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When are you losing your temper, Mrs Saalfrank?

Katharina Saalfrank can be seen here with the 3-year-old Fabrice. She wants to put the boy more in the focus of the family.
Photo: RTL / Thomas Niedermueller

Professional challenge

Despair, overwork - sometimes even violence: graduate pedagogue Katharina Saalfrank (38) has already experienced a lot as "Super Nanny" (RTL, Wednesdays, 8:15 pm). We talked to her: The new leaf: Could you ever help a family?

Katharina Saalfrank: No, I never had to "give up" a case. Twice it happened that I accompanied parents in deciding to put their children away.

They are usually very calm. When do you lose your nerves?

Katharina Saalfrank: I am often emotional. Sometimes I'm loud, sometimes I interrupt parents, sometimes I say very clearly that violence does not work. So calm, as you may realize, so I'm not.

What do you think about a pat?

Katharina Saalfrank: Nothing! I reject any form of violence! Unfortunately, I often experience psychological violence in my work.

What do abuses mean to the soul?

Katharina Saalfrank: When children experience violent situations at home from their parents, they can be severely impaired in their development.

Theme pubescent children ...

Katharina Saalfrank: It is a very special time that is often misunderstood by us adults. I work a lot with children and adolescents who go through internal and external changes that confuse them.

Since 2004 you work as a super nanny. I can imagine that even a professional like you sometimes reaches its emotional limits. What were the most formative experiences in the years?

Katharina Saalfrank: When working with people and relationships, it is important to get yourself into supervision and to recover from work and experience. I always do that regularly and for me this is a basic requirement for such educational work. The most formative experience for me is that most relationship and education problems result from families having too high and often very wrong expectations of the children. The children are actually "normal" and age-friendly, but parents often expect everything to "work" and often have little knowledge about the stages of development and the child's needs. My job is then to lift this imbalance a bit, to convey information and also to make the needs of the children clear and to focus on them.

What is the right education for you?

Katharina Saalfrank: There is not THE "right" education. It's about relationship and less about "education." Children need stable, trusting caregivers who provide them with a relationship and give them the opportunity to gain experience. And they need adults who do not claim to be perfect themselves. Only if we can admit that something did not go so well, children can get a real feeling - it does not go smoothly and that's just fine! It is basically about children being loved, recognized and protected by their parents at home. This is the basis of the relationship with children. Violence - also the so-called "pat" - is absolutely taboo! I'm very clear about that. I totally reject that.

What things grandparents should do / do not do in education?

Katharina Saalfrank: Grandparents have a very special relationship with their grandchildren and can enjoy being grandma and grandpa - and not parents. Sometimes there are generational conflicts, it just brings with it. Times are changing and that's becoming clear in children as well as grandchildren.

What do you advise parents if they do not know what to do next?

Katharina Saalfrank: I advise all parents to exchange ideas. Whether professional or friend. All responsible people get advice, advice and exchange. For example, our Chancellor can be supported and advised by experts, why should not we parents with our responsibility do that !? It is often frowned upon today to say: I do not know what to do! We should not let ourselves be confused, but should also pursue these questions and look for answers - and often there is not ONE answer, but individual ways.

How do people on the street react to you?

Katharina Saalfrank: Actually, people are always very positive. Many talk to me about various aspects of the program but also about the difficult situations in which children grow up. Some tell me about their own childhood and how difficult it is today for them to process it. Yes, and sometimes it happens that someone has a question in between. Of course, that's not so easy, because it's often about complex issues. These are really nice encounters and sometimes it just helps to listen.

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