Coping mechanisms

As human beings we are diverse, and therefore will develop different strategies to fit in with the different people we connect with. This goes back to childhood, to our parenting, and to our own experiences; from our parents to their parents, through the generations and the environments they grew up in.

For example, a child who is particularly bright may be picked on in school because of his or her abilities; or a child who has a disability may be picked on because he or she looks different.

The child who is picked on because he or she is bright may work particularly hard at home but give the impression that in school he or she is like everyone else. The child with the disability may see her disability as someone else’s problem, if she’s secure in herself, but other children with different disabilities may see themselves as the problem.

As individuals we are unique, but these situations are not. I don’t remember if I was bullied in school, but I do remember being isolated and stared at in and out of school, because I walked differently from everyone else. My coping mechanism was to internalise everything, to protect myself.

Whereas some of us will work relentlessly through our challenges, others may live in isolation, blaming themselves. In school, I struggled to keep up and fit in because of my disability, and although I didn’t give up on school, school gave up on me.

I struggled with homework and school work because no one was helping me. For many years I saw myself as responsible and carried the guilt. Of course, when I look back I realise my inability to make headway wasn’t down to me. With a little help I could have done better. It took me a lot of years to understand that.


15 Dec, 2010

4 thoughts on “Coping mechanisms

  1. I think as children we learn from the power of example. I imagine that there are exceptions as there always are, but as the rule children follow how their parents or siblings cope which doesn’t usually work out very well for them in the long run.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the schools taught real life skills such as coping? It’s no wonder that there are bullies in school when the system fails to teach these types of skills. Everyone has their own style of coping and that doesn’t mean they are coping well.

    I just think if we keep failing to educate our youth these critical life skills, then the failures will keep perpetuating themselves.

    1. Brian I totally agree with you, although schools will tell you, it should be down to the parents, discipline starts at home… but I think schools should be accountable too, since students spend the majority of their formative years in the classroom.

  2. I was picked on and bullied in school, so when I got to be a teenager I rebelled. Now I just keep to myself mostly, even though I haven’t really gotten picked on as an adult, but I am occasionally snubbed for whatever reason. I do tend to hold stuff in and I know that isn’t good. I really need to find a good outlet.

    As far as schools are concerned I also think the schools need to have programmes aimed at the problems the kids may face socially. Parents do need to be involved and that needs to be started by trust between the child and the parent.

    The parents shouldn’t be held totally responsible for this because you can teach them about life, but actually going out in the real world is a different story. There are those children that have no parental control at all and are allowed to do whatever they please.

    1. I agree Lisa there needs to be a combined effort between the parents and the school, so that all aspects of a child’s personal growth are covered.

      Sorry to hear about your own problems in school with trying to fit in with what you had to deal with.

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