December 2, 2019 | Casey Fletcher

Parents Share The Lessons We Should Stop Teaching Young Children

Every parent wants the best for their children. They want to raise their kids right, be there for them and teach them life lessons that will get them through the hardest times. But even parents can be wrong sometimes. When we're stressed, busy or misinformed, we can instil lessons on our kids that we probably shouldn't have. And as it turns out, telling your young ones "Because I said so," and "He annoys you because he likes you," can actually have damaging effects later in life. Here are a few lessons today's parents think you shouldn't be teaching your kids.


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#1 Teacher Will Take It From Here

That the teacher will handle any bullies.

#2 Do What You're Told

That children should always do what they're told. If they're uncomfortable, or scared, or truly believe what they're being asked to do is wrong, they should be taught it's okay to stick up for themselves.

#3 Eat Everything On Your Plate

They have to keep eating even when they're full. This isn't about picky eaters or whatever, this is about schools forcing kids to eat ALL of their lunch despite not physically being able to. It's not a healthy mindset. I've personally had to deal with this policy in different schools in both the USA and Japan. You've probably never encountered this if your school had a buffet or was cafeteria-style.


#4 "Man Up"

For young girls: "If a boy pulls your hair on the playground/bullies you, it means he likes you."

For young boys: "Man up. Real men don't cry."

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#5 Don't Take No For An Answer

"Don't take no for answer." Actually, this can have severe consequences down the road.


#6 Family Is Everything, Even When They're Wrong

"You should never hate anyone in your family." If a certain family member did you wrong, never repented, never apologized, never tried to make things right, would gladly do the same again and has done so on multiple occasions, you should be free to detest him as much as you like. But no, because we are related, that somehow completely erases what he's done.


#7 Comparing Kids to Other Kids

We should stop comparing them to other children, which is basically telling them they’re not good enough.

#8 Asking Questions Is Annoying

That asking questions is annoying or unacceptable. "I don't know, let's find out together" is the most engaging possible answer you can give a curious child.


#9 Ugly Equals Evil

That ugly equals bad or evil. I partially blame TV animation for this one, though. Old, ugly, fat or serious-looking people are almost always the villains in movies and TV series. This often makes kids fear elderly people and make unfair connections between appearance and personality.



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#10 iPads Distract Everything

Stop just sticking them to an iPad or a phone or something to distract them from everything else.


#11 Life Is Fair

Good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people. Life is fair.

#12 Cheap Is Poor

To mock off-brand, value, knockoff or no-brand items that others may use or wear. For people who think this isn't a thing, you obviously grew up privileged or just very nice. There are tons of people who have experienced this. I have seen my own family and friends' family do this to other people and it isn't okay.


#13 What To Think

What to think instead of how to think.


#14 Adults Can't Be Wrong

That adults are infallible. My wife and I freely admit to our kid if we've done something wrong or were mistaken, and try to teach him to behave the same. He's only four so it's hard because he's still learning even the concept of fallibility, but I'm pretty sure it's helping.


#15 Snakes Are Bad

To hate snakes. Humans are not born with an innate fear of snakes, they're born to easily develop that fear. And the way human culture treats snakes, with them almost always being depicted as scary/villainous, plays a big role in how that develops in impressionable children.

It's okay to be afraid of snakes. What's NOT okay is to have and spread attitudes like "the only good snake is a dead snake." Just because an animal freaks you out, doesn't diminish its right to live in the slightest. Snakes do a lot of good for the world, and their overwhelmingly negative depiction in popular culture and especially abhorrent events like Rattlesnake Roundups needs to stop.


#16 Not To Cry

Telling them not to cry.


#17 Kiss For Cute Pictures

Making little kids kiss for a "cute" picture.

#18 Resilience Training

I don't know how many schools do this, but I know it happened to me in both primary and high school and multiple other people I've spoken to about this who live in my state have said this as well. There's something called "Resilience Training" where they gather bullied kids and tell us that the way to prevent being bullied is to stop making ourselves a target, telling us that we have to try harder to fit in, and how ignoring a bully (rather than crying or running away) will make them give up. It doesn't help, it just made me—and probably other kids too—feel like more of an outcast. It put in my head that I got bullied because I deserved it.


#19 They Have to Hug Family

That they have to hug and kiss family members as a hello because it's "polite."

#20 Hitting Is Love

That if a boy hits a girl, or if a girl hits a boy, that means they like the other gender. Abuse should not be loved.

#21 Teasing Means They Like You

"They hurt you? That means they like you!" You know, in my humble personal opinion, I think it actually means the EXACT OPPOSITE! If your young children don't like someone or something, they will make it very clear to you. Any person with a grain of common sense shouldn't mistake harassment for affection. This is something we need to change.


#22 Don't Be a Tattle-Tale

Not to be a tattle-tale. Congrats, now you have a kid who hides everything from their parents and bottles up all their emotions. Not good.



#23 Stranger Danger

Stranger danger. We need to let them know that its not just strangers that can hurt them.

#24 Names For Body Parts

That private parts are rude and we shouldn’t speak about them. They are private but they aren’t rude. We need to teach children correct names for body parts including genitals. Also, getting children to be able to verbalize feeling uncomfortable and learning how they feel when they are uncomfortable can be beneficial in stopping grooming in its tracks.


#25 Cereal Is Healthy

We should stop teaching kids that cereal is part of a balanced breakfast.

#26 Because I Said So

Not teaching but saying “Because I said so," or “Because I’m the parent." GIVE A REASON, KAREN!

#27 Being Wrong Is Bad

To be ashamed when they're wrong. People should be thrilled to learn they're wrong because it's an opportunity to learn. Instead, we shame politicians who 'flip flop' on issues, even if they switch their opinions from something like man/woman marriage to a stance of gay rights support. Then we wonder why people straight up deny they're wrong even when you pile a mountain of evidence in front of their dumb faces.

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#28 Gender-Specific Colors

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls.

#29 The Doctor Will Hurt You

"If you're bad, I'll have the doctor give you a shot."

#30 Sharing Is Caring

That sharing is caring. I mean that with context. Of course, sharing would be polite and should be considered but just because you ask doesn't mean I have to give you anything, especially to strangers. Kids just walk off with things and parents don't even ask where they got these items half the time. I used to be a nanny.

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#31 College Is Key

Everyone has to go to college.

#32 Forced Apologies

Forced apologies. Telling a child to say "I'm sorry" and move on is completely useless. An apology is empty without true remorse. Let's instead teach children to apologize when they are truly sorry. It has to be genuine.


#33 Always Forgive

That we have to always forgive people who did us wrong.

#34 Losing Is Bad

That “losing” is inherently bad and thus failure is unacceptable. Our daughters’ tee-ball/coach-pitch softball team refused to let kids get out and also refused to make them use the tee. There were games where the coach literally threw balls to the same kid for 15 minutes straight. The coach was scandalized when we insisted our girls take an out after three swings and misses. Instead, we teach our kids that the BEST baseball players fail 2/3 of the time.


#35 Feelings Don't Matter

That their feelings don't matter. They do. They really do.

#36 You'll Always Win

If you’re good at something and work really hard, you’ll be successful! No. Even if you’re good at something and you work really hard at it, you can still fail; and others who aren’t as talented or hard-working as you can still get the attention, praise, promotion, etc. that you deserve instead. Life isn't fair.


#37 Finish Your Plate

"Finish your plate" encourages kids to eat past the point of full.

#38 College Is Necessary For Success

That college is necessary for success. It’s not required; it could be depending on what career they want. And I know not every school does this, but since I was little I was told that “the more school you get the more money you’re worth." In most cases, that's not true.

#39 The Cops Will Come For You

"If you don't stop misbehaving, the cops will come arrest you."

#40 Labeling Food

Unhealthy relationships with food. Noticing how our relationship with food is covertly communicated to our children. Labeling food as purely “good” or “bad”. Forcing children to eat something they don’t want to. Sending the message that “vegetables are gross” and are only to be enjoyed through bribery.


#41 Crying Will Get You What You Want

Just because you cry, doesn't mean the answer will be yes. My kids think after I say no, that crying will break me into saying yes, but nope, sorry. Crying is healthy for you and sometimes you can't have everything you want. I see this a lot at work and in public. I get that some parents are just so stressed that they need to give in to break the tantrum, but the correct thing to do is ignore the meltdown as much as possible.

They will eventually understand that acting this way won't get them the desired item or any attention from their parents. If all else fails, take your child away from the stressful situation and try again in a few moments after a cool down. Grocery stores and any other stores have no problem holding an order until you come back.


#42 Adults Are Always Right

That they shouldn't ask questions and that adults are always right. I remember growing up and being taught that an adult's words were the truth, and life was so much easier when I discovered that a grown-up was just as capable of lying as a child was. Be respectful, but don't blindly accept what's handed to you.


#43 Crying Isn't Manly

That crying is not manly.

#44 Show Affection Always

"He annoys you because he likes you." No, he annoys you because he thinks all attention is good attention, and making you mad gets him attention. Don't tolerate people like that. Also, we shouldn't be forcing young children (or anyone, for that matter) to show affection they don't want to give. If they don't want to hug or kiss someone, they shouldn't be forced to. Consent is a lesson that begins earlier than we think it does.


#45 School Is For Studying, Not Friends

That they're at school to study not make friends. Friendships are important at any stage of life and you will definitely benefit from having connections in adulthood.


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