Quick References

Are You Teaching Your Kids to Be Disobedient? (If Not, You Should)


Did I get your attention? Good. I want you to teach your kids to be disobedient, here’s why…

To clarify, I’m all for fully expecting my children to be good and respectful children. This not only applies to their elders but to other children as well. Most of the time they fulfill my expectation but sometimes we need to correct them, that’s normal.

Equally important to my wife’s and my expectations is that our society (believe it or not)  expects our children to be obedient, from school teachers (for sure) to policemen and more. Granted, teenagers may be another story but let’s focus on younger school children.

You see, there’s a very specific problem with the always obedient expectation that is placed on our kids. More accurately, there’s hole in our logic.

Think about your children for a moment. From the time they can walk and talk until the time that they are capable of caring for themselves society expects them to be respectful and, more importantly, obedient to adults. This is almost always a good thing, expect for one very specific situation: stranger danger.

Yes, stranger danger. Sure we as parents and even schools do our best to watch over our children, teach them who a stranger is, the dirty ploys they might try, and so on. The problem I have is this: we expect that during the one and only time our children SHOULD be disobedient to an adult (the bad stranger) that they WILL be disobedient despite the fact that their entire life they have been trained to always be obedient to adults.

Does that sound illogical to you? It does to me.

On the one hand I believe that it’s likely any child confronted with a stranger danger scenario will instinctively feel uneasy and intuitively believe something is not quite right. On the other hand, they will have an overriding desire to obey and to please any adult because they have been trained their entire life to do so.

So, the question is this: do you feel that simply talking to your children about stranger danger and explaining to them when they can and should be disobedient to an adult will be enough for them to choose to do so? I’m beginning to think the answer is NO.

My conundrum is that I’m really not sure what to do about it. We have talked with our children and asked them open-ended questions, but the fact still remains that these evil adults are very cunning and probably seem like nice people that should be obeyed.

Perhaps the best answer that I can come up with is what’s already been given elsewhere and that is to be laser-specific in precisely what would happen in a given circumstance.

For starters, make it crystal clear exactly who would pick them up or take them somewhere (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, specific friend, etc) and that under no circumstances will anyone else do so… ever. This includes policemen and firemen. While I’m thinking about it, kids need to understand exactly what a police officer looks like (their dress, the squad car, badge, gun, etc) and that, regardless of what anyone says, if they don’t truly look and act like a police officer then not to trust them… I’m sure the real policemen and firemen will understand.

Second, teach them the tricks that these people play. If they’ve heard the ploys before then they’re more likely to recognize them (or something similar) in the future. This includes statements like “It’s ok, you mom said it was ok,” “your mom and dad are hurt and in the hospital and I need to take you there immediately,” or “my dog is lost will you help me find him?” The more able your children are to recognize what a ruse sounds like the better off they will be to spot others.

Above all else, teach them to use their instincts and teach them that you would never be upset or unhappy with them if they truly felt the situation was extraordinary. That has to be the most important piece of advice. You, the parent, are the adults children are most afraid to upset. If you can show that you’ll never be upset about their actions with a stranger then they may also choose to have the power to do what you expect of them: to disobey an adult.

Last, keep reminding them. Ask them different questions, quiz them, maybe even role play a bit. Like any aspect of preparedness, practice makes perfect.

6 comments to Are You Teaching Your Kids to Be Disobedient? (If Not, You Should)

  • SillyD

    You couldn’t have picked a more scary topic to me! Stranger danger worries me more than I should let it but I just can’t help to think of all the lunatics out there. Thank you for reminding me to talk with my children more often.

  • Martin

    When I first read the title I said “What! Are You Kidding?” But I understand the point now. It is a difficult problem to sufficiently prepare for, especially since it’s your kids that need to be prepared. Like you say, the best thing you can do is to keep explaining the problem and being as honest as possible. It’s a shame we have this problem.

  • Ted

    I’m from the older generation so we played by different rules than today . I think there are too many contradictions , thus no controle . I was raised in the early 1960′s – 70′s , I strongly believe in corporal punishment unlike todays wimpy PC culture . My father ( a WW2 vet )was hard but fair , we knew he loved us and would do anything for us , but at the same time , there were rules and you just didnt cross that line ……….PERIOD . All my mother had to do when we misbehaved was ask us if we wanted our father to get involved , the answer was always a fast …NO !!!!!! I hear what you are saying but …..I cant agree in any way with it because , we were all obedient , even more than what you are talk , we were loved , but not sheltered . Sheltered kids are naive kids, another difference . Self responsibility in rarely taught in the home anymore like it was back then ……we now see the results of that error in liberalism and self entitlement . Parenting is the hardest job on the planet …..good luck to all these days .

    • No doubt there are colossal differences in the way children were parented only a generation or two ago versus today. And you’re right that kids these days are pampered; I know I’m guilty myself at times but we’re nowhere near how I see many parents treat their kids. Anyway, it would be an interesting comparison of how children may have reacted to “stranger danger” say 50 years ago versus today. Heck, was that even something parents had to worry about, or is that a more modern problem?

      • Ted

        Perverts have been around forever , we had the stranger danger talk as well . We were raised that family comes first and to trust family ( immediate ) even before an authority figure . When you take the structure out of society , you screw it up in more ways than you can predict . Thats one reason I date exclusively from the Russian Jewish community , they have defined roles for men and women , a higher moral code than we do , etc. sort of how we were 40 years ago . And they want to keep it that way . Just any everything and everyone isnt ok ( not to mention that a lot of Russian women are very very pretty lol) A collapse will bring out the worst in people as all the things they think they are entitled to are taken away , it will also bring out the best in people after the shock wears off and all the PC liberal illusions have gone up in smoke for folks to see clearly again . I dont wish any misery on people , but on the other hand , all the messed up things going on around us are happening for a reason . Just sayin .