The Knowledge Project – Kids Are Worth It with Barbara Coloroso

The Knowledge Project Website

Listen to the podcast here

This is a conversation between Shane Parrish and Barbara Coloroso on how to effectively raise children in the 21st century.

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluate the situation: “If it is not morally threatening, life-threatening, or unhealthy, let it go”
  • “If you hit you sit”
  • We all lose it, we all yell and scream at our kids, but you always have the chance to make it right and fix things
  • You are a parent in the early years, a mentor during the teenage years, and a friend during adulthood 
  • Podcast Notes Comment – A lot can be achieved of the below by taking “Easy Choice, Hard Life. Hard Choices, Easy Life” to heart


Three Basic Tenets

  • Kids are worth it
    • Even when it feels like they are taking all of your time and energy
  • Treat them how you would want to be treated
    • Dignity, love, compassion, and respect
  • If the strategy works, it must leave the child’s, and parent’s, dignity intact
    • Hitting a child (destroying sense of self-worth) is not a strategy

Getting Kids on the Right Path

  • As a child, standing up to injustices:
    • Requires courage and understanding
    • Involves doing the right thing, even if it is difficult and costly
  • Giving kids the opportunity to make mistakes:
    • Gives them a chance to learn from the mistakes
    • Gives them a chance to make their own decisions
      • This increases responsibility 
  • We want kids to be able get out of a situation when things get uncomfortable at their own volition 


  • Inner Discipline
    • It’s difficult for a child to develop, but once developed it is hard to unravel
  • Self-Discipline
    • The ability to control your own feelings, and make the right decisions, even if they are costly or seem unpopular
  • Students Causing Mayhem
    • Purposeful/Intentional misbehavior
      • How to fix? Give them ownership of the problem, and let them work on solving it
  • Students Making Mistakes
    • Give them the chance to own it, fix it, and move on

Three R’s of Discipline

  • Restitution
    • Fixing the problem
      • Replacing broken item, apologizing, etc.
  • Resolution
    • Preventing the problem from reoccurring
      • Taking responsibility/ownership, understanding why it occurred, and why you shouldn’t do it again (learning)
  • Reconciliation
    • Sympathetic/Empathetic towards the victim (Apology)
      • The child understands why the act was hurtful

Punishment vs. Discipline

  • Discipline is something we do with a child
    • Talking/working with the child, and teaching them why a certain type of behavior is unacceptable
  • Punishment is adult oriented
    • Ex. – Spanking, hitting, sitting in the corner

Sibling Conflict

  • Conflict is Inevitable, violence is not
    • Teach kids to handle conflict without violence
    • Dealing with conflict
      • Win-Win situation, for example, we can watch this cartoon for 30 minutes and then switch to your cartoon
  • Allow the child that was harmed some peace and time away from the negative event
  • Children who are targeted by their siblings have a higher risk of getting targeted by their peers, and are at a higher risk for alcohol/drug abuse, self-harm, and depression

Handling Bullying

  • Telling them to stop does not work; that is what bullies are looking for
    • Instead, teach your kids to stand strong and label the behavior, not the bully
  • Kids tend to know if the school doesn’t handle bullying well, it will get worse
    • Sometimes solving an issue in secrecy is best
      • Tattling is getting someone in trouble
      • Telling is getting someone out of trouble

RSVP: Reasonable, Simple, Valuable, Practical

  • Reasonable
    • Does the consequence fit the problem?
  • Simple
    • Making sure the child understands why she is being asked to do this
  • Valuable
    • Does the child take any value from the lesson?
  • Practical
    • Does the problem require a consequence?
  • Teach them that they do matter, and what they do matters
  • Encouragement, feedback, a sense of deep caring
    • I believe in you, you can do it etc.

Three C’s: Compliment, Comments, Constructive Criticism, and Deep Caring

  • Compliment
    • Let the child know the behavior was good
  • Comment
    • Let the child know they are capable of fixing the problem
  • Constructive Criticism
    • Teaching the child in ways that keep them involved
  • Deep Caring
    • You do not have to like someone, but you must honor their humanity


  • Rules are what we expect
    • Guidelines are how we hope the child will act 
    • Rules are important but must be rooted in deep caring
      • The basis of all rules revolves around deep caring
  • Zero Tolerance Rule
    • Requires zero thinking, no personal involvement in each individual case (following blindly)
    • It is important that you are allowed to make exceptions to any rule
  • Chores: slowly increase responsibility
    • A child with special needs might have less responsibility
    • Children from 3rd world countries do more chores because it is expected of them
  • Saying No
    • As the parent, it is a good thing to take the blame for saying “No” at times
      • For example, “Mom can I spend the night at a friends?”, saying “No” takes the responsibility from the child in times of pressure

Teens/Social Media

  • Monitoring child’s activity
  • Teach kids how to be digitally savvy
    • How to be kind, civil online
    • Tells you about the latest apps, games, concerns with movies
    • Experts in the field make handouts to parents and educators on digital media
    • Tool for parents in keeping their kids stay safe
  • Any violence kids are exposed to becomes apart of their worldview


  • Communicating/Teaching
    • Use the proper words
    • Be open when kids ask questions about sexuality, they need to understand how their body is changing
      • You don’t have to tell your kids about every mistake you’ve made