Why children need to experience adversity

Dr. John Gray explains why a supportive parent is more important than a perfect childhood and why adversity can be a great learning tool
Parenting and Family Advice | Why children need to experience adversity
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Why children need to experience adversity

See most parents have the wrong idea about childhood. They so much want their children to have the perfect childhood with no mistakes, no adversity, no big challenges, everything is so smooth. But life isn't that way. And what children need more than the perfect childhood is the ideal parent who supports the child at those difficult times. This is how we learn to bounce back from life, when things happen. And every child has their own challenges. there's no child that goes through life without their upsets and their challenges. And what makes the difference for them is is their parent present for them at that time? If they're upset, are they heard? If they need extra support, do they get that extra support? It's giving the child the support they need that builds the trust in life that when things get bad, I'm still loved. When things get bad, I can still trust others to be there for me. And one more element. Sometimes parents beat themselves up for not being the perfect parent. If you were the perfect parent, your child would never learn how to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the most important traits that anybody can ever learn in life. And we all come in with the potential, up to about 9-10 years old, we all automatically forgive our parents. So the more parents can acknowledge, oh, I made a mistake, the children can go, oh, that's okay. But when parents make mistakes, and they don't acknowledge they made mistakes, children always blame themselves. So a quick story. I'm walking by one of my daughter's rooms as a young girl, and a friend dropped a champagne glass. And I could hear it crash. And the girl goes, oh my God your parents are going to kill me! And my daughter said, nonsense. My dad says it's okay to make mistakes. As a matter of fact, every week my dad makes a mistake. It's okay. And then she called out to me and she said, Daddy, Daddy. And I pretended like I wasn't there, and I walked in. And she said, looked, she dropped the champagne glass. And I told her that it's okay to make mistakes. And I said, of course it's okay to make mistakes. It's alright. And then my daughter says, what mistakes did you make this week Daddy? And then I was quick to respond, because I'm not the perfect parent. I said, on Tuesday I was supposed to pick you up at 3 and I got there around 3:15. And I apologized and I made it up to you by spending extra time in the park. That's what we have to do is be examples to our children of being responsible. That we all make mistakes. And we make it up to people. And we all deserve to be forgiven.

Dr. John Gray explains why a supportive parent is more important than a perfect childhood and why adversity can be a great learning tool


Expert Bio

More from Expert

John Gray, PhD

Best-Selling Author

John Gray is the leading relationship expert in the world. His relationship and health books have sold over 50 million copies in 50 different languages. His groundbreaking book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, is the best-selling non-fiction book of all time.

John helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness and romance. His many books, videos, workshops and seminars provide practical insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages of life and love.

John also travels the world teaching communities and companies the best ways to improve their relationships and communication. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show many times as well as The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The View, and many others. He has been profiled in Time, Forbes, USA Today and People.

John Gray lives in Northern California with his wife of 29 years, Bonnie. They have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. He is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice.

More Parenting Videos from John Gray, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter