#BigParentingIdea — If Everyone Jumped Off A Cliff, Would You Jump Too?

Lukasz Laniecki
Dec 9, 2016 · 2 min read

Parents love this question. They think it is so smart.

They usually use it when their children tell them they did something only because John and Sandra also did it.

“If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump too”? is parents’ way to tell their children that stupid and dangerous behavior should not be copied thoughtlessly.

But they usually say only this one sentence “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump too”?

Sure, it is wise not to follow others thoughtlessly. If I wanted my child to take one sentence with him it would be precisely this sentence. But not as something that should curb him (prevent him from being courageous in life), but rather as a general rule that we should not do things simply because everyone else is also doing them.

It seems that parents would use whatever cliché they’d find handy, regardless of consequences. Most of them don’t realize that it’s actually a double-edged sword.

It’s not particularly hard to come up with an answer that will forever remove this question from parent’s repertoire.

Here’s one example.

“Let me remind you of this when you want me to:

  • go to college because all my friends go to college
  • get married because all my friends get married
  • choose a ‘practical’ major because all my friends chose a ‘practical’ major
  • be “realistic” because all my friends are “realistic”
  • focus on getting a well-paying job (instead of pursuing my passions) because all my friends focus on getting a well-paying job.

Then the person who’s just answered this question could quickly capture the expression of panic on her parents’ faces and get back to her business.

Be sure to teach your child to never follow the flock. Not only in situations when it is convenient to you as a parent.


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Writing is my oxygen. I write every day. About parenting, career life and the challenges of being a young adult.

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Rethinking Parenting

Fundamental questions about the way we parent

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