9 Outdated and Dangerous Ideas We’re Still Trying to Beat Into Our Children’s Heads
We all want our children to grow up into happy and successful adults. So we use upbringing techniques that, as we believe, will help us achieve this goal. We teach our children to listen to adults and concentrate on studying but it hasn’t ever crossed our minds that such lessons may bring more harm than good in the future. Some popular and wide-spread ideas don’t benefit the younger generations anymore. And what will happen in 10-20 years?
Bright Side is sure that modern problems require modern solutions. So we highlighted some outdated conceptions that parents should stop imposing on their children, imagined what would happen if we kept on following them, and came up with some pieces of useful advice.
1. “My child will get only the best.”
Raising a spoiled child is an easy task. Fredric Neuman, M.D. and Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center, believes that a defining characteristic of a spoiled child is an unwillingness to acknowledge other people’s wishes: “The child wants what they want and when they want.” When parents indulge the child too much, they actually disservice them. As an adult, such a child becomes their own enemy: addiction, lack of responsibility and poor social skills, selfishness and using people for their own benefit make these people unhappy.
The best way out is to set boundaries, determine the duties of a child, pay attention to their manners and behavior, and not allow them to show any disrespect toward parents or other people. It also will be beneficial to teach a child to appreciate the labor and show them the value of money. For example, parents may help their child find their first part-time job.
2. “You should always listen to adults.”
Parents often dream of making their children always listen to them. But they don’t think that the habit of constantly obeying and playing by the rules can be harmful to their children’s future. The psychologist and the author of the book Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids, Laura Markham, is sure that obedient children turn into obedient adults.
Such adults have fewer chances to stand up for themselves and they’re more likely to become victims of manipulators and unfaithful people. They also can just execute the orders without asking any questions and not take responsibility for their actions. That’s why it’s essential to teach your child how to say “no” and express their opinion.
3. “Getting an ’A’ in school is good, getting a ’C’ is bad.”
The sure way to make your child suffer from anxiety their whole life is to impose a “straight-A student syndrome.” The best thing any parent can do for their children is to explain that failures don’t affect their relationship in any way and the child will be heard and loved in any case.
A clinical psychologist, Dr. Stephanie O’Leary believes that failure may be beneficial to the kids for several reasons. It teaches children to deal with a negative situation, provides valuable life experience, and will help to find solutions to difficult situations in the future without being afraid of failure. This is probably where all those stories about successful low-performing students and straight-A students who aren’t ready for real-life come from. The first ones are ready to overcome any difficulties and are up for the challenge. The latter kids are more likely not to try because they’re afraid of failure.
4. “Don’t fight and don’t hit back.”
A person should know how to stand up for themselves. If parents try to beat into their child’s head that under no circumstances they can offend another person, the child will just keep silent and suffer from bullies without saying a word. They won’t be able to survive in a competitive environment in the future.
However, it can’t be an excuse to teach a child to fight with every person they have a conflict with. So how should they deal with bullies? Get in a fight with them or just stand up for themselves verbally? This question has been widely discussed and psychologists came to the conclusion that a child should know that they have a right to protect themselves. And if parents teach their children how to stand up for themselves, they’ll be giving them a lifelong present.
5. “You should focus on studying and I’ll do the rest for you.”
Parents shouldn’t tell their children to focus on one main task and try to solve the rest of their problems for them. Any person should develop multitasking skills and be able to take responsibility for all spheres of their life. But these skills often come with experience that a child won’t have if they’re raised with excessive care.
It gets even worse when parents try to protect their children from all their problems. Such children often act in an infantile and irresponsible manner when they grow up.
6. “You should go to college right after graduation.”
If the child doesn’t know who they would like to become, they are more likely to choose the option suggested by their parents. Such a choice may become a big mistake and the child will regret it. To avoid that, parents shouldn’t put too much pressure on a teenager and give them an opportunity to sort out their own plans for their life.
For that reason, in many countries, teenagers are encouraged to take a gap year, or a short break (about a year) between school graduation and college. During this time, teenagers can work, find an internship or undergo some courses, but most importantly, take their time and think about their plans for the future.
7. “Only university degrees matter.”
Of course, higher education is important when we talk about jobs like an aircraft designer or a civil engineer. But it doesn’t mean there will be a huge difference in paychecks. It depends on the country, the value of the exact occupation on the job market, the university rating, and the abilities of the students themselves. For example, while doctors have made it to the top on the list of jobs with the highest income in the US, in other countries the situation may be quite different.
There’s also a curious tendency when in industries with high salaries (like beauty, IT, and film production) that a college degree is less important than the skills and experience a person has. That’s why there are so many successful businessmen, beauty professionals, and artists without a college degree.
8. “A part-time job will distract the child from school. It’s better to focus on studying.”
While it isn’t necessary to graduate with honors, getting a part-time job may bring valuable experience, social connections, and maybe even determine the future of a child. When young people start to work early, they learn how to meet deadlines, make do-to lists, and receive feedback from their supervisors. Nowadays, employers understand the value of a part-time job so it’ll look good on a resume and help a fresh graduate stand out among other candidates.
Experts believe that 65% of current school students will work in spheres that don’t exist now. That’s why not only specific knowledge matters, but also communication skills, critical thinking, and self-sufficiency.
9. “Other people will decide for us.”
Some people like to wait until someone else will make a decision for them. And they teach their children not to stand out, not to speak too much, and not to do other people’s jobs. But what can this cause? Such children are more likely to grow up indifferent and won’t be able to express or stand up for their interests. And it’s not only about a separate individual, but it’s also about healthy altruism when people don’t feel indifferent about common problems.
The position, “It doesn’t have anything to do with me,” doesn’t look good on anybody. It’s much better to teach a child about the nuances of the world, political and social systems, and the environment and beauty of nature. The more inspired, passionate, and conscious people we bring up, the more scientific breakthroughs, social projects, and ecological initiatives we’ll see. That way, the world will become a better place.
What clichés and harmful ideas aren’t on this list?
Иллюстратор Igor Polushin for BrightSide.me