There are different phases to an assessment that I will do with a child.

One of the phases I like the best, is the “informal feedback” portion.  That is the point where I’ve gotten a feel for the child and start sharing some impressions with the mom (occasionally the dad, too).  It’s mostly off the top of my head, and a good portion of the actual tests that were given have not even been scored, but I find what I say usually holds up after I’ve gone over the data.

It also gives the mom a chance to say some things.  Recently, the mom of an 8 year old said something that generated a good deal of laughter and that inspired this blog post.

I was talking to the mom about one of my favorite recommendations that I was going to making with her struggling child, an 8 year old boy – the use of Learning Ally ( – in which children who have a learning/reading disability are able to access books in an auditory format.

As I explained it to the mom, one of the cautions I put forward is that occasionally I’ve heard some parents say that their child chose not to use Learning Ally because, “He doesn’t like the voice (i.e., the narration that accompanies the text). ”

The mom looked at me a bit dumbfounded and said, “Well, I guess he will just have to suck it up, buttercup.”

Doesn’t that sum up much of modern childhood –  the need to, “Suck it up buttercup.”

So often it goes the other way.  As soon as the child feels some level of discomfort or doesn’t like what is being asked of him, the parent worries that he may be experiencing some type of imagined psychological distress and looks to make things instantly comfortable.

Having seen first hand the damaging effects of making children quickly comfortable and not asking them to “suck it up, buttercup,” I would rank this issue as one of the top challenges of modern childhood.

In other words, the central question for many parents is a very basic one, “How can we help our child develop a thicker skin?” Or to put it in more psychological parlance, “How do we increase the child’s tolerance for frustration.”

You will see all kinds of articles on positive approaches with ideas about giving the child stickers, money, tokens, or other such positive reinforcers to increase a child’s ability to cope with frustration.

I don’t know.

My money’s on this mom’s approach  as her child whines about not liking the voice –  “Suck it up, buttercup!”

Copyright, 2019
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