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Ltryptophan's avatar

How is it that as children we wail at any slight, and as adults we quietly suffer atrocities?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) July 20th, 2011

I watched a child shriek in terror today as their possession of an undesirable quantity was revoked by their maternal custodian.

So. So what if you can’t have what you want you little brat!

This is where it struck me. Maybe this brat is far more cogent than I!

Here, I suffer nearly unbearably without the slightest wince. Torrents of hostile creatures abound, even this little monster, and I do not even clear my throat.

This child and I are on very different ends of the pain tolerance spectrum. Where should we draw the line where we as adults find that part of us that once wildly met reality’s attempt to offer anything but bliss, with a penetrating, high pitched, help sanctioning, battle cry!? Please explain. Thanks

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14 Answers

Prosb's avatar

Good question. As far as where exactly that line should be drawn I don’t know, but it would differ greatly based on personal taste. I’m sure certain people would like having the patience to deal with the stress of everyday work accumulating over time. Others, wish they could stand up when they feel things aren’t right, or they aren’t treated fairly, but simply stay quiet.

As adults, we have suffered more, so the petty annoyances in life are much more easily brushed off. Compared to say, a six-year-old who, the worst thing that has ever happened to was their ice-cream falling off the cone. They generally have the metaphorical tolerance of a a pin to a balloon, where we have more of a pin to an elephant. Still damn annoying to be sure, but nothing to make a fuss over.

chewhorse's avatar

Because when we’re young we think it’s unfair and when we’re adults we think it’s simply life.

rooeytoo's avatar

Children (and their respective parents) think they are the center of the universe and all should revolve around their wants and desires. As adults we learn that we are not the center of anyone’s universe and we can’t adjust the world to our desires. The happiest people accept what is and go with it instead of making themselves miserable trying to get everything their way.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t know that all adults have managed to learn they can’t have everything they want in this world and that throwing tantrums won’t work for them. I know adults who still behave that way.
I saw a woman who was about 30 in a hotel restaurant, eating dinner with her parents (or in truth drinking to excess and loudly abusing and berating her parents) a few weeks ago behaving in a manner that I would not have tolerated from a five year old.

For the rest of us, we learn by experience that life doesn’t owe us anything and that there are times when we just can’t get/have what we want. We learn this by experience and I think through the guidance of role models.

dabbler's avatar

There are plenty of ‘adults’ who will whine about everything that does not meet their expectations, never mind pain and discomfort.

There should be not necessarily a line drawn, but rather use of civilized ways of bringing up an issue. Similar to ‘clean fighting’ rules : Use “I” statements, don’t blame anyone else, state how you feel and what you want.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it’s also a manner of knowing how to express yourself. As we get older, we learn more and more ways to communicate and express ourselves. Considering we start out only being able to cry to express ourselves and then slowly gain vocabulary to use and develop body language, I think it’s natural that the way we express ourselves evolves as we grow. As adults, we know many more ways to express ourselves and also which ways are appropriate and when (something else children still have to learn).

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t always choose to suffer in silence. ;)

athenasgriffin's avatar

As adults, we learn how selfish it is to constantly expect others to meet our needs. And I think the realization is mostly positive.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @Bellatrix

Plenty of whiney, bratty, tantrum throwing ‘adults.’ lol

I do think though, at times, it would be funny if we did act on our feelings spontaneously as children do.

You know, you’re tried, you have to pee, you’re hungry, and you’re stuck in line at the store, the bank, whatever. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if we could just crumple to the ground and start crying and shrieking?

” I don’t WANNA wait anymore!

Then somebody would pick us up and wrap us in a blankey and whisper that if we just waited a little bit longer they would buy us a Happy Meal on the way home. “hahaha

Bellatrix's avatar

I’m actually with @lucillelucillelucille too though. I don’t always suffer in silence either. One year I took my husband around handbag shops and showed him about three handbags I really liked. On my birthday, I opened my present to find what to me was a hideous bag! He had let my daughter (who had not seen any of my choices) buy the bag for me and it was something SHE would carry but not my style at all. I was so disappointed and the bag was so expensive that I didn’t do what I would normally do and say “oh how lovely, thank you”. I said “this is not what I chose? Why did you not buy me one of the bags I chose. I will never use this one”. I did apologise to them as I looked at their sad little faces appraising me as the wicked witch from the west who lost her manners, but far out, I have been on this planet too long to just say it’s okay to ignore the effort I went to to make sure this mistake didn’t happen. I don’t want this fricken, horrible handbag. I was more polite than this last bit… a little more polite anyway.

Sometimes, we need to let our inner child out!!!

wundayatta's avatar

@Ltryptophan I think there were a couple of mispellings in your question. Didn’t you mean “How is it that as children, we whale at any sight, and as adults we quietly suffer astro cities?”

I should think the answer to this question is obvious. Children live in the sea with whales, and adults live in the sky, in Astro Cities. I really think this is a Wikipedia question.

gondwanalon's avatar

The moral of this short story is: Life is unfair and stressful. You either get tough or die young.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Truly, we have learned to cope with much. Good for us.

keobooks's avatar

The younger the child is, the more trouble they have containing their emotions. Very small children—preschoolers and toddlers for instance—have brains that are less developed it causes all sorts of problems with them.

Toddlers and preschoolers spend a lot of times with their brains overclocked. They are constantly taking in huge amounts of information and trying to figure out what to do with it. They don’t really have any filters built in yet, so they are taking it ALL in. They sometimes freak out over what seems to be something tiny to us because it was the final straw for them and they have a meltdown.

Little kids have difficulties with thinking about the past—even the recent past. This gives them difficulties with perspective. If you give them four cookies in a row, and then you don’t give the 5th one to them, they will scream their heads off. In some ways, they don’t remember that they just had 4 cookies. All they can process is “cookie denied”. If they were already getting overwhelmed by all of the sights sounds and smells of a store, the “cookie denied” is probably just one thing too many for the kids to deal with.

The original purpose of “time out’ as punishment wasn’t supposed to force the kid to sit down and think about what they had done. It was actually supposed to be removing the kid from the stimulus so they had time to chill out and recover from being over stimulated.

Anyway, by the time we’re 9 or 10, most of us have brains that have settled down enough not to be so easily overstimulated. We are neurologically more capable of handling stress.

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