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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 01-Oct-15 12:17:18

Why do people make so much fuss?

Veteran journalist and author, Bel Mooney wonders why on earth the next generations seem to take everything so very much harder than her own does?

Bel Mooney

Why do people make such a fuss?

Posted on: Thu 01-Oct-15 12:17:18


Lead photo

"Why do people make so much fuss?" asks Bel Mooney

It happened over a few days – an accumulation of irritating pinpricks of feebleness that led me to conclude that we have become a nation of wimps. I’m very active on Facebook (with a personal page as well as a community page, Bel Mooney-Writer) and it was there I started noticing the bleats.

The young author of a single novel confided that writing was 'agony' and 'an unbearable strain.' A woman whose daughter was packing to go off to university wailed that she felt full of 'grief' at the parting, and many people 'liked' this - agreeing that waving goodbye to their teenagers was one of life's cruellest traumas.

Then a reader of my Daily Mail advice column wrote to chide me for being 'mean' and 'hurtful' in my robust reply to a problem, when I had merely suggested that the guy who fancied himself in love with a woman he'd known for five minutes was deluding himself and needed to get real.

Naturally I'm continuously driven mad by the on-going rows in our universities about 'offence' given to this minority group or that. And I often wonder how many people who even go to law because of their hurt feelings were treated with kid gloves when they were children, turning them into adults who can't cope with the rough and tumble of life. A society which encourages nervous young mums to use antiseptic spray cleaner on every surface including the high chair is in thrall to wimpishness of the highest order.

Whenever I ask my mother if she felt upset by something that happened during her hard life, her response is always the same: a philosophical shrug and "You just got on with it."

When did we start making so much fuss about everything? As a child of
the fifties I remember falling over and skinning my knee and accepting this as a natural result of play. If my mother saw the graze she'd say briskly, "It'll be all right' – and carry on with what she was doing. In contrast, the other day I saw a young mother almost have hysterics because her child has scratched his arm on a rose bush and she blamed the dad for not preventing this grave injury.

"Oh come on!" I want to shout, "Toughen up - all of you!" My parents' generation (born in the 1920s) had to put up and shut up, because there was no alternative.

Whenever I ask my mother if she felt upset by something that happened during her hard life, her response is always the same: a philosophical shrug and "You just got on with it."

We baby boomers were the same, weren't we? Nobody I knew moaned about freezing floors and iced up windows (on the inside), or masses of homework, or having to write lines for misbehaviour in school, or strict uniform rules, or measly jam sandwiches for tea…because that's how it was. For everybody. Yes, we 'had it so good' later on, but as kids we were packed off to play out in all weathers. And never got a cold.

But now crying and complaining seem to be the common responses to everything. Young women take offence and get angry if a man pays a compliment and the fuss goes on for weeks. Each one of life's hardships sparks discussions of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, when the truth is this: pain is normal and so is sadness and you do - in the end - get over it. So try to control the fuss factor. Please.

Bel's new book Lifelines: Words to Help You Through is published by The Robson Press and is available from Amazon now.

By Bel Mooney

Twitter: @Gransnet

KatyK Thu 01-Oct-15 12:34:33

I totally agree with Bel on this. My life has been quite difficult and I have also had to 'get on with it'. It seems that people are always crying over what, in my opinion, is really nothing at all. They cry on programmes such as The X Factor and such like. Sometimes I am totally flabbergasted at the reactions of people to what seems to me to be trivial. Perhaps it is because they have never had any real hardship in their lives so don't know any different. I don't wish suffering on anyone of course but sometimes a bit of hardship makes us realise what is really important in life. Then maybe what we see as trivial, they see as devastating.

janeainsworth Thu 01-Oct-15 12:44:50

My DCs all think they have been traumatised by having a mother whose stock response to everything was a variant on 'pull yourself together' grin

Luckygirl Thu 01-Oct-15 12:49:37

I have no problem with people (male and female) feeling that it is OK to cry now in a way that it wasn't when we were young. But the question is what they are crying about; whether it warrants their tears.

I would not want to go back to the stiff upper lip completely - it led to emotional constipation, which was not healthy, as tears were seen as a failure and a weakness - but we now seem to have the opposite!

Anya Thu 01-Oct-15 13:01:58

Spot on Bel

There's a thread somewhere on GN about University students not being able to hack it, and your blog hits the nail on the head. As Lucky said, the pendulum's swung too far.

HappyNan1 Thu 01-Oct-15 13:08:18

I'm with you Bel and jeana, suppose the moden version is 'Get over yourself'. I feel sorry for those who now collapse in a puddle of tears and almost hysteria at the slightest thing, what will their children learn?

soontobe Thu 01-Oct-15 13:08:42

I wonder if some people just write things, but dont really mean it to the extent it sounds.

If they do, I think it is because of what KatyK says. They may not have known real hardship.

Anya Thu 01-Oct-15 13:15:19

Who are you talking about when you say 'some people just write things'? confused

soontobe Thu 01-Oct-15 13:41:24

Facebook, Twitter, sites with younger people.

ffinnochio Thu 01-Oct-15 13:47:07

So try to control the fuss factor. Yep. With you there, Bel. smile

Gagagran Thu 01-Oct-15 13:53:37

I agree "soontobe". It's all "look at me, look at me" with the younger ones where we would have been told to stop showing off. They do seem to need to be centre stage and to make dramas out of trivialities. (Bless their little cottons!) I speak from the experience of three DGDs and a drama queen DDiL, you understand! grin

TwiceAsNice Thu 01-Oct-15 16:15:46

Absolutely agree with Bel and other posters. I grew up in a house without central heating and very little luxuries. Teachers in school were awful for the most part and you had to " get on with" a lot of things. We were certainly too poor for me to go to university, I put myself through a degree in my early forties after dealing with the death of my middle child and the breakup later on of an abusive relationship.

However I still look back on things with a lot of pleasure not everything was stressful. I am happy have many friends and a lovely supportive family. Despite all the difficulties in the past I feel blessed. At some point only you can make your glass half full instead of half empty.

WilmaKnickersfit Thu 01-Oct-15 16:48:04

Many parents want to do a better job at raising children than their parents though, so maybe that's where things stem from. Many of us can look back at our childhood and think of things we wouldn't want our children to experience. So we do things differently and get different results. In general every parent tries to do the best for their children, so each generation is different. Not better or worse, just different. So no, I don't agree with Bel.

rosesarered Thu 01-Oct-15 17:00:34

I agree with Bel.Totally!

Maggiemaybe Thu 01-Oct-15 17:13:56

I agree totally with Bel, though I think the process started with our generation, and the way we wanted better for our children than we'd had ourselves. The determination for our children never to know failure certainly did (the non-competitive school sports, the heaping on of praise for a B where our parents would have asked why it wasn't an A, the advice not to use the word no if at all possible). Like janea, I've always been a "pull yourself together" sort, so my lot probably feel aggrieved. But at least they're not likely to be call round weeping about it any time soon!

TriciaF Thu 01-Oct-15 17:45:01

I have a theory about this, it's to do with the start of birth control and planned families. Whereas in the past we had to accept the children born to us, and make the best of it, relying on parental love and instinct.
Not very kind to say this, but I think some parents treat children as if they were just more material possessions that need to be guarded and promoted at all costs. Not separate individuals with a right to make mistakes, have accidents etc in order to learn.

thatbags Thu 01-Oct-15 18:41:35

I've only ever aspired to let my kids have as good a childhood as I had. They've had more material possessions but I don't count that as necessarily better. I guess I was lucky to have well educated but no nonsense parents. Good role models.

I agree, bel. People are awful fusspots nowadays. Some people that is. It probably isn't the majority even though it sometimes seems like that.

rosesarered Thu 01-Oct-15 18:53:21

Yes, just that the fusspots make more noise.

Ana Thu 01-Oct-15 18:54:58

And get more news coverage.

gettingonabit Thu 01-Oct-15 19:00:18

I agree with you, triciaF. It's the Precious Snowflake Syndrome. I can understand parents wanting better for their children than they had themselves, but what I really don't get is the hysteria around the bringing up of children. It's as if children are somehow permanently at risk-of what, though?

Parenting has turned into a performance, so whereas in the past you'd be given sharp words and robust boundaries, children these days are surrounded by parental hysteria,and overreaction to what used to be everyday minor inconveniences such as strict discipline at school has turned childhood into a drama.

I was in a small, suburban Lidl yesterday where a gran with two kids in tow (about 6 and 9) was,warning her two small charges of the risk of strangers in the store. This level of risk-aversion must be exhausting, especially given that the real risk of stranger abduction is something like twelve million to one. I wanted to shake her and say "get a grip, woman!".

I can't understand where this thinking has come from. Western children have it better than ever, so why the paranoia?

Genienanny5 Thu 01-Oct-15 19:28:29

I agree too much fuss is made these days but I am in awe at the patience of my daughters so may be they are raising a more sensitive and considerate generation? Over reaction to childrens illnesses and normal falls and spills is in part due to the health professionals and the internet.

apricot Thu 01-Oct-15 19:54:12

Parents now seem to have no confidence in themselves and little common sense. They worry too much.
I raised four children without any family to help, without Google or Mumsnet and without ever going to A&E.
I admire my daughters' ability to work full-time, pursue further degrees and bring up children all at the same time. It would be easier for them if they weren't told so often that every word and action will affect their children for life and if schools weren't now run like prison camps.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-Oct-15 20:08:25

Well, I howled for days when each of my kids went off to university.

And what does she mean by "the rough and tumble of life" that she reckons people can't cope with?

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-Oct-15 20:13:36

"Young women take offence and get angry if a man pays a compliment and the fuss goes on for weeks."

That is a bloody ridiculous thing to say. She was letched after Bel!!!

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-Oct-15 20:14:07

Forgot the angry