The Negative Effects of Teaching Obedience

I found this list of the negative effects of encouraging kids to be obedient, effects that can last a lifetime, on the website of Dr. Jane Bluestein. For the full post, click here

The negative effects of learning to simply do as you are told:

• People-pleasers are motivated by external factors, such as the need for outside (and usually conditional) approval. They often do what others want in order to feel safe, worthwhile, or valued (for example, “. . . so my friends will like me more.”)

• People-pleasers do what others want to avoid disapproval, punishment, ridicule, or abandonment, or for fear of hurting, disappointing, or angering someone else. They base their decisions on another person’s anticipated reaction.

• People-pleasers may obey anyone who appears to be important, powerful, or popular. They tend to be highly influenced by peer pressure. They are far more vulnerable than other children to adults who may not have their best interests in mind.

• People-pleasers have a hard time saying “no,” even when saying “yes” would be unwise, inconvenient, or even unsafe for them. Their negotiation skills are limited.

• Obedient kids have a hard time seeing the connection between their behavior and the consequences of their behaviors. Their sense of responsibility may be limited: “He made me do it.” “Everyone else was doing it.” “She started it.”

• Obedient kids are likely to blame their choices on someone else. They don’t have to take responsibility for their choices (or how their lives turn out) because they were just doing what someone else told them to do.

• Obedient kids may have a hard time functioning in the absence of authority. They lack initiative and would just as soon wait for someone to tell them what to do. They often depend on others to make decisions for them or make their choices simply to impress someone else.

• They believe that their ability to influence or control their lives depends on their ability to keep others happy, even if doing so inconveniences them, compromises their boundaries or principles, or, in some instances, even jeopardizes their safety.

• When people-pleasers experience conflict between what they want and what someone else wants, they may express this conflict as compliance, guilt, passive-aggressiveness, resentment, helplessness, or victimization.

• People-pleasers lack confidence in their own instincts and the ability to act in their own self-interests. They have difficulty understanding or expressing personal needs, or asking directly for what they want.