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Don't force children to do something they don't want to do

Carlotta Cerri

When we force a child to do something they don't want to do, we're raising an adult who:

  • is less likely to respect others and their will
  • is more likely to do what others say even if it doesn't feel right

Forcing children to do something they don't want to do—even with the best of intentions—is a form of abuse, and unfortunately kids will be more likely to learn to use it also in their own relationships.

Instead of forcing a child to jump off the rocks into the sea, if they say NO, try to understand and respect their fear (as you would respect an adults fear). Change the sentence: "Come on! There's nothing to be afraid of!" -> You don't have to do it if you don't feel like it. You can try it next time if you want". These changes are at the very core of respectful communication.

Also remember: teaching adults around us to respect children’s will and ask for their consent is just as important as teaching children to say NO.

Help me spread this message: brave is NOT being afraid and doing it anyway; brave is listening and honoring our own emotions regardless of what others say.


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