Why are children so unhappy?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

Why ARE children so uphappy?

I’m being interviewed on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester about the new report from The Children’s Society’s “Good Childhood Report” where England is ranked behind nations like Romania, Brazil and South Africa AGAIN !

We live in one of the wealthiest, most technologically advanced countries in the world. We’ve had 60 years of peace and prosperity with free education and medical services for all.

Our homes are crammed with labour-saving devices and electronic entertainment that previous generations could have only  dreamt of.

So WHY aren’t our children HAPPY?

Surely our children should be growing happier every year?

I think we’ve come to equate 21 century parenting as somehow different from parenting throughout the ages of time.

Children don’t need anything fundamentally different from generations of children growing up.

They need their parents T-I-M-E, their love,  they need to feel heard, feel listened to, to feel important, they need to be played with, spoken to and they need to PLAY outside in the fresh air away from technology. They need wholesome food as food affects mood. They need SLEEP and protection from violent films and inappropriate adult content.

It’s not rocket science.

They need you to teach them YOUR values – not the values of the marketers and PR people selling in “ 5 minutes of fame is all that matters”

They need you to talk and teach them that is not ALL about having loads of money, fast cars and exotic holidays and that “materialism makes you happy”

We need to equip our kids with true long term inner confidence, true self esteem and ways to handle all the technology that is bombarding their senses but isolating them and stunting their creativity.

We need to teach them to have an attitude of gratitude and to keep a journal where they focus on all the small stuff that is lovely, going well and a simple blessing – like walking the dog in the rain, kicking through Autumn leaves with Daddy, eating a wholesome meal together as a family, helping a sister to do up her shoelaces, singing in the bath, listening to your Grandma with Dementia with patience and we need to help kids focus on what’s going well and to having a positive mindset in Life.

We shouldn’t be rushing kids through their childhood.

Parents need to be parents not their children’s “friends” as kids need guidance, boundaries and rules.

Parents need to sit down and decide on their boundaries and rules and then be firm, fair and CONSISTENT !

If a child gets used to eating alone in front of the telly and is on their mobile phone half the night why are parents surprised when they lose touch with their kids and they don’t chat together, laugh together or share memories that last a lifetime with their kids?

Too much technology leads to depression, isolation and being passive in life.

Why are parents not actively involved in their kids lives?

I know it’s a busy, hectic world out there juggling work and family commitments – because I’ve been a Deputy Head and mum but we need to find the TIME for our children. My Mum was the eldest of 7 children so my Granny knew the meaning of being tired, exhausted and overwhelmed without a dishwasher, washing machine or central heating but she spent time with her children.

Where has the simple pleasure of PLAY gone?

Play is being squeezed out of children’s lives.

Play is fundamental to a child’s well being. It is where they learn to express themselves, share, take turns, explore, create, solve disputes, work collaboratively and have fun. Yet more and more kids are kept inside on technology instead of having free play with mud, cardboard boxes and fresh air.

Kids need to play outside in an unstructured way – free from adult intervention ( not supervision) Lion cubs do it, puppies do it all baby animals do it – it’s how we all learn.

Even schools are becoming obsessed with league tables, targets and tests.

Children now face 70 academic tests before they reach the age of 16.

Kids need your time, boundaries, laughter, wholesome food and plenty of SLEEP. They need you to be positive, upbeat and kind.

It’s not rocket science simply common sense.

 

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