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Sunday, May 22, 2022

War in Ukraine: when children defend Putin

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My son (16) has a Russian classmate. As soon as the topic of the war in Ukraine comes up in class, the boy defends Russia and finds Putin’s actions “understandable.” Teachers leave it like that. Parents have a hard time with that. How can we respond appropriately? Bettina W. of Weinheim

Margaret Auer:

margit auer black and white

Margaret Auer is the author of the best-selling children’s book series “The School for Magical Animals,” which has now been printed more than seven million times and translated into 25 languages. He has three children, almost all of them adults, and lives in central Bavaria.

(Photo: Auer)

As parents, you have a right to expect that the teachers responsible for educating our children will work for peace and democracy. However, you should not interfere, at least not directly. At 16, your son is old enough to take a stand. Encourage him to do it! If you need help arguing, I recommend our Secretary of State’s great speech to the United Nations in New York. Annalena Baerbock summed up a lot in eight minutes. You already know: “Your tanks do not bring peace…” Of course, it is also interesting to question the position of the Russian classmate. How do you come to your opinion of him? Where do you get his information from? This will be an exciting lesson where teachers are expected to finally speak clearly. Ask your son how he fared for you. And he also works for peace and justice wherever you can.

Herbert Renz upholstery:

Family trio: Herbert Renz-Polster is a pediatrician, scientist and author of educational guides and the blog "children understand".  He has four grown children and lives in Ravensburg with his wife and his youngest child.

Upholstery Herbert Renz is a pediatrician, scientist, and author of parenting guides and the “Understanding Children” blog. She has four grown children and lives in Ravensburg with her wife and her youngest child.

(Photo: Random House)

At first glance, the answer is simple: perhaps the young man is looking for a “strength” role model because he himself is being marginalized? Or does he live in an information bubble? Then it would be necessary to examine them. So to compare sources of information in class, with a special focus on war reporting. It might also be worth asking what exactly he considers “understandable” (many politicians have long found some of Putin’s actions “understandable”). And that without pushing the boy against the wall or finishing him off. In individual cases, this can open a gap in the door. At heart, I am skeptical: attitudes are not based on facts, but on internal preconceptions: What is the “correct” order in the world? Top to bottom or person to person? What are relationships based on? Is it about power and submission, or trust and cooperation? This compass is stronger than any call to humanity, as we have experienced in our own history. It is calibrated where children experience the world and the relationships that prevail there: growing up, especially in the family. The authoritarian sense of toughness, exclusion and superiority is therefore made of Teflon: Putin resonates all over the world, with the same kind of people. And they were not born that way, they were treated with that pattern. Therefore, I am skeptical about Russia’s ability to reform itself internally: democracy and human rights are a project for children’s rooms. They begin where children learn that they can trust, help shape, and be valuable.

Collien Ulmen Fernandes:

Collien Ulmen-Fernandez

Collien Ulmen Fernandes She is an actress and presenter. The mother of one daughter lives in Potsdam and wrote the best-selling children’s book “Lotti und Otto” and the parenting guide “Then I’ll be a mom.”

(Photo: Anatol Kotte)

What a gift for your son! Take advantage of this situation by introducing him to the high art of cultivated speech. Give arguments. Teach him what “propaganda” means, what tools Putin uses, explain why it’s nonsense that Russia only has to “defend” itself and “avoid genocide” and why it’s total nonsense that Ukraine never had its own state anyway. . Also explain to him what the mysterious “denazification” of Putin is all about. And while we’re at it: give him evidence of Russia’s war crimes, now there are a lot of them, human rights organizations collect them, and armed with all this knowledge, send your son into the discussion. You should use the words “war” and “lies” in your mouth as often as possible, and I’m pretty sure that by the end of the discussion the Russian classmate will have gained insight and knowledge, and if not, your child will have won. Lots of debating experience. And that is already worth a lot

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