Gritty Reality: Raising Children in an Imperfect World


1 August 2017

Safe Bee 

With world conflict, low morale and political uncertainty dominating the media, parents are searching for solutions to limit the fear and disappointment their children are exposed to daily. Waking up to the gritty reality of real life, parents are seeking out tools and advice to help confront a number of problems they themselves can’t resolve: how can they ensure their children feel protected in an imperfect world? How can they provide children freedom and independence within safe boundaries? How can they make sure they aren’t setting children up for failure by pretending the world is a faultless place?

With these questions in mind, parents are beginning to shift from sheltering, to exposing children to the gritty reality of real life in an attempt to raise compassionate and emotionally intelligent individuals. Encouraging them to act on their natural curiosities and form a quizzical attitude around some of life’s tougher realities. As a result, children are becoming aware of more sophisticated subjects, leading them to instinctively and naively ask ‘Why?’. Driven by empathy more than previous generations, they are not afraid to challenge the complex opinions of adults, successfully proving age is just a number.

We recently spoke to primary school teacher Charlotte Harris, who told us why she thought it was extremely important to cancel lessons and take the time to speak to her class of 9 and 10 year olds, following the deeply saddening attacks in Manchester.

“What I took from today, is the hope of young people. I spent a full day discussing peace through ALL religions after waking up and deciding hey, it’s OK to scrap my spelling, reading and writing today – this is more important. They were amazing – after a few curious questions and some frank, truthful and respectful conversations – 27 nine and ten year olds have given me so much hope for the generation to follow.”

Life and I 

As children are trusted to be able to process and understand ‘adult topics’, it’s extremely important for brands, educators and influencers to also respond to them in an age appropriate way. Already, we have evidenced an abundance of sophisticated narratives in story books such as ‘The Journey’ by Francesca Sanna and ‘Life and I’ by Elisabeth Hellend Larson and Marine Schneider. Life and I is a beautifully illustrative story book about death. The book is aimed at helping parents find the words to express what is often difficult to explain.

For brands, media producers, authors and designers, it is important to be aware that it is not necessarily about ‘kidifying’ a hard concept. Instead, approaching it in a very beautiful way, similar to ‘Life and I’ allows parents to feel comfortable sharing it with their children.

It is extremely important for you to consider what role your brand plays in exposing children to the gritty reality of real life. 

Our Baby & Kids Future Insight Report 2018 is available to buy now in digital format from our online shop. To download a free edit of Gritty Reality 2018 click ‘download now’ in the sidebar to the right of this post.


Overall a great day which involved getting everyone's thoughts, ideas and reservations down on paper. I am looking forward to seeing how this information will be overlaid with the vital trend insights we need to drive new product development and long-term business growth.


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