Six Things My Kids Are Allowed to Say to Adults

167183_471596638308_3379574_nThere’s a blog post out there garnering a lot of attention titled 6 Things My Kids Aren’t Allowed to Say to Adults. After seeing it come through my Facebook newsfeed for the 27th time, I finally took a look.  Then I took another look. Then another.  Interestingly, each time I read it (3 times in total), there was another new edit, update, or clarification from the author. Clearly feeling the stress of negative comments, she defended, expanded on, and added specific examples for all of her original points.  She added a disclaimer.  She closed the comments.

As someone who is intimately and painfully familiar with the frustration of feeling like my words are being misconstrued, I am definitely sensitive to this mom’s plight.  Unfortunately, her additions to the post just made me disagree with it all the more, and were actually the impetus I needed to write a response.  Still, it somehow seems important to me to state right from the start that what follows is in response to words, ideas, and concepts…. not to one individual person.  I don’t know her, and had never read her blog prior to this one post.

I will list the six specific words/phrases in a minute, but the biggest reason that I disagree (and the overwhelming thought that clung to me as I read) is this:

I’m not interested in raising robots.  My kids are not mine to control, or to train.  They are human beings.  Lovely, perfectly imperfect, unique human beings with their own personalities, their own thoughts, and their own opinions.  I want to recognize and embrace and honor who they are, not who I want them to be.  I want my kids to feel free to say anything to me, to express any emotion to me….. and I want them to trust that I’ll always provide a safe space for them to do so.

{A quick but necessary little side note here, because for some reason my being open about my faith seems to invite people to employ Bible verses as weapons:  I’m aware of the scripture that reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s a great verse!  I don’t refute it.  I do however refute the way it is so often twisted to advocate for a dehumanizing, literal “training” akin to something that you would do with dogs.  Children are not dogs.  This scripture – and others like it – simply serve as a reminder of our responsibility as parents.   Not just as Christians, but as caring, invested parents in general.  It’s our responsibility to parent in such a way that models kindness and respect, both for ourselves and for others.  It’s our responsibility to parent in such a way that models grace and forgiveness, both for ourselves and for others.  It’s our responsibility to parent in such a way that models love and gentleness, both for ourselves and for others. Those are the values that I want to live out loud, and by extension, show my children.  Those are the values from which I trust that my children “will not depart.”  And if we live it, they will learn it….. no “training” necessary.}

First and foremost, we were created as human beings… with a full range of personalities, emotions, and styles of communication.  I want my kids to be authentically themselves at any given moment, not some straight-edged, boxed-in version of themselves that I created through force, coercion and control.  And if there is anyone that I want them to feel free to be REAL with, it’s me!!

(Have I mentioned I’m not interested in raising robots?)

Here then, is the original list of words the author won’t allow her children to say, and why I feel very differently.

1.  “No”

A word that the author calls “the ultimate defiance towards authority,” I find the word, “no” to be a hugely important word for everyone to have at his or her disposal.  My youngest is now seven, so it’s been awhile, but I remember well when she and all three of her brothers discovered the word as toddlers.  In one memorable incident, we were all hanging out on our king bed one night, and it was getting late.  We told Tegan (who was barely two at the time) that it was probably time to put on her pajamas.  She looked at us with a little gleam in her eye, took her finger, and clearly traced the letters N O on the surface of the bed.  Not only were we not offended by her “defiance”, we thought it was awesome!  We had no idea she could spell, or even knew what the letters looked like, and she was immensely proud of herself.  What a powerful word!   We laughed, she laughed, and then she put on her pajamas.

Being able to set boundaries for yourself – in all kinds of situations – is an invaluable skill, and it often starts with the ability and the confidence to say no.  I’m a recovering people-pleaser, so I have often found myself burnt out and spread too thin.  Learning to say “no” as an adult was a huge step to protect my space, my health, and my sanity.  My kids know how to say no, and they are welcome to do so.

Does that mean then, that every time I ask them to do something, they say no?  NO!  (Ha, see what I did there?) They really never say no in that context, because our house doesn’t work like that.  We operate as a partnership, not a dictatorship.  We respect each other.  If I say to one of the kids, “Hey, can you help me pick up for a couple of minutes?” they’ll gladly help, much in the same way that I’ll gladly help when one of the kids asks me to bring them a drink when I’m in the kitchen.  Mutual respect and communication go a long way towards maintaining peace and unity within the home.

2.  “Just a minute”

She wrote:

When I tell my kids to do something, I expect them to obey immediately.

But “just a minute”  is something that we say as adults all the time.  All. The. Time.  I do try not to say it too often, because I want to stay present and engaged with my kids, but if I’m asked to do something when I’m really involved in a project, at a minimum I’m going to need to jot down whatever thought/word/project I was working on a sticky note (because I’m 41 and sleep deprived and my brain is full…. so if I don’t write it down, I risk losing it forever)  So while I’m happy to help with whatever’s asked of me, this is real life, so I don’t often jump up the exact instant that I’m asked…. which makes it categorically unfair to expect something different of my kids.

The author did say that her children were allowed to ask if they could, for example, finish reading their chapter in their book before they did whatever it was she’d asked them to do. But why should the onus be on the kids to ask permission?  Why can’t we as parents have enough respect for our kids to recognize that their time is just as valuable as ours?  Why can’t we as parents have enough respect for our kids to recognize that they don’t exist to be at our beck and call?  Unless time is of a serious essence (ie: someone’s on fire), “just a minute” is a perfectly acceptable response.

And I don’t expect my kids to be “obedient” (I actually can’t stand the word obedience)  What I expect is that my kids will treat me with the same level of care and respect that I extend to them. And they do.

3.  “Yeah”

She wrote:

Opinions on this may vary depending on your geographical location, but where I’m from, it is incredibly disrespectful to answer any adult with anything but “Yes ma’am”; “Yes sir”; “No ma’am”; and “No Sir”. My kids will definitely be corrected if they answer with a flippant “Yeah” in response to any question.

I agree with the author that opinions on this one likely vary based largely on geography.  I was raised in New England – not in the south – so I was not raised to address adults with “Yes, Ma”am” and “Yes, Sir” (what the author requires of her children.)  I’m actually not a fan of being addressed in that way myself.  It sounds awkwardly formal, and it makes me feel old.  I certainly wouldn’t want my kids to feel pressured or required to respond to me in that manner, particularly not in their own home.  If they want to answer me in the affirmative, “Yeah, yes, yep, yup, uh-huh, and right on” all work for me.

I don’t worry that they’ll not know when to use more formally respectful language either.   I speak in a different way to my friends to my husband to my mother to my boss to a police officer.  I adjust my level of formality and familiarity depending on the situation, as do most of us. We learn about being polite in a variety of settings as we grow, and as we mature.  It’s really not that complicated.

I’m their MOM, the most familiar person in their life. They really don’t need need to address me the same way they’d address a judge if they were arguing a speeding ticket in court.

4.  “I don’t want to”

Very similar to #1.  When the author tells her children to do something, the only acceptable response is immediate obedience.  “I don’t want to” is rarely an issue in that context in our house – remember, this is a partnership, not a dictatorship – but when I ask my kids to do something (that’s one huge difference between myself and the parenting philosophy employed by this author:  I ASK.  She TELLS)  When I ask my kids to do something, I’m genuinely asking, and while nine times out of ten the answer is yes, they always have the option to respond how they’d like.

Like the word, “no”, “I don’t want to” is a hugely important and empowering thing to be able to say, across many different circumstances.  I never want to give my children the disadvantage – and possibly put them in an unhealthy or unsafe situation – by telling them it’s not an appropriate thing to say.

And to hopefully head off some inevitable comments:  No, I don’t worry at all that my children will grow up to tell an employer “I don’t want to” when they’re told to complete a reasonable but unpleasant or boring task.   (Although, to be honest, if my children ever find themselves miserable, unfulfilled, or generally unhappy with their life choices, whether it be work or anything else:  I would hope that they would have the courage and the confidence to say, whether through words or actions, “You know what, I don’t want to do this anymore”, so that they could seek to create change.)

5.  “I don’t like this”

She says:

If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat what is set before them.

I’ve written at length about my philosophy of food when it comes to my family (most recently here), but in short: We try to make foods we all like.  We’re all members of the family, and we all get to have a voice:  from the foods we buy, to the snacks we have on hand, to the dinners we cook.  Everyone gets to have, and express, an opinion.  And on the rare cases when we happen to have a dinner that someone doesn’t like?  No problem! They’re free to have a sandwich, make an egg, fix a bowl of cereal, whatever they’d like – something that the author deems a no-no.  My kids eat all kinds of foods, and are always game to try something new.Sure, they each have a few things they don’t care for.  Don’t we all?  As an adult, I generally simply avoid buying/eating the things I don’t like.  Why wouldn’t I extend my kids the same courtesy?  If they don’t like something, they’re always free to express it, especially in the safety of their own home.  Now, if we were visiting new friends for dinner, would they stab something with a fork, hold it up for the whole table to see, and announce, “This stuff is gross”? (something that a grown adult actually did to me once, after my woefully botched first attempt to make seitan when I was a vegan)  Absolutely not!  As with #3, it’s simply a social nuance that they learn with time, maturity, and involved parents.

One more point about the food.  There was much ado made about the fact that there are starving children out there who have nothing to eat, and therefore children should be thankful for what they have, and eat whatever’s placed in front of them.  Yikes.  Yes, it’s wonderful to have an attitude of gratefulness.  And yes – unfortunately – there are starving children out there. It’s an important thing to be aware of, to be sure.  Even better is to do something about it, and to help out whether by donating your time or your money to people who are in need.But using it as a vehicle to shame and coerce your children to eat what is put in front of them?  That isn’t fair, respectful, or helpful to anyone.

6.  Nothing 

She says:

When an adult speaks to my children, hiding behind mama and refusing to speak is not acceptable behavior

Much like saying “Yes, Ma’am” when the situation calls for it, and not telling the nice neighbor that the food she just made you is gross, learning to talk and interact respectfully with adults is something that comes with time and practice.  Just like adults, some kids are naturally outgoing from the beginning, and others start out by wanting to hide behind mom.  Both are okay!  I’m 41 years old, and I can think of many a social situation where I wish I could hide behind my mom.   But I don’t.  I’ve learned to shake hands, and smile politely, and say “It’s nice to meet you”, even if my voice shakes when I say it.  And kids will learn too.    But requiring them to interact in a way that they’re not ready for is no different than requiring them to hug and kiss grandma even if they don’t want to.  It’s a violation of their right to personal autonomy, and it seriously blurs the line of when they can and cannot say “no”, and who they do or do not have to listen to.

Their body = their choice

Their voice = their choice

If your child doesn’t want to talk to me for whatever reason, please don’t insist that they do!  I don’t need or want a forced “hello” or a forced “thank you” or a forced “I’m sorry.”   I’ll just be happy to know that you’re honoring your child’s wishes, and respecting his right to trust and make judgments about new people in his own time, in his own way.  It’s an important skill to have, and forcing them to interact in the way that you deem appropriate is stripping them of the practice they need to hone that skill for themselves.


If you’ll indulge me while I say it for a third and final time:  I’m not raising robots.  These are HUMAN BEINGS. This is a relationship we’re forming here, not boot camp.  The idea of censoring, controlling, and requiring certain narrow words and reactions from children not only saddens me but quite honestly genuinely frightens me.  It feels more like programming than parenting.  Kids aren’t ours to program.  They are ours for but a short time, to nurture, protect, and guide through our example…. but also to sit back and watch, while they unfold into the perfectly unique and already-laid-out version of themselves, which I guarantee you is far better than anything you or I could ever orchestrate on their behalf.  

My kids can say anything to me.  They can express any emotion.  Share any feeling.  Give any opinion.  In short, they can be real.

No matter what else a home may be, shouldn’t it at least start with being a place where you can be yourself?


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149 Responses to Six Things My Kids Are Allowed to Say to Adults

  1. Jenny

    Couldn’t agree more. Very well said! I’m aware at times that people might raise an eyebrow that I listen and respond to my kids’ wishes (kids are 1 and 3), but I try to remember how much I dislike being made to eat what I don’t like/being forced to talk to people when I’m shy etc etc. The most telling thing is that when I revert to the ‘training’ attitude that is socially more familiar and expected, my kids behave worse, act up in defence against me, and then my 3 yr old parrots my behaviour and words back to me or to her little sister, which is really unpleasant to hear, and definitely not the example I want to be setting!

  2. Jessi

    Hahaha…I stopped reading her list at number 1…….No is the most important word to know and use appropriately.

    • Suzie

      I think you misread the title. “No” *is* important…that is why she has it as #1 on the list of things that are okay for her kids to say.

      • Jen

        I might be wrong but I think Jessi meant the book … that she stopped reading the book when she got to #1 in the book. 🙂

  3. I couldn’t find a thing to disagree with you on. It makes it a little trickier to have a meaningful dialog versus a praise-fest. During my growth from an authoritative parent to a gentle guiding parent, I realized that if I raised my special needs son in such a way that he blindly obeyed, felt no sense of control over himself that he could fall prey to insidious characters without realizing it or become more likely to become enamored with addictions. Now, a few years later, I can say that parenting in a way that preserves and celebrates who he is as a person brings such joy into our family. Great read- shared on FB.

  4. Oh my gosh, you hit the nail on the head! I totally agree with every point except the last, I do ask that my kids respond when people are talking to them. They like to be heard, and I like for them to let others know they’re heard as well. Other than that we are TOTALLY on the same page and I love what you’ve written. I can’t wait to share it.

    • Amy

      What about those kids that are shy or have social anxiety? My almost 5 year old is incredibly shy around new people and often hides behind me. Forcing her to speak to a stranger either makes her more quiet and defiant, or puts her in tears. So if she doesn’t want to respond, she doesn’t have to. I will never force her to speak when she doesn’t want to.

      • Maymay

        @Amy- That’s the case for YOUR child, and that is your parenting style based off of YOUR child’s personal behavior. I am not sure why you are responding to ‘Victoria’ as if her wanting her children to respond to people is as if it is wrong? Or as if she needs to tell you that what you are doing is ‘okay’? You don’t need to ask her “what about those kids that…. etc”. She voiced her opinion and you have a different one. I really don’t see why you need her to answer your question in your first sentence…

        • Lex

          @Maymay absolutely well said! I don’t agree with ignoring to be an option. No one is expecting a child to strike up a conversation. But if someone says “you have on a nice dress”, teaching “thank you” shows them how to use manners. If one thinks ignoring is okay, would you be okay if someone ignored your child when they were trying to say something to another person? You wouldn’t think it’s nice, right? It’s always good to teach communication and in my opinion, it’s rewarding for all when you break the barrier of “shyness” or excusing a child from learning to interact.

  5. Kurtis

    Thank you

  6. Bee

    I love this! 🙂 I agree with everything you said here. Ugh, being able to say “no” is so incredibly important, especially for kids.

    PS. Totally random side note: I love your new dreads!

  7. I don’t like it when kids say no, when parents ask them to do things. I think it sounds disrespectful. As parents we ARE supposed to “train” our kids on appropriate behavior. How else will they learn? Most of the things on that list I do allow from my kids. If they are busy and say, Just a minute, they are saying the same thing I say a million times when they need me. Why would we not allow our kids to say that too? And I have heard, “I don’t want to” more times than I can count. They are very much allowed to say that but that doesn’t mean they get a free pass from unloading the dishwasher 🙂

    • Claire

      So you teach them when is or is not appropriate to say no. Children need to learn that too. As someone else said it’s puttinga target on them to abusers.

    • Karen James

      No is one of the most powerful words in the English language, in my opinion. To not be allowed to say no is to be stripped of one’s personal autonomy. I want my son to say no as often as no feels right to him. Then when he says yes I know it’s because he means it—because it’s a real choice. His choice. Making thoughtful choices is the foundation for living a thoughtful life. Yes can’t authentically exist without the option to say no. Children learn that through practice. They learn what no feels like on a fundamental level. They learn what yes feels like. From their budding and growing understanding children, and later adults, can make authentic choices about what they want to do with their time, body, energy and personal belongings. Letting children practice saying no early on leads to healthier adults, and I like to believe a healthier, stronger, more mindful community.

    • Sarah

      I don’t THINK Debbie is saying she doesn’t teach her child when it is appropriate or inappropriate to say “no”. Certainly children need to be able to say “no” and mean it. But, that she doesn’t like for a child to say “no” and it’s accepted as a pass not to play a role in the household. It’s actually a great learning tool to allow them to say “no”. “Johnny, it’s time for homework”…”no, mom I don’t feel like it”. That’s a perfect time to communicate with your child. There might be a reason he doesn’t want to do the work (outside of the fact it’s homework). Also, a great time to discuss consequences. Yes, you can say no, but that isn’t a pass on consequences. If you don’t do your homework it can effect your grades. Again I don’t THINK Debbie is saying the word “no” isn’t allowed to cross the lips of her children, but that children are children and need guidance and direction to understand the implications of saying “no”. That there are consequences and even a responsibility to using a word a powerful as “no”. On a personal note. I do allow my children to say the word “no”, and I do use that as an opportunity to teach when they tell me no. I do think children need to learn through experiences, but when it comes to health and safety of my child or others there is a strong line. We live in a cul-de-sac and my children are allowed to ride their bikes in the circle. There are cars that mistakenly turn down our street. Cars that may drive too fast, cars I’m not familiar with, so on. If I tell my kids get out of the road a car is coming and they tell me NO. I need them to listen immediately. Their life and safety is in danger. There is no chance to discuss the situation, and it’s not a situation worth allowing the consequences to be a teaching tool. Afterward once they have moved and all is safe, yes, teach. Children do not have the life experience, the foresight, judgement skills required to make any and all life decisions. There are just some things my children need to listen to me with out question. Once safety is secured then a discussion can happen. I have wonderful children that for the most part are easy going. My son is a daredevil and loves going fast, hard, higher, bigger. In his mind he is invincible! On the topic of his invincibility we disagree. We’ve had discussions till we’re blue in the face. No arguing. Honest talks. We agree to disagree. But because I’m the parent and responsible to lead, guide, direct, and teach my child. I do get the ultimate say, and telling me “no” when it comes to matters of his safety are not allowed. I really don’t think anyone is arguing that point…I hope not anyway…no matter if we are on one side or the other or somewhere in between I think we can agree that a child’s life trumps all. I’m also assuming we can all agree that consequences do come with saying “no” or “yes”. For the most part children should experience the consequences(bad and good) of their actions and words…to a point. My point is health, safety, life of self and others. As for formal situations. Teaching when and how to say no or yes is of course important. Telling the teacher “no, I don’t want to come in from the playground right now” isn’t going to go over well.

      • Pamela

        Extremely will said, thank you!
        Too many “parents” mistakenly assume inappropriate relationships with their children for numerous reasons, sometimes without realizing it. They tout a “mutual” respect without the realization of the harm they do, because of the inability of the “child” to begin to comprehend what that entails. Through much love, great patience, clear communication & definitive boundaries can children grow self assuredly, with proper brain maturity. Our roles as parents & children are God given & clearly biblically defined. Our children need to witness our keen desire to honor & obey our loving God, so that they may
        In turn know the expectation for themselves & experience first hand that which leads them to do the same. God’s plan works well.

    • jen

      How else will they learn? They learn from having involved caring parents who *show* them a respectful way to interact with others, by modeling it themselves.

    • Lex

      @Debbie, I agree. There’s always a respectful way to say things, and “no” is disrespectful. Now, this isn’t saying they aren’t allowed to have their opinions or disagree, but to blatantly say “no”, isn’t the way they should go about doing it. My mom’s quirk was when I’d reply “what” when she called me. Looking back, I’m glad she corrected me from it because it isn’t respectful and I don’t like it when people respond that way with me. So if they don’t like something or have a disagreement, they are welcomed to talk about it, but will understand that “no” won’t just dismiss it.

  8. Lorna Bemis

    You took the words right out of my head and made them sound so much better and more concise than I ever could have. Thank you! Oh, if every parent felt this way and raised their kids this way! The world would be a much better place!

  9. Couldn’t agree more. I was never allowed to say these kinds of things to adults, and I grew up afraid of adults and afraid to ever speak my opinion to anyone with any authority over me. Obviously that doesn’t happen to everyone, but I have seen so much abuse of power over children that I would never forbid my kids to say any of those things. Especially no.

  10. Marcie

    I totally agree with you on no. If we teach our children they can’t say no to adults thne if an adult asks them to do something they n
    know is wrong or outside of what their parents would want they won’t feel free to say no. I agree with most of the rest of what you said as well. As long as the child is being respectful. I will talk to my daughter if she is answering someone, adult or otherwise, in a rude manner. I will remind her of the respectful way. I give her some leeway when she is tired or otherwise not feeling well though. Politeness is something I try to model for her as well. Your posts always give me something to think about and I enjoy your perspective.

  11. Laurie

    While I agree with you that kids should have more communication freedoms, I do think it was condescending for you to write a public post in contrast to the other mom’s post. It almost puts her down, you know? I just think you could have messaged with her politely, rather than self-righteously raising your views up while putting hers down.

    • jen

      People write public posts in response to what I write all the time, and have every right to do so. It’s part of blogging. As I said in my post, the response wasn’t to HER, it was to the ideas and philosophies she wrote about. The people who read what I write enjoy hearing and sharing the things I have to say. They can’t do that if I don’t do it publicly. She can write about what she believes on her blog, and I can write about what I believe on my blog. You just publicly put me down by calling me condescending and self-righteous on a blog that’s read by thousands. You could have messaged me politely.

      • Mandi

        Right on, Jen!!

      • Laurie

        Fair enough. I did realize I was being hypocritical. Self righteousness and seeing moms being condescending to other moms views on parenting is a huge smack in the face (to the other author in this case). All that said, I’m sorry to have offended you.

      • Laurie

        After more thought:
        No matter how you preempt it, this IS to her. You pieced apart her ENTIRE article, raising your parenting to a level that is far superior to hers. You’re using her blog post to let everyone know your style of parenting is better. Just because this is the norm in blogging land doesn’t mean it is a great move. You’re passive aggressively belittling her. Maybe you could’ve just left her a comment? She could’ve had the ability to reply as you replied to me. If only this type of “who is the better mom” exchange wasn’t the bane of my existence, I may have been able to keep my mouth shut. I wish I had, because aside from this I’d imagine you’re a nice person.

        • Sarah

          Didn’t the other author close comments?
          Eh, to me it is about dialogue about ideas. This other woman put it out for all the world to see and then closed the comments.

        • RM

          “Maybe you could’ve just left her a comment? ”

          Guess you missed where the original blogger disabled the ability to comment.

        • The original author put out her philosophies and ideas about parenting. We are allowed to disagree. I don’t think this author was belittling the original one, she was just disagreeing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a good, healthy debate. It was a lot nicer than some of the mean comments the author received. She ended up shutting down the comments.

          This author never said her way was the best way, only her way and what she believes in. I do have to say that I definitely agree with this article. I understood the intention of the original author and I agree it’s important to respect others, but I disagree with outright banning phrases and words.

          • Laurie

            She could have written an original piece that didn’t follow the other author’s outline. Also, I Did not know the comments were closed on the other article. It still does not mean that this is the best way to disagree with someone. I see this as using another mom’s views as a spring board to gain attention. There’s no way to convince me that this is a good move, and that’s okay, because we are all entitled to our own opinions, the author of this post included.

          • Laurie

            I do realize that I’m being rude. I’m policing on someone’s personal blog. :/ I think I’m going to lay down my weapons now, and avoid looking at any more comments. Say what you will…
            Sorry Jen.

        • LaurieLawaitwait, no, wait Carrie

          Hi Imperfect Housekeeper! I’m glad you found the way to put down people who don’t agree with you after you closed and edited your own comment section.

        • Jamie

          Good lord, when you write publicly, you get public responses. This is far nicer than most responses I’ve seen on thisthis. Plus it is getting her lots of traffic on the original. You are allowed to talk back to someone! You are allowed to have opinions! That was the WHOLE POINT.

      • WVet

        I think I agree with Laurie. I think if you wanted to write an article about empowering children and/or parental partnership you could have without mirroring the other article.

    • It’s actually a normal practice among bloggers to reply publicly, on their blog, to another blogger’s post. 🙂 That is, after all, each blogger’s forum to expound on their views.

      I’m a mother of six, and I’ve now read both posts. I have to say that our house would resemble MaryEllen’s (the other article) more than Jenn’s. I don’t really think we’re raising robots, though. 🙂 But we do have very polite, helpful children.

    • Lex

      @Laurie. I agree. I thought that too. I had to read it twice and couldn’t help be feel that it was a bit bashing the mother’s point of view and putting her down. There’s no “right” and “wrong”’s different views. Now I don’t agree 100% with either. I see points that I agree with on both posts. For example, rather than excusing my child from ignoring others, I will explain and show how to communicate. Most parents would be hurt if an individual blatantly ignored their child when their child was speaking to/asking something, so I don’t think it’s fair to openly not teach them manners when talking to others.

  12. Brandi

    I don’t know anything at all about the whole unschooling thing, my older son is in public school and baby brother will be in a few more years. That being said, the rule at my house is and always has been that the kiddos can say anything they want to me providing they do it respectfully. Every person is different. My two boys couldn’t be more different. I have one that is in 8th grade and would still hide behind me instead of talk to strangers (except he is bigger than me now) and the 2.5 yr old has NEVER met a stranger. Teaching respect by showing them respect works and covers most situations in life. And I agree that kids need to know that they can say no! To ANYONE!

  13. Al

    The woman who wrote the initial article is doing a major disservice to her kids. Putting a giant target on their back for child abusers. They arent allowed to object to anything. No matter what it involves. I highly doubt she teaches them body safety. I bet dobbing is unacceptable too. I feel sick for her kids reading this.

    • Cherisse

      How assumptive of you. I agree with a lot of points the original author makes (my children are permitted to say what they’d like if they can do so respectfully) and I’ve taught my children both body safety and when they don’t have to listen to adults.

      There is no reason to assume anything in your comment about the original author.

  14. Emma

    Thank you Jen. I read one of the abridged versions if the original article and was gaping by the end of the first paragraph! ‘To each their own’ is my declared motto and i am not involved in any church, but I have deep morals and values and I have really enjoyed your article. I do not want to raise robots and love that my children, even our 18 yr old son, still talks to us and can tell us anything without fear or condemnation. Kudos to you and every parent raising independent thinking human beings. Cheers 🙂

  15. Polishmomma

    We have a rule in our house that you have to try the food the first time. After you give it a fair shot, then you can refuse it.

    • We do here, too! And if they refuse to give it a shot, I’ll annoyingly dance around the table and sing “Try it You’ll Like It” from Yo Gabba Gabba until they do. And that usually does the trick. 😉

  16. Mandi

    I try so hard to let my kids speak the truth. I was raised like the first blogger you speak about–changing shifting is harder than it seems. As my kids go into teen years I hope I can allow more of a partnership.

  17. Hi! This is interesting…I havent thought much about this because I think most kids are raised to not say these things. So I guess Im curious how you handle it if your kid is young enough to not be mature enough to know what is best for them? Like, “suzy, its time to go to school” and the response is “NO!” Or to a teenager, “id like to meet your friends/meet their parents” and you find out they are drug dealers…i mean that would freak me out and id probably tell them they couldnt hang out with them anymore…i mean i dont have kids yet and i really enjoy reading stuff like this because it makes me think about traditions i can make and break. So im just curious what you do when they are just being stubborn and unwise (because kids torally do that)…what would you have done if your kid said “no” to bedtime and meant it?? I mean they cant stay up all night….and as a parent its your job to set boundaries for them if they arent wise enough yetto do it on their own. Just wondering!! 🙂 i hope that makes sense. thanks so much and thanks for the post 🙂

    • Jean

      My youngest of three is nearly 18 now, and I raised all three of mine the way Jen outlines. I never had any of mine say “no” they aren’t going to school, unless they were sick. I have always recieved comments from other parents about how pleasant and easy my kids are. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, but they have never been in trouble. While I wasn’t always a fan of their friends’ parents, none of them turned out to be drug dealers, or anything like that.

      I have never figured out why adults are always supposed to automatially get respect from children simply beause they are adults. Seriously, I know an awful lot of adults, including teachers, who I respect far less than I did my children. I taught my children to be polite (which did not include “sir” or “ma’am” in the places we lived – to me those are reserved as military address from enlisted to an officer) to everyone, but respect is earned.

    • QBD

      She doesn’t have bed times for her kids. She trusts that her kids know when they are tired or when they need to sleep and allows them to do so. I also don’t enforce a bed time at my house, but I do ask that my kids are respectful and quiet after 9PM. I rarely hear them, so it must be working. My kids still get up every day and do the things they are supposed to do, without fail, so I am not worried about not having a set bed time for them.

      • Wow thats awesome. Did that work when they were smaller/under 6? I just remember bedtime being a huge ordeal at my house growing up because mybrother was a major night owl…and an extremely difficult kid ha. My mom wasnt very strict (until her buttons were really pushed) but my brother was just one of those kids that got into everything. He hadto have his stomach pumped a few times for getting up and into things in the middle of the night, lol! So for him the no bedtime thing wouldnt work. My mom wouldnt sleep until she was sure he was asleep and even then it was iffy. I guess its all part if a big package for sure. Thanks for your response 🙂 man parenting sounds so scary sometimes. Especially with so many opinions out there.

        • Prudence

          I’m coming to this super late, but in case anyone is following or will read later…

          We are on a journey of gentle parenting, and for a while bedtime with our 3-year-old was a huge struggle: Bible time (because that is important to us) with a storybook or books he enjoys, “toothbrush time,” then Daddy taking him to his bed, trying to coax him to stay there by standing at the bed, bringing him a drink, etc.

          He started fighting Bible time too, I think, knowing what was coming next. It was all a losing battle, and I pointed out that the fight about it resulted in him crying, which I hypothesized spiked adrenaline, making him LESS likely to sleep (admittedly, have not studied that out yet).

          We decided to drop bedtime and we reassured him over time that we no longer had an enforced bedtime. Now, we go through the other routines as usual: supper, then some (diluted) lavender oil to help facilitate calm, lights dimmed, sometimes soft music, parents not contributing to loud play or loud TV, avoiding the chaotic.

          Then we have a brief Bible time, and he will usually fall asleep on the couch after that. No fight = more actual *sleep* (not just enforced lying in bed).

          One of the best decisions we’ve made.

          Also, for children (perhaps really for any of us)…the best way to ensure an earlier bedtime is an earlier rising time! We have to get back on that wagon, the rest of us waking up about when Daddy does.

          We want to respect them by allowing them to go to bed when they are tired, the same as we do. We would not appreciate having to lie in bed staring up at the ceiling when not ready for sleep, so we do not require it of them.

          I hope this is helpful. 🙂

    • Jamie

      Choices help us. Instead of “get your shoes on” try “do you want your red or blue shoes?” When it is time for bed we ask my son if he wants to be carried or walk up the stairs himself. It gives them some feeling of control when they have so little. Often that’s all they need, to feel that they aren’t just being forced from one adult decision to another. They have a voice. This also really helps when there isn’t a choice because it’s dangerous. He listens to my demand not to, say, touch the stove because I’m not making constant demands all day.

      As they get older, they’ll learn to make more choices on their own, knowing what is debatable and what isn’t.

  18. Roger

    The author of the original article sounds like a terrible parent, and I wonder what makes someone like that presume that they are qualified to offer parenting advice to others. I feel sorry for her children or any children raised by people who think that children are to be “trained” like service animals.

    • Dalila

      I may not agree with everything she posted, but it’s quite a stretch to say that she is a terrible parent or, as another commenter said, abusive. You can stand up for your parenting choices without resorting to baseless character attacks.

  19. Gitan

    This exemplifies why so many of today’s children/youth are disrespectful and rude. Their parents are also rude because they were allowed to disobey their parents. I’m thankful for any parents who do not allow their children to act or speak in such a disrespectful way, and I agree with the original article.

    • Brittany

      Your comment exemplifies why so many of today’s adults do not deserve respect. Are children to be taught obedience like dogs? You will get respect when you give respect, and by the looks of it, that isn’t going to be anytime soon.

    • Bee

      It’s not as black and white as you make it sound, Gitan. Just because a child doesn’t say “yes, sir” or just because a kid says “no” to something it genuinely does not want to do, does not mean the child is rude. It is testing boundaries, testing voicing his/her opinion, testing what it means to HAVE a voice.

      Kids can be extremely respectful without saying “sir/ma’am” and they can be extremely rude and condescending (in attitude, behavior, or in general speech) without those words.

      In shot, what you’re saying here is overly dramatic, and not rooted in truth (as evidenced by myself and every single person I know who was allowed to say “no” and not required to say certain other things).

  20. Lisa

    Amen to that!

  21. YES. Thank you. I a posting this on ALL my pages!

  22. karen

    I couldn’t agree with you more!!!

  23. The response post is phenomenal! I read both out loud to my 3 children (14, 11, & 4) and it really helped them to better understand my parenting philosophy. Thank you so much for explaining these things far better than I could.

  24. I agree with your post and was not a fan of hers. All of her reasoning seems to take the child’s voice & choices away from them. I don’t understand how that is productive.

  25. Thank you a thousand times over for writing this (you saved me from having to)! I agree completely. We have five children who we have done our best to raise like this. Our three oldest are all in that pre-teen/teenager stage of life and amazingly (or not), they’re all very individual, opinionated, yet polite and well-mannered young people. When society begins to treat children as people instead of dogs, minions, robots (take your pic), what a wonderful world this will be!

  26. Kaleena

    The only thing in this whole article that I have a different philosophy on is number 5. I do allow them to da “I don’t like this” and I certainly am not going to force them to eat it anyway BUT I am not going to allow them to choose something else ( i.e. A sandwich, bowl of cereal etc) every meal I make takes time and I try to make things everyone likes, if they don’t like one of the parts of dinner (like the oven baked potatoes) they are welcome to have seconds of something else (the chicken, or veggies pr dinner rolls etc) I don’t run a restaurant so they can eat what is prepared.

    Everything else in this article is spot on!!!

  27. Anne

    I feel sorry for her children! Very,very sorry! They will probably grow up to be insecure people with no minds of their own. People will most likely take advantage, bully or abuse them because they won’t know how to say No or be able to trust their own judgement. In my eyes, she is being abusive by raising her children this way. Her post makes me sad and makes me cringe to think that people really think that manners and doing what adults tell them ( whether wrong or not) is what they must do. Children are not robots! They are little people who need our help to grow up feeling loved, safe, secure in their own bodies and free to speak their minds. Manners and respect will come naturally if they are treated with same! I really wonder what kind of home the writer grew up in. My guess is an unhappy one! Pity that she didn’t learn anything from her own life!

    • Jane

      My parents did their best to raise me like that and I’ve turned out just fine. Parents may control what children say but not what they think. I would ask you as a minor not to underestimate kids. ^_^

  28. Sara

    i’m with Kaleena. We eat what is served at dinner, or we wait until the next time food is served. Also, I do think it is necessary to respond when spoken to. We’re working on that one with my introverted 7yo, but I do want her to understand how important it is to communicate with words to adults that you are familiar with. But, so many lovely thoughts here. Thanks!

  29. Holly

    Thank you for this!! This is EXACTLY how we parent. My step sons were SHOCKED a few years ago when they were here for the summer and I didn’t require them to do anything. I asked them to take out the trash when they were done playing a game. They jumped up to do it immediately and I told them “no no no… go ahead and finish your game first!”… They hadn’t ever had an adult treat them like a human before and had no idea how to respond. It made me sad. I was pregnant while they were here (gave birth while they were here.. so late in pregnancy) and I KNOW there were hundreds of times I told them “I’ll do it in a few minutes” when they asked me something. Why couldn’t I extend them the same courtesy?

  30. Lara

    I would be more interested in hearing about what your children are not allowed to say to adults…. Like you (like all human Mom’s) I also am not raising robots, and I certainly agree wit your list. But, for example, “duh” just made the list in my house.

  31. Robin

    I love what you say and how you say it. You are right on all the time!

    I tried to raise my kids this way and I hope I have given them these tools and the respect they deserve. One kiddo says that most other kids she meets have been raised much differently and have very little affection for their parents. Meanwhile, our kids like us and we truly like our kids. They are my most favorite people!

  32. jexiagalleta

    I once went on an ECE training course with a woman who recounted – in tones of absolute horror – that she’d met a woman who (gasp!) let their kids have a peanut butter sandwich if they didn’t like dinner.

    She’d forgotten that it was me, and we’d discussed it months ago on a different course.

    My kids know that they have to take ONE bite and then if they don’t like it they can opt out. It used to happen maybe once a month, but I don’t actually remember the last time any of them refused dinner. They might pick the mushrooms or celery out.

    And yet she was absolutely stressed about how every mealtime at her house was a battle and took two hours, and “if I make it they have to eat it”.

    I know whose house is happier at dinner time, and whose kids have a healthier relationship with food, and whose kids are more willing to try new things.

    • Ab

      My parents took us overseas as kids (in the 60s). They wanted us to eat what was in front of us without pitching a hissy fit and demanding insert fast food burger here. We had the food rule which was you had to eat as many bites as you were years old (normal, not baby bites). After a while, it was an amount on your plate which was smaller than if they counted. It wasn’t a big deal. And, with a meat, 2 to 3 veggies plus salad at dinner, and peanut butter sandwich option, no one walked away hungry (well there was time mom accidentally poured vinegar instead of maple syrup on my sister’s pancakes but mom didn’t force her to eat them and apologized after.).

      I will say that there are certain foods I never tried until college because my mother didn’t cook them. I will try new foods when offered because I grew up thinking this is how you try stuff. A slightly different take on trying food.

      • Lex

        @Ab, well said. I too, agree with needing to try food before being “excused”. Hate to say it, but I know plenty of picky eaters that refuse to try food because they are constantly catered to. There was only one food I really didn’t like and because I tried it, I was excused from eating it when it was cooked. But, we had to try new things first. Now, I will always try something new. And I thank the way I was raised. Maybe if I knew could just eat a sandwich at all times, I may have a more simple palate.

  33. I totally disagree with the writer, I am with the first mom on this. I feel like there is a huge problem in the world today because parents treat their children like equals, there is a reason why we have parents and children. Raising RESPECTFUL children doesn’t mean you are raising robots!

    • Molly

      The only reason the first authors method of parenting is still being used is because people were taught by their parents that children shouldn’t have a choice and they should be and adults beck and call and that it was the only way. Well, guess what:times are changing and I believe the “radical” notion that children are people and deserve to be treated with respect like adults! “How shocking! I should be arrested for believing that children are people and should be treated as such!” *sarcasm ( I also don’t why if something is radical its ‘bad’ but that’s a different topic) Cheers

    • Jamie

      They are your equals. They are human beings.

  34. This is my first time to read your blog, and WOW. You’re good stuff, mama. I copied like 5 different quotes from this post into texts to my husband this morning before I just sent him the link and told him he had to read it. Your line about being forced to hug and kiss grandma especially rang true to me, as I’ve written a post about that issue that’s received quite a lot of negative feedback. I will be following you everywhere I can find you on social media! Keep writing awesomeness.

  35. i couldn’t agree with you more. In our home we allow our children to freely express themselves (in a nice way). We allow them “no’s” and even offer them answers when they ask why. I use to hate when I was told “because u said so” and made the decision that I would never be that mom. You actually gave me an idea for my next blog post. Thank you

  36. Wonderful post Jen.
    I didn’t read the initial blog post discussed, but I couldn’t imagine telling my children any of those things are “off limits”. Very sad.

  37. Travis

    Although I’m not in total agreement with either viewpoint, I actually agree with the other article more. I think kids should be taught, even encouraged to say no to strangers, but I think it is important that they have enough respect for their parents to do what is asked of them, even if they don’t want to. If my kids were allowed to just say “no”, and I expected them to do what I ask them to do out of mutual respect, my 3 year old, who doesn’t understand mutual respect yet, would run around in her PJ’s all day eating gummy bears and peeing herself. I have to make her sit on the toilet still, even though she knows how to do it on her own. If I don’t make her go to the bathroom, she will sit on the couch and literally pee all over the furniture. As for my 1 year old, who obviously doesn’t even understand reasoning skills yet, would just run around spilling things, tearing things up, and terrorizing the house, while not having the capacity to clean up after himself out of respect for his “partnership” with his parents. I agree with this article about #6. Kids should not be forced into obviously uncomfortable situations with adults they are not comfortable with.

    • jen

      You seem to be confusing what I said with *neglecting* your children. I’ve certainly never advocated for leaving a child – of any age – to his own devices. Especially not young children like 1 and 3 year olds.

    • James

      I think the issue with the 3 yo could be solved by providing an incentive to always use the toilet when she needs to go. You could put her back into nappies and tell her once she has shown she can use the toilet properly and not just go wherever she wants to, she won’t have to wear them anymore.

      • Lydia

        Not with every child. That worked with my first, not with my second or third. Some children truly do have to be forced to sit on the potty. and it gets to a point where you can’t just “wait until they’re ready”. With some children it is an act of defiance, not physical ‘unreadiness.

    • Jamie

      My one year old is allowed to have opinions. We ask him if he wants food or wants to go to bed. He often says yes and then sits to eat or toddles to his room. We don’t just leave him alone and ignore him. But kids want to be involved and do things. They want to eat, sleep and be clean. You just have to find the way that speaks to them individually.

      Honestly the first article is the lazy way out. Requires no real thought or empathy. Just mom getting things done when she wants it done. Remember that kids don’t owe us. They didn’t ask to be ours.

  38. Absolutely agree. They are not MINE, they belong to only themselves. There are some things I don’t allow them to say though: “I hate you” and name calling are forbidden. Words cannot be taken back and it can take hundreds of “I love you” or “you’re beautiful and smart and amazing” to make up for one instance of “I hate you, you stupid cow.”

  39. Scorpy01

    I hate that kids are expected to eat what ever is put on the table. My husband refuses to even try liver, no matter how it’s prepared. I respect that so why not respect my child’s personal likes and dislikes?

    Another phrase I allowed my kids to say, especially when they were young, was “I hate you.” Another parent was appalled that I didn’t tell my child to never say that. Instead, I acknowledged that my child was unhappy with my decision at the time and told him it was okay to not like my answer to his request. Telling a child he is not allowed to appropriately express a negative feeling toward me or someone else breeds frustration, confusion, and anger issues later.

  40. Claire

    Totally agree with you. You’re also setting up your children to know when they’re being treated badly or god forbid abused. I have two autistic children and still couldn’t find anything to disagree with you on. My eldest HFASD talks on a similar level to adults, I speak to them all as I expect to be spoken to and it pays off.

    Actually the only comment I have us about food, there are days they say they don’t like when we know they do or they say it before they try. Especially if it’s not me there. My eldest would test some people’s patience, she has sensory processing disorder and putting food out wrong affects it’s taste! We’ve sent food back when eating out so it can be laid out differently and had wonderful staff who’ve happily helped.

  41. joe

    Well said, from the viewpoint of a grandpa. Most of us find out by my age that 90% of it doesn’t matter. They are not your clones or lapdogs. Your job is to raise an independent human being as safely as it is practical.

    I got enough of the original post from your excerpts that I don’t need to read it. I just don’t understand how she posted to the web from the year 1930!

  42. Ruby

    I love your ideas
    You and the other blogger mentioned that calling adults sir and ma’am is a cultural thing I’m from the UK and just cringe when I see it on TV it seems sarcastic and fake especially when it’s a boy calling their daddy sir! What happened that it became normal to address adults even your parents like a Sargent major how did it come about?
    It seems mostly used in 1 anger on TV when a child had been naughty would that translate into the real world?

  43. dolores tremper

    I agree with most of what you said…sometimes others have “adult” or unrealistic expectations of kids could (and still can) say anthing to me..but it has to be in polite language So I have had to have them repeat something in a “kinder” way…teaching them diplomacy and freedom of speech at the same time♡♡thanks for your article.

  44. Chris

    I think it is important to remember that every child is different. There is no one size fits all. That being said, my boys have no problem saying “no” despite the fact they are taught to be respectful to adults and even other children. They don’t need help being “free spirited” in that sense.

    The “I don’t want to” thing is way more of an issue for my younger son than the older. Doing things in timely fashion is way more of an issue for the older than the younger.

    I was personally much more compliant than MY older brother and would have benefited from being free to say “no” more often.

    My point is that we were given the children we have for a reason. Some may need a stricter hand than others, or be taught to have more self respect or backbone. The lady in the first article may well be teaching her children the best they need, as well as the second lady with hers. Apart from humility and love and grace, both parenting styles can and will “fail” or harm a child in one way or another.

    I would be careful to say that one or another is an “awful” parent. There is freedom to love, freedom to fail and consequences for both.

    • jen

      I didn’t call anyone an awful parent.

      On your point that every child is different… yes, absolutely agree! I have four children, each one more different than the last. Very different personalities, very different styles of communicating, very different opinions. Where I disagree is that I don’t believe that any child needs to be treated harshly, and/or with a “strict hand”. Treating children with kindness and respect is ALWAYS appropriate.

      • Chris

        I was referring to other commenters saying tou or the other author of the original article were “awful”.

        I can tell you from personally failing my boys that being harsh does NOT help. That verse from James that talks about, ” the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” needs to be burned in my mind and heart. I have also spanked my boys even when I thought it was unhelpful because I was always told that was the “right” way of doing things and that if I didn’t I was loving them. That’s total BS and that is NOT what I mean about being more strict.

        Some kids (some people in general really) are more of a “law unto themselves” and don’t need to reminded about the do’s and don’ts.

        Anyway, I am in no way qualified to give advice about parenting or how to or not to do it. Conceptually though I believe that while all kids need both negative and positive reinforcement (hopefully way more positive than negative) each child needs them to a different degree.

        And I agree, kindness and respect are always appropriate 🙂
        I just know that there have been times in my life where the kindest thing that could be done for me was for someone to call me out on being a stubborn wool head.

  45. Ab

    Wow. I like you and your attitude toward raising your children. We weren’t able to have children but we did take in a niece at 16. (oh yeah. doing every thing you don’t want your kid to do – we took on).

    She had had what I/we call a reactive parenting style (“That’s it. You just crossed the line. You lost your allowance for the week.”). We had proactive: written rules and how much she would lose from her allowance. It was up to her to decide if it was worth losing 25 cents. And, fyi, I spent a week teaching her what the rules were so she could fail without punishment to help train her eye on right/wrong. then it was her choice.

    There was misdiagnosed medical. There were all kinds of things going on but the 2nd year, we said that she could stay up as late as she liked but … she still had to get up for me to take her to school. We allowed her to fail but she still had a net underneath her. She made decisions – I didn’t always agree with but they were hers (and sometimes, she didn’t like the consequences).

    I contrast this to a family member on the other side of the family. Clearly doing the little robot thing. I want to shake them and say: At what age are you planning to let your kids learn how to make decisions? Right now, all you are doing is the Me makes this for you kid. You don’t explain (I’ve watched). Soon, he will be of an age where it will be much harder to control him ..or get him to listen to you. Teach him now what goes into making a good decision because I’ve lived through the alternative and it was not pretty for a long time.

    We did, just for the record, all come out the other side of crazy for a couple of years. The kid is a productive member of society, has a BS and a job. They still sometimes, as someone said, blow up the bridge while they are still standing on it, but we can say they are making it. And we are proud of her. We do have some funny stories we share (with love) about all of us

  46. Ali

    Bravo! Beautiful! Tastefully said! I truly, honestly respect this!!

  47. Ricoandbeth Lighthouse

    Thank you! It’s so good to hear this from another mom! It’s so important that our kids are allowed to communicate their needs to us, and that we expect from them the same things we expect from ourselves. I believe in teaching my kids to make the right choices on their own~ not “training” them to “do what I say”. To those arguers out there, yes, obedience is important, but my special needs son doesn’t even have the ability to “do what he’s told”. This is the only thing that even works for him and I believe all kids will be benefited from giving them this kind of respect; that when they are grown (and even earlier) we will have gained their respect and friendship as well. Thank you again for this post!

  48. Excellent post! So, so glad you wrote this.

  49. Stacey

    I agree most with the original article (at least the first few), though my rules don’t extend to all adults. We teach immediate obedience for safety reasons. If I am telling my young child to “stop” when they are doing something dangerous, the last thing I want them to do is feel free to tell me no and continue. They can tell me they don’t like something. They can express (respectfully) their discontent. They can not tell me “no”, or “just a minute”. I do add “when you are done with_____” or “when you get a chance” if what I am asking of them can wait. Otherwise, I expect it done immediately, and I absolutely do my best to do the same when my children or husband ask something of me. I do expect polite answers or acknowledgement if they are with me and another adult speaks to them.
    I don’t believe that these rules mean I am raising “robots” anymore than I believe not having these rules automatically turns out self centered, disrespectful adults. I do believe the extremes of either have the potential. You can’t deny that there are many disrespectful kids/teens/adults these days, and a lack of parental guidance is also prevalent.

    • jen

      Your concern is a very common one: that for safety reasons, they need to learn to obey immediately. But after four kids, and 18+ years I’ve learned that it is a complete non-issue, and a straw man argument. Children with good trusting relationships with their parents DO listen when it’s a matter of safety. They can hear the urgency in our voices, they can read the looks on our faces, they can instinctually understand that they need to listen, and they need to listen NOW.

      • Lydia

        While I understand what you mean about hearing the urgency in our voices, that’s not been the case in my experience for children under about three, even older depending on the child, and those are the ages where you are most concerned with them doing something unintentionally dangerous in the first place. My oldest daughter would almost certainly have grasped the urgency from a very young age, but my second and third would not at all, and it remains to be seen with my fourth as he is still itty-bitty.

        Also, my bigger safety concern is that there will only be urgency in our voices when we actually know there is danger, such as we see a car coming and our child about to run into the road. I could see my child running towards the road and have no idea that a car is about to come barreling around the corner, so my voice wouldn’t have that urgency to keep them from disobeying me. I believe that this is why parents want their children to learn immediate obedience at a young age. If (before an age where they can reason and understand) they learn to trust me when I tell them to do something and obey quickly, not only can we have far less fear of them doing something dangerous that we don’t see coming, but they will also have hopefully learned to stop that particular behavior altogether (going into the road in this case).

        This is not to say that I think children should not be allowed to ask why. It’s just very important to me for their safety and their benefit that they obey me and then I will be happy to explain why I asked them to do something when it is appropriate, either at that moment or after the situation has been avoided.

    • Lex

      @Stacey, totally agree. And that’s how I was raised too and will follow the same way. Neither extreme is healthy. Yes, there will be rules, but there will be reasons for them..just like in life. Children can express themselves and also follow rules. We do it every day. Giving rules doesn’t mean raising robots..we follow rules and I’m far from a robot. Not allowing them to express how they feel is a different story.

  50. Stephanie larsen

    “Parenting is a shame and judgement minefield because we are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children. … we rarely engage in self-righteous judgement when we feel confident about our decisions …

    But if doubt lurks beneath my choices, that self righteous critic will spring to life in not-so-subtle parenting moments that happen because my underlying fear of not being the perfect parent is driving my need to confirm, at the very least, I’m better than you.”

    – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

    Hard to even describe how much this quote resonates with me, not only as a parent, but as a human being. Always tough to be okay with others choices when we are not 100% about our own. Outward judgement starts from within.

    ‪#‎brenebrown‬ ‪#‎daringgreatl

    I couldn’t help but read this post and think of Brene Brown talking about how harshly we moms judge one another. And I’m not calling you out, I love lots of things you said I just think it gets really easy to stray into judgement as moms, we all do it but maybe Brene is right and it does stem from our insecurity as parents. Parenting is crazy hard! The moment I think I’ve got something figured out and I start to pat myself on the back I seem to end up face planting and usually in public, metaphorically speaking. I guess if nothing else motherhood is very humbling. ☺️

    • jen

      I agree that parenting is humbling, for sure! It’s a constantly learning/growing/adjusting journey. I have learned new things with each subsequent child, and with my daughter (the first girl after three boys) I’ve honestly felt like I was a first-time parent again. 🙂 And as you said, just when you feel like you have something figured out, something else comes along!

      Having said that, this quote doesn’t really resonate. I don’t think it’s really fair to assume that someone’s responding to one viewpoint with an alternate perspective is synonymous with “self-righteous judgment”, or that it must spring from insecurities or doubts. Being defensive and/or attacking is one thing (in which case, I’d agree… there’s likely insecurities there) But I did neither of those things.

  51. David

    In the past we as people listened to our inner-wisdom, our intuition if you like. Then came the era of mass media and the “expert culture” was born. There was a flood of “experts” who apparently were better qualified than you and is willing to give you their expert advice via books, magazines or television.

    Now were are well into the internet age and all of a sudden anyone with a computer and some time on there hands can write some two-bit, pompous blog declaring to the world the 6 things their kids aren’t allowed to say. If that isn’t ridiculous enough some other self styled philosophic genius can write a rebuttal declaring the 6 things their kids are allowed to say. Thank god.

    As a parent I was completely bamboozled by the topic of what to allow or ban my child from saying. Lucky for me these to giants of the parenting world came to my aid with these insightful blog articles. I realize that I do not have to read anything that I do not want to and I mean no disrespect to the authors of these articles. People write for all manner of reasons and for all I know these to mothers wrote these articles as a way of processing their own parenting experiences, they may just want to share or they may feel the need to show the world what great and insightful parents they are.

    I don’t really know and in fact this comment has nothing to do with the authors of the articles. This comment is addressed to you readers, especially the ones who have scrolled through 70+ comments and are reading this. You need to turn off this need to consume endless information from so called “experts” or this new breed of vocal amateurs. I know this is going to sound hard to believe but once you stop listening to the media, the internet, your crazy co-workers who have an opinion on everything in your life you can take back your ability to be an intuitive being.

    I used to be an avid consumer of news and current affairs. Like a lot of people (you know who you are) I thought that being informed made me intelligent. About 10 years ago, after getting fed up with the Fox News/CNN news world I just stopped listening. I stopped listening to the opinions and the experts and the endless chatter about how to do this or what to do about that or what this means in light of this other thing. I just tuned out. What I have found in the time since is that most the answers to life’s questions are in me. I am the only expert I need. I am so much happier and intone with the world around me. I could never write either of these articles because I would never be asinine enough to have a list of 6 things my child could or could not say to an adult. It really is a case by case thing so I instead concentrate my efforts on teaching him to make the proper judgement based on the situation.

    I cannot believe I have ranted for this long. I am sorry if I have offended anyone, it was not my intent. Please to everyone reading this, tune out and listen to yourself for a change but probably after you’ve listened to what I just said….LOL.

    • jen

      Actually if you’d read more of my pompous, two-bit blog, you’d find that following your instinct (parental and otherwise) is something I strongly advocate for. I realize that you won’t, since you find its presence so objectionable, but I thought I’d let you know that I agree with you on that point. I’ve never once presented myself as an expert, nor expected anyone to follow what I had to say.

  52. David

    I have already checked out a lot of the information on your sight, mostly just out of curiosity. I find lots of areas where I agree with you, especially regarding the tone of modern christianity and the role of the educational system. However I still find this blog thing that we have going on these days sort of strange and I am not sure whether it is helpful or harmful. I know that I don’t have to engage in it if I don’t want but since I am sort of on the fence I choose to engage in order to challenge my own notions.

    I am sorry I cannot articulate this better. I am not sure I truly understand it myself. I am still exploring.

    • jen

      Well, if it helps for commiseration sake, I don’t really understand the whole blog phenomenon myself. I actually don’t really read many other blogs. I never sought to gain numbers or a following, never had any blogging aspirations. I just write because I’m hard-wired to do so. It’s really more of a selfish pursuit than anything else. I write so I don’t explode. 🙂 A few people like what I have to say, so I keep going.

      In my opinion, blogging – and the information world in general – is like anything else: helpful in some ways, and harmful in others. My intentions have never been other than staying on the helpful side of things!

      Thanks for the dialogue.

  53. Jill

    My children are all mid twenties now, and although they were allowed to say no, I don’t like this and other such phrases, they are kind, respectful, productive members of society…who can also articulate what they are thinking and feeling. They asked me questions and I answered them. I asked them questions too. If they said I don’t want to, I would reply with something like “I understand, I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight, but it’s the right thing to do, so I will.” and then maybe we would talk about it some more. Or not. I liked that my children wanted to understand the world and why we did things, and I wanted them to learn to make their own decisions, first with our support and then increasingly by themselves.

    I’d like to add that in the Southern Hemisphere, it sounds really odd to be called Ma’am. The once or twice I’ve heard it, it made me feel ancient, and if you do it down this way, people will think you are very unusual. That’s a cultural perspective from NZ, just so you know should you every visit, try very, very hard not to call us Ma’am!

  54. Piper

    Well said – for the most part in my opinion.

    While I agree with most of what you wrote, I still believe that children do need guidence through childhood. And because they are not robots, each child does have their own way to learn and do things. While your children eventually pick it up by copy catting you, other’s won’t.

    Our child grows up in a european-american patchwork family. Therefore our “raising a child scheme” is sometimes very different. Does it hurt my child when Daddy doesn’t accept “no” for answer while my mommy does? No. She just goes with it, she doesn’t respect me less nor her father. But there are a few things also where I do not accept no for an answer, for example when our child wants to explore dangerous things, like outlets with something pointy or playing cooking on the stove… I also do give my child an explanation WHY I don’t want her to do certain things or help her out rephrasing certain statements always with an explanation though! I don’t request from our child, that she drops everything immediately if I ask her to do something, but I do expect her to do certain chores within a timely manner, again explaining her the consequences that may occure when she doesn’t have it done by a certain time. And for a 5yrs old, mine does have a better time management already than some adults… I hated it with a passion when my parents send me on the a guilt trip for not liking certain foods. While I think it is a daily challenge to put food on the table, that is healthy and nutritious but also tasty for everyone, I only demand to try new food at least and are open minded for the criticism judgement, but my child knows there is ALWAYS something on her plate she absolutely loves to eat!
    However, while I mainly agree on most of your statements, I think a partnership and being a parent shouldn’t be the same! I am a mother to my child, at one point in my life I decided to have my little miracle with all the joyful and responsibilities. A parent, especially a mother, should be that one, undestroyable rock in your life. A mother usually is always there for her children, never turns them down or walks away. While partnerships not always guaranteed to last a life time, a parents love is. I think I get what you try to say, when comparing parenting with a partnership, but it is not. Love, care and respect are fundemental for parenting, also for a partnership, yes, but still it is like comparing apples with plums.

  55. Wow, teaching her kids to blindly disobey adults, no questions asked. I really hope that her kids never encounter a child predator or abuser, because they will just do as asked, so as not to disappoint mom. How dangerous!

  56. Sarah MK

    Thank you! I am a homeschooling mama of 3 kids, 15,11 and 9. My kids are their own people and allowed to their own thoughts and opinions. I feel that I would be doing them a huge disservice to tell them do I say, not as I do. My 15 year old volunteers at a hospital and I have heard nothing but compliments on her behavior.
    My kids all foods they don’t like, so they don’t eat them. I have foods I don’t like and I sure don’t eat them either.
    I just cut of my dreads of 5 years,and when my oldest asked if she could dye she hair purple several years ago I said sure it’s your hair. I don’t get to make those decisions for her. ( She currently has fire engine red hair and all the people at the hospital love it!)

  57. Jake

    The points described in this article sound a lot like “progressive parenting.” Forgive me, but when i hear that term it sounds to me more like lazy parenting. This style of parenting raises children who become disrepectful, ill-mannered, entitled, and completely unprepared to deal with the challenges of adult life. I have seen this firsthand. I was married to a woman for ten years who has two daughters from a previous marriage. Since the divorce my ex-wife has tried progressive parenting. Both girls have little respect for anyone, including themselves. They have dropped out of school, are living with their boyfriends, and the youngest of the two contracted chlamydia. AT AGE 15!!! I’m not saying we have to be dictators over our children. One extreme to the other does not solve anything. I am saying they need love, AND, discipline.

    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)up

    • jen

      That’s not a term I’ve ever used on my blog, and I’ve never advocated for permissive or “lazy” parenting. And honestly, even if I did, why would I spend ten years of my life writing about it? If I didn’t care enough to parent with thoughtfulness, I couldn’t imagine caring enough to then write about it. I keep writing precisely because misconceptions like yours persist. Yes, it’s possible to love and discipline with kindness, respect, and gentleness. This is a diametrically opposed proposition to “lazy parenting.” It means being involved, invested, and plugged in to your kids at all times. I’m sorry to hear about your ex-wife’s kids. But when I look at mine? I see well-adjusted, self-confident, respectful and mature individuals…. and that’s all the assurance I need.

      As for your verse, I’ve addressed it many times here on my blog. Would be happy to point you in that direction if you’d ever be open to hearing an alternative perspective.

    • Emma

      You DON’T spare the rod in the UK, you’re getting those kids removed and so you should!
      The article in no way sounds like lazy parenting, it sounds like a mother giving her child a voice! I am a mother of 4 from almost 14 to 5 and they are very well rounded, polite and independent. They will tell you if you are offending them or being rude. They are also thoughtful, mindful, hardworking and polite. As the author says “I am not raising robots!”.

      • Sarah

        Lol. A spanking after a child has been talked to, reasoned with and warned is far from abuse, and isn’t illegal. If you don’t agree with it, simply don’t use it. But many people spread the misconception that its illegal or abuse. You know what’s abusive, being a negligent parent.

    • Jamie

      What is lazier? Putting in the effort and time to teach and model empathy and respect to children based on individual needs or just beating them into submission?

  58. I basically agree with all your points. On the thing with food, I’ll add that allergies and food intolerances sometimes begin with a vague discomfort after eating. I experienced this myself as an adult with nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant). Since I knew nightshades are toxic to some people, I guessed what was happening and largely stopped eating them. I made an exception recently and discovered that the problem had progressed–these foods now make me quite ill. I hate to think of how sick a child with a similar condition would have become if not allowed to say no to food.

  59. Allyson

    Itt really does matter where you are at. The way you parent likely works extremely well in the North like that, since I know for a fact it worked well in DC where I lived for 6 years teaching and never did adjust to how rude the children were taught at home to speak to adults. However, if a child spoke to a teacher or any other adult that way where I am from, they would be disciplined. Yes, even at school teachers expect yes, ma’am, no’ ma’am, please and thank you. And No, Ma’am is never an option when you are asked to do something.

    I am in the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt and even un churched children from very bad homes say yes ma’am no ma’am, please, thank you and boys are taught to hold the door for all ladies from the time they can walk.

    But we do teach our children appropriate times to say no. We teach good touch bad touch. We teach Stranger Danger, and We teach if it isn’t a moral or obedience issue you may say I would prefer not because and give the reason. It’s a matter of respect and how you express yourself. I wouldn’t even tell my husband no to anything. No is rude. But I would state my position. I would rather not, and here is my reasoning. Children should learn to respect their own boundaries, but it CAN be done respectfully in my experience.

  60. Jerald

    I like what I’ve read here although I shamefully admit that my parenting style has been much different. As a father, I’ve found myself mirroring my own upbringing from my step father. My wife and I are now separated as a result of our differences in parenting.

    I have to say that this article sounds just like what my wife has told me for years. I get it and in my heart, I agree with it. It is very difficult to break old habits or to relearn something I’ve learned since I was 4 years old. I’m smart and successful in all other facets of life except when it comes to being a parent. It is something I’m struggling with and want to do better with. I love my kids and only want the best for them. Thanks for such a wonderful article to help me in my journey to being a better father.

  61. manuela

    Absolutely one of the best blog post. 100% behind Jen, did and do the same for my children. I have 7 and my oldest is 30. All do only what they like and are very happy, humorous, high moral, smart and very respectful people. And all of t hem are loved by whomever crosses their path.
    And I do live in the Bible Belt, I have always been doing “Free-range” parenting and my children are unschooled and unvaccinated!!!!!!!!!! Should I say that my kids are also never sick?!

  62. Karen

    Please allow me to add a new perspective to this – from a different culture. I am from Germany and have read both this (“are allowed”) and the post from the other blog (“aren’t allowed”). Up to about 1940 German parents followed Mary’s style, and after WWII parents were (slowly) adopting Jen’s style.

    Why? Because more and more people around the world kept asking us Germans, why we did not say “No”, when millions of Jews were gassed; why we unquestioningly obeyed the ultimate “dream” of an authority figure that turned all of Europe into a nightmare; why we did not insist we needed “just a minute” to use our brains and think, instead of snapping to attention and carrying out the task at hand immediately.

    Greater minds than me have connected the dots: Authoritarian parenting is a real factor in creating perfect followers of a dictator. It is an illusion to think that you can train children to completely submit to “adults” and follow their orders because they are per se authority figures, and then expect them to discriminate between “good orders” and “bad orders”.

    Jen’s text would get no comments, had she published it on a German blog – expect for maybe, “ah, stop being so banal”, “commonplaces anyone…. yawn” . *lol*. Remember: since 2000 this has been a country with a complete spanking ban, too.

    And isn’t it amazing? – Juvenile delinquency at an all time low, comparatively little drug abuse, strong work ethic, little radicalism (yes, you will find a few neo-nazis, hools, and hoodies, unfortunately, but..)

    Jen, I pray that one day your text becomes mainstream in the US, even among Christians
    Karen, a mother of four

  63. Lynn

    Love this post. Couldn’t agree more…

  64. Lee Lee

    Thank you for this! While I agree with all your points, #6 is near and dear to me and my children. My 7YO has been selectively mute for serveralish years and I still struggle with perceived judgement when I don’t require him to talk to a stranger, or even a friend, if outside the home. I recognize, though, that this is leftover from my own southern, conservative upbringing, in which I had to “behave respectfully” regardless of how difficult or uncomfortable it was for me. Luckily, I’ve kept my mommy guilt to myself and let my son be who he is; he has just recently started verbally communicating outside the home and it is such a Joy to hear his sweet voice when I least expect it (at home, he never shuts up! Ha ha). I’m so much more proud of him knowing he is doing this “on his own”– with our support, of course, but also our acceptance and patience.

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  66. Mae

    I really enjoyed your article, except for the idea that a child can say anything to their parent. When my son was 16 he came home very mad and started cursing me out. I don’t think anyone has the right to verbally abuse another person. I don’t curse at my child or anyone and require the same of my son.

    • jen

      I certainly would never advocate for anyone verbally abusing their children, OR for standing by while they were verbally abused themselves.

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  68. Heather Cassels

    I love this so much. I find it very scary when parents are teaching their kids they’re not allowed to say “no”. Learning to set your own boundaries and be comfortable with your “no” is a very valuable lesson for kids, one that I, unfortunately, learned the hard way several times. I don’t want my daughter to ever think that any one person holds so much authority over her that she can not say no to anything they demand.

  69. Jenn

    THANK YOU! (Now that I’m done yelling…) I sincerely want to thank you for putting into words what I have not been able to. I am from Texas, and yes/no sir/ma’am are something I do generally expect from my child when addressing adults, so that is the only thing I would have to disagree on. It makes me feel old too, though, so sometimes I let an occasional yeah slip through. 🙂

  70. Mary

    A good read. Children used to be LITERALLY considered property. We know better now, but I think that we, as a society, have not fully shaken off the attitudes that are fostered by thinking that way.

    “Can’t you control your child?”

    Every time anyone says that, they are disrespecting a child’s humanity while putting pressure on parents for respecting it.

  71. davedale

    Would the author have had a problem if the article had been titled “things adults are not allowed to say to kids”? Of course not, but in her absurd view of the world, adults are second class citizens and kids are some sort of worshiped royalty , off limits to criticize or even discuss in any way.
    The reason you do not extend the same courtesy to your kids that adults get is that adults have EARNED respect. We provide all the food, shelter and care necessary for the world to function. We have experience, skill and wisdom. Kids don’t .
    Nobody should abuse kids, but adults should be honored and trusted above them because we have the skill and wisdom to warrant it, in spite of what you might think from watching the nightly news. Fortunately, the vast majority of us have no desire to to abuse or molest kids, so stop being so suspicious and put the adults back in charge. What was considered normal discipline in the past is labeled child abuse today, and it is resulting in kids coming out really spoiled- cut it out.
    To the lady who wrote the article about what kids should not say to adults-BRAVO!

    • B

      My father never earned respect. Not once did I ever respect him he did nothing but belittle my mother and I. He was very racist and condecending. He threatened me that he would have my mother killed. I NEVER trusted my father even when i was a small child. Even on his death bed.
      My mother allowed this to happen and on top of this was physically abusive. I did not start respecting her until the last 5-7 years. Not every adult automatically deserves respect you earn it. You spend your life earning it for each individual relationship you have. I as an adult do not trust people i just met we should not expect our children to either.

    • Ayo

      @davedale- I know what you’re saying. I agree that kids need to respect others and when people say “kids should have the same rights as adults”, that’s not totally accurate. If so, the child should experience the same consequences as adults. They of course wouldn’t experience harsh consequences, and if they did, people would hypocritically say “but they are just a child”. They need to learn to obey rules..we all learned. There’s nothing bad about that and it doesn’t make them a robot. I know spoiled kids and I had the misfortunate of sitting behind a couple at dinner that allowed their child to jump on the booth. That’s unacceptable. Sorry, but it’s not a free for all. When a child’s decision only affects them and no one else (not their parents), they are free to do whatever they want. Until then, it is my responsibility to parent first.

  72. Laura

    Now THIS is awesome!

    Thank you, Mama. You hit it head on! Keep being amazing❤️

  73. Sam

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I totally agree that the philosophy of times past needs changed. See, I was raised as the former (not allowed to say things to parents) and now parent as the latter (this article). My child has blossomed and is years ahead of me in figuring things out because I don’t want the same problems I experienced to plague my child’s life. They need to make their own mistakes, not mine over again! And a larger portion of parenting is tailoring it individually for your child’s needs. One size does NOT fit all—I and my siblings are totally different people but all raised the same way. It’s taken years to find my own path away from that type of upbringing, and I have a wonderful spouse who has helped with that. Dictatorship doesn’t seem to have worked that well. Still a parent, but a more reasonable one with love and logic instead of ruling everything in the household.

  74. Tiffany

    I’m glad you know your values and are willing to stick to them, Jen.
    I didn’t read that other author’s blog, but the quotes you have from it tell me that I am probably more aligned with her thinking than with yours.
    As a college professor, I have students from both types of homes in my classes. I will tell you that hers will be better prepared for my classroom, as well as the world in which we live. Watching children adjust from their nuclear families to real-world living is an interesting process. Some are just better equipped than others, and one of the most important variables in that preparedness is us as parents.
    I’m sure you believe that to be unfortunate. Whether or not I agree, I know it is reality.

    • Julinda

      My 16yo son has been raised mostly the way described in Jen’s article. He’s a straight A student, and I’ve had numerous adults (teachers etc.) tell me what a good kid he is. You would probably be happy to have him in your class!

  75. June

    I think it’s important to know the difference between asking your child a question which allows them a yes or no answer because you ASKED your child. Giving and order and then saying no is different because it was the a request fromyou versus a question. I think if you ASK your child you need to allow them to say yes or no.

  76. Julie

    Extremely well written and an important reminder. I constantly remind myself that I am raising a future adult and not a child. The things that I found challenging when my 12 year old was younger are the traits that I hope and pray she has as an adult. I want her to be able to think for herself, to question things when they don’t make sense to her, and to function as an autonomous human being. I make no claims that I have been a perfect parent but I feel strongly that following much of the parenting philosophy outlined in your post, I have succeeded more than I have failed.

  77. Joyce Williams

    Bless you for posting this reasonable and well thought-out response to the original blog, and for teaching your children that they too are worthy of respect. I was raised in the way that the original blogger advocates. Maybe she has the best of intentions, but people like that have no idea the damage they may be doing to their children. I am 64 years old and still struggle with emotional problems that originated from growing up in an authoritarian environment. The scars do not ever go away. We simply struggle on.

    • Golden Life

      I must say my experiences are much different from yours. I do not have kids of my own just yet, but I was raised closely to the way the original blogger advocates for. I was not allowed to say “no” to my parents, or express just “any emotion” I felt in the moment. Now I could express dissatisfaction and I was always (and actually still am) a bit of a picky eater, but I still had to eat what was given to me unless it genuinely made me feel sick/gag. I was taught that saying “stupid” or “Shut Up” or “hate” were bad words and was not allowed to use those either.

      BUT both my brother and I grew up to be very respectful children and, as we are now, adults. We were not raised as “robots” as I seem to be seeing a lot on these comments. We’re different people with different interests, different likes and dislikes, even from our parents. As kids we had to adhere to strict bedtimes and obey what we were told to do by our parents, but as we matured into our teens we were given more freedom to make some of those choices for ourselves, such as if we did not want to eat a certain food or how late we would stay up. The same rules applied in terms of respect however, so we still had to be respectful in how we voiced our opinions.

      I was very shy until I was about 16, but as I got my first job and started interacting with more people, I quickly grew out of that and am now a very independent and strong woman. Did I grow up in a strict household? Yes. Did I agree with every rule I was given? No. But when I saw all the wild kids and bratty children that were very defiant and rude, even as a kid I knew I didn’t want to hang around those children because quite honestly they got on my nerves anyway. Those are the kids that did not have proper parenting growing up and from what I saw were taught neither respect nor discipline from parents. I’m not damaged and I’m happy with who I am, and my parents constantly tell me not only how proud they are, but how many compliments they STILL get from others about my brother and I and how sweet/kind/respectful we are. And it’s not something you hear from a lot of people. So I cannot complain about the way I was raised and plan to raise my kids in a very similar way. I realize there may be extreme cases too when kids actually feel unloved in a true authoritarian environment, but simply having stricter rules is not the same thing

  78. Lee Ann King

    Thanks Jen for a bit of humanity regarding that other post.
    I believe a child is allowed to say they don’t want to or don’t like something but they still need to do what is asked of them. Everyone who is for the other woman and against your thoughts seems to be thinking that any other way than their way is causing spoilt children. There are ways of teaching respect other than hers. That’s just ludicrous to think otherwise. My children say please and thank you and do what their teachers tell them without me having to form them into bowing and scraping, simpering automatons without any opinion of their own.
    I haven’t read all of the comments so I don’t know if anyone has said anything about this following issue yet.
    Her ideas seem to be coming from military style training. I worked as a civilian in the Dept of Defence in Australia and asked why they had to yell and scream and break down the cadets so they seemed to lose their personality and become more robotic.
    I was told that while battle they had to do what they were told immediately and without question because any hesitation could mean their own or even everyone else’s death. There is no time to think for themselves, they need to act NOW!
    Now life can be hard but it’s not a war zone and children don’t need to have that mentality living day to day.
    Also, all children are different and some might do well on this sort of discipline but my own two little boys would be emotional wrecks. One is a sweet, creative 6yo teddy bear and the other is very stubborn and smart as a whip 4yo. Both are very sensitive compared to other boys. I have to treat them differently as the same discipline does not work on them both. They are both happy, well adjusted, respectful little souls.

  79. Thank you SO much for countering that horrible piece of dangerous and misguided tripe!

    Children learn respect when it is modeled for them. And when it is EARNED by being a decent person toward your kids even while correcting their behavior and helping them learn how to navigate their lives. With BOUNDARIES. And HEALTHY AUTONOMY. And with a confidence in their own agency.

    Ppphheeewwwwwww.. The original article was so disturbing! I would go so far as to call it spiritual and positional abuse.
    Thank you thank you thank you for the antidote.

  80. Stahp

    This is a joke right? Are you raising kids or breeding friends?

  81. Maria

    “Children are not dogs.”

    My mom actually tried to “lead me to understand” that I was spoiling my 4yo by comparing my actions (cuddling her and keeping her close while she was having a hard moment – crying and yelling) to giving a dog a treat after some bad behavior.

    • Maria

      This was after she made her cry by turning off the sprinkler she was running through without any warning or chance to have anything to say in the matter…

    • hannah

      Maria, was your mom wrong? Children need to learn that crying and yelling isn’t going to make your cater to them. I hate seeing parents at the store give into their children after they throw a tantrum and buy them what they are crying over. This is showing them that throwing a tantrum gets them what they want. It’s not teaching them not to do it. Your daughter should learn how to communicate vs screaming and cry when she’s angry. It’s not easy, but I believe in ignoring a child when they do that to show that they will not get what they want by behaving that way.