Why Getting Our Kids to Toughen Up is a Flawed Theory



The push to make our children more resilient both goes against the grain of the evidence and sends the wrong message to children. Evidence suggests that children have a greater resilience than adults, yet it has been a policy for a while to get teachers to instruct their students to become more resilient. This resilience message also encourages victims of bullying to internalise their hurt rather than approaching a teacher. Any such deterrent is problematic.

Above is a brilliant clip, depicting teachers making light of hurtful comments made about them. If it wasn’t for the cameras, some of these comments would really hurt and frustrate.

Teachers, entrusted with the job of building resilience struggle with negative commentary just as much, if not more, than their students. Watch how they turn to mush when a parent criticizes them or a colleague questions their professionalism.

These are the very teachers encouraging our children to harden up and turn the other cheek.


Click on the link to read  Stop Pretending and Start Acting!

Click on the link to read  Some Principals Seem to Be Ignorant About Bullying

Click on the link to read Teaching Kids to be Competitive Often Leads to Needless Pain

Click on the link to read 6 Tips for Kids Who Worry Too Much


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One Response to “Why Getting Our Kids to Toughen Up is a Flawed Theory”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    What makes for resilience? Being told to suck it up? Harden up? My gut reaction is agreement with the statement that children are already resilient. Exposure to the modern classroom will soon get rid of that. An overused and abused spring eventually loses its resilience. Really?! Does bullying increase resilience? If it does, why are schools running programs like “Bullying, No Way”? There are programs available to develop children’s resilience. They don’t use bullying as a strategy.

    I am getting mixed messages on this one. On the one hand I am hearing bullying is wrong and must be eradicated from our schools. On the other hand I am seeing bullying being used more frequently as a management tool. I am seeing bullies promoted into administration where their vice is valued as a management strategy.

    It seems to me that we need to be very clear what we are talking about here. We have all seen reports about how young people are being driven to suicide.

    Children handle it well, in the main, because they are resilient. I marvel at the way children bounce back after the most severe tongue lashing. But what are they learning? How often can a child be told he is a piece of excrement before he/she acts upon that advice?

    BTW has anyone read some of the comments on the “Rate my teacher” site? Who is responsible for the “My School” website? Is it the Government?

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