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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.

The fallacy of permissiveness educational

Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:30:00 +0000 Published in Basque Newspaper

A humorous cartoon recently published in a newspaper was a publishing house. It contained two episodes in two successive frames. In the first was a scene from 1970: an irritated father was berating his son for his poor grades; in the second (year 2000) another angry father was berating a teacher for the same reason, while the son was smiling with satisfaction. The cartoon suggests that we currently live in a society that has adopted the model educational of free development whereby parents allow their children to behave in all sorts of ways subject . These permissive parents have unbounded tolerance for their children and act as their defense attorneys against the alleged grievances they receive from teachers. For example, "teacher X has it in for me".

Current teaching secondary teachers are overwhelmed by the excessive issue of e-mails they receive daily from the children of permissive parents; they seem to think that their teachers have to be available 24 hours a day. In addition, many of these emails are out of place. For example, the following: "I won't be able to come to your class on Monday because I'm afraid I'll be hung over after a weekend party".

When everything is permitted, it is very difficult to acquire criteria on the morality of acts. If everything is permitted, everything is acceptable; there is no distinction between right and wrong. Since objective moral norms are considered prejudices to be extinguished, moral codes disappear and are replaced by subjective ethics of a psychologistic nature. The latter avoids terms such as "good" and "bad" to use more "progressive" ones instead: "mature-immature" or "adapted-maladapted". This explains why many people have lately changed the confessor for the psychologist.

Some examples of permissiveness educational in today's families: allowing children to speak as they wish (even if they use rude or abusive expressions); allowing them to eat something else if they don't like what has been prepared for them; giving them money every time they want to buy something. Some permissive parents avoid antagonizing their children to prevent conflicts from arising; they give in as a matter of course so that there will be "peace" in the family.

The negative effects observed in the adoption of permissiveness educational in many families and schools prove that it is a fallacy. A fallacy (from Latin fallacia: deception) is an argument that appears to be valid, but is not. Some fallacies are used intentionally to persuade with the purpose to manipulate, while others are the product of ignorance.

Gustave Thibon, after wondering whether permissiveness is a good for man, answers the following: "It is questionable if one judges the tree by its fruits. For it happens that man, as soon as he can afford it, is empty. He is a kind of spoiled child, kicking with boredom. Man, in this status yawns his life".

For his part, Dr. Spock, the father of permissiveness educational in the United States, after discovering the failure of this theory, apologized on his knees to parents on television for the harm he had caused them.

The main deception of permissivism consists in calling authority authoritarianism. It should therefore be remembered that in Roman thought authority did not consist so much in the exercise of power (potestas) as in its foundation, auctoritas: a force that serves to sustain and increase the possibilities of others, an impulse to develop capacities, a reinforcement of good behavior. This is moral authority, which is based on the credibility of the one who exercises it. "What he could not accomplish by power, he achieved by authority" (Ciceron: speech contra Pison).

Credibility entails coherence of life. It is not an easy goal . The story is told of a professor who made a handwritten notation to a student on his exam paper. The student said: "Professor, I don't understand what you have written on my exam. The professor replied, "I have put that you write in clearer handwriting".

The French pediatrician A. Naouri criticized the permissive pedagogy according to which parents should not deny anything to their children in order to avoid frustration. He also declared himself an advocate of early frustration of children. The small frustrations of children have great value educational: they facilitate a more realistic image of oneself; they encourage self-control and stimulate the desire to fight.

Permissivism educational has created and continues to create insecure children and adolescents, because they were not trained to face difficulties on their own. Confession of a repentant permissive mother: "We have failed in the Education of our children because we have always gone ahead of them to sweep them off the street of life".