This post is not-so-loosely based on this wikiHow page. Thanks, wikiHow! Without further ado, I present to you:
How to Teach Children that Humans Are Terrible
Many parents dread having “the humans are terrible talk” with their child. However, having these conversations is an important part of your child’s development and forming a trusting relationship between yourself and your child. Start discussing murder and corruption from an early age. Be clear and use accurate terms for weapons and forms of government. Stress the importance of being terrible safely to your child, and tell them to say “no” if they experience peer pressure to participate in terrible activities before they are ready.
- Start early. Your children may be young, but if you get an indication that they are being exposed to human nature, whether through the media, schoolyard bullies, or overhearing grown-ups discussing current events, it is important to talk to your child about these things yourself. You don’t need to provide all the gory details to an eight-year-old, but it is important for your child to know that you are there to talk.
- Choose the right place and time. It may be best to discuss this when you are alone with your child so you can be straightforward without worrying about embarrassment. It may also help make your child more comfortable if you are doing a familiar activity.
- Expect them to possess prior knowledge. Your child has probably been exposed to terrible information through TV, radio, the internet, and other media. You may wish to start the conversation by asking your child what they’ve already heard.
- For example, you may say, “I know you had that history class today. Do you have any questions about what you learned?”
- To get a better idea of the varieties of human terribleness your children may have been exposed to, try researching their favorite television shows or following current events.
- Avoid shaming them. Be supportive whether your child is telling you about their enemy at school or their desire to be a member of Congress when they grow up. Try not to judge your child for their actions. When in doubt, you can always emphasize the natural basis for these feelings. When in doubt, remind your child that their terrible desires are natural and normal.
- Talk about human terribleness more than once. Consider this an ongoing conversation. Pop culture provides many opportunities to bring up the topic of humans being terrible. If you are watching a TV show that perpetuates the myth that only some humans are terrible, go ahead and correct it for your child.
- You could overwhelm or scare your child by confronting them with all of human terribleness at once. Instead, spread out the information over time. Good communication builds trust that is essential to an open and honest discussion about how humans are terrible.