Javier Urra, doctor of psychology, author of books like
The little dictator Y
The little dictator grows, and one of the most prominent specialists in filio-parental violence, this has a
Multicausal origin, in which the characteristics of the children are important, but also the family, relational and environmental. “A dictator is not born, but is made, and his training is not only a family problem, but a social one,” he says.
Urra -academic number of the Academy of Psychology of Spain and who held the position of Ombudsman for Children in the Community of Madrid between 1996 and 2001-, emphasizes that
boys and girls do not need “parents-colleagues, because friends already have and equality between parents and children carries a safe risk” and what is due
“teach that the 'me' is as important as the 'you'”.
-When did you begin to observe the phenomenon of filio-parental violence?
-I started writing about this topic in 1994. In the magazine of the psychologists of Spain I published an article because I had started seeing cases of children who attacked their mothers, but also their parents, verbal, emotional or physically. It is an important problem in severity and also in number, which today is relatively addressed in the media of Spain. But in general people don't want to talk about a topic that is quite taboo, because it is very painful for anyone to recognize that your child has turned against you. It is painful for parents and children. In the Council of Europe I talked about this reality and people from Nordic countries told us: “We have the same problem, but we don't recognize it. It intervenes, but it is hidden.”
-Why was it not such a frequent problem before?
-Before, for the type of education that was given in Spain, for example, parental authority was not put in check. Now, authority in Europe in general is a much discussed topic: from that of the judges and the police, to that of the parents. It is very complex.
In general, people do not want to talk about a subject that is quite taboo, because it is very painful for anyone to recognize that your child has turned against you. It is painful for parents and children.
-What are the characteristics of boys and girls who exercise this type of violence?
-It is a multicausal problem. The lack of limits is one of the causes. Most of these boys and girls did not suffer violence from their parents. On the contrary: we are talking, mainly, about a group of children who have been left to be deeply capricious, who have done what they wanted in their lives. They have learned to be small dictators or tyrants, with parents who have been blackmailed, who have wanted to buy the love of their children. In the clinic we have many parents of high cultural level and good purchasing power, with a lot of guilt because they do not spend time with the children. A child who is irritated, who cannot differentiate gratification – that is, what he wants demands it here and now; a very consumerist position, of today's society – and does not admit frustration with five or seven years, becomes when he is 14 in a boy pimpon in his law, which comes out at the time he wants, which makes the consumption of drugs he estimates. They are children who, as teenagers, cannot admit a “no”, because they have become accustomed to doing what they consider. And he does not admit a “no” from anyone: not only from his parents, nor from a teacher or another citizen. The problem is generalized. It is an acquired habit and it is not easy to change.
-In general, when do parents consult?
-There is a point where the situation overflows, which is usually around 15 or 16 years. That's when parents get scared and come to talk to us. But of course, that boy has been doing exactly what he considers since he was born. Because an essential characteristic of this type of violence is that it starts at a very young age. Not that a boy suddenly, at 13, rebels against his parents. It is a progression from the youngest age and physical violence is not necessarily reached: the one that hurts parents the most is the emotional one, the inability to impose the criteria. When talking about filio-parental violence, it is not about blaming parents or blaming children: it is about relocating their relationship. I always explain it as two magnets: if they are misplaced, they are rejected. But, if you place them well, they attract. That is the idea, to be attracted. Because they want to love each other and that is essential.
They are children who, as teenagers, cannot admit a “no”, because they have become accustomed to doing what they consider. And he does not admit a “no” from anyone: not only from his parents, nor from a teacher or another citizen.
-In general, are they families that go on pilgrimage to several professionals until they find an answer?
-Yes, many times they take their children to different psychologists and psychiatrists, and it doesn't work. Because it does not work? There is a time when what these children require is to be away from their parents for a while, because the problem is the bond between parents and children, it is a pathology of love. We have a center called Campus Unidos, where we work with children who have, among others, this problem. The center is in a town 70 kilometers from Madrid and we are a team of 150 people among educators, psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and other professionals. There the boys study, do different activities and have their therapies. On the other hand, in Madrid we have a center where we receive parents from all over Spain, where they do group therapies.
Violence is a progression from the youngest age and physics is not necessarily reached: the one that hurts parents the most is the emotional one, the inability to impose the criteria.
– Can this type of family violence be prevented?
– Yeah right. The limits are fundamental. What children need is a principle of authority that sets standards that, if they do not exist, disconcert them from an early age. That the children have contact with nature, that they know what the effort is, that they are involved in solidarity activities, that they know that what matters in life is not the shirt or the shoes. That they understand that they are not the first, that of course they are an important person, but that so are the grandparents, those who suffer, the parents.
To prevent, limits are fundamental. What children need is a principle of authority that sets standards that, if they do not exist, disconcert them from an early age.
-And educating in empathy is key since the early years …
– Of course. From the first years of life you have to educate them from respect and think about the “you”. That they put themselves in the place of the other and develop empathy not only as a word but as a behavior, as a habit, as a fact. Parents also have to have
auctoritas: They can't tell the boys to do things in such a way and then they see us dodge the tax payment or skip the red traffic light.
. (tagsToTranslate) Javier Urra: “Equality between parents and children carries a safe risk” – LA NACION
Publicado en el diario La Nación