Michael Pascoe writes:

While NSW Premier Morrie Dilemma asks
“where are the parents” when teenagers go astray, Wellington’s coroner wants
parents to back off and let their children fail or risk seeing them top
themselves.

That’s Wellington NZ, not rural NSW, where
Coroner Garry Evans suspects “New Zealand’s over-protective
society – which had removed failure and competition from childhood experience –
was partly to blame” for a disturbing trend in teenage suicides as young as 14
and 15 after breaking up with boyfriends or girlfriends:

‘Are
our attempts these days to protect our children and young people against life’s
failures and traumatic events having a counter-productive effect in that they
are not being inoculated against failure by exposure? ‘

‘If
children are never allowed to fail, how will they learn to pick themselves up
and walk on when they do fall?’

Mr
Evans said that without the life experience to enable them to deal with a
break-up, young people did not know who to turn to.

They
did not tell their parents, brooded and eventually concluded that the only way
out was to take their own lives.

‘Are
we over-protecting our children and young people? Where does the balance
lie?

And the coroner is not alone in that
opinion.

Celia
Lashlie, leader of the Good Man Project, agreed that New Zealand children,
particularly in the middle classes, were being raised with a “lack of
resilience.”

“Everything
is being done for them. They are delivered to school and picked up from school.
The greater the income of the parents, the greater the level of doing it for
the kids.”

Looks like us parents can’t win – drive
your child to school and you’ll need to go on suicide watch, leave them to find
out about the streets themselves and you’ll need to hire good lawyers.

Personally, I’d like to see the correlation
between suicide and the rise of soccer and fall of rugby playing among Kiwi
kiddies. Just a thought.

Peter Fray

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