Normally Miserable

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Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:08 am

A report out today shows that British children are just about the most unhappy children in the world. And they get unhappier as they get older. This, happening at a formative time, can mentally and emotionally set the tone for adult life.

When I was at school many years ago, it was pretty much like that. At the time, I took it as normal that school was a difficult, unhappy time with uncaring teachers who were not very good at teaching, hostile adults, bullying children, nobody cares, make the best of it.

Not very good though is it, teenagers brought up in other countries often do seem to be happier, more confident and part of the family than British teens. What's the underlying problem?

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  johnb on Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:29 pm

A culture where shopping is considered to be the paramount leisure activity?
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:27 pm

That appears to be part of the problem today, but is the obsession with shopping an underlying cause, or a result of the same underlying problem? I remember many children had unhappy schooldays in the 1950s, before they invented shopping.

The shopping obsession seems to be about having the right sort of clothes, trainers, headphones, to fit in with the crowd or the clique. My family was mobile across Manchester and Lancashire, I went to a lot of different schools, and found children not keen to accept someone who is even a bit different, a different accent etc. They would after a while, but then it was time to move again.

What is different along with the shopping is the advertising, showing happy people. Before mass advertising, life was as you saw it, a bit grim at times, but we didn't have media images of happy or 'kool' people to compare with.

Is it getting worse, are British children increasingly unhappy?

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:27 pm

When the perception never reaches the experience then - unhappiness. Sad

Perhaps if parents and teachers didn't paint life and living as 'everything today without having to try or suffer for it' the child might just get 'it'. If all is given then 'all' becomes an expectation by 'right'.
The word 'No' seems to have gone out of existence somehow.

I still say it was better when one didn't expect to get anything then when one did it was a bonus to be appreciated and treasured.

Shopping - where does all the money come from for that? I thought we were all poor and wretched and 'all in it together' -! Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:12 pm

Maybe it's something about the British way of life. It used to be, and to an extent, still is, a very regional set of islands. Quite tribal, outsiders get the cold shoulder, and that's reinforced by the group. 'Tribes' today are sub-cultures, ethnicities and gangs.

As anyone who has shared a holiday hotel with a load of Glaswegians will know, British regional identities and customs are strongly held, diverse and do not properly accept outsiders very easily, at least not until after some initiation involving intimidation and threats of violence. In the case of Glaswegians, a response of standing your ground with fearless good humour will secure acceptance, or severe bruises, possibly both.

Children, lumped into a school with cliques and various sub-cultures they are not part of or familiar with may never feel happy, and teachers are far too busy to notice.

I'm sure there is a lot more behind it We are not famous as a child-freindly sort of culture.

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  johnb on Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:33 pm

Probably not explained myself well here:

When I was a child, shopping was considered to be a necessary chore - but just that a chore - something we had to do before we could do the fun things of life. I have maintained a similar attitude with my own children - we shop for what we need and then get on with enjoying LIFE.

It seems that for some (many?) the whole purpose of life is to go out and buy - to be 'good' consumers. This I think is something different and more associated with UK and USA than our near neighbours in Europe.
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:40 pm

Yes, shopping has changed from a necessity to a leisure activity and more than that.

How exactly does that impinge on the happiness of children though, are British children missing out on some important aspect of or quality of Life because of the emphasis on shopping?

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:35 pm

Certainly. They think that they can buy happiness. Happiness is an Ipod or an MP or a tablet or - a games consul or - whatever. They haven't been taught or experienced for themselves that happiness is egg shaped - it's life itself and making the most of what little surrounds them. It's finding what turns one on and providing it isn't criminal making the most from it. Children have a natural curiosity, a zest for adventure, which unfortunately these days is restricted by over protective, PC, claim-culture parenting. They never will be happy if not given a natural freedom to LIVE. Money isn't freedom. It's a means towards it ONLY. The rest is up to the individual. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:13 pm

The environment most British children live in now is stressful, one way and the other.

If shopping culture is to blame for childhood unhappiness, more poverty and less shops would be the logical solution, but kids probably shop on the internet anyway.

I don't think we've hit the nail on the head as to exactly why British children are unhappy, probably a combination of reasons. Perhaps partly because adults are also stressed and pre-occupied.

Stress and complexity of life are running in the background for most of us these days, and often turning into very stressful times for a lot of people. Just managing all the things that are necessary for almost everyone has become an everlasting job. Even organising as stress-free a life as possible can be quite stressful. Maybe that's why children are growing up unhappy, The way it's 'organised', it's a stressful society we live in.

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:57 am

I'm more inclined to think that the main reasons are too much information of their worldly surroundings and a resulting depression that too much is wrong and a feeling of inadequacy to put things right. Confidence in one's own ability to make a better place, for oneself to everyone else from the perspective of the young idealist, is paramount towards making a success of one's own situation. If one is aware of 'all' the stumbling blocks towards that end (as they are through internet and social forums etc) and at every turn one experiences wrong doings from all one's peers, then the overall consequence fuels a youthful despair which as the child grows older has to be rationalised and overcome. Some will get through adequately whilst others don't.
For my generation the ending of a massive world war and the outlook for a brighter future was automatic How could it be any worse? The Cold War put a damper on things but in general we had 'hope' and as things got better the proof that one's aspirations could be realised. Hence the '60's' and a 'new' beginning. The same cannot be said for the children of today. All they see is death and despair and problems which mankind itself doesn't seem capable of overcoming. And due to the universal media we have it's in their face from dawn until dusk.

And you expect them to be happy and full of joy -! For what -? Surprised Surprised Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:50 pm

I suppose you could put all the blame on bad parenting i.e. if things are bad then parents should encourage to the fact that it will not always be so. But, as always with children - especially teenagers, talking to them in order to ally fears and inadequacies are not often possible due to the intransigence of a modern day child with all its state applied freedoms. In my day you were 'made' to listen whether you liked it or not. Today one has to apply psychology - something very few parents are equipped with. So to lay the blame at parenting is the 'easy way out'. If you take the workman's tools away from him or omit to teach him/her the rudiments of the job in the first place. Then HOW can you expect the desired results? And to add insult to the injury - we are now in the second generation of those applied 'freedoms'.Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:10 pm

In recent years, there have been a lot of changes in the ways adults and children relate to and communicate with each other. What's for the better or worse is arguable, but it's fairly clear that there have been big changes. Can we believe the statistics that say British children are unhappier than those of other countries, and was it always so?


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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:13 pm

I do tend to go along with the view that the 'more' one has the 'less' happier one becomes. The reason being that much always 'wants' more but the experience is less satisfying. Ergo - the child gets too much too early doesn't appreciate (and consequently feel satisfied) with the process. Unhappiness is a psychological feeling and therefore the perception whilst still in evidence doesn't match the experience gained. If that's a bit heavy for a Sunday I do apologise but I thought that a 'change' (from the norm) might be as good as a rest and make you happier as a consequence. OK. Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:50 pm

There are lots of reasons why kids today might be unhappy, but they probably don't want to talk about it or don't know how to. Messed up kids are not much fun to deal with. Adults already have plenty to do and probably tend to avoid the problems.

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:15 pm

I suppose I'm from the old school. "Stop scriking or else I'll give yer some'at' to schrik about."
(Pronounced like 'ike' with scree on the front).

In other words - there are an awful lot of worse things in this world than whatever ails you at the moment - so grow up -.

Or - to put it in a nutshell. You don't know what not having is. You don't know what 'hell' can be like.
So get a grip and 'make do'. There are always millions that are far worse off than you. Get a life. Make it good. And smile yer miserable sod. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:34 am

Yes, that does sound very 'old school'. Probably not really going to be much use for helping children cope more happily with todays world.

However, if clinical trials show that it does work, then teams of grumpy old men touring school playgrounds threatening unhappy looking children with "I'll give you something to skrike about" might produce a happier generation?

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:53 pm

I'm not trying to make out that it does work. In fact I personally didn't think it did - depending upon the child and the situation and the method. I don't think violence works with children BUT neither do I think that pandering works either. Somewhere between the two is probably the most effective. As in all things 'moderation' has the best result. Expectations should be limited, encouragement forthcoming, praise for 'all' effort and the truth at all times. We can't all reach 'wannabe'. Most will have to settle for less. That's it in a nutshell really. Wink Wink Wink Wink
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:56 pm

Happiness is a state of mind. It's instilling that 'state' in the recipient that's the key. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:56 am

We seem to have concensus of opinion that violence or threats of violence are not going to help.

Children today have been described as the 'fearful generation', maybe they have enough fear and don't need more?

Whether that is an accurate description is one question, and if it is, there are different kinds of fear, do todays children suffer low level but constant anxiety ?

The tick-box approach to organising things misses the point. For example, with road traffic, nothing is done about dangerous roads until a certain number of deaths or injuries there, to tick the boxes. Meanwhile everyone has to permanently cope with a dangerous road, which raises the accepted background level of anxiety.

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Re: Normally Miserable

Post  Atlas on Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:42 pm

It is incumbent upon society to teach children that this is an insecure world with many inherent dangers - NOT - wrap them up in cotton wool and then expect them to find out for themselves.
Again I come to the 'truth'. There are bad people out there - just be aware and be careful - what's wrong with that? We are fast enough to try and convince them that Santa Claus and the Tooth fairy exist fully expecting them to realise later that such is not so. We fill them with goodness and kindness and then are surprised when their worlds disintegrate when the 'truth' finally hits them.
That cannot be for the best. Happiness as I say is a state of mind. I firmly believe to attain that the child needs to feel secure but aware. The truth will set you free -. Who said that? Freedom is happiness - unless you cock it up yourself - and that's down to you. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Normally Miserable

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