A Message from Every Child

From “Discipline Without Tears” by Dreikurs, Cassel, & Dreikurs.


  • Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for. I’m only testing you.
  • Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It lets me know where I stand.
  • Don’t use force with me. It teaches me that power is all that counts. I will respond more readily to being led.
  • Don’t be inconsistent. That confuses me and makes me try harder to get away with everything I can.
  • Don’t make promises; you may not be able to keep them. That will discourage my trust in you.
  • Don’t fall for my provocations when I do and say things just to upset you. Then I’ll try for more such “victories.”
  • Don’t be too upset when I say, “I hate you.” I don’t mean it, but I want you to feel sorry for what you have done to me.
  • Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. I will make up for it by behaving like a “big shot.”
  • Don’t do things for me that I can do for myself. It makes me feel like a baby, and I may continue to put you in my service.
  • Don’t let my “bad habits” get me a lot of your attention. It only encourages me to continue them.
  • Don’t correct me in front of people. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
  • Don’t try to preach me. You’d be surprised how well I know what’s right and wrong.
  • Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. I have to learn to make mistakes without feeling that I am a bad person or failure.
  • Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
  • Don’t demand explanations for my wrong behaviour. I really don’t know why I did it.
  • Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frighten into telling lies.
  • Don’t forget that I love to experiment. I learn from it so please put up with it.
  • Don’t protect me form consequences; I need to learn from experience.
  • Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. I may lean to enjoy poor health if it gets  me too much attention.
  • Don’t put me off when I ask honest questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
  • Don’t answer “silly” or meaningless questions. I just want you to keep busy with me.
  • Don’t ever thing that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
  • Don’t ever suggest you are perfect or infallible. It gives you and me too much to live up to.
  • Don’t worry about the little amount of time we spend together. It is how we spend it that counts.
  • Don’t let my fears arouse your anxiety. Then I will become more afraid. Show me courage.
  • Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and encouragement, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I?
  • Treat me the way you treat your friends; then I will be your friend too.
  • Remember, I learn more from a model than a critic.
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