And so I hear it…. day after day. Endlessly through my years and it never changes. In fact it just seems to be the norm now. That really scares me.
“Our children need to toughen up and deal with bullies. They will meet them as they get older and they have to be able to cope when they do.”
“Children need to learn to compete in a competitive world. They will get left behind and we need to test and push them to raise education standards and expectations.”
“The world is a cruel and busy place. They need to fit in to that!”
These are the phrases that make me want to cry. That run through my head at night and make me so angry. I read an article a couple of weeks ago drawing attention to the fact that we as humans seem to believe people who burn the candle at both ends and live with exhaustion, are to somehow we revered. What amazing people they are. How do they do it? I wish I had the strength, energy, skills to do that.
These are not people who should be role models and we should not feel in some way inferior to them. These are people that are not looking after themselves and we should be encouraging them to slow down. This generation of children will become these people if we do not make a change now!
Just because young minds are malleable and easy to teach is not a reason to hot-house and test our toddlers and early years children. Yes young children are designed to have a thirst for knowledge and have an amazing ability to learn at an incredible rate. Nature designed them this way for a reason, and it was NOT so they could be put in school style settings aged 2 and crammed full of spellings and fractions! It is a vital survival tool. They need this ability to learn the foundations for life. Physical movement, social interactions and meaningful connections with other humans. The ability to quickly learn how to be heard and work out skills for themselves. This is why children play. This is why all mammals are seen to play when they are young. Learning the vital skills that they will need to be successful. You miss this out or cut the process short and you are heading for disaster. Denying this process effects the development of higher brain development and then you have children who are forever playing catch up or struggle due to conditions like Retained Primitive Reflexes.
So how about we stop saying that pressure and pushing is the way forward? I propose we start to push for a generation of children who are nurtured and given the time and space to play and learn in a home environment. To teach children the importance of our own mental well being. Making time for relaxation, learning to be present and mindful and not rushing forward to meet the next goalpost.
This will mean that the powers above need to recognise the importance of parenting and not push every parent back in to work. Most families I meet want to raise their children till school age. They want to give them the love and care that they deserve. However they feel pushed to go back to work and despite laws saying that employers need to be flexible, most mums end up doing more hours than they would like in order to keep their job.
I am not naive. I realise that there are families that struggle to parent. That maybe have not had that care themselves as a child and do not know how to raise a child with affection and stability. This is where the money needs to be focused. This is where experienced parents could offer support if they were not pushed back in to full time work. More support and care as a community. More togetherness.
So lets brake the cycle before we damage our children and create a new trend of stress fueled normality. Lets bring back family and community support. Lets correct our children when unkind words are spoken. Lets correct ourselves when we use unkind words to our young. It doesn’t have to be the norm to be unkind. Show them the importance of self reflection and down time. Mistakes are ok and we can make them right again.
These are the REAL foundations for children’s learning and success!! The real skills we need to teach the business men and woman of the future. More importantly the skills we need to teach so that this generation and future generations can succeed at being good parents!
Lets brake the cycle now and save our children’s childhoods…… and ultimately their futures.