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Is this normal?

6 June
Posted by:
Michael Grose

It’s human nature to think that we are the only ones to experience bad things. But the human condition dictates that this is rarely the case. Everyone has experienced loss, rejection, disappointment and conflict in their lives. Rarely is there is a situation so unique that you are the ONLY Person to have experienced it. Normalising a situation is an aspect of optimism.

When you realise that others also experience similar difficulties and survived you feel more hopeful.

When bad things happen to kids help them to normalise a situation rather than personalise it, and think that it only happens to them. “You are not the only one to experience this” is a powerful concept for kids to grasp. Even when they experience extremely distressing events such as family breakdown, help them understand that other families break down too and as difficult as it may seem, children survived. It’s reassuring to know that others have gone through similar situations and learned to cope.

From a mental health perspective we need to allow children to experience the full gamut of emotions, including sadness, loss, fear and anxiety. These emotions are normal and healthy. Kids need to hear from people close to them comments such as: “Everyone feels bad sometimes.” “It’s okay to feel sad or scared. Most people would be in this situation.” “It’s not just you. You are not the first person that this has happened to.”

They also need to be allowed to express their disappointment, frustration and other emotions. They need to have genuine worries and disappointment validated, but they also benefit from someone who reminds them as bad as things may seem right now that ‘this too shall pass and life will return to normal.’
  • catastrophising
  • confidence
  • resilience
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