Today in our schools teachers are commonly called upon to address perceived actions of a bully. Teachers are not only teaching but acting as arbitrators, negotiators and counselors to resolve student conflicts. Why are we seeing this changing role of teachers?
It is not uncommon today for children to spend their leisure time centered on computers, television and isolated video games. A generation or two ago, children would be found outside actively engaged with other children. Sandlot games of baseball and football were a common sight and with them came interpersonal experience.
Children in the past learned to communicate and resolve issues on the playgrounds and backyards of the neighborhood. They learned to cope with rejection, hard feelings, conflicts and they did it themselves.
Today without the experience of youthful interaction, when the reality of life hits the children of this generation with negative emotions they are more likely to seek guidance or resolution with the intersession of an adult. They don’t know how to cope with the feelings and emotions of negativity.
Contributing to the lack of development is the “helicopter parent” hovering over every aspect of life to assure their child is protected from any upsetting emotional experience. Too many parents in attempting to protectively nurture their children actually deny them the experience to learn the coping skills of real life.
Watching a child grow can be a trying time for the parents. The tears of an emotionally hurt child are equally upsetting to a loving parent. It is easy to react as a parent protector and intercede to “fix” the hurt, but it doesn’t always help in the development of the child.
It should be noted in families with closely aged siblings there is natural conflict arising from time to time that isolated children never see or experience. Those trying times of family life are actually a natural teaching tool ultimately providing valuable life experience.
The solution for better childhood interpersonal development skills is not found in supervised sports leagues or books it is found only in the experience of real life. It is found in conflict and hurt feelings, it is found in the school of hard knocks.