4 thoughts on “Teaching Your Kids To Suffer Well

  • April 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Another way of putting “to suffer well” is to learn healthy coping skills for getting over hurt feelings. Too bad schools don’t teach these skills. Too bad most parents and teachers didn’t learn them, so find it difficult to understand their why kids suffer silently and act out their emotional pain by harming others or themselves.

    As an emotional health educator it is easy to see that kids all want to learn how to deal with emotional pain. Too often, the “tough love” approach suggests the young just need to “forget about it and just move on.” We know lots of kids who buy into that kind of emotional amnesia. They are the ones who grow up unable to accept themselves and even the love others offer.

    We’ve proven that kids from 9 to 12 are eager to learn emotionally healthy coping skills by learning how our brain deals with social and emotional “wounds.” Kids approaching teenage years are fascinated with how their brains change and deal with stress. They are amazed to learn “There is nothing wrong with me” when my feelings are hurt. It’s just that our human brains often confuse “emotional pain” with physical pain. So, when they learn about brain-based coping skills, kids feel empowered to take control of their own healing process. We call it “coping skills for kids.” The program is free, non-commercial, and is designed to help kids and adults around the world become more emotionally resilient and self-accepting — so they don’t suffer needlessly, or punish themselves or others for their own pain!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Make sure that parents, teachers, and older kids know the difference between “suffering well” and intentional harm (child abuse, bullying) and symptoms of a bona fid mental “disorder” The latter two are often called “normal suffering” and the child is told to “grow-up” and deal with it or is too scared to tell an adult. This usually leads to more suffering and not growth.

    I agree that a better approach to “teaching your kids to suffer well” is to teach them healthy ways of coping with difficult emotions and to be emotionally validating and LISTENING. These 3 things can go a long way to helping a normal child develop into an emotionally healthy adult and to spot and help treat mental health problems.

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  • April 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I really like this topic Erika. As an adult, learning to parent myself, I’ve had to learn to deal with suffering in a new way. As a child, I mostly felt like my feelings towards my suffering were unreasonable, that I was “too sensitive”. So I think a big part of helping kids when they suffer through things in life that are out of their control is validating that their feelings make sense and are okay. I think when a child knows that they are valued and that their feelings are valued, they will be more equipped to work through their emotions. Having doubts that their emotions are valid in the first place keeps them stuck. It works that way for me as an adult too!

    Thanks Erika

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    • April 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      You are welcome. I think it’s much more empowering to think of it that way than to let kids believe that suffering is something to be avoided at all cost. In many situations, it’s unavoidable. When they understand this as normal and something we all have to face, I think it becomes something they believe they can handle. Yep, also helps as an adult needing to suffer through something. An ongoing lesson. Thanks for adding your thoughtful comment.

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