“Children are Resilient”. I don’t know about you, but I hear this A LOT.
“It’ll be ok. Children are resilient.”
“She’ll get over it. Children are resilient.”
“He’ll get through this. Children are resilient.”
Resilience is “The process of handling stress and recovering from trauma and adversity.”
I know adults who can’t do this.
I believe that learning how to deal with adversity is a must in life. NONE OF US will ever live a life where everything goes as we wish…nor should we.
However, wouldn’t it be nice if our children didn’t have to learn how to overcome trauma?
I listened to my daughter’s best friend the other day telling me about her trauma…very real trauma…trying to laugh it off…trying to play like it didn’t matter…Why?
Because we’ve taught them that they’re supposed to be resilient.
We’ve taught kids that no matter what horrible things adults do to them, it is on them to be resilient and strong. We don’t help them process them…we push them to not need to…because, honestly, it’s more comfortable for us to believe that they’ll be ok than for us to admit that they need the help.
I can tell you what comes from being a “resilient” child in the face of trauma.
Resilient children grow up to make jokes to cover their hurt.
Resilient children wear their trauma like a badge of honor because the accolades they’re used to hearing are about how amazingly resilient and strong they are.
Resilient children learn to be afraid to tell people how they really feel and they grow learning to suffer alone to not cause anyone else any discomfort.
Resilient children learn to HATE the compliment of how resilient and strong they are because they would give anything to not have had to be resilient.
So…maybe it’s time we adjust the adult view of resilience. Maybe we use resilience in terms of, “Yeah…it sucks that you’re struggling with this subject in school…you’ll have to work harder than others, but you are resilient and strong and you will make it through.” rather than, “Wow. It sucks that this terrible, life altering event happened to you. I’m proud of you that you’re not letting it bother you. What? Are you trying to say something? Just that you’re happy, right? Right?! RIGHT?!?!”
Instead of telling a child to be strong in the face of an event that adults would crumble under…let’s teach them to be vulnerable and admit their feelings and that they need help…before they learn to pretend that they need no one.