WHY ARE KIDS TODAY SO EMOTIONAL?
or rather why are kids IMPATIENT, BORED, FRIENDLESS, AND ENTITLED?
Kids today are in a devastating emotional state!
“Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this.” – Victoria Prooday
Who is Victoria Prooday? Well she is an Occupational Therapist who has years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers.
She says “I have seen and continue to see a decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses. As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately re-mould our children’s brains in the wrong direction”.
Five reasons why our children of today are misguided
KIDS GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT
Child: “I am Hungry!!” Parent: “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru”
Child: “I am Thirsty!” Parent: “Here is a vending machine, choose something.”
Child: “I am bored!” Parent: “Use my phone!”
We have the best intentions to make our child happy but unfortunately, we make them happy in the moment but miserable in the long term.
To delay gratification for our children means we are teaching them to be able to function under stress.
They won’t die from hunger or thirst in the short trip home and as for being bored… allow them to be bored because this is helping them be resourceful and critically think for themselves.
Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors and gradually become more anxious.
The inability to delay gratification is often seen the moment the child hears “No” because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away.
To change that outcome for future success, start delaying gratification in every area.
If NO is a trigger, than change it up to ” Not today” ; “not right now” or when they put you on the spot for a playday… ” yes you can, but not today”
LIMITED SOCIAL INTERACTION
We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too.
Unfortunately, technology has replaced the outdoor time, it’s also made parents less available to socially interact with their child.
The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If we want our children to be able to bike, we teach them riding skills. If we want our children to be able to wait, we need to teach patience. If we want our children to be able to socialize, we need to teach them communication and social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!
“Play fosters empathy in kids, and lies at the very heart of creativity and innovation. And the ability to play has a profound effect on our outlook on life.”
Huge Benefits to Free Play
- Ability to observe, problem solve, and understand connections = greater understanding
- Learn acceptable ways to handle difficulty and challenges = greater measures of self control (competency)
- Helps children learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and behavior, and speak-up for themselves = greater self-governance (learning to say no to oneself) and less frustration
- Develops productive citizens (builders, solid mates and parents, communicators, scientists, writers, artists, engineers, leaders) needed for a successful society
We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty.
Living in two separate worlds. They have their “fun“ world, and we have our “work” world. Why aren’t children helping us in the kitchen or with laundry? Why don’t they tidy up their toys?
This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom,” which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school. When they come to school and it is time for handwriting their answer is “I can’t. It is too hard. Too boring.”
Why? Because the workable “muscle” is not getting trained through endless fun. It gets trained through work.
Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner.
We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention spans and with their inability for delayed gratification.
Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality or TV shows, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games and shows provide.
The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges.
Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families.
Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for a child’s brain.
KIDS RULE THE WORLD
Does this sound familiar? “My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She won’t eat on her own.” Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them?
If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed. What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them?
Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to kindy and school irritable, anxious, and inattentive. In addition, we send them the wrong message.
They learn; they can do what “they want” and not what “they need to do”.
In order to achieve our goals and be successful in our lives, we have to do what’s necessary, which may not always be what we want to do.
If we want to be an A student, we need to study hard. If we want to be a successful soccer player, we need to practice every day. Our children know very well what they want, but have a very hard time doing what is necessary to achieve that goal.
With no systems in place or the mindset to persevere, goals of any kind are unattainable, which leads to disappointment and low self esteem.
” It’s not we give our children, it’s what we teach them to do for themselves that make them successful adults”
I hope this blog has been helpful in some way.
Feel free to leave feedback or questions in the comments.
until next time
Honey Nicodah Robbinson