Stop saying that children are resilient

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

These past few months have been tough on everyone. We are all doing the best we can to deal with situations and obstacles we’ve never faced before. I’ve noticed changes in my own mental and physical health due to the new circumstances of life.

The most human thing to do is confide in others and try to find reassurance of our feelings. It’s a natural instinct that most young people will rely on the adults in their lives to listen to the concerns they have and to give advice in regard to how they should navigate through difficult moments like these. Time and time again, young people seem to receive the same response.
“You’ll be okay; children are resilient.”
What does that even mean? By definition, it means “doing better than expected for the situation; to withstand or recover quickly.”
Basically, my interpretation of that phrase is, as a teenager, I’m going to be expected to bounce back and not let things affect me even if deep down inside they do. It reminds me of the line from the Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This may be true, but just because it didn’t kill you doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a negative impact on your life.
From the time we are first born, every moment — both good and bad — molds you into the person you will eventually grow up to be. If you think about it, it’s actually quite scary how even little moments can affect the adult you’ll become one day.
These past several months, children and young adults have not been able to simply be kids. Yes, this may be for our safety, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to be upset.
The cancellations.
The restrictions.
Not being able to celebrate the many events that all high schoolers look forward to.
We have the right to mourn these losses without judgment from others, especially from the adults in our lives.
It may seem like kids can survive through a lot, but just because kids are going through the motions of life, it doesn’t mean we are always okay. Sometimes the phrase, “children are resilient” makes young people hide their true feelings because we are expected to be strong and move forward unaffected. In my opinion, it invalidates our emotions and anxiety.
So much pressure is placed on the backs of today’s youth to not let the outside world knock them down. Adults may not realize this, but a lot of times they are so wrapped up with their own worries and issues, they forget that kids have concerns as well. It’s difficult as teenagers to sit back and watch as decisions are being made about our lives without our input.
We know that life is not perfect. As a community, we will get through this, and one day we’ll look back and realize this too has passed. One day we will tell our children and grandchildren about 2020.
Our stories will all be a bit different, but we will never forget this time in our lives. What I’d ask adults to realize is that the next time they say, “Children are resilient,” know that we are not as unaffected as they think we are.
Whether it be starting at a new school, the loss of a loved one, divorce, or even, of all things, a virus, try to have empathy for us. We need you more than we’ll ever let you know.
– Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief