Promoting Empathy With Your Teen

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Hypocrisy, Why We Are Sometimes Guilty Of This

Hypocrisy, Why We Are Sometimes Guilty Of This

Recently Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California beauty queen was found to have contradicted her Christian values, after pageant officials discovered a solo sex tape, starring her. But this isn't the first time a well known public figure outspoken in support of righteous values has being found to have contradicted his or her moral high ground. As a matter of fact this is so rampant, that it is not a matter of how often the media can find a public figure engaging in hypocrisy, but how well known the culprit is.

In all fairness, at some point in time, everyone has engaged in hypocrisy and sadly there are multiple offenders. So why do we do it? After all, most people can agree that "do as I say, not as I do" is an inefficient way to teach youth. Sure, they will listen to you, but compliance is most likely to take place if you are witnessed and believed to consistently practice what you preach.

Perhaps it has to do with how we process the teachings of our parents and elders? Take for example, the topic of masturbation. If you have been taught that masturbation is bad, immoral and downright sinful, what will your thought process be like if one day you find yourself unable to resist the urge to masturbate? You will be faced with one of two decisions- one, that your parents are wrong on the subject of masturbation, or that you are a bad and immoral person.

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This can be said to happen to people on just about every subject matter, where we are confronted with making the decision of our parents or elders being wrong on an issue, or ourselves being wrong on the same issue. Now to be clear, hypocrisy isn't caused by wrong information being taught to youth, but instead the concept of condemnation being used as a tactic by parents and elders as a method to enforce compliance. There are plenty of times that our parents and elders teach us beliefs that turn out to be wrong or not entirely true, and inevitably as youth start to come of age they will make the decision to change, modify or maintain the belief. It is only when the choice to change a belief brings about a fear of being condemned by one's social group that hypocrisy becomes a likelihood.

Hypocrisy, while not okay is a normal part of human development, ultimately it is the courage to change and accept oneself and others regardless of our beliefs and values, that provides the potent antidote to hypocrisy.

Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in adolescents and young adults.


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