10 Things That We Should Stop Telling Our Children
Every parent knows that raising children is no easy task. The standards of upbringing have changed over time, and while our moms tried to make sure that we were fed and dressed properly, we tend to teach our children to set personal boundaries. In this article, we would like to talk about the things that we should stop telling our children and what we should be telling them instead.
We tend to teach our children to be obedient, but it’s worth teaching them to say “no” and accept “no” for an answer.
It’s a very important skill to know how and when to say “no.” In childhood, we can use this skill to protect our favorite toys from other children, and in adulthood, it helps us preserve our personal boundaries. It’s important to let your child know that they can refuse to do something that they don’t like, but they should also be aware of the fact that others can do the same.
- I had to deal with this with my daughter. We were at the park, and she asked another girl if she could play with one of her dolls. The girl said “no” and the next thing I know, there was a temper tantrum being thrown because she “wouldn’t share.” Eventually, I had a fight with my ex and my parents because I explained to her that not everyone has to share, and she could say “no” if she wanted because it was her toy. © Dunjee / Reddit
We tend to think that talent is important to achieve success, but in reality, you just need to be persistent.
As they say, perseverance always wins the race. Almost everyone can learn how to draw, sing, or dance if they are persistent enough and ready to allocate enough time for it. Of course, some people are more apt in hard sciences, while others prefer languages or literature, but you can learn how to do almost anything without having a specific talent.
- I’m a professional musician, and I get the “you’re so talented” complement all the time. I know they mean well, but I had to work really hard to get where I am today. I tell my students that it’s not about talent, it’s about hard work and dedication. © Batmans_9th_Ab / Reddit
- I tell my kids that having talent is like having a canoe, it can take you places, but you still have to do all the work if you want to get anywhere. © Berkwaz / Reddit
We teach them to avoid hardship and failure, but we need to teach them how to handle failure instead and let them learn from their own mistakes.
Surely, we don’t want our children to repeat our own mistakes and make new ones. But everyone makes mistakes, it’s normal. It’s better to let your child make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes.
- The goal should not be to avoid failure, but to avoid harm in failure. Let your kids go skiing, but on a hill where the ski patrol can get them medical attention if they break a leg. Let them go outside without a coat. When they get cold, and they will, ask if they have learned about cold, then give them the jacket you brought. You can deliberately let them fail, so they learn how to handle failure gracefully. © bz922x / Reddit
- Let your kids take pretty affordable risks, which is great for them to learn and develop their own decision-making skills. © Dangerous—D / Reddit
We tend to tell them that big boys and girls don’t cry instead of letting them live through their emotions.
Crying is one of the ways to relieve stress, and it’s important for both children and adults. When a baby cries, many parents may feel uncomfortable, thinking that they are doing something wrong. This is a parenting trigger that causes a strong emotional response. It’s important not to suppress your emotions, but to live through them, and it’s a valuable experience for both adults and children.
- I was raised in a generation that said “boys don’t cry” and they expected kids to always behave or be punished. In my opinion, that has caused so many anger and depression issues in adults now.
The point with that is that everyone has bad days, kids included. Why are we grounding, spanking, or yelling at kids for having an emotional outburst after a long day when they’re tired, but we let adults do it all the time? It’s absolutely ridiculous to hold kids to a higher emotional control standard than adults. © lawsofthegoose / Reddit
We say that they should be friends with all their peers while it’s much better to be friends with those they want to.
It’s probably happened to you that when you send your children to a camp or a sports group, you can say something like, “Make some friends there.” But for some reason, we may forget to say that not all kids are nice and worth being friends with. And some kids may not want to be friends with our children, and this is also normal. It’s great when kids make friends, but there is no need to be friends with everyone around.
- I’ve had to tell my kids this. Like when kids in their class don’t ever want to play with them. Not everyone wants to be your friend, and that’s okay. © SaveusJebus / Reddit
- I tell my son that you don’t have to be friends with everyone or play with everyone, but you do need to be kind. © Neat_Mistake_5523 / Reddit
We try to convince them that adults know everything and are always right.
Children always ask a million questions, and some of them can be so tricky that we simply don’t know how to answer them. And some things we just don’t know, like how many stars there are in the sky, what temperature it is on Mars, and many other things. The right thing to say here is “let’s find out together,” and not “because I know best.”
- I’m amazed at the amount of parents or teachers that just tell kids things with the explanation of “because I know best.” I love when a kid or student asks me a question I don’t know because it means we can explore it together. I also admit when I make a mistake, or when I’m unsure of a certain topic or lesson. © lisey_lou / Reddit
We push them to eat all the food on their plate, even if they’re not hungry.
Parents seem to always be worrying about their children’s nutrition, and they want to make sure that their kids never feel hungry. Pushing children to eat all the food on their plates can lead to negative consequences for their health.
- This instills an irrational need to clear your plate, even if you’re full, and then we wonder why they struggle with weight later, only for you to suddenly flip it and try to teach them the opposite. Why are we waiting until well into adulthood when habits are already ingrained to say, “Hey, it’s actually healthier if you stop when you’re full”?
And also, I know that kids sometimes blow smoke, claiming they don’t like a food when they’ve never actually tried it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean, stop forcing kids to eat foods that you know they hate. If you know they hate carrots, you can’t get mad when you cook carrots anyway, and they don’t want to eat them. © AriSpice / Reddit
- My parents did this, but used portion sizes big enough to feed a family of 4 on a single plate. Guess who was a morbidly obese kid, and now has to drop all that weight as an adult? If your kids are not hungry, they are not hungry. © ImSoSpiffy / Reddit
We threaten our children with doctors, strangers, etc.
Many children are afraid of doctors and strangers, so parents can sometimes use these fears to make a child behave. For example, they may threaten their children with “painful injections” or “giving them away to a stranger” if they don’t behave. In fact, the best thing you can do is to tell your child the truth. This way, you’ll be able to build a trusting and honest relationship with them.
- When I was a kid, my parents constantly threatened to take me to a doctor to get an injection (I was scared of getting shots). © MutantNinjaN****es / Reddit
- Either doctors or “watch out, bad doggies out there, they will bite you” if the kids won’t stop roaming around in public places. I have a nephew who’s 7–8 years old that is absolutely terrified of dogs (like jumping up the couch and start crying), even the ones that are just napping, minding their own dreams. © HeavyBlastoise / Reddit
- Or in the shop, they could say, “You see this scary man? If you don’t listen to me, he will steal you and take you to his house.” © UncommonTheIdk / Reddit
We teach them that it’s polite to let other adults hug and kiss them.
We ourselves don’t always like when other people shake hands with us, touch our shoulders, or hug us. And children feel the same way, as they don’t always enjoy grandparents or other relatives hugging and kissing them. You need to explain to your child that they can choose whether they want to sit on their aunt’s lap or not.
- When I see my nieces and nephew, I always ask them if I can give them a kiss and if they can give me a kiss. Sometimes, they say “no” to both. Other times I get a huge hug!
I’m trying to teach their grandparents about the importance of bodily autonomy, but it’s going to be tough — I’ve heard them tell the kids, “I don’t get a kiss? I’m really sad now!” Please don’t make a 4-year-old responsible for your feelings. They’re allowed not to want to kiss you and shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it. © JustHereToRedditAway / Reddit
We sometimes raise them with the idea that they are the center of the universe.
Of course, our children are special to us. But it’s a mistake to think that the entire world will treat them the way their mothers do — this can make children arrogant and self-important.
- This is about my nephew. Everything is “about him” and nobody else matters. If he’s upstairs doing something with Dad, and they finish up, then he comes downstairs to where his sister and mother are, and he’ll immediately say, “I want to do this,” and expect the sister and mom to start doing that with him (and he gets upset when they don’t). © corrado33 / Reddit
It’s not easy to be a parent, but it’s still quite entertaining. What things do you try to instill in your children?