What Parents Need to Know about “Cancel Culture” in the New Year

unhappy teenager

If you haven’t heard of one thing (or a hundred others) getting “canceled” in 2019, get ready. The trend is only predicted to grow stronger in 2020! Unlike a few years ago, “canceling” isn’t just what a TV network does for an underperforming show, nor is it the end of a product line. Today, we don’t cancel things, we cancel people. Read on to find out more about the “cancel culture” and how it may be affecting your kids!

A Good Start

Today’s “cancel culture” grew out of a variety of great movements, including those to expose sexual abuse, racism, and political incorrectness. Most people are on board with cutting off attention to a poorly behaving sports player, sexually inappropriate celebrity, or others who are truly violating the rights of others. Many people, previously considered “too big” or “too important” to be subject to criminal charges in the past have been “canceled” in today’s world, showing the public opinion strongly.

A Wild Witch hunt

Like any good thing, cancel culture went a little overboard. Most people now have heard of media shows, politicians, or specific celebrities being “canceled,” and this cancellation is about more than their broadcast rights. Today’s “canceling” is more like the old tradition of shunning—an utter disregard and rejection of the person or entity who is deemed worthy of canceling. There is no “un-canceling”—in cancel culture, mistakes live forever. In private spaces, such as middle and high schools or social media venues, this is often identical to bullying, and heavy amounts of peer pressure  often cause even the kindest of teens to purposefully start excluding or “canceling” their peers, even for minor or pointless things such as saying an off-color comment or simply “not fitting in.”

How to Help Your Kids

Has your teen been “canceled” by bullies? Or, perhaps, are they the valiant leaders “canceling” all their friends? In any case, today’s children need a reminder to focus on empathy, forgiveness, and learning . Even if your child’s best friend said something truly awful, racist, or offensive, ask your child to consider if this has been consistent with their past behavior. If it isn’t a pattern, it may be a better opportunity to share insight and help one another grow. Likewise, if your child has been “canceled,” work make sure that he or she is still safe from bullying, up to and including working with the schools and the parents of the bullying children. Working with a skilled adolescent psychologist in Littleton can help to build self-esteem and communication skills that can prevent these sorts of problems.

Calling others out on their poor behaviors and helping them to recognize and change these behaviors is a worthy goal. Shunning, excluding, and “canceling” friends and family is a manipulative, hurtful tool. Help your child to see the difference and build stronger relationships.