Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


By Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D., Traditional Realist

Modern children are supposed to be shielded from not only physical pain but also psychological pain. Stress and anxiety are not supposed to enter the lives of our children. Modern children are not being allowed or challenged to become strong. We are raising a future generation of weak adults.

There was banning of physical games during recess. Dodge ball, was targeted as a harmful game as it might sting a child hit by a ball. It supposedly makes a child feel inferior because he does not possess the skills of throwing or catching a ball. This type of thinking has gone so far as banning the game of tag due to some child becoming upset when he gets tagged.

There is no score kept in many games as it results in some children being losers. Everyone has to be rotated sharing a certain time limit while playing all positions. This is done regardless of talent, motivation or skill of the students.  Our schools have been obliged to create equal mediocrity, not strive for excellence. They should not go through the experience of playing because it might hurt them physically or emotionally. Children need to toughen up by getting up after scraping a knee. Protection overrides the benefits of increasing fine and gross motor skills, developing stamina and perseverance through physical activities.

Even limited homework is under attack. A recent study from Stanford University stated that homework could not go beyond two hours for high school students and 30 minutes for elementary students. They stated it would have harmful effects such as anxiety, lack of sleep and depression.   The recommendation by this organization has disregarded the students who are more than willing to sacrifice their time and effort to excel in school.

Not to lower the self-esteem of students many school districts have resorted to giving 40 points to every student so no one would receive a zero.  Grades earned could no longer be posted so a child would not feel badly that someone received a better grade.  Teachers no longer are allowed to give red marks on children’s papers because it would devastate the child to be criticized even though he was wrong. Many school districts have stopped correcting homework and tests because the process was too stressful for parents and students.

Zero bully policies are often based on the premise that there is not a difference between people in a squabble. They do not want to call anyone a victim because if they defend themselves, the other person would have to be called the perpetrator. This would be offensive to the bullying child. Each child has to be treated equally so as not to make a value judgment of right and wrong behavior. A value judgment about the child’s inappropriate and intimidating behavior might affect the child’s self-esteem. Besides it is too time consuming to make a thorough investigation to determine the facts.
Students in school, as in other arenas in life, should compete with their peers.  It is a natural part of life. They should not be pampered as fragile beings who are too delicate to handle any type of pressure. This lack of faith by administrators, teachers and parents in the resiliency of youngsters is a major element of this wimpification.

The hypersensitivity of school administrators and parents to a child’s natural everyday stress is misguided. These “stressful” incidents which are supposed to be avoided can range from taking notes, studying, playing physical games, testing, defending oneself from verbal put downs from peers and honest evaluations from teachers and others. These avoidance strategies are detrimental to the child’s development of competitive abilities in the real world.

Students should be encouraged to deal with all reality.  Failure is a great motivator that encourages a person to improve. A certain amount of stress is vital for optimal function. The child should not be put in a bubble to appease over protective parents because it would make running a school less difficult. The student should have the opportunity to gain strength in social and emotional areas to become a well-rounded, courageous and healthy individual.

Totally isolating a person from any stress would be impossible for every activity has a certain amount of it. We can reduce stress at a cost. Usually the more a person is able to control and overcome it, the better he will be able to perform in difficult assignments that exist in everyday life. Learning to handle stress is essential in most endeavors that pay positive dividends. Children have always had to conquer anxiety in confronting reality to be successful. They did it in the past and they can do it now.



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