Psychologists have often wondered how children develop morality and ethics. Also, morality has been an integral part of debate about parenting techniques. Weather Morality is a prerogative of parents to be passed on to children or is it for the children to learn as they grow. We all have been taught things in our childhoods which as we grow, we realize aren’t quite accurate and at the end of the day it is the responsibility of parents to instill in children some form of integrity or responsibility.
Most of us are taught that things are black and white, that there’s an absolute truth when it comes to morals and the issues of right/wrong doings, but as we grow we eventually realize that things are more grey than black or white, that truths and absolute but are subject to a person’s own position in time and space. Morals necessarily don’t have to be accepted by a majority to be claimed legitimate. And often in fear of damaging a child emotionally parents become protective and keep their children away from the realities of life, which later might actually prove to be fatal in their lives. Such hypocrisy is what has led to some very important morals being taught in a completely ridiculous way. Here is a list of Top ten childhood morals that we were taught wrong.
10. Honesty is the best policy
Yes, Honesty does build in the essential sensitivity to ethics and a perspective towards deeper understanding of people and life around us, but at the end of the day there’s a difference between being honest and being completely outlandish. We have to draw a line at a point where we know the truth can hurt others more than non-mentioning it. But as a child we are never taught this key distinction which leads to a lot of problems later in life. We perceive how hypocritical our own parents are being and some even completely give up on the fable of Honesty is the best policy.
9. The more the merrier
When you are a kid, it’s always about having more. Getting better grades, having more friends, working more, eating more, and playing more. Everything is exaggerated and hyper. But this more the merrier policy that most parents drill into their kids can be very twisty a8t certain times. Is it so important to experience the extremes of everything, and sometimes parents can’t acknowledge or digest the fact that their child might actually be okay with being mediocre at some things. He/She necessarily does not have to be in a constant state of excellence. This often leaves one wanting more throughout their lives. Nothing is ever enough and one is always left waiting for that more to fill their lives and make it perfect.
8. Hard work is the only key to success
In a time where people often turn to the dictum of Smart work is the only key to success, parents still their children with the older version of the saying hard work Is the key to success. Yes, hard work does teach one to be better prepared in life and also instills in us patience which is essential to many things in life. But amidst this cry of hard work children often forget what is most important to seek quality in everything they do. Also, time management is often an issue for those who go by the lines of hard work and keep stressing themselves under conditions which can be turned around very easily had they ever taught the importance of smart work.
7. Whatever happens, is for your own good
Whatever happens, no matter how depressing, how annoying, how irritating it is, it is best for you (because God willed it so). This is one of the most common scenes in almost every home. But unfortunately for us, we take this too seriously and call ourselves optimists while we really are just accepting everything along the lines of fate and thus leave the analysis of every failure or even success out of the big picture. Instead of fortuitous we must start taking responsibility of our actions and start assigning it to the steps that led to it rather than just sitting and accepting it as it comes.
6. You can do anything you believe in
We all have been told as children that we can do and become everything we want to. It has been repeated so many times that we almost take it as a moral. As divine providence. Anything is possible. But as we grow and realities hit us, this turns out to be another projection of parents’ hypocrisy. We are given one single track or a number of track outside which everything else is out of bounds. Childhood dreams are crushed and replaced by more pragmatic ones (as they call it.)
5. Birds of a feather flock together
From Kindergarten to High school children are asked to seek people like themselves (Read: Nerdy, studious, prude). Something which is the base of the cliques that is stereotypical to almost every culture around the world. It establishes another kind of class based on the supposition that you are better than the others, that people from different backgrounds, be it social, economic or cultural can’t and shouldn’t be friends. And this is carried for a long time in life and results in many prejudices.
4. Money can’t buy happiness
Yes, it’s in the true essence a perfectly sane thing to teach, no matter what the age of the person is. But very often the way children perceive it becomes a source of great dissatisfaction later in their lives. Yes, money isn’t the central thing to a life but at the end of the day some happiness and satisfaction does come from material security. To assume that money holds no importance in a life would be a stupid thing to do, especially in the present context. On the other extreme some people grow up taking money for granted which again leads to a major problem later.
3. Do unto others as you would have done unto you
This is the golden rule of growing up. We are asked to treat everyone with equal compassion and understanding but at the same time on the other end of the preaching we see our own parents having their own prejudices and biases which again casts a huge question mark in relation to the whole thing. And to think of it, it is actually not possible for anyone to treat everyone with same dignity and thought. Instead of asking us to perceive everyone equal in our own eyes we should be in practical sense taught how everyone is equal before the law, no matter what our own conception of that equality means.
2. Be punctual, walk in a straight line aka adhere to structures.
Structuralism and a linear hierarchy of conduct is grilled into us from the very beginning, leaving little scope for individuality or personal maneuverings. We are asked to adhere to state structures, to customs and not to question existence of such abstract ideals which in reality we can’t relate to at all. Thus instead of this totalitarianism in structures we must be given flexibility of questioning and thoughts.
1. Don’t interrupt a parent (unless it’s an emergency).
This one is the icing on top. It’s the final blow the closed world that most parents create for their children. The worst thing you can do is argue with your parents or interrupt them. The rule being, if you want to then wait for an appropriate moment, and seek redressal. It is essentially this kind of atmosphere which establishes an authority that some aren’t able to shed for rest of their lives. Children being the easiest to dominate sometimes end up learning scary and often disturbing habits. For even if they want to protest against it, they can’t.