Monday, June 15, 2015

not trying to pick a fight | 10 Things We Should Never Say to Kids

People get mad - not everyone, but more than I would've thought - when they see some of the things I'm convinced we should never say to kids. It's as if I were insulting their mothers... as if I were saying something was wrong with the way they were raised. 

Um, yes, I see their point. That is what I'm saying: I'm saying more than half a lifetime of trying to help teenagers and adults finish the work their parents started but couldn't complete has convinced me we'd be better off saying nothing if all we can come up with is stuff like:

  • Do You Have Your Jacket-Homework-Gym-Bag-Back-Pack-Keys? — because one day we won't be there
  • What Were You Thinking! — because (at least if it has an exclamation point on it) that's almost never an honest question
  • Because I Said So — because kids soon figure out that's hardly ever the real reason
  • You Are Such a Pretty Little Thing — because it's a time bomb
  • I’m Proud of You! — another sort of time bomb
  • You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To — because it's a set-up
  • Let Me Tell You What Happened Here — because children don't need us to do their thinking for them
  • That’s Not How You Do It! — because what it that is how a child does it; and it gets done and the world doesn't end
  • Don’t Make Me Turn This Car Around — because, “If you’re going to bluff, you have to be clear about what kind of game you’re playing.” [h/t Ehud Kalai, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University]
  • I Give Up — because no child ever needed to hear that from a parent
But of course we can come up with better things to say, and that's what Ten Things We Should Never Say to Kids is really about. So, go ahead... help yourself. 

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