Raising a child is one of the most challenging tasks for a human being. The way you raise a child can define his/her entire future.
What we learn in early childhood are the things that have the most impact on us and usually stay with us forever.
However, there are some harmful things being taught to children whether knowingly or by mistake, and these things can negatively impact their lives.
Why are these harmful things being taught to children in the first place?
Some of them are taught to the children at schools, thinking that they are good for them. And sometimes, adults are teaching children by example about bad habits that can harm them.
Another case is when an adult tries to over-simplify things for a child and ends up conveying the wrong message even though it may not be their intention.
Once we start listing some of the harmful things being taught to children nowadays, the image will get clearer. Stick around and let’s dive right into them!
1. Ignore bullies and they’ll leave you alone
Bullying is one of the biggest problems that children face, especially at school from their peers. This problem isn’t specific to a certain country or school, it happens everywhere and many kids suffer because of it.
That’s why parents usually have the responsibility of teaching their child how to react to these bullies. Some parents think that telling the child to ignore the bullies is a peaceful way to let it go. However, it has quite the opposite effect.
When a child doesn’t stand up to their bullies, one of two things will happen:
- They might be bullied more
- The bully might continue to bully others because he/she wasn’t faced before
Both scenarios aren’t a good outcome. When a kid stands up to their bullies, they force them to back off. This also makes the bully less likely to develop this behavior as opposed to when they aren’t faced.
2. “No” is a bad word
This is one of the things that I suffered from my entire life, and I’m still working on myself to get over it. My parents used to tell me that it’s more polite to say “Yes” when someone asks for help or needs something.
However, the more you say “Yes” to things, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel. It’s okay to say “No” to people and kids need to learn that earlier in their lives.
Teaching your child to put himself/herself first doesn’t mean they will become selfish. It’s important to let them know that accepting everything thrown at them isn’t always good.
3. Being wrong is bad
One of the harmful things being taught to children at school is that being wrong means you’re less valuable than others. Kids applaud those who answer correctly and tend to ignore those who make mistakes.
This develops in children a sense of fear from making mistakes. The entire scoring and grading system at schools (especially for the younger kids) is ridiculous. If children focus too much on scores, they won’t get anywhere.
Some kids don’t try to do things or answer questions because they’re afraid of being wrong. If they don’t make mistakes, how else are they supposed to learn?
4. Trust the adults
Kids are usually told that they should trust what older people tell them. Eventually, this means that older children can’t question things or raise valid points of their own.
Even adults don’t have all the answers, and they can be wrong sometimes (Most of the times actually). It’s important to mention this point to children from time to time.
5. Repress your emotions
“Stop crying kid, you’re a man!”
So what? Don’t men cry too? This is one of the very common harmful things being taught to children. Many men feel as if showing emotions is a sign of weakness, and it all starts here.
Parents should teach children that it’s okay to show emotions, to talk about how they feel. Accumulating these emotions will only cause them to explode in a very bad way at some point.
Expressing emotions is okay. Even more, it’s necessary. Telling the kids otherwise will only make them develop alternative mechanisms (like bullying) to cope with this.
6. It’s okay to be on social media
This is a more recent problem arising in our society. It’s not exactly something taught to children, it’s the effects that come with it that are very harmful.
Nowadays, we see more and more young children on social media, and this puts a lot of pressure on the kids to attribute their worth to their social media success. It’s not easy for children to understand that social media isn’t an accurate reflection of a person’s life.
Eventually, children start to become more unhappy with who they are. They stop wanting to be themselves and try to become the “cool kid” that everyone likes.
7. The world is a just place
Another harmful thing being taught to children is that “Good will always win and Evil will be punished”.
In psychology, this is referred to as “The Just-World Fallacy“. It’s extremely harmful because it teaches kids that people who are facing hardships and failings must’ve done something to deserve it.
What it really does to children is that it leads to victim blaming (bad things only happen to bad people) and sets them up for depression.
Children must know that sometimes bad people do all sorts of bad things and still get to be successful, while others might be doing everything right and still fail. That’s just the way life is.
8. You must go to college
This is more targeted towards older kids. Usually, parents talk to their children as if college is a necessity in life and if they don’t go to college right after school they’re considered a failure.
That’s not the case at all! Some people prefer taking a gap year after finishing high school, and it’s actually a great idea! A lot of kids get into majors they don’t like just because they didn’t really know what it’s about or because they didn’t know what they wanted.
It’s much better to take a gap year, figure out what you want then go to college. Or sometimes not go to college at all! If you can’t afford it and the thing you want to learn can be done online, then why put a huge education debt on your shoulders?
For example, computer science can be learned completely online by watching free courses and building projects for practice. No one cares about a degree if you have a big portfolio showcasing your amazing skills.
9. It’s only going to get worse from here
“You think school is hard? Wait till you get to college”.
“You think college is hard? You haven’t seen how bad work is”.
These statements never end. Telling kids to ignore their issues and mental health is one of the most harmful things being taught to children these days.
It creates an emotional barrier between parents and their kids. It also makes kids feel alone in their emotional struggles, that nobody cares because they’re not adults and they don’t have “adult problems”.
If your children are facing issues and problems, listen to them instead of telling them that it’ll get worse.
What can we do about these harmful things being taught to children?
Learning about the bad things being taught to children is the first step on that road. As we said before, parenting is not an easy task at all. It’s a big responsibility that should never be taken lightly.
That’s why parents should do their best to learn more about how to raise a child properly. Teachers and schools play a big role in that too. They can organize sessions for parents to teach them more about parenting, and teachers should regularly be updated on the new studies related to education.
More awareness means less harmful things being taught to children, so spreading awareness should be a top priority.
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