How to break free from poisonous Pedagogy today
In today’s article we will explore some more the subject of poisonous pedagogy.
Then I will share with you how today I am able to recognize the pattern of poisonous pedagogy and how I am able to choose new ways and apply a new mindset for how I view God, how I see my own life, the way I treat myself – my children and the people around me.
The Different styles of education
At the school, we had a lesson about the different styles of education. The teacher spoke to us about these different ways (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved) and their variations (rich or weak in control, supportive or unsupportive).
In his book “Kinder sind Persönlichkeiten” (in English: “How to really love your child”) by Ross Campel, (s.99) he takes up these different styles, and talks about a survey conducted in America. How children reacted regarding:
(1) their identification with parents with their values,
(2) the religious beliefs of parents and
(3) identification and respect with authorities and society.
The survey showed that children who have been confronted with the authoritarian style have had the most trouble in their adult lives, even more so than children who have been neglected or educated in the permissive style.
It seems to me that this authoritarian style is quite similar to the image of the child of poisonous pedagogy, and yet, as the author also writes, “it is the style applied by most Christian families in America” (and also in Switzerland).
Personally, I believe, that to start a healthy family, it takes more than “the right style of education, the right book, methods or the right theory”.
I really like what Frank and Catherine Fabiano wrote in their book “Die Herzen der Kinder berühren” (p10) , (Reaching out to our children’s heart, only available in German ) that
“knowledge and understanding are necessary to be able to understand how to reach the hearts of our children”.
They quote Hosea 4:6a “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
Bradshaw tells us (p.61)
“A family system becomes chronically dysfunctional not because of bad people, but because of bad information loops, bad feedback in the form of bad rules of behavior. The same is true of society. Our parents are not bad people for transmitting the poisonous pedagogy.
To question my own upbringing and recognize the things that shaped my life in a negative way, was scary and challenging. However, because I allowed that process into my life, I could recognize many of the destructive patterns, and I was able to strike a new path. Today, I can look at my parents mainly with compassion and love. Simply because I am no longer the product of their mistakes or things they didn’t know or didn’t understand. I can take the good heritage they transmitted to me and celebrate it. And I can create a very different environment for my own family then they were able to.
I truly got rid of the virus of this poisonous pedagogy, being free from many of the consequences of such an upbringing.
How did I get there?
Well, let’s remember that:
- We can’t give what we haven’t received,
- We transmit the image we have formed since our early childhood to our own children (and our inner child, of course)
- Our emotions of shame, worthlessness, blame, etc. are passed on to our own children without us saying anything, even often without realizing it ourselves.
- The image (whether present or absent) of our own authority figure (father) reflects the image we have of God. What our beliefs are about Him. What we believe that He thinks of us, the way we believe that He cares for us (or doesn’t take care of us) .
You see, it is not a book about child rearing that makes one a good parent, a successful family. It is not the right method, the correct way of applying this method – and it’s not even our faith.
Don’t get me wrong! I am a Christian, and we do want to raise godly children.
What I am saying is that going to church and reading the bible is not a guarantee that you are not infected by this virus of poisonous pedagogy. (There are whole churches functioning on this way of treating people.)
Children raised that way will either transmit this same virus to their own children – or rebel against it by trying to break free, many times without true success.
Therefore, how can people being raised that way truly adapt to another path?
This is a question I have often asked myself on the path I was myself, until forming my own family.
Because even though I left my family at the age of 16, I often found myself trapped in these transmitted emotions. Trapped in that vision I had of God, myself and the world. I was still part of this dynamic. I still lived my life based on those emotions and realities I experienced in my family.
This is true for everybody. It doesn’t matter whether we want that or not or even whether we are aware of it or not.
However, like I wrote above, it is possible to “get rid” of that virus and to truly strike a new path.
As much as there are different people, there are also different ways to achieve the same result:
To be able to get out of one’s “inner prison” due to past experiences – often reinforced by the results of our present experiences and influenced by our misunderstanding.
I will share with you some of my personal experiences that transformed my understanding and my reality of my own life.
- One of the big changes came with the understanding that I didn’t need to hide who I was, like I explained in thatarticle.
- I entered into a new reality when I understood that God didn’t expect me to hand myself over – but that he loves my true devotion, as I wrote in that article.
- The day God told me that I could quit my struggle to become normal – that I was normal in my unicity. See thatarticle.
- That process of understanding that individuality is nothing scary but something powerful and beautiful. See that article.
- The understanding of “honor” has changed the way I treat people in general, my husband and my children.
- The freedom that came in my life when I realized that I don’t have to be a “nice girl” to be loved.
- Or when I realized by reading a book that I was living a mentality of a pauper of poverty. See this article.
- Or the story I shared with you here on how God showed me how he is not that harsh, rigid father who misses to understand our hearts.
- When I finally understood that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be loved and valuable. Neither do people around me. See this article