What’s wrong with these statements?

Spare the rod and spoil the elderly.
Millenials should be seen and not heard.
New Zealanders have got to learn.

If you’re cringing right now, it’s because you know that these statements are unfairly biased and even prejudiced. So why are we okay with using these same phrases to describe our children?

In my TEDx talk, “The Rebellion is Here—We Created it, We Can Solve It,” I deconstruct the generational misconception that children, because of their youth and impressionability, should not be trusted. Subscribing to the belief that kids’ opinions should not be taken seriously leads to disconnection and a lack of trust between parent and child.

When we punish a kid for talking back, what we’re really saying is that their inner voice or feelings are irrelevant. And punishing surface behavior without addressing unmet needs often leads to what Gordon referred to as the Three R’s: Retaliation, Rebellion, and Resentment.

Do you want to build an environment where your child feels like they can tell you the truth 100% of the time? Do you want to teach them that they should never stand down in the face of prejudice, injustice—or even being told by an adult to do something they’re uncomfortable with?

Watch my TEDx talk for tips on how to communicate effectively and compassionately with your children, especially when they seem to be acting up. Let them know that they’re not “bad kids” for speaking up.

P.S. Ready to move on from outdated ideas about how children “should” behave? Join our private Facebook group to find a community of parents just like you!

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