by Scott Noelle

The next time some friend or relative warns you that your parenting style is too permissive, do what any self-respecting 3-year-old would do: Ask, “Why?”

“Because children need limits.”


Most people who hold this belief have never questioned it. Those who are willing to examine it might notice that life presents children with many, many limits, and maybe they don’t need their parents to add even more.

But some will answer with yet another unquestioned belief: “Because they need to learn that they can’t always get their way.”


Be as relentless as a 3-year-old! Now you’re getting to the root of the distortion: the scarcity principle. Maybe he or she is ready to entertain the possibility that we live in an abundant universe — that life is not a zero-sum game.

Or maybe he or she will resort to fundamentalist rhetoric: “That’s just the way things are.”


Originally published on 2006-10-12
Share It !