Letting Children be Children

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In his book  Parenting for Everyone Vijayadev Yogendra says, “A child needs time to be a child; he or she should not be made into a small adult. A child  must have time to lose the immaturities of childhood.” We know that there are many pressures on families that can push the child into premature independence, but an interesting factor is what has been termed the ‘parent expectation gap’. This comes about when we over-estimate what children are capable of at a particular age. Research from the USA found:

  • 43% of parents think children can share and take turns with other children before the age of 3, but this ability only develops between the ages 3 and 4.
  • 36% think children under the age of 2 have enough control to resist the impulse to do something forbidden and 56% say this happens before the age of 3 whereas most children are not able to do this until they are 3 ½ or 4 years old.
  • 23% think children under the age of 1 can control their emotions and not have a tantrum when frustrated and another 18% expect this to happen before 2, whereas this control is not developed until 3 ½ or 4 years of age.

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How to Help Children Become Adaptable


pexels photo 1416736Recently  concerns have been expressed about some unintended consequences of the idea of resilience.  Many people who have  poor self-esteem and/or alternatively high expectations of themselves might needlessly suffer because they see themselves as not having the necessary resilience to cope and will try to just 'tough it out' . Adaptability gives more scope for alternatives. In a situation of bullying at work for example, options include reporting the offender or even leaving the job if no action is taken. This might mean accepting a number of changes in  circumstances. Being able to accept the need to change and the ability to adapt  is going to make that a lot easier.

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The Importance of Teaching Children to Think!


shutterstock 955716821Recently I have been reading a very interesting book called Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, Professor of Global Health. The byline – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things are Better than You Think – describes in a nutshell what the book is about. In it, Professor Rosling explains how everyone, from factory workers to university professors, United Nations officials, world bankers and aid agency workers, consistently view the world as a worse place than it is.

When asked about global trends in health, education, prosperity, child deaths, disasters and other indicators of wellbeing, we consistently get it wrong due to systematic biases in our thinking. The result is pessimism and a lot of needless worry. This is not to say there is nothing to be concerned about as there clearly are concerns about issues such as climate change, but when we over-emphasize the bad and ignore the improving, we open ourselves up to anxiety and defeatism.

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Protective Factors in Children's Mental Health - Part 3

guitar classical guitar acoustic guitar electric guitarThe fourth factor I want to talk about here is something Vijay Yogendra called Innateness.  Vijay felt that “Each child comes with a gift, and it is up to us (parents and teachers) to unwrap it!”

Innateness embraces a child’s talents and strengths but it is more than that. It is that unique quality a child possesses that when they can connect with it inwardly and express it outwardly, gives them a great sense of peace and contentment and fulfilment. Children’s special interests and excellence may not be accessible in their educational environment, so parents may need to look further afield to provide children with these enriching opportunities.

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