Too Bad So Sad
31st May 2016
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.