Are Sydney Kids Becoming Less Resilient?

Education guide to build resilience

Article heading image for Are Sydney Kids Becoming Less Resilient?

Thinking back to when you were a kid, do you remember telling your parents that you were bored and only to be told to occupy yourself?  

Research has found that children are less resilient than previously, with evidence suggesting they are losing their problem-solving skills.   

For some experts, this is compounded by well-intentioned parents who often solve problems for their children rather than allowing them to struggle and encounter adversity. 

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 So, do most kids have a resilience problem? How can we tackle this issue at school and home? What measures do we need to ensure the next generation can resolve issues independently? 

In today’s episode of THIS ARVO IN SYDNEY, host Sacha Barbour Gatt and LiSTNR journalist Michaela Savage delved into the issue by speaking with former Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, and a psychologist working for Curious Kids Psychology in Sydney, Rachel Richardson.  

The chat comes as last month the NSW government appointed Dr Donna Cross as the state’s first-ever Chief Behaviour Advisor.   
Dr Cross was appointed to address issues of resilience and to assist teachers, schools and parents navigate and respond to complex behaviours in and outside the classroom.  

Speaking directly to the role of Dr Cross, Ms Mitchell said her appointment was designed to offer support around cyberbullying as well as ‘school refusal’ and low attendance across the state.   

School refusal refers to when a child or young person refuses to attend school or finds it difficult to remain in class for an entire day. It is anxiety-based.   

“There’s a private Facebook group for parents of kids who refuse to go to class. It’s called ‘School Can’t’. So in June 2019, ‘School Can’t’ had about 900, and now it has more than 8,000 members,” Savage said. 

Savage commented that the COVID-19 pandemic was one of several factors contributing to school refusal and student disengagement over the past few years.
For her part, Ms Richardson said that she had witnessed parents struggling and suggested they “don’t make a habit of avoiding certain situations just because it’s going to upset your child”.  

“It doesn’t make you a bad parent if your child isn’t well-behaved 24 hours a day,” she said.  

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Caitlin Duan

5 April 2023

Article by:

Caitlin Duan

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