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Old 05-26-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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By negative, I mean feeling fearful, upset, sad, angry, etc. Anything "not" happy.

Do you feel that children should almost always be happy? Should we rescue our kids from times of distress or sadness?

I do get the feeling from many parents that allowing your child to "suffer" with ill feelings is somehow bad parenting. I think teaching kids how to deal with their own negative feelings empowers them to be self confident and self reliant.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
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I agree with you. We can't be there forever to protect them from everything Bad, so developing coping skills is essential. With that said, if it's something REALLY severe, of course I will step in.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Wherever life takes me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
I agree with you. We can't be there forever to protect them from everything Bad, so developing coping skills is essential. With that said, if it's something REALLY severe, of course I will step in.
ANY parent would eventually step in if it got bad enough but some parents step in over every little thing.

IME, I couldn't even get through telling my mom how my day was if I said anything negative that happened she was on the phone to the school trying to get it "fixed" when it was stuff I could handle myself, look at how many people my age are so inept when it comes to handling their issues.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:00 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
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I think our first instinct is to 'make it better'. I do agree that, as parents, we need to step back and let our kids sort things out for themselves. As an only child, my parents probably intervened too much so I've tried to find more balance.

I believe I've gotten better with that as my son gets older. There's only so much we can fix, after all.

That said, if I felt my child was going into a deep depression for some reason, I would feel the need to take action.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
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Originally Posted by txtqueen View Post
ANY parent would eventually step in if it got bad enough but some parents step in over every little thing.
Good point. Different people have different perceptions of what "really" bad is. For me, it would be something that can cause permanent physical or mental damage (example: bullying; non-examples: disagreement with a friend, not making the cheer leading squad)
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Wherever life takes me.
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Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
Good point. Different people have different perceptions of what "really" bad is. For me, it would be something that can cause permanent physical or mental damage (example: bullying; non-examples: disagreement with a friend, not making the cheer leading squad)
I think the amount of "equality" is getting ridiculous. Everything has to be fair.
Sports teams have kids on them who aren't any good simply because they wanted to play, gone are the days you used to have to try out for sports and actually be good to get a position.

Everyone gets the same things so no one feels left out.

No more working for anything or achieving it.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
3,388 posts, read 3,011,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magritte25 View Post
By negative, I mean feeling fearful, upset, sad, angry, etc. Anything "not" happy.

Do you feel that children should almost always be happy? Should we rescue our kids from times of distress or sadness?

I do get the feeling from many parents that allowing your child to "suffer" with ill feelings is somehow bad parenting. I think teaching kids how to deal with their own negative feelings empowers them to be self confident and self reliant.
I do not think parents should rescue their children from feeling "negative" emotions. IMO, part of my job is teach my kids how to recognize what emotions they are feeling and how to cope with them adaptively. Generally, most kids are typically happy, but it is very normal to have periods of fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, etc. as well.

When I was working with emotionally dysregulated teens and adults, one of the sets of skills we taught was how to effectively cope with distress, as well as the functional purpose of emotions (we have emotions to communicate to us that something is impacting us, that there is a problem to be solved). Without learning how to regulate our own emotional state as kids, we can be in a world of trouble as adults.

That being said, there is a difference between teaching a child how to cope or endure periods of distress and just leaving them on their own to flounder with feelings they do not yet know how to deal with. Whether I let one of my kids figure out on his/her own what to do with a feeling or whether I gently intervene to help them learn a new way to deal with it is going to depend a lot on the situation. And on the kid - brains are different and even within the same family different kids may be more or less emotionally vulnerable. One thing I teach my 3.5 yo (who is a bit of a sensitive soul) is that it is always ok to have our feelings - we should not always act on them, but it is ok that we feel them (e.g., it is ok to be scared, how do we deal with being scared and doing things that may be scary to us).

I do think it can be hard for parents to tolerate seeing their children distressed, but a potential side effect of always jumping in to keep them happy is decreasing their emerging ability to accept their own negative emotional states and setting them up for never having to have managed an environment that disappoints or frustrates them.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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How are adults supposed to know how to deal with their negative feelings if they weren't allowed to have negative feelings as a child to learn their coping skills from?
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:03 PM
 
47,578 posts, read 55,147,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magritte25 View Post
By negative, I mean feeling fearful, upset, sad, angry, etc. Anything "not" happy.

Do you feel that children should almost always be happy? Should we rescue our kids from times of distress or sadness?

I do get the feeling from many parents that allowing your child to "suffer" with ill feelings is somehow bad parenting. I think teaching kids how to deal with their own negative feelings empowers them to be self confident and self reliant.
It depends.

I think it's very important to teach kids to look at the bright side, not look at what they don't have, stop comparing themselves with others who have more, instead compare with others who have less.

So yes, I think you do have to rescue them which includes teaching them, guiding them.

If the negative feelings are from something like death, it's fine to allow sadness and grief -- that's an appropriate reaction. If the negative feelings are because they didn't come out on top in a race then I think you have to kick them in the butt and tell them to stop the self-pity stuff.

But even in true loss like the death of a loved one, the parents need to help guide the child with the grief. If they lost a beloved grandfather, you help them realize that part of the reason is that their grandfather was so wonderful, they were very lucky to have had him, some kids don't have good families.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:23 PM
 
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I think you can be there for your kids, and give them coping skills without having to jump in and do it for them. Although as parents, when we see our child unhappy, we want to make it better, it's not really helping them. Not only are they not learning how to deal with things themselves, I think it also gives them a sense of not being smart, strong, or capable enough. Parents may think they're "helping," when in reality they're actually crippling their kids and making them insecure and dependent. They need to feel anger, sadness, frustration, and disappointment, and they need to know how to handle those feelings and what they need to do to make it better...not what Mommy needs to do to make it go away.

I expect my dd, even at 5, to work things out herself if she can. I'm there to advise her, comfort her, and guide her in the right direction, but she has to make the steps. If she can't or it's too much for her, then I will step in. I expect to have to step in less and less as she gets older, and of course with little kids anything involving adults, like problems with teachers, babysitters, etc. I will handle. Problems with her classmates and friends, I expect her to handle herself unless it's extreme. Eventually, kids need to know how to look after themselves and fight their own battles, and it's up to parents to teach them that.
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