The Importance of Acceptance

I hope you are well and your days are peppered with gentleness and calm.

One of the main themes that runs through a lot of the psychological work that we do is the importance of
acceptance. Many children and young people struggle with accepting certain situations or circumstances which in turn affects mental health and quality of life. During this time of lockdown, there are three approaches that we all fall into:

  • Sufferers
  • Resisters
  • Accepters


From personal experience, personal movement between the three groups can happen on a daily basis and that
is normal, although we may have one style that we sit in more than others. The amazing thing about the brain
is that is has lots of ability to adapt and change. Nothing is ever set in stone, in either the way we think,
feel or behave.

Sometimes we can feel like we are suffering when we feel that the world is against us and the current
situation confirms to us that life is never as we want it to be, something always has to spoil it. Not accepting a
situation adds to our suffering. For some of us, we struggle to accept as we have learned to believe that it is
us against the world, which fuels blame and underpins feelings of resistance, injustice and anger. Both outlooks
reflect elements of lowered self esteem and psychological well being. One outlook drives a perceived sense of
failure, the other that we have no internal strength to face up to our role in this situation. The only mindset that
will help us all, as best as possible, is to accept it for what it is and take responsibility for the important part we
play in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.

As active adults, we need to accept that some of our children and young people are not as developed as their
peers and therefore some of their behaviours or learning needs will appear more demanding and challenging.
We must also recognise and accept that this is not always a sign that our child is deliberately acting in the way
that they do in order to annoy, upset or damage the quality of your relationship. Children need to be coached
and nudged, through a consistent modelling approach, in the direction that we would like them to be within your caring environment.

We have all done an amazing job to get to where we are already, and flickers of hope and change are starting
to appear on the horizon. The one thing we all have in common is that we were all in this together.

The importance of acceptance

  • Acceptance plays a crucial role in positive mental health, well-being and quality of life for children,
    young people and adults
  • We need to accept the reality of a situation to work out how to change it for the better
  • Acceptance is not the same as approval. We might need to accept a situation fully, even if we don’t
    approve of it, in order for us to change it
  • We do not always understand what acceptance means when used in day to day situations. Understanding that it means recognising that some rules are bigger than you as an individual, can remove the element of fight
  • By discussing and explaining situations and decisions with children and young people (those we have little control over), they will learn to see the realities of what needs to be accepted in life, what we have some control over, and what we have the right to challenge
  • Explain reasons for your requests to your children. Extract the maturity and moral understanding from
    them rather than trying to implant it
  • Provide honest, reasonable and non-personal information to support your requests and don’t forget
    the why. By having a reason and purpose for our behaviour, we are more likely to accept it
  • Don’t forget long term behaviour change is not quick and is not easy. We all need to accept that some
    young people could be prevented from doing so due to complex child developmental issues and/or
    complex external factors