Guidance Without Manipulation

There are all kinds of subtle manipulations in the language we use when we talk with children. This new generation of children, children with stronger omnipotent identities and stronger sense of themselves, are highly sensitive to manipulation and they will resist it.  The use of manipulation is an attempt to shape and change them based in a fear that the child will not come to the correct conclusions on his own. The child’s resistance will start an antagonistic and oppositional dynamic. The most effective way to speak to these children is to speak to them in terms that acknowledge their independent will.

Recognize that children ultimately make the decisions in each circumstance and that we cannot make decisions for them. Also, the language that we use with children should communicate to them a belief that they are capable of making logical, healthy decisions that are respectful of themselves and others. The language commonly usedto speak with children is filled with manipulation, moralizing and innuendo about what they should and shouldn’t do. This kind of language communicates to them our lack of faith in both their ability to make decisions, and in their capacity as moral and ethical persons.