I dislike it when you hear a parent tell their child to ‘get over it’. What exactly are they telling their child to get over? Their feelings, the situation? Are they saying ‘move on’ or ‘stop moaning, that’s just the way it is.’
Telling a child to ‘get over it’ dismisses their feelings. It tells them that we are not treating the situation or their wants/needs seriously and that we expect them to address the situation in a more mature manner than they can. Remember they are children and will often dwell on situations. (I know adults can too).
Tough Love Versus Supportive Love
I think many parents would call this tough love and I guess it is the right expression. I believe it can make children resentful, can create bigger feelings of anger at the person who is telling them to ‘get over it’ and feel punished for wanting to express themselves.
I prefer supportive love where you listen to your child’s complaint/moan, empathise with them, discuss the situation and move on. When we work with our children’s meltdowns, we are teaching them how to communicate effectively, how to regulate their emotions and how to move onto a better place. These are all life skills that they are going to need when they are older.
So let’s stop using the phrase ‘tough love’ and start to acknowledge children’s feelings and discuss how they might fix their problem or make themselves feel better. Let them recognise and acknowledge their feelings and let them move on when they are ready.
What are your thoughts on tough love? Does it work or is the supportive approach more your parenting style? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do leave a comment.