Sunday, 7 December 2014

good mentor; bad advisor

As a child, we think adults know everything, so we take their every word as gospel.  Unfortunately as we grow older, we learn some of the advice that was given to us as children actually ended up working against us.

These are the five worst pieces of advice I received as a child.

1. If a boy picks on you, he likes you 

This most likely is actually true for kids who are in Kindergarten, but if a boy picks on you in grade school, he's just being an asshole.  Regardless, adults love to feed this line to kids who are getting bullied.  Even in grade six, when I'd come home to my aunt who used to take care of me after school, I'd recount the shitty things my classmates had said to me that day, and she'd reassure me with, "that boy's just sweet on you but he's too shy to tell you."  Listen, if somebody tells you they'd rather eat horseshit than go out with you, it doesn't mean they have a secret crush on you; trust me.

2. Be yourself 

I know parents give us this advice with good intentions, but I think it can sometimes work to kids' disadvantage.  Of course, it's super important to teach kids to love themselves and not to hold themselves to someone else's standards and to focus on what makes them unique and all that good stuff.    But, kids can be cruel; especially to those who are different.  Important note: do not go to school with your entire head of hair crimped when your hair is already incredibly thick to begin with.  And it's 2001.  It'll be a tough one to live down.

3. You can do anything you set your mind to 

This is another piece of advice that parents and teachers give us as children and, while their hearts are in the right place, I think it sends false hope and doesn't teach kids how to deal with failure.  What we should be teaching kids is that they should work hard to obtain each and every one of their goals, but that it's okay if they don't succeed every single time.

4. Ignore a bully and he'll go away 

First of all, this is much easier said than done.  For me, my friends were actually the ones doing most of the bullying - you know what girls are like.  I had a small group of friends who would collectively decide to turn on me about once a week simply because they were bored.  In the case of more traditional bullies, the majority of them will not stop picking on you simply because you make an attempt at ignoring them - kids are relentless. Kids should be taught how to proactively handle bullies instead of being taught that the best way to deal with them is to turn the other cheek - mostly because it just doesn't work.

5. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me 

Just, nope.

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