How can I loosen up

Just let it do a little and be relaxed

What bothers children about their parents and what they would do differently.

Julian, Laura, Lenya and Luca, what do you like most about your parents?

Julian: Now in summer we almost always go to the garden after dinner and stretch a string from the fence to the balcony and play badminton until it's dark. That is really great.

Luca: That they let go of so much. For example: I used to visit other people. Then the boy dishes fell on the floor. Then he would have to be all alone in the room for half an hour or so. Although I was visiting. At home there would be a little bit of "abuse" and then it would be over. Then they would say: It can happen to anyone. I wouldn't have to give anything in return, and there wouldn't be any pocket money deduction. But we don't have such valuable dishes either.

Laura: I had a blackout early in fifth grade. My parents really nursed me there. They helped me with my homework and practiced everything with me. They never got impatient and never said anything bad. That's how they really helped me. Now I am doing very well at school. I also like the fact that you don't always have to sleep so early with them. You don't say so quickly: it's time to go. I am still allowed to play outside the longest.

Lenya: If we are bored, then they have good ideas. Sometimes they allow more.

Luca: Like Laura, I once had a difficult time at school. It was because of two boys. They said bad words to me on the way home and kept pushing me away. I didn't know what to do anymore. My mother just called them and talked to them so well that they stopped. One boy is no longer at school anyway, and the other is tame now. I think he only took part because he was afraid of the dangerous.

Julian: My mother works a lot with other people. They visit them in the evening and then they have a meeting. Then she can't take care of me like she usually does. I get a big piece of cake in the kitchen and eat it in bed. It's cozy. And then she still comes and says "good night".

Luca: Well, when I'm in bed in the evening, I like to hear people talking or when the dishes rattle in the kitchen. I can always leave the door open. Then I can fall asleep well. My parents do not say that this is no longer necessary, you are already a big boy. Other parents say that all the time.

Now we don't just talk about parents anymore. How do adults have to be so that children feel good?

Lenya: Well, when the adults go to the restaurant with the children, the children feel good because it's so nice there.

Laura: Parents and other adults should try not to be so strict all the time. You should just let the kids do a bit and be easy going. I also think they shouldn't always say: if you do this, there is, and if you don't, this and this happens. You shouldn't threaten the children.

Luca: Well, I feel good when I can also give my opinion. And if the adults don't always say right away: No, that won't work. For example on an excursion. If you'd rather go through somewhere else than your parents and then look at the map to see if that would be possible.

Luca: For example, mending a bike or something. They should also understand more if you can't do something yet. We can do things that they cannot. You should just help and not pretend you're stupid just because you're still a kid and you're not good at something.

And what if something goes wrong, if something goes wrong?

Luca: Yes, then you can already say that it went stupid now. But you shouldn't always make a drama out of it. And above all, don't keep coming back with this story after a year.

Adults are sometimes unfair or tired, they come too late, they don't keep their promises. Then what can you do?

Julian: Then they could just do something really nice with the children, for example go to McDonald's in town, so that it would be good again.

Lenya: The adult can simply say: I'm sorry. I did not mean that.

Laura: Or blink your eyes a little or give some other sign so that you know that everything is fine again.

Lenya: Well, when something really bad happens, the children can just think very firmly about something beautiful. For example, when mom isn't there, just think very firmly about mom. Or when Papa is not there, very tightly to Papa. Then it's not that bad either.

Luca: I once had an argument with my parents and I thought they were very mean. Then my goddess called and I was allowed to go on a ski holiday with him. That was nice. When I was gone, I forgot everything and looked forward to being home again. And my parents were really looking forward to seeing me again. I think it's nice when not only your parents look at you, but also other adults.

Now let's think 25 years ahead. You may already be mothers and fathers by then. How will you be to your children?

Lenya: I don't know yet, but I sure want to be nice and play with them a lot.

Laura: I would work when the kids are in school and be home when they come home and hungry. The food would then always be ready. When I grow up myself, I want to have enough money so that I can buy the children a new scooter or something if they really want it. Then I would give them a lot of freedom and not bother them. To be honest, I don't always find pampering so good. You would have to help, and sometimes I would forbid something. You can't just say yes all the time. Otherwise, at the end of the day, the children think that their opinion is always asked for in everything.

Julian: I think I'll be like my father one day. I then also play a lot with my children and go out a lot with them. And in the evenings they should stay up late as long as they play happily. Maybe one day I'll be a drummer. Then the children are allowed to play on the drums.

Laura: I wouldn't choose a job where you had to do night shift. I don't think it's good for the children when everyone isn't around at night.

Lenya: When I grow up, I would like to work in the circus one day. The children could then practice little tricks. I would then take care of them very closely because of the dangerous animals. But they are allowed to ride the elephant. I saw a little girl at the Knie circus. He was allowed to ride the elephant because his parents are elephant tamers.

Julian: When I have a band, my children are allowed to go on tour so that they can see how great what I do is.

What do you think is really bad? What should no adult in the whole world do to a child?

Luca: Hit. I think that's really bad. You're smaller anyway and you can't defend yourself. Or tear your hair. There is nothing you can do about it. You just get more and more afraid of the big ones.

Laura: I think it's bad when parents intentionally scare their children. One boy in our class ran away from home because he was terrified of his father. It was only about a small thing. I think he bought a pair of pants that he shouldn't have bought. I think something like that shouldn't happen.

Lenya: Or send the children into the room alone for a whole day. This is bad and mean.

Julian: Yes, and then you can hear the others out on the street, how they play and how they have it nice. This is mega-crazy.

Luca: Parents just have to be on time. When they say they are home then and then and then not home, you are already imagining such bad things. They only talk a little longer. And don't even know how scared your child is.

Julian: Or for example in Europapark. The adults shouldn't force the children down the worst. If the children are scared, they shouldn't laugh at them.

Luca: And also not punish in front of others. Because you are really ashamed.

The discussion was led by Cornelia Kazis, who is responsible for youth programs at Radio DRS, among other things.

This article comes from the NZZ Folio magazine from August 2001 on the subject of "Children". You can order this issue or subscribe to the NZZ Folio.