12 Things We Teach Our Children That Send a Bad Message

For many years, we have been teaching children certain things that many would consider outdated and unhelpful. We all have different thoughts and ideas on how children should be raised.

What Do We Need To Stop Teaching Children?

parent talking to child

Someone recently asked, “What do we need to stop teaching children?” Here are the top-voted responses. Do you agree with these or have any additional responses to add?

1. Play Ends When You Reach Adulthood

kids having fun at beach

“That play ends when you reach adulthood (however) play is important, even when we’re grown,” one person commented.

With so much emphasis on excelling in academic and professional realms, it can be easy to forget how important play is for both our mental and physical well-being.

Encourage children to find joy in playing and use it as a source of creativity and development.

2. You Can Get What You Want if You Are Nice

kid says pretty please

According to one user, teaching children to be nice to get what they want leaves them manipulative and dishonest. “Instead, teach them to handle ‘No,'” the person stated.

Too many people grow up and get offended at being told “No.” Teachers and parents want their children to learn how to ask for things in a polite way – but not how to handle rejection.

Saying “no” can be difficult at times, but instead, encourage children to find an alternative solution that doesn’t harm or pressure the other person’s decision.

3. Do as I Say

parent talking to child

“Kids learn by watching us. Whatever we want kids to do or not do starts with grown-ups addressing our own hang-ups. Full stop,” another stated.

We should be role models for our children and practice what we preach. If we want them to listen to us, they need to see that we are listening too and following through on what we say.

4. Failure is Bad

kid crying

“That failure is something to be ashamed of and to avoid at all costs. We all fail sometimes, and we need to be able to accept that,” a person said.

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” —Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek.

Failure is not bad; instead, it can be used as an opportunity for growth and learning. Encourage them to learn from their mistakes and accept them.

5. You Need Talent to Be Good at Something

talented child painter

“That you need talent to be good at something,” one person said.

“Right on,” responded another. “So much can be learned, practiced, and become a skill.”

Many skilled musicians, actors, writers, and sports players say that it is not just about talent but hard work and dedication.

“The right ingredients to become a great football player are, first, the talent. Without that, you can’t do much. Then, talent is useless without hard work. Nothing falls from the skies.” —Cristiano Ronaldo.

6. You Need to Be Friends With Everyone

group of friends children

“I’ve had to tell my kids this. Like when kids in their class don’t ever want to play with them,” one person said. “Not everyone wants to be your friend, and that’s ok.”

Teaching children the importance of healthy boundaries and choosing the right friends for themselves sets them up for good relationships with their peers. It is ok not to be best friends with someone but still treat them respectfully and kindly.

At the same time, teach children tolerance and acceptance of others who may have different backgrounds or beliefs than them. Let them know that it’s ok to disagree with someone as long as they do so in a peaceful manner.

7. Force Children To Accept an Apology

boy apologizing to friend

It is never truly resolved if you force a child to accept an apology. The underlying issue is still there, according to one user.

They said: “I am a 3rd-grade teacher. My students know I won’t force an apology. Instead, I speak to the students about their choices and how they made others feel.”

7. Force Children To Accept an Apology

crying child 1

“I’ve found that once students realize what they did, they do apologize on their own, and the other student does accept it because they know the apology is sincere.”

“Oftentimes, students will even try to resolve the issue on their own. It’s common for students to ask me if they could speak alone in the hallway. They then return proudly stating that they resolved their issue.”

8. Don’t Cry

boy crying to parent

“To push down their feelings and never cry,” one person wrote. “You don’t heal unless you work through your emotions. Support them, don’t scold.”

Were you raised with the “boys don’t cry” generation? Let them know that it is healthy to talk about their feelings, even if they think those feelings are negative.

Try to support them through difficult times and remind them that crying does not make them weak or less of a person; instead, it can be a sign of strength.

9. I Before E Except After C

teacher teaching grammar

One person wrote: “I before E, except after C”; this rule has so many exceptions that it should not be considered a rule.

A person responded: “Except when your foreign neighbor Keith receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty, caffeinated weightlifters. Weird.”

Should we really be teaching children this rule? The truth is that there are so many exceptions to this expression where it fails completely.

10. If He’s Mean to You, He Likes You

boy making remarks at girl

“I tell my daughter, ‘It doesn’t matter if he likes you; if he’s not kind, he’s not worth your time,'” one person commented.

No one deserves to be treated poorly, no matter how much someone may like them. Encourage children to cultivate friendships with people who treat them with respect and dignity, as those are the people who will truly be there for them.

11. Ignore The Bullies

bully punching

Will bullies go away just by ignoring them? Apparently not, according to one teacher.

As a former teacher, it does nothing to address the issue. The bullying persists 100% of the time,” the user wrote.

Teaching children to confide in a parent or teacher they trust when they feel bullied may be the best way to deal with the situation.

12. Please is The Magic Word

kid saying please

Just because you say “please”, doesn’t mean you get what you want! Similarly, just because you say “sorry” doesn’t mean you are instantly off the hook.

“‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t erase a wrong and is only one small part of an apology, which the wronged party is not obligated to accept,” the user said.

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mother disciplining child

These are just a few of the things that people agree we should stop teaching children. Instead, focus on teaching them how to think critically, develop empathy and respect others, and become strong individuals. Only through these lessons will we be able to create a better future for all.

This post, 10 Things to Stop Teaching Children, was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit Source.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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