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I Taught My Daughter Some Things Are OK to "Hate"

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“Boo! Hiss!” That is what my daughter will yell out whenever we drive by a McDonald's or a Burger King. On occasion, she will also stick out her tongue at the massively popular fast food chains. And you know what? This behavior totally warms my kale-eating, Greek yogurt-loving, grass-fed beef burger-grilling heart.

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This isn't the only negative behavior she displays when faced with something she thinks is “like totally gross.” When she sees a person smoking on the street she will not only give them the stink eye, but she covers her mouth in an attempt to not have a single particle of smoke reach her mouth or nose. It’s pretty dramatic and usually leaves the smoker bewildered by her reaction. But this too warms my heart (or in this case my lungs).

Yes, this is all my doing. Since she was old enough to comprehend the English language, I have not-so-subtly taught her to have a disdain for certain things, so much so that you could call it a “hate.” When we would see a Mickey D's commercial on TV, I would warn her of the dangers of fast food. When we would see someone smoking, I would bring up the dangers of cigarettes. These carefully crafted asides on my part really have sunk in, and now I don't have to give her any guidance to "hate" these things — she hates them all on her own.

As parents, we must be mindful of the negative viewpoints we are passing on to our children, not to brainwash them, but to give them the tools for a cleaner life.

It's not just lifestyle choices that I've conditioned her to "hate." The bigger issues that plague our society have earned her hatred via the stories I've told or the things she's seen on the news (which we rarely let her view). I have also taught her to “hate” bullying, to “hate” violence, to “hate” pollution, to “hate” cruelty, to hate using the word “hate” (it is a "four-letter word" in our home).

Of course hate is really not something we should be teaching our children, especially when it is in reference to people. But I will go on record that there are some behaviors or unhealthy things that are totally hate-worthy, like smoking. And it is our duty to guide our children to think negatively of those things — things that can harm their bodies and, in the end, kill them. Or, to hate the evil that sadly infects the world. It is part of learning right versus wrong and good versus bad.

As parents, we must be mindful of the negative viewpoints we are passing on to our children, not to brainwash them, but to give them the tools for a cleaner life. Teaching hate — in any form — is a slippery slope. In the cases of fast food and cigarettes, it is more about teaching our children to make good choices down the road. But some parents teach a different kind of hate: a hate for those who are different, a hate for those who have a different skin color, a hate for those who have a different religion. That kind of hate is something to hate right there.

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Do you teach your children to hate anything? If so, what?

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