10 Things To Stop Saying To Your Kids (And What To Say Instead)

10 Things To Stop Saying To Your Kids (And What To Say Instead)

Current research shows that some of the most commonly used and seemingly positive phrases we use with kids are actually quite destructive. Despite our good intentions, these statements teach children to stop trusting their internal guidance system, to become deceptive, to do as little as possible, and to give up when things get hard.

Here’s a list of the top 10 things to eliminate from your vocabulary now. I’ve also included alternatives so that you can replace these habitual statements with phrases that will actually encourage intrinsic motivation and emotional connection.

“Good job!”

The biggest problem with this statement is that it’s often said repeatedly and for things a child hasn’t really put any effort into. This teaches children that anything is a “good job” when mum and dad say so (and only when mum and dad say so).

Instead try, “You really tried hard on that!” By focusing on a child’s effort, we’re teaching her that the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’re attempting a difficult task and to see failure as just another step toward success.

“Good boy (or girl)!”

This statement, while said with good intentions, actually has the opposite effect you’re hoping for. Most parents say this as a way to boost a child’s self-esteem. Unfortunately, it has quite a different effect. When children hear “good girl!” after performing a task you’ve asked them for, they assume that they’re only “good” because they’ve done what you’ve asked. That sets up a scenario in which children can become afraid of losing their status as a “good kid” and their motivation to cooperate becomes all about receiving the positive feedback they’re hoping for.

Instead, try “I appreciate it so much when you cooperate!” This gives children real information about what you’re wanting and how their behaviour impacts your experience. You can even take your feelings out of it entirely and say something like, “I saw you share your toy with your friend.” This allows your child to decide for himself whether sharing is “good” and lets him choose to repeat the action from his internal motivation, rather than doing it just to please you.

10 Things To Stop Saying To Your Kids (And What To Say Instead)

“What a beautiful picture!”

When we put our evaluations and judgments onto a child’s artwork, it actually robs them of the opportunity to judge and evaluate their own work.

Instead try, “I see red, blue and yellow! Can you tell me about your picture?” By making an observation, rather than offering an evaluation, you’re allowing your child to decide if the picture is beautiful or not, maybe she intended it to be a scary picture. And by asking her to tell you about it, you’re inviting her to begin to evaluate her own work and share her intent, skills that will serve her creativity as she matures and grows into the artist she is.

“Stop it right now, or else!”

Threatening a child is almost never a good idea. First of all, you’re teaching them a skill you don’t really want them to have: the ability to use brute force or superior cunning to get what they want, even when the other person isn’t willing to cooperate. Secondly, you’re putting yourself in an awkward position in which you either have to follow through on your threats — exacting a punishment you threatened in the heat of your anger — or you can back down, teaching your child that your threats are meaningless. Either way, you’re not getting the result you want and you’re damaging your connection with your child.

While it can be difficult to resist the urge to threaten, try sharing vulnerably and redirecting to something more appropriate instead. “It’s NOT OK to hit your brother. I’m worried that he will get hurt, or he’ll retaliate and hurt you. If you’d like something to hit, you may hit a pillow, the couch or the bed.” By offering an alternative that is safer yet still allows the child to express her feelings you’re validating her emotions even as you set a clear boundary for her behaviour. This will ultimately lead to better self-control and emotional wellbeing for your child.

“If you _____ then I’ll give you _____”

Bribing kids is equally destructive as it discourages them from cooperating simply for the sake of ease and harmony. This kind of exchange can become a slippery slope and if used frequently, you’re bound to have it come back and bite you. “No! I won’t clean my room unless you buy me Lego!”

Instead try, “Thank you so much for helping me clean up!” When we offer our genuine gratitude, children are intrinsically motivated to continue to help. And if your child hasn’t been very helpful lately, remind him of a time when he was. “Remember a few months ago when you helped me take out the trash? That was such a big help. Thanks!” Then allow your child to come to the conclusion that helping out is fun and intrinsically rewarding.

“You’re so smart!”

When we tell kids they’re smart, we think we’re helping to boost their self confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, giving this kind of character praise actually does the opposite. By telling kids they’re smart, we unintentionally send the message that they’re only smart when they get the grade, accomplish the goal, or produce the ideal result — and that’s a lot of pressure for a young person to live up to. Studies have shown that when we tell kids they’re smart after they’ve completed a puzzle, they’re less likely to attempt a more difficult puzzle after. That’s because kids are worried that if they don’t do well, we’ll no longer think they’re “smart.”

Instead, try telling kids that you appreciate their effort. By focusing on the effort, rather than the result, you’re letting a child know what really counts. Sure, solving the puzzle is fun, but so is attempting a puzzle that’s even more difficult. Those same studies showed that when we focus on the effort — “Wow you really tried hard on that!” — kids are far more likely to attempt a more challenging puzzle the next time.

10 Things To Stop Saying To Your Kids (And What To Say Instead)

“Don’t cry.”

Being with your child’s tears isn’t always easy. But when we say things like, “Don’t cry,” we’re invalidating their feelings and telling them that their tears are unacceptable. This causes kids to learn to stuff their emotions, which can ultimately lead to more explosive emotional outbursts.

Try holding space for your child as he cries. Say things like, “It’s OK to cry. Everyone needs to cry sometimes. I’ll be right here to listen to you.” You might even try verbalising the feelings your child might be having, “You’re really disappointed that we can’t go to the park right now, huh?” This can help your child understand his feelings and learn to verbalise them sooner than he might otherwise. And by encouraging his emotional expression, you’re helping him learn to regulate his emotions, which is a crucial skill that will serve him throughout life.

“I promise…”

Broken promises hurt. Big time. And since life is clearly unpredictable, I’d recommend removing this phrase from your vocabulary entirely.

Choose instead to be super honest with your child. “I know you really want to have a play date with Sarah this weekend and we’ll do our best to make that happen. Please remember that sometimes unexpected things come up, so I can’t guarantee that it will happen this weekend.” Be sure you really are doing your best if you say you will too. Keeping your word builds trust and breaking it deteriorates your connection, so be careful what you say, and then live up to your word as much as humanly possible.

One more note on this, if you do break your word, acknowledge it and apologise to your child. Remember, you’re teaching your kids how to behave when they fail to live up to their word. Breaking our word is something we all do at one time or another. And even if it’s over something that seems trivial to you, it could matter a lot to your child. So do your best to be an example of honesty, and when you’re not, step up and take responsibility for your failure.

“It’s no big deal!”

There are so many ways we minimise and belittle kids feelings, so watch out for this one. Children often value things that seem small and insignificant to our adult point of view. So, try to see things from your child’s point of view. Empathise with their feelings, even as you’re setting a boundary or saying no to their request.

“I know you really wanted to do that, but it’s not going to work out for today,” or “I’m sorry you’re disappointed and the answer is no,” are far more respectful than trying to convince your child that their desires don’t really matter.

“Why did you do that?”

If your child has done something you don’t like, you certainly do need to have a conversation about it. However, the heat of the moment is not a time when your child can learn from her mistakes. And when you ask a child, “Why?” you’re forcing her to think about and analyse her behaviour, which is a pretty advanced skill, even for adults. When confronted with this question, many kids will shut down and get defensive.

Instead, open the lines of communication by guessing what your child might have been feeling and what her underlying needs might be. “Were you feeling frustrated because your friends weren’t listening to your idea?” By attempting to understand what your child was feeling and needing, you might even discover that your own upset about the incident diminishes. “Oh! He bit his friend because he was needing space and feeling scared, and he didn’t know how else to communicate that. He’s not a “˜terror,’ he’s a toddler!”

5 Things To Stop Saying to Your Kids and What to Say Instead [Lifehack]

Shelly Birger Phillips is passionate about being the best human she can possibly be and supporting others to do the same. She has helped hundreds of clients overcome personal challenges and develop the skills to live happier, more authentic lives. You can find her conscious parenting blog here, and Her Authentic World team here: Follow her on Twitter here or email her at shelly at awakeparent.com.

Pictures: Katsiaryna Pleshakova/Shutterstock, Ilike/Shutterstock, Inara Prusakova/Shutterstock


  • Urrgg… Really..?
    What happened to common sense and discipline? And I don’t mean beat the crap out of ’em either! Really getting tired of this Nanny state molly coddling of kids these days!

    • The coddling is what’s causing the problem to begin with. Look at pretty much every generation before the boomers. They were raised by parents who did pretty much the exact opposite of what this article suggests, and rather than being screwed up, they were the only ones that had their heads on straight. Contrast with today’s kids who can’t play in the dirt because they might get germs, can’t play in the park because of stranger danger, are never told when they screw up because ‘negativity might upset the little darling’.

      Which generation would you rather your kids took after? Bit of a no-brainer, really.

      • Can’t tell if you’re trolling, agreeing or replying to ‘blah’!
        You pretty much just confirmed what I said in my post. ?

          • Our generation actually has the highest instances of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses due to the high stress society and the insistence on holding feelings in which was taught by 70’s, 80’s and 90’s parents. We are also only now addressing the out of control issues of violence that plague pubs and clubs and have been for years, now we are being told to use our words and not our fists and the outlet of violence is no longer tolerated. Our parents did the best they could with what they had but they were by no means infallible. Science and study continues to help evolve our understanding. My kids play in the dirt and have respect but I also listen to them and let them cry unlike my parents. I don’t blame them, we just have a better understanding of the psychology of our species now. You have addressed several issues you have with the current generation but only a handful relate to this article, the rest are parents being over protective and has nothing to do with child/parent interaction.

      • I think there is truth on both sides of the argument, dont wrap your kids up in cotton wool let them play in the dirt, like I said let kids be kids, you don’t need to tell your kid they are awesome at everything when they are not (I meant the worse player on the worst team still gets a trophy at the end of the season, it’s ridiculous) at the same time I don’t think belting kids is the way to go either as was the practice during the generation you’re referring to.

        I mean if you have to resort to hitting because you lack the intellect to teach a child a lesson any other way, why are you having kids in the first place?

    • It’s about teaching you kids autonomy. What you saying is only partially true, some of the examples are against molly coddling, in fact have a second look at the first three examples, such as not saying good job and rewarding them for everything. I know there are a lot of people that think the old ways of parenting were better but I see a lot of grumpy old people with very bad life scripts developed from overly strict parents.

      Let kids be kids, let them express their emotions and don’t give them trophies just for showing up.

    • Science happened. Psychology happened. Behavioural economics happened.

      Your ‘common sense’ is nothing more than a pile of selectively self-reinforced biases and prejudices.

      And I just love people who complain about nanny states, then tell other people what they should think / wax nostalgic about some golden age that never was. You’re the embodiment of the ‘nanny’ stereotype, mate.

    • big difference between discipline and physical abuse: there’s never a place for physical abuse of children: its a left over of our brutal past; but there’s every place for discipline: that is an ordered and well judged life that leads to growth and self-control. Violence does neither.

  • “Instead, open the lines of communication by guessing what your child might have been feeling and what her underlying needs might be.”

    Please don’t do this, you’re asking a leading question, which the child is almost definitely going to agree with, seriously, try it with other questions, try it on kids in early school, ‘what’s 5 + 7, do you think it might be 15?,’ see what answer you get on that when you ask a child who doesn’t know it by rote. Kids like to please their parents and others, and they learn pretty quickly that a good way to do that is to give them a desired answer, and what’s better for your ego than having it confirmed you know your child so well!

    “And when you ask a child, “Why?” you’re forcing her to think about and analyse her behaviour”
    This is a good thing, I can’t believe that’s even up for debate in this day and age. There’s no need to give them a stone cold ‘why?’ and just glare them down, you can be gentle, ‘Can you think about why you might have done this?’ and coax it out of them. Teaching kids to think about why they acted in turn teaches them to think before they act, allowing them to think it’s okay to just clam up whenever someone questions their motives is not a great life lesson at any age. If they genuinely don’t know why they did what they did, that’s okay, they’re still young, but trying to excuse their behaviour before they’ve even had to think about it? Oh right sounds like most Australian adults.

    /someone who, according to Shelley’s about section is actually more qualified to discuss this than her, not that childhood development is my forte, but yikes ,Some of this fairly commonsense be less babying, but… yikes.

    • I read this article thinking geez, I must be a bad parent because I do most of these these. I’ll praise my 2 y.o. when he’s done something good and I’ll punish him when he’s bad.
      But then I just remembered that he got really upset the other day because he was still asleep when I left for work and didn’t get to give daddy a goodbye kiss.

      • ‘good boy’ is only for your dog and doesn’t teach a child to either reflect or grow. ‘Thanks for setting the table” treats the child like a growable person; ‘good boy for setting the table’ is inane, unless, of course, your dog has set the table for you.

    • It can be difficult to imply that your child is feeling frustrated when they are sliding around on the supermarket floor, screaming, and removing their clothes because you picked the orange packet of cereal and they wanted the blue one.
      Nice back-seat parenting Shelly, maybe when we let kids be kids and stop treating them like intelligent rational adults we’ll understand that what civilization has been doing for the last 3000 years hasn’t created a society of demons :-p

      • if your child is so undisciplined that you cannot make adult decisions, then back to square one.

    • I agree with you so much. Most of the article is just … ugh.

      The one thing I really agree with is the bit about being honest about things. I don’t agree with the whole “don’t say I promise” thing but I agree with the concept, being honest about things is better than brushing it off or just saying “because”.

      I think one of the biggest things about dealing with kids is not overreacting and that goes both ways. I don’t believe saying “Good job” is a bad thing. But you shouldn’t be super-crazy enthusiastic about everything. Save “woohoo that’s awesome, omg you’re the greatest kid ever” for something that actually deserves it.

      Similarly, don’t explode when a kid does something that’s a little bit bad (like spilling their drink). save the angry for something that deserves angry (stabbing the little sister or something). Otherwise the kids have no sense of proportion and react accordingly.

  • If there is a sure fire way to start an argument with someone, start telling them how to raise their kids.

    • My partner works in childrens mental health and has to do exactly that on a daily basis. Some people really need to be told, doing the right thing sometimes means not being afraid of a little confrontation.

  • What an absolute load of crap, More than likely written by someone who doesn’t have kids!

  • Hitler was probably called a good boy. That’s my proof we all need to step back and take a long hard look at ourselves.

  • Granted Im no parent, but seriously? Tell a child this?
    ““I appreciate it so much when you cooperate!””

  • #parentinglessonsfromfacebook

    Instead of “Children are a blessing, and you are too :)”, try saying “YAAY! Kid free night tomorrow. Gonna get drunk with my besties and watch movies all night!”

    Instead of “You did something naughty, I’d like for you to apologize”, try saying nothing and just posting on Facebook how you hate having kids.

    Am I doing this right?

  • Re: let children decide if sharing is good. Sharing IS good. Good for the child to be considerate of others; good so the child learns to fit in with others, good for society, when the child grows up. Young children don’t have the insight to see this.

    It’s called PARENTING, when you teach children good moral values.

  • Argh never get in the way of a parent and their child. It’s an impossible, fruitless, pointless, frustrating situation. Parents these days are magically uploaded with gigabytes of information about parenting the second their child is born. And don’t DARE be childless and give “advice” oh my God, prepare for the wrath!

  • The clear bulk of this article I do not agree with as a parent and as a future educator, in typical modern Kotaku fashion… HERES WHY!

    You can even take your feelings out of it entirely and say something like, “I saw you share your toy with your friend.” This allows your child to decide for himself whether sharing is “good” and lets him choose to repeat the action from his internal motivation, rather than doing it just to please you.

    You cannot do this. At all. As a parent of almost over a decade to a young boy, I ask you this. What’s the point of simply saying ‘I saw you share your toy with your friend.’ with no emotion. With no emotive value behind the response, you may as well be the terminator. The child will be confused about the inflection of the comment. I’m sorry, it’s possibly well intended, but it’s wrong.

    The other issue, is that if the child DOES choose to take it in a positive light? That child will likely start seeking to gain your approval via comments like these. It is best not to acknowledge actions like this at ALL. Don’t reward good behaviour. Emphasise that good behaviour is the standard we should all live by and Bad Behaviour should be punished. But do not EVER reward good behaviour. Why? Because then the child believes that good behaviour comes with a treat, that when they act good, they get something. No. You want the child to act good because they feel they SHOULD act good. It’s worked perfectly for my kid. I get compliments on his manners all the time. All children are work, it takes time to instill good manners into them, but good behaviour in children, instilled early on, pays off in spades later. Do NOT reward good behaviour, do not MENTION it when they do it, DO talk about it in general at other times by all means in context, but always punish bad behaviour.

    Promises: Really? You’ve never made a promise to your kid? Do you even HAVE a kid? Broken promises are a fact of life. What you tell your child if you break a promise is this: I’m sorry. I’m REALLY sorry. It’s not the end of the world.

    Your child will not DIE if you break a promise. However what they do get set up for is reality, that people do break promises. If they go through their youth not knowing this? What’s going to happen when they get to higschool… I’m aghast at how cottonwooling this article is honestly by this point…

    There are some valid ideas in this article, I do not deny that, but there is just a clear abundance of oversensitive garbage outweighing it all. I’m not saying kids have to be Rambo, what I’m saying is that by wrapping kids up entirely in cotton wool, we’re ruining them. I sure as hell was not raised this way, neither were my folks and I guarantee you going by her age after checking out her blog this woman wasn’t either. Yet somehow… against all odds… after not being raised this way?

    Most of us turned out alright?

    • I think you make a great point here, good behaviour should be an expectation. I think there is a time and place for praise, but not when the child has done something that should be a given in the first place.

    • Do NOT reward good behaviour, do not MENTION it when they do it, DO talk about it in general at other times by all means in context, but always punish bad behaviour.

      Sounds too cold hearted to me. You’re not the terminator are you? Imagine what your kid will say about you in his eulogy: “My dad never said anything nice about me, even though I was a good kid. All he did was punish me when I did something bad. I hope he rots in hell”. I dont see such a child wanting to be good when he grows up and is 16 and knows how to talk back to you and you dont have anything to demonstrate to him/her how much you acknowledge how good they are. There’s little coming back from the dark side for a young mind who grows up seeing their parents as only people who whip them when they do something wrong but don’t positively re-enforce or encourage them when they do something right.

      If you think treating your kids like that is going to give them a positive attitude in life, and more so, towards you, good luck. I’d never do that to my child (yes I am a parent). I understand where your coming from but I don’t agree with the method of execution of it.

  • I can’t believe some of this, even saying Good Job now is bad! What the hell are parents meant to do!
    Also what right does this author have giving advice on alternatives, is she a professional in this area?
    If you are then I’m very sorry and stand corrected.

  • As a parent, I pretty much ignore these kinds of articles – Not because I think I won’t learn or agree with them, But because I believe the constant barrage of sometimes contradictory parenting advice leads to confusion & lack of confidence in parents.
    I am the result of the ‘bad old days’ of discipline, and I also grew up seeing the pros & cons of the generation where parents are under constant criticism and ‘guidance’ of the media. Consequently I parent with what I choose from this, and reject what I think is bullshit. Parenting is an everyday job for usually a couple of decades, and I am commited to it long term, not just as a cheap slogan in a meaningless article.

    Memorising stupid statements is not as important as having an lifetime interest in trying to understand what you kids need (and changing your approach as you think its required)

    The most important thing these articles seem to miss is that sometimes you have to do the job you HAVE to do, not just the way you want to do it. Discipline is not just punishment, it is also my resolve to do the best job of helping my kids be the good adults

    And discipline? I will never rule out smacking the kids if I think its necessary, despite what the ‘authorities’ say, but there are so many more effective ways before the nuclear option (Access to videogames is a powerful tool to teach discipline in my house!!)

    • I don’t think it’s ever necessary to smack a child. Sure, kids can be disobedient, unreasonable, obnoxious and disrespectful — but so can plenty of adults. If it’s not okay to smack an adult jerk, why is it okay to smack a jerk kid?

      • Just as in extreme cases where it is okay to smack a jerk adult (protecting my loved ones from violence) I reserve the right to smack my kid if I believe it is appropriate. I think we are fk’d when people can think they can demonstrate extreme behaviour, and are protected from any retribution

        I can’t recall smacking them in a meaning full way – But if I think its necessary, its because everything else has failed. The important fact is I don’t give a fk what other people think about my parenting, the judgement of it will be in the way my kids turn out

        • For me, it comes down to the size difference. It seems grossly unjust to perform violence against a human that is so much smaller than you. This is one of the reasons it’s frowned upon when a man smacks a woman. (This is just my opinion, incidentally. I happily acknowledge that you can parent your kids in whatever manner you like.)

          • As a parent, I know the difference between beatings, violence & discipline. Smacking is included in discipline, not violence. I also know how bad I feel if I have to do it, and that’s what keeps me from whatever you are suggesting.
            Just because some people don’t know the difference, it doesn’t mean you have to dictate to parents that care

          • I understand you’re not talking about serious violence here. But as a child, it must feel chokingly unfair to be smacked by someone you can’t possibly retaliate against due to their superior strength and size.

          • Smacking is a tiny portion of discipline in my house, and discipline is a part of my role. It’s a shame that’s all the opinions regarding parenting seem to focus on. Parenting is not thuggery as you seem to think

          • Honestly, this whole don’t smack your children business is just ridiculous. No one advocates beating their children, but let’s all understand that there is a massive difference between the two. I grew up in Germany and we have all received smacks when we grew up. No big deal. We learned what would happen if we kept testing the boundaries and pushing the limits. And guess what, we all turned out just fine.

          • When you smack an adult, it’s assault, yet doing it to a child is discipline… makes so much sense e_e

          • Smacking is included in discipline, not violence. /q>

            I can bet you that Australian authorities will beg to differ when it becomes a court case.

      • Chris, respectfully, some children don’t ever benefit from it, some do benefit from it. It’s individual to the child. That being said, it’s also individual to how the parent actually implements it. Spanking should never *ever* be used as a first resort. Spanking also should not be used when a child is able to thoroughly reason (above the age of about 7-8 years). Yes I smacked my child, I’m all for it, however my parenting has changed now.

        Before a child can reason (around the age of 6-7, hence it called the age of reason), there’s certain things you can only do to stop them doing something, for instance, touching a hotplate etc. Telling them it’s hot, telling them no, may inspire curiosity. My sons cousin burnt his fingertip to the third degree on their gas burner, my boy, got his hand smacked when he went to touch it and never went near it again. Classical conditioning as imparted upon the world by psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov worked in a risk vs reward/punishment way. You try something, your reaction and likelyhood to repeat depends on the result and reward you gain (either physical reward or sensation of the result). I would prefer my child to get a slightly slapped hand than a burnt one.

        Up til the age of six I would tell him ‘No’ repeatedly, not always spanking his bum, it was only ever when he had a ‘terrible tantrum’ and even then only ever open hand on the rear end. Responsible spanking by a responsible parent has been proven to be effective, it’s unfortunate though that a lot of people jump to using spanking as a first go-to for punishing kids. I absolutely outright DETEST the use of any objects, especially belts. Belts are the exact equivelant of whipping a child and should never be used. I had a belt used on me as a child and I still hate the site of Airforce leatherbelts with their giant silver buckles.

        People jumping to the conclusion that responsible spanking is beating a child are delusional. The child is not harmed in the long term and learns an immediate lesson akin to a spinal reflex (when the signal goes straight from the nerve on the skin to the spine and the back again and causes a reflex action) i.e. that hurt don’t do it again, they associate the spanking with the action and know it’s ‘naughty’. As I stated earlier, once the child starts to be able to talk and reason thoroughly though, spanking should stop, as other methods of punishment can come in. Reduced priviliges work a TREAT at older ages, taking away games, toys, hours of bedtime etc. But in the formative years, spanking, RESPONSIBLE spanking, is not always a bad thing. It’s just that some people are irresponsible.

        • All good points weresmurf. Your example of the hotplate is hard to argue with. I was talking more about the smacks that come through frustration or anger (i.e. – when a kid is being a bit of a little monster and the parent gets fed up)

          • Indeed and I agree with you on that one unreservedly. One promise I always made to myself was never to strike my child out of anger. Anger causes chemical release in the brain which alters your perception of strength in your own body. What is a ‘reasonable’ smack, suddenly becomes unreasonable. One should never strike a child out of anger or frustration as judgement is clouded and unable to be measured. Then the child most definitely suffers from the adults actions. So in short, absolutely, never, ever do you strike a child while angry. Some may say ‘Well, when WOULD you smack a child?’, simply you’re not always angry at your child when they’ve done something wrong, you have to decide if it’s the right punishment and if it’s actually called for. If too much time has passed to justify it etc. That’s why spanking is only ever a very final resort for me, its such a drastic thing, you can take back an early night, you can give back lego and games, but you cannot give back a smack.

  • “And when you ask a child, ‘Why?’ you’re forcing her to think about and analyse her behaviour, which is a pretty advanced skill, even for adults.”

    Are you honestly saying that it’s a BAD idea to get kids to start thinking about their behaviour, and the motives behind said behaviour? Maybe this is why it’s still considered an ‘advanced skill, even for adults.’
    This is a life skill that SHOULD BE TAUGHT to kids from a very early age. Perhaps then, as adults, they’ll be able to understand themselves, and others better, and hence will be able to navigate the oceans of life with some idea of where they are going.

  • While I don’t disagree with most of that – all the phrases described sound like a really good way to sound, and probably get your kids to sound like, a pretentious asshole.

    If anyone has ever seen Louis CK’s latest show – I far prefer his style of parenting, talking to kids with respect rather than as a pet project that you can make perfect with just the right words. You can’t, and it shouldn’t be your goal.

    Signed, Guy with no kids heh.

    • You’re actually right on the money dude lol.

      Signed, the guy with a kid who isn’t an asshole. lol.

  • I stopped reading at “First of all, you’re teaching them a skill you don’t really want them to have: the ability to use brute force or superior cunning to get what they want, even when the other person isn’t willing to cooperate.”

    I’m sorry but as I’m sure most of us have learned at some point – you’ve got to have some balls to take what you want when the time comes. Nice guys DO finish last and it’s those that take some initiative (within moral boundaries) that will succeed.

  • Shelly, if you want to tell people stuff which is this important you MUST provide citations.
    “Current research shows” is not so much inadequate as deeply insulting.

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