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Would you Rather...

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

It's Mental Health Awareness week, and as this is a topic very dear to me I'll be writing a few posts about things that impact the mental health and well-being of our children!

So, to my question,

Would you rather....

your child Be the Best (all the time) or Be Themselves all the time?

If you believe that your child being themselves is somehow mediocre, average, not good enough then it may well be that you got the message in childhood that being you was somehow not enough!

Many of us inadvertently got this message at home and/or in school, from well meaning parents, teachers and society at large that continues to demand more from us. This can happen when what we love to do is seen as unimportant, our interests, talents are downplayed for what our parents/teachers/society believe to be more important. "Stop dancing all the time, can't you sit still for once, read a book or something", Less music for maths, less sport for ... maths, less poetry for you guessed it... maths! Don't do Arts, chose Sciences and so on.

When your performance is judged harshly and your progress and effort ignored - "Why weren't you the best? Who came first and why couldn't you beat them?" "You got a B? Couldn't you get an A?" Or when we are constantly reminded that what seems natural to us is not approved of or not as valuable, we get the message that being yourself is not good enough.

This leads to a life of striving to be perfect, at the expense of our mental health and well-being or giving up entirely!

Nowadays I like to think we are more aware of the dangers of being so performance driven. We still have a long way to go, but there is another major area where our children constantly get the message that Being the Best is better than Being Themselves!

And that is their behaviour!

If they only get our approval or positive attention when they behave 'well' or as I like to say conveniently, then they learn that how they feel isn't accepted when it isn't pleasing to us. Only some feelings are accepted here and so in order to get our connection they need to be their best selves at all times!

This is a hard task for a lot of us and a major cause of stress and strain on their well-being.

To be Continued in the next post...

Let's be more aware!

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