the actions, instead of the child, which it cannot do yet. It is also natural to help a child when it gets stuck in an activity, when it does not know what to do or it cannot go on, so it needs help to reach the goal.
Serving and inappropriate help is manifested, for example, in these ways:
A two-year-old child goes for a walk with its mother. Despite her warnings that it will fall, the child still runs. Suddenly it stumbles and falls. The mother immediately rans up and picks it up, even before the child tried to get up on its own. This mother, therefore, does not allow the child to practice in solving the task on its own, which is: to get up after a fall.
A grandmother still feeds her five-year-old grandson with a spoon because the little one allegedly will not eat alone. He really doesn’t try to accept the spoon and take the food himself with any movement of his hand. But this does not mean that the child cannot or does not want to perform this action. It simply does not know it, because it is over-served and prevented from learning the actions required to eat meals on its own.
One small child is not allowed by its parents to climb on various pieces of furniture in the apartment – “so as not to fall and injure itself.” In this way they do not give it the opportunity to know the various dangers and to learn to be cautious, and acquire skillful and safe movements.
It is natural that a child should not be exposed to such situations where there is a serious danger to its health or even to its life. But when it is under adult supervision, the child should be allowed to find itself in a risky situation. Let it climb on the furniture; if it falls off a chair, couch, and other low furniture, nothing will happen to it anyway. But they will gain valuable experience: they will know the danger, they will assess their possibilities more realistically, they will learn to be careful. Until it gains experience in dealing with risks on its own, the child will be injured at the first instance when it is in the face of danger, completely inexperienced, without the presence of adults, for example when crossing the road.
Here are some more examples of serving children:
A grandfather accompanies his eight-year-old granddaughter to school every day, carries her bag and greets her again when she goes out. The girl does not live particularly far from school, nor does she move on particularly busy streets, nor is it dark when she returns from school. In addition, the grandfather does all the girl’s homework while she plays. It is very likely that because of this, the child will soon achieve negative grades; and in addition will not adopt any work habits.
A six-year-old boy is playing in the kitchen while his grandmother prepares the room. The boy is thirsty and asks his grandmother to give him water. There is a bottle of water in the kitchen, which is within the boy’s reach. But he doesn’t even think of doing it himself, but demands that his grandmother do it, and she is really ready to leave her job and give her grandson water, as if she can’t wait to please him with something.
A seven-year-old boy went with his father to the doctor’s. The doctor’s questions addressed to the boy, were not answered by the boy, but instead it turned his head towards his father, and he readily answered instead of his son. This child, of course, is not silent because he was deaf or dumb, but because he was accustomed to parents answering for him. When the boy wanted to speak, his father immediately interrupted him, not allowing him to say anything on his own initiative.
To pamper a child means, therefore, to perform for it those actions which it can already perform. This means freeing it from the tasks it has already grown up with and not giving it the opportunity to get used to difficulties, problems and dangers. In this way the experience remains flawed. The child does not learn how to be independent, it remains too dependent on the adults around it for its age. A spoiled child does not have the opportunity to experience the success of its own endeavor, nor can it affirm its individuality in a realistic, concrete way. Such a child therefore becomes insecure in itself. It is afraid of the tasks it faces, it considers them too difficult for itself. The world seems to it full of danger to its prestige, because the spoiled child does not believe in itself, so it panicked at the failure in every endeavor. Therefore, it he avoids burdens, runs away from responsibilities and moves along a line of least resistance. It is passive, lazy and disinterested, because it has no work habits, it does not know how to work and everything is difficult for it. Such a child dares to accept only those activities in which it does not have to invest a larger amount of energy, where it does not have to be persistent, where noticeable results are immediately shown. And at the same time, it gladly relies on someone else’s help and constantly expects some relief for itself. But a spoiled child is not capable for a long-term systematic work that shows some effect and brings affirmation only after a while. It has no energy, no endurance, no self-confidence for that kind of work.
Such personality traits continue into adulthood. Spoiled people turn away from life’s difficulties, they are afraid of risks, they are timid, lazy, they like to behave in a conformist way just to avoid troubles and conflicts. They are soft, easily fall under someone else’s influence, easily broken mentally, so they seek refuge in neurotic diseases, in passionate alcohol consumption and in other forms of sick behavior.
The fact that cuddling a child is often accompanied by a timid upbringing also contributes to the pronounced life anxiety of spoiled people and their weak resistance to psychological burdens. Parents are sometimes too worried about their child, constantly scaring it with some dangers that are regularly harmless or non-existent at all. When a child wants to go to the playground, they try to persuade it that it will fall there and break its leg, so they keep it at home. If a child wants the company of other children, they prove to it that its peers are rude, that they will beat it or that they are dirty, that it will get sick from them. That’s why they keep it close to them again. Whatever the child accepts, scared educators become worried that it will get hurt, that it will catch a cold, that it will get too tired. In short, they see danger in the child’s every activity. In this way, they prevent it from acquiring skills, burden it with unreasonable fear, develop a feeling of insecurity in it. It is understandable that people raised in this way are overly cautious, timid and indecisive in adulthood.
Serving a child provokes a strong egocentrism in it, which goes beyond the limits of natural human selfishness, takes on pathological proportions and hinders the development of sociality. A spoiled man enters every collective with the belief that he must be served here as well, that he has the right to a special care for himself, that he must not be asked to do the same as other people. Such a man does not consider it his duty to be disciplined in relation to the community; he avoids responsibilities and does not acknowledge obligations. Egocentrism awakens in him the need to be the center of attention everywhere, to always jump above the average, to be admired by everyone, to be flattered by everyone. But non-independence, persistence, self-doubt do not allow him to achieve real success, to affirm himself in a constructive way. Hence the neurotic conflict in the spoiled man: the conflict between his egocentrism and his inability to satisfy his excessive demands. At the same time, there is a conflict in the background: the conflict between the demands of the reality of life and the human community, on the one hand, and insecurity and insufficient sociality of the spoiled person, on the other. This leads to a state of chronic mental tension which manifests itself in the form of various neurotic disorders, psychogenic disorders of physical functions, anxiety states, hysterical outbursts, etc.
The neurotic ailments of spoiled people are exacerbated because they are regularly disappointed in intimate relationships between people. A spoiled man is too egocentric to be able to truly love someone else. Only a man who is confident in himself, who is a strong and resilient person and does not feel threatened in life, can completely open himself mentally to another, can surrender to them emotionally with full confidence. That is the essence of true love. Spoiled people do not carry such qualities in themselves, so they do not even know how to truly love. Contributing to this is the fact that they do not have enough caution or tact in themselves, they find it difficult to adapt, they do not know how to respect other people enough. And these are the conditions for creating close interpersonal relationships.
Spoiled people are often disappointed in friendships , and most of all in their love life. They find it difficult to create solid sexual communities, they are superficial in their emotional connection with their partner, so they cannot fully experience their sexual potential. Difficulties in sexual life, primarily various forms of low potency, or sexual coldness, are common in spoiled people.
There are a number of causes and reasons for cuddling children. Such an educational procedure is prone to people who feel insecure in the role of educator, are afraid of the task, do not know how to approach the child, and then move along the line of least resistance. Instead of directing a child’s development toward a particular goal, they allow it to impose its will on them and align their actions with the child’s current mood. Insecure educators are afraid of difficulties and conflicts with the child. That is why they satisfy it in everything only so that they would not have to act decisively and consistently sometimes. It seems to them that cuddling is the best way to avoid trouble in upbringing.
Indulgent educators sometimes imitate the upbringing they received themselves. Spoiled people often don’t know what to do with children other than spoiling them. But people who have experienced a rigid upbringing regime as children are sometimes prone to such a procedure. They caress their children to be better to them than their parents were to them. We already know that dissatisfied parents who are disappointed in life and in marriage, often caress their children in order to find compensation for their life failures, i.e. the resolution of their emotional conflicts, in the painful emotional fixation of children.
The tendency to cuddle a child also occurs when the child is sick, stunted or defective, or when the parents have a child after years of infertility. Relatively old parents and those whose many children have died tend to spoil what is left of them. We have already seen that only the youngest child is also exposed to this danger. And a particularly beautiful or above-average gifted child can be the object of cuddling.
In all these cases, the basic motive for cuddling is the aspiration of the educator to satisfy some of his emotional needs with a compliant attitude towards the child, to find a counterbalance to some of his dissatisfaction, disappointment or unfulfilled desire. But cuddling a child soon brings severe disappointments. The child becomes disobedient, headstrong, capricious, lazy and defiant. It achieves little success in school, finds it difficult to get along with its friends, avoids learning, is irresponsible, disinterested, without energy and without a sense of discipline.
Such behavior of the child leads the parents to start treating it in an authoritative way. They scold it, blame it for its shortcomings (which they blame themselves for!), demand that it be diligent, obedient, disciplined, and punish it when it is not. The transition to a strict upbringing procedure is a heavy blow for a spoiled child. It now has a strong sense of vulnerability that leads it to rebel against the educator. Through defiant reactions, the child seeks to force educators to return to the previous educational regime and to give up their new demands. But that doesn’t usually work for it. Most educators respond to children’s defiance with even greater rigor. But, in the until now, spoiled child, appears a panicked fear appears in its psyche. Faced on the one hand with tasks which it feels that it isn’t able to do, and on the other hand with the threats of the educator, the child completely loses confidence in itself and its environment. It falls into a state of intense emotional tension that emerges in various ways: once in the form of stuttering, bedwetting, night terrors and other childhood neuroses, the second time in the form of impulsive actions, anger attacks, aggressive outbursts, running away from home, complete failure at school, theft, sexual excesses and other behavioral disorders.
But even when the educator, who has so far caressed the child, switches to an authoritative procedure, the caressing does not stop at all, but alternates with rigidity in the upbringing and even with the abuse of children. Such a combination of compliant and authoritative upbringing is the most common form of misconduct.