Too Bad So Sad

31st May 2016

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Do your kids ever drive you crazy? You know those times when they’re whinging at you about something so trivial? You just feel like saying, “Too bad, so sad.”

There’s a funny sort of climate surrounding kids these days; we’re so worried about internet predators, stranger danger, drugs and terrorists that we’ve started padding our children in cotton wool. It seems that kids are ill-equipped to face even the most common, everyday adversities. A knotted shoelace, a tricky problem or a leaky drink bottle turn some kids into a blubbering mess. I wonder if all this cotton wool is choking them.

Emotional resilience is a simple concept but it can be difficult for children to grasp. Adolescent Psychologist Michael Carr-Greg describes resilience as “The capacity to face, overcome and be transformed by adversity.” In layman’s terms it means having the ability to get over it.

The students we teach and the children we’re raising are going to have to face the real world at some time. As parents and educators, we cannot always be there to rescue them from potential hurts and harm. We can however, equip them to deal with the anger, frustration, loneliness and disappointments that they will inevitably face at one time or another.

Resilience does not mean abandoning children or asking them to detach themselves from their feelings. Resilience is about putting life’s everyday events and adversities onto a scale of importance. We need to show our children that certain moments are inevitable and frustrating, but in order to succeed in this world, we need to move on.

A child who misses out on the last muffin at the tuckshop needs to understand that “that’s life”. Similarly, the student who gets “spoken to” by their teacher for incomplete homework needs to accept responsibility and the accompanying consequence. Our children do not need to be rescued by parents or teachers. If they’re constantly rescued they’ll never learn to draw on their own resilience. Instead, they’ll grow up believing that this world owes them something – when in truth, it doesn’t.

3 responses to “Too Bad So Sad”

  1. Jane Curry says:

    I am with you on this one Gabbie. Too much cotton wool around.

  2. PJByer says:

    Hi Gabbi,
    I couldn’t agree more. Helicopter parents always hovering are not helping their kids in the long run. Sometimes it’s hard to step back, but kids have to be allowed to make their own mistakes. Parents are there to support them when it goes awry, but the child will grow into the responsible adult, hopefully. PJ

    • gjstroud says:

      Thanks PJ. I know the struggle we go through as parents – we just want the best for our kids. But we have to grow accustomed to the idea that sometimes the best thing for our kids is to say: NO! or that’s your problem or life’s like that sometimes! Appreciate your comment.

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