As adults, especially those who work with or have kids of their own, we have a responsibility to mold the young minds that will go on to be the adults of tomorrow. They are our future, and we owe it to them to raise adults that will be respectful and kind community members.
There are plenty of things we were taught as kids that we thought were harmless at the time. But years later those same things have become an issue.
We went to ask Reddit to learn about those issues that we should change for the next generation.
Redditor Ok-Department5749 asked:
"What should we stop teaching young children?"
Let's see how many of these things you heard when you were growing up.
Boys will be boys.
"That if someone is picking on them it means they like them. Gonna set them up for a lot of problems later in life."
"I have a personal beef with this one. The boy who harassed me because he 'just liked me' is now in prison for assault."
"Yep. I had my hair pulled and punched by a boy in third grade. Was told by both teacher and principal that it wasn't a big deal. Boys do that all the time and bedsides he probably just liked me."
"I hate that 'boys will be boys' crap."
"Boys will be boys is for when you and the boys decide to use plywood as a bike ramp, not when someone sexually assaults someone else."
You can't be everyone's friend, and that's okay.
"That everyone is your friend. It's not true. I had to tell my 9 year old niece that sometimes people aren't going to like her and it's just how it is. This broke her heart because there's a boy in her class who doesn't like her and she's been trying to win him over. She's so sweet and I hated having to tell her that."
"I am an ECE who works with school-age kids. My line is 'we aren't all friends here, and that is ok, but we have to treat everybody with respect/kindly'. I see lots of ECE's use the 'friend' terminology ex 'we don't hit our friends' 'your friends are trying to sleep'. I avoid the terminology like the plague."
"I've seen it backfire. I had a 7-year old tell me that it was ok that she hurt another child because the other child wasn't her friend (This was this particular child's first year with us)."
"This is great because it helps kids learn to treat others with respect while also helping them manage their own expectations about immediately being friends with/like by everyone (which obviously isn't the case). It's a gentle introduction to reality that will save them a lot of trouble down the line. I mean, I really wish I had been taught to build confidence in myself rather than my confidence depending on whether or not other people liked/approved of me."
"The 2nd part to that lesson is learning that a relationship is only worth your time if both people like each other."
"More importantly, if both people respect each other."
"That they're more special than other kids. It's a recipe for future entitled adults."
"I think this is important, kids should know they are the most special kids to their parents, however they aren't the most special kids between all the kids in the world."
"I think it's a setup for depressed kids when they don't end up as gifted as they are told they are."
Older doesn't always mean wiser.
"That just because someone's older doesn't mean they are right."
"Maybe we should teach the older generation that just because someone is younger doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. That is the problem I've seen."
"My husband's grandma gets mad when she's wrong. She always yells 'Respect your elders!'"
"Umm being wrong is just that. You find a correction and move on. Also, respect isn't just given. If you can't treat others the right way, no matter how many times you scream that stupid phrase at me, I won't respect you."
Kids deserve respect.
"That you can't disrespect adults but they can disrespect you."
"Or that even if you are right and the adult is wrong, the adult is still right."
"Not long ago there was an incident in my city where a teacher got in a fight with a student. There's debate as to who is responsible for instigating, but the fact that the video shows the teacher antagonizing and pulling the kid's hair says plenty to students."
"Friends of mine were on social that night talking about years of terrible experiences with that teacher. He was a bully and a bigot with a record."
"The next day I told all my classes that they could always come to me with a concern about another teacher. A couple classes ended up discussing incidences for the rest of the period."
"Do high schoolers sometimes get self-righteous and dramatic? Absolutely. But I'd rather them speak out when something feels wrong than feel like no one would bother helping."
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Consent is important in all contexts.
"That not wanting to hug someone is rude."
"I have four nieces and see this happen to them a lot. The youngest one doesn't always remember me. Her older sisters give me hugs with delight and I always tell the youngest to hug me when she's okay with it. I hate hugging people when I don't want to so I'm not gonna subjugate her to something no one can stand. It's so freaking weird."
"Glad someone said this. Children need to be able to say no to unwanted physical contact."
Stop forcing your kids to eat.
"To finish the food on your plate if you're not still hungry. Note: don't waste food. Save leftovers if you can."
"Was going to say the same thing. Kids are allowed to not like foods the same as adults. We have a 2 bite rule. I don't like avocado, so I don't eat it. My stepdaughter doesn't like green beans so I just don't put them on her plate. I never understood this or the clean plate thing. That can lead to eating disorders later on."
"Also doesn't help with sensory issues."
"My partner just can't handle the texture of 99% of vegetables. So I work around it with veggie noodles and blending vegetables. Since I love to cook, I love the challenge of making something healthy but working around the texture thing (I also have an aversion to some vegetables. Like cauliflower. I can't.)"
"To that end, cooking things in different ways is paramount. Don't just boil some green beans and call it a day. I used to hate collard greens until my mom made 'boozy' greens (I forgot what she put in them for liquor). Other people just boiled them and slapped them on a plate, but what she did was just more harmonious. Complex. Satisfying."
"Once I heard my aunt tell my nieces that they needed to eat everything on their plates, even if they didn't like it, because "someday you're going to start dating and you don't want boys to think you are a picky eater." I had a conversation with my own daughter later about how wrong that statement was."
"My brain audibly broke when I read that. Thank you for telling your daughter how wrong your aunt was."
Zero tolerance policies.
"Those 'zero tolerance policies' where you get detention because someone punched you in the back of the head make any f*cking sense."
"I've never even heard a valid argument for this. It's always, 'You MUST have done something to incite this.' Like no, some people are just a**holes and you shouldn't be punished for their actions."
"The sole point of this is, and has always been, for school administrators to escape responsibility."
"We had a student break the zero tolerance policy. He got jumped in the hallway, threw his hands out to his sides away from the attacker, and screamed that he wasn't fighting back and that he needed help. Once he went to the floor, he balled up and kept yelling. He was a bigger kid than his attacker and could have handled it, but chose to take the hits."
"When he got called to the office and the zero tolerance policy was brought up, he pointed out that he never fought back, screamed that he wouldn't to de-escalate the situation, and that he needed help like students are taught to do when they are being bullied. Having done everything right, it wasn't a fight, it was an assault and if they punished him for being assaulted under their care, his parents would be blasting this everywhere they could."
"He never got punished and the other kid was expelled."
"My solution to this is "no, I will tell you if you're in trouble after I hear what the school has to say." Detention is no big thing if your parents aren't adding on."
"Also zero-tolerance drug policies that punish for simple over-the-counter meds. I know girls that got expelled over Midol. Others for Tylenol."
"I'm 30 and still feel like I'm being judged if I take Motrin at my desk for a sore back."
Kids are smarter than we think.
"Their worries and concerns are small or silly. Stop making them feel dumb or embarrassed for saying or doing something wrong. Most of all, that it's normal for mom or dad to post those moments on their social media page. Just stop."
"There was a famous quote And it goes something along the lines of 'Don't put down whatever they feel the need to share with you whether it be big or small, because to them everything was big.'"
Everyone's got problems.
"'You think you have problems? Just wait until you're grown up and you'll find out what real problems are!'"
"I became an adult with real problems, but nothing that has happened (which includes several abusive relationships, not surprisingly) has been as horrific as being trapped in that sh*tshow of a childhood and not being believed nor having any power to defend myself or escape."
"But even if their problems really are relatively minor, denying or invalidating your kids' experiences is damaging in and of itself. They're not minor problems to them, have some fucking empathy."
No really means no.
"That saying No is rude. I wanna teach my kid it's ok to refuse something or just say 'no' without any reason."
"One of my friends has been working with her kids on 'hear my "no"' recently and I thought it was so cool. If you want a kid to stop bugging you when you say no, you have to make sure they understand they can say no too and that it's not a bad thing."
"At our place we always teach our kid to respect the no. On the flip side, we always respect the kid's no too. It goes both ways."
Boundaries and sharing are both important lessons.
"Stop making them share everything for the sake of sharing. Teach them to set healthy boundaries. Teach them about donations and charity. Teach them sharing in moderation. Teach them why we share. But dammit, stop forcing them to do it all the time because 'that's what kids are supposed to do.'"
"Right. Forcing someone to 'give' you a turn isn't sharing. Some 7/8 year old kid tried to pull this on my then 2 year old at the playground when he (my son) brought a really cool Tonka dump trunk. He tried to take it saying my son had to share. When I intervened, he told me my son had to share and give him a turn. I said, 'First of all, you taking it from him is not sharing. Second No. No he does not "have" to share. This is his truck. If and when he decides he's done playing with it, you may ask him for a turn. If he says yes you may have a turn, that is sharing. Do not try to take his truck again.' He got all angry and scowly and said he was going to tell his mom on me, I told him to go right ahead."
"At our house, unless you are clearly hogging an item just to be a jerk (which rarely happens), both boys (4,7) know that it is someone's turn until they decide they are done. You may ask for a turn, but they don't have to say yes. If you are the person who has the thing and you say no, you are expected to go find the person when you are done and let them know you are done and they can have a turn now. What really warms my heart, even though they say no about half the time, they rarely play more that 3 or 5 minutes before giving the thing to their brother."
"Don't think our house is squabble free, there are definitely still fights, even over turns sharing/turns."
It's out responsibility to care about the young people in our lives and raise them to be respectful members of the community. It starts with us.
Now that we know better, we must do better.
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