Coping mechanisms

As a diverse society, we develop different strategies to fit in with the different variety of people we come into contact with. This goes back to our childhood, to our parents parenting and to our experiences: from our parents to their parents, through the generations and through the environments they grew up in.

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

The child who is picked on because he or she is particularly bright may work hard at home but give the impression that in school, he or she is like everyone else. A child with a disability may see their disability as someone else’s problem if they feel secure. But if they are insecure, they may see themselves as the problem.

We all have different coping mechanisms. As individuals we are unique, but these situations aren’t. I don’t remember if I was bullied for being different, but I do remember feeling isolated and being stared at in and out of school, because I physically presented differently to everyone else. My coping mechanism was to emotionally withdraw.

Where some of us will work relentlessly through our challenges, others won’t and will start to blame others. In school, I struggled to fit in and keep up with my school work and although I didn’t give up on school, school gave up on me. Given all my difficulties, I struggled with school, homework and exams.

For many years I saw myself as being responsible for those failings and carried the guilt. Now when I look back, my failings had nothing to do with me. They were neither my fault, nor my responsibility.


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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