Double Standards Confusing to Kids

As an adult, I can understand and rationalize double standards. When I'm told not to drive and talk on my phone, I can see that it is being done for my own good, even though I sometimes see police officers talking on their cell phone as I drive around New York City.

However, when it comes to kids, I feel double standards can be problematic. We keep making rules for children in order to make them better people. We emphasize the dangers of smoking, and we always tell parents not to smoke around children, but yet, double standards fall through the cracks with kids.

One of these double standards is texting in school. Children are being told that it is not proper to do any kind of texting with their cell phone during school hours.

Kaiser Family Foundation statistics show that high school aged students spend about an hour and a half a day sending and receiving texts. Those who do text estimate that they send an average of 118 messages in a typical day.

There have been many cases over the last year where children have been caught texting, have been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, like a 14-year-old girl in Wisconsin. Many kids have also gotten suspensions. And yet, if you were to ask your 12 year old daughter if she has ever seen her teacher text during class, I would argue that more than 50 percent of them would say yes.

So it is somehow unfair to expect children to follow every single rule that we come up with, on a yearly basis, and create sometimes punishments, which are out of proportion. One example is a 12-year-old girl in New York who was handcuffed and taken to the police station for doodling on her desk with a washable pen. On the other hand, we have teachers that routinely text while in the middle of an active class.

So, even though I have tried to adhere to the rules; which I confess, I have cheated in the past, I think that we have to be very careful when it comes to double standards and the expectations that we're creating in children.