“Don’t get mad” or “I’m afraid that will make them mad” are Ruinous Notions for our Kids

The following web item caught my eye this morning and the subject matter is so important to all of us that I am providing the link.  Click here.  This piece is titled “Here’s a Ridiculous Thing We Teach Girls that Ends Ups Ruining Their Relationships”.

As a father of two girls I consistently give them the fullest opportunity to accept and express their anger, rather than quashing it on the idea society wants us all to be little good, nice, suppliant individuals.  This idea of being good little boys and girls is an insidious, ruinous notion for our kids.  I also admit, if I have erred with this parental guidance, my preference has been that my girls tilt more in the direction of giving someone the proverbial finger rather than moving in the direction of deferential servility.

Two more side comments:

One. I tell my girls never to let other people frame their (my girls) response to any situation, whether it be a boss, teacher, or even me.  Rather, first they should examine a situation or comment from someone only within their own (my girls) frame of reference.  Then, next, determine how that other person’s perspective or comment fits within their (my girls) own framework.  This means sometimes a conclusion that other person might be 100% right, maybe that other person is 100% wrong, or somewhere in between.   The key point is to assess all situations first from your own framework.  Not first from the other person’s framework.

Two.   As a lawyer I am persistently in the midst of anger, disagreement, fighting, acrimony, others trying to force a view or comment on me, etc.   I remind myself (and my girls) that one of my favorite statements attributed to Gandhi is: “Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.”

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