Life consists of winning and losing, joy and pain, with a lot of down time in between. You pass the class or you don’t, you make the team or you don’t, you get the job or you don’t, she accepts your proposal or she doesn’t, you come from a background where opportunities are endless or you don’t, you beat cancer or you don’t. Pain, just as joy, is a natural part of life and when you eliminate one of those aspects you create an imbalance. We live in a day where parents don’t want to see their kids exposed to any type of pain therefore dealing with pain has become a lost art. Kids don’t know how to cope. Kids need to learn how to deal with pain at a young age so when they grow up and come across uncomfortable situations or things don’t go their way they know how to deal with it in a healthy manner. 

A toodler looking sad

For example:

– We need to go back to keeping score in youth sports. When you play a game there is going to be a winner and a loser. The sooner you realize this the better.

– We need to eliminate the participation trophy – not everyone is great and going to get a trophy.

– We need to let kids walk to school in the rain and snow. They will not melt.

– Parents need to stop bringing forgotten lunches or homework to school. They get one freebie but after that they are on their own.

–  Parents don’t let your kids stay home from school if they are tired or have a cold (and this is coming from a school nurse.) The only reason to stay home is if they have a fever or something contagious like pink eye. If you call off work every time you are tired or have a cold you will not have a job for long. Good to learn this lesson when you are young.

– Parents stop fighting your kid’s battles for them. How will they ever learn how to stand up for themselves or advocate for themselves.

– Parents stop calling or emailing the teacher nasty messages, excuses, asking for a redo when your kid doesn’t get a 100% on a test or homework. 90% is really OK.

– Parents do not pick your child up from school because they called and asked you to pick them up. Teach them that sometimes life is hard and you just got to get through it.

–  Parents do not buy your kids better clothes, phones, cars than you have – really, what is this teaching them?

– And just recently added to the list – Parents do not bride admission officials to get your kids into the most prestigious colleges – God forbid they have to work for it.

Three kids standing near a sign

Parents put their kids in a bubble so no one or nothing can hurt them. That is fairly easy to do before school but once your kid is in school you cannot protect them 24/7. This is when kids get their first taste of being uncomfortable and Mom is not there to take care of it so they don’t know what to do. I have some knowledge of this because I am a school nurse. I get kids in my health office because they have chapped lips, dry skin, hang nail, paper cut, gas, got a flu shot 2 days ago and  “it still hurts”, they were laughing so hard that their stomach hurt, pain in their wrist, ankle, knee – not from falling but just because it started hurting while I was sitting in class. Kids do not know how to deal with any sort of uncomfortableness. As kids get older their problems become bigger and they don’t know how to face this adversity so that is when the anxiety, depression, cutting starts. There is an all-time high rate of anxiety and depression in the middle school and high school setting and I believe it is because kids have not been taught how to handle adversity because they have been sheltered from it. They freak out when they get a bad grade, the boy they like doesn’t like them, they lose the game, they forgot their lunch money, they are having a bad hair day, or mom is late to pick them up. Kids should not be this stressed so early in life. As hard it may sound we need to let our kids suffer and fail earlier and more often in life so when they do face hardship it is not a big deal to them it is just a normal part life. 

One Reply to “Parents . . . Let Your Kids Suffer”

  1. Amen to every word! There are winners and losers in games. I despise thr participating trophies. Encouraging my kids to get rid of them and keeping ones truly earned!

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