Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's moral or right. We know that. But do we ever stop to consider how it applies to the way we treat kids?
One Reddit user asked:
and yeah ... we've got a lot to think about.
Child beauty pageants.
Aside from inviting the attention of dangerous people, every "Miss [school name]" at the middle school where I teach has been a notorious bully.
They're being taught from an early age to judge and that certain characteristics make some "elite," so it's not surprising.
Apart from inviting dangerous attention, it sets a precedent at a very early age that beauty is an important standard, and that looking a certain way accepted by society is beautiful, and looking otherwise is various degrees of ugliness.
It reinforces the belief in children that some people are ugly, and some are beautiful.
A competition judging and awarding people for something they could not control just seems f**king sh!tty to me.
Use them as leverage against the other parent.
Sadly it's no just rough on the parents. I was a kid whose mom told me frequently that my dad was 50 shades of a**hole after their divorce. I was 5, I didn't know what to do but believe it.
Needless to say SHE was the a**hole and my dad and I have a great relationship now. But I went through many years of confusion and feeling scared and lost many years of a great relationship with my dad. It's just not fair to do this to children who don't understand the bigger picture.
They're Coping Better Than Me
Using them as therapists
This happens a lot with teenagers I've worked with. Something traumatic happens in the family, teens will usually process the traumatic event talking with their peers or isolated in their room (to kinda sort out all the unfamiliar emotions), or simply won't know what to do and distract themselves with whatever hobbies they have. Parents take that as "they're not breaking down and crying all the time, so they probably know how to cope with this better than me" and unload all of their emotions on the kid.
Worked with the nicest girl (I'm a mental health provider) who was tasked with all the responsibilities of arranging her grandpa's funeral because mom thought everyone else in the family were way more upset about the death than the girl. In reality, the poor girl was broken up about it, but didn't wanna show that in front of mom because she was already so sad.
Sports Is For FunLittle League Game GIF by TLC Giphy
I coach 12 year olds and they are so freakin cute. Like they are super excited to learn, a little clumsy cause they're all hitting growth spurts, and super awkward but it's so adorable. I was coaching them today and started thinking about how my coach and my parents used to scream at me after/during practices and games when I'd make a mistake at this age. It caused me to hate soccer and basketball and really impacted my self-esteem.
Now that I'm coaching, I couldn't even fathom yelling at these kids, they try so hard and with every mistake they get better it's amazing to watch! I'll never understand being a grown ass adult and yelling at a literal child for participating in a leisure activity.
That's exactly why I stopped doing sports. I was doing it to have fun, but they're making it super competitive and acting like I should be playing at pro level before 10. Fuck that. I can't even think about sports without having the feeling of being screamed at for making a minor mistake come rushing back.
Spoil The Child
Spoiling them rotten.
I'm not talking about once in a while type thing. I mean like, absolutely creating a monster.
Even when you're not creating a monster/are working to instill some basic level of decency, this is such a quick way to create unrealistic expectations for life.
I grew up in a reasonably affluent area. I went to fairly affluent schools. We had a lot of parents who meant well, but a new Yukon at 16 and annual vacations to Paris didn't really prepare these kids for the fact that eventually, Mom and Dad wouldn't be paying for everything, and a $50k a year salary won't support the lifestyle they took for granted at 16.
Like, they're nice people, and most of their parents instilled decent values, but even with Mom and Dad subsidizing their adult lives (no student loans, help with a down payment, etc.), it's obvious that adulthood is a pretty huge step down from what they were used to, and ultimately, I can't help but think everybody would have fared a bit better if Mom and Dad wouldn't have provided quite so many extras growing up.
Wearing thrift store clothes and driving a used minivan at 16 never killed anybody...
My own husband is an example of this.
He's a lovely, beautiful person. We both have decent jobs (er, we both had decent jobs until I was laid off last month). His parents aren't crazy rich, but they always made good money, and they always sacrificed a lot of their own wants so that they could give him all of the advantages in life.
They bought him the Lexus he wanted when he turned 16. They made sure that he had plenty of money for the spring break trips to Cancun. They paid for college. They paid for fraternity dues. They paid to replace the Lexus when he crashed it, and for a new Tahoe once that vehicle had too many miles on it, and a new Expedition once the Tahoe wracked up 100k miles.
They paid the down payment on our house. They pay his half of the mortgage anytime any "unexpected emergencies" come pop up. He's nearing 40, and he's still on their cell phone plan. They still pay his car insurance. They've quit buying him new cars, but he still gets their hand-me-down vehicles (so like, right now, he's driving his mom's 2012 Camry).
Annnnnnd, he's just now starting to appreciate the advantages he's been given in life, rather than mourning the fact that this is all a step down from what he grew up with.
Because even though most adults would be stoked to have all of those things provided for them, a 2012 Camry and a three-bedroom in a modest neighborhood isn't the kind of life his childhood prepared him for. It never dawned on him as he was driving up to the high school parking lot in his shiny new Lexus that, unless he planned on becoming a neurosurgeon, his adult standard of living probably wouldn't include new cars and trips to Cancun every year. Or, that if it did, he'd be working 60+ hours a week and taking on loads of debt to make it happen.
Why Can't You Be Like ...
I went to a small private christian school. At the time (mid-90's), there would be around 10-15 kids per grade. My sister was a grade ahead of me, so every teacher always knew I was her brother. The amount of "[sister] would never do that" or "[sister] was a much better student", et al. I got was absurd.
Even other students (not in my class or my sister's class) knew me as [sister]'s brother. Though that was due to her being good at sports and instantly popular (while I was good at playing the piano and instantly Liberace). Fun times.
Use them as props on their social media posts
My aunt does this. She's super narcissistic. When my cousin turned 18 he was forced to move out because the guy my aunt was dating didn't want him there. So he slept in his van until he joined the navy. Now that he is in the navy she is all about being a "navy mom"
Men Can't Have Cats?funny cat GIF Giphy
Force them to grow up at a young age/being sexist. My dad threw out all my toys when I turned 12 and screamed "it's time to grow up!" He also wouldn't let me play with dolls because they were "girls toys".
He also said men can't have cats, and other bs.
As a man who has a pet cat, please tell me where your dad is so that I can tell him to flip off.
My brother in law was walking their Lhasa Apso who is an adorable cheeky boisterous little guy. A man looks down and says 'That's a gay dog' probably meaning a Lhasa is somehow not manly or what the hell is a man ya know a MAN doing with a Lhasa Apso.
My brother in law replied 'The dog's free to date who he wants.' And walked on. Dogs don't care if they're a poodle, chihuahua, Lhasa, Great Dane or bulldog. They're just dogs. People can be weird the cat comment also doesn't make sense.
Your Babies Boundaries Matter
Forcing them to hug people when arriving or leaving someone's house or event.
Or make them kiss extended family or the parent's friends goodnight before going to bed. I'm at an age now where people send their kids over to me all the time, and I very excitedly tell them as they get close that the good news is they get to choose a hug or finger guns. I'll even call out "me first" when a parent sends them on their rounds, because I guarantee if that kid chooses finger guns, every other adult lets them do it too. It's silly and fun and a big sigh of relief all round.
Too Young To Feel?
"You're too young you don't know what depression feels like."
"You're over reacting"
"When I was your age we had to suck it up" etc etc.
Just bad parenting and dismissing a child feelings because they are "too young, too immature."
When I was a kid I was constantly told I wouldn't be good at whatever I said I wanted to be for some reason or another. Eventually by around 11 I aspired to be a person on welfare. Luckily I didn't follow through with that plan
When I was in middle school, I started to get into writing. I figured out it was my dream to become an author and one day it came up in a convo with my family. My dad outrightly said, "You could never be an author. You don't have the talent for it." It completely broke my heart.
All those years later, I still haven't told him. But I've decided that I'll just show him the book I've written and see what he says then.
That's Not Discipline And You're Not Fine
Hitting as discipline is legitimately and consistently shown by research to detrimental for children psychologically, and yet people still insist on doing it.
Then they say it happened to them and they're fine but they're wrong
Like, no mum, it's not fine. You did not deserve to be hit for being bad, you were a child who didn't know any better. She ended up in an abusive relationship which I believe wouldn't have happened if her parents hadn't hit her because they taught her people who love you will hurt you.
I ended up a bit better but I tended to lie a lot because telling the truth meant I would get hurt. My brother and I both have anger issues too. (Currently working on both lol)
My mum is a good parent/ person but when she was born in the mid-sixties hitting your kids as discipline was the norm that she passed on. Even now she still struggles with things like standing up for herself.
If my mum is still struggling with issues in her mid-fifties due to her parents smacking her as a child so will others. Please don't hit your kids
it happened to them and they're fine
Yeah, no, you're not. You're a person who thinks it's fine for whole adults to assault small children.
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