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June 9, 2015

Run, Luke, Run

Hal photo outside Feb2012“The wildest colts make the best horses.” (Plutarch)

Among the most destructive labels we apply on our kids are those having to do with their perceived disobedience. We call them “rebellious,” or “defiant,” or “out of control.” They may even get officially diagnosed with “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.”

These labels are especially sticky, and we shouldn’t be surprised that they actually perpetuate the behavior we were hoping to curtail. Think about it — if the kid’s got a condition, a disorder, then how can we expect him to suddenly become compliant? He can’t, he’s too Oppositionally Defiant!

The next time you’re tempted to call your kid rebellious, pause. Ask yourself what exactly you think she’s rebelling against? You? A relationship with you? Law and order? Or is she just fighting off your efforts to control her?

If your kids are part of the rebellion, doesn’t that make you Darth Vader? (which, if you didn’t already know, was intentionally a play on Dark Father) I know this sounds crazy, but I pray you don’t have totally compliant kids. The rebels are the ones who are most able to think for themselves, create the world’s innovative solutions, and fight off oppressive injustice. Just like those pesky Skywalker kids.

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