In 2020 I wrote an article about the upcoming election admonishing parents to teach their children about calmness and the peaceful transition of power amidst the emotionally charged political debates and the controlling cancel-culture controversies. The day my article was posted my social media accounts got canceled. Apparently talking about calmness made someone mad. It took lots of work to get my content back on my social media pages. To this day, the pages still don’t work properly.

When I got canceled, my relationships and communications were being controlled and I felt hopeless to do anything about the situation. Cancel-culture didn’t end after the 2020 election. In fact, there is more cancel-culture than ever before. Cancel-culture has infiltrated our media, businesses, classrooms, and even our homes and families. What is cancel-culture? How are we canceling parents? What are the negative consequences of canceling parents? And, what can we do to restore our homes and families back to functional and healthy parent/child relationships and communications?


To cancel someone is to control them by silencing or misrepresenting them. According to the authors of “The Coddling of the American Mind” and “The Canceling of the American Mind” there are four untruths that have led to cancel-culture on campuses and throughout society. Those four untruths are:

  1. “Always follow your feelings
  2. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker
  3. There are good people and bad people
  4. Good people only do good things and bad people only do bad things.”

Example: Sally feels like she doesn’t fit in because of her worldview. Regardless of if it is true or not, she assumes that feeling this way means that people don’t accept her and she is a social victim of shaming. She feels a sense of suffering from this and ends up withdrawing from her peers and teachers. She sees this as evidence that she is weaker than others around her. Since she feels marginalized, she labels the oppressors as “bad people.” Since the mental oppressors are “bad people” then, even if they try to do something to reach out to Sally or even accommodate for her worldview it won’t ever be enough because “bad people” only do bad things and can’t be trusted. She assumes that if they are being kind it must be some sort of manipulation. She is lonely. Her problem can’t be solved unless the “bad people” are controlled by her in some way. But, she does’t know how to control them completely, so she emotionally controls her interactions with them when she must be with them.

Even though this story could be about any social/ideological issue, Sally’s story also could be about how many youth and adult children are interacting with their parents nowadays.

Canceling Parents & Families

It is with surprise and heavy hearts that many parents are currently grieving over the loss of their child’s heart and bonding during teen and young adult years. Sometimes parents have even reported to me that their pre-teen child has emotionally detached from them. Parents want to know what has happened to their children and what to do about it. They contact me regularly with questions and hopes for suggestions to solve their heart aches.

Parents are getting canceled right under their own noses.

How it happens:

  • Follow your feelings: Due to society’s obsession with feelings as well as therapeutic excuses and solutions for all problems, children are being asked about their feelings more than past generations were. Parents want to know everything that their child is thinking and feeling and parents want to discuss these findings all the time. This gives the child the unspoken message that what they feel or think is the most important part of who they are and what they should focus on most. In order to be ready to answer the regularly posed feeling and thought questions from their parents, youth often overanalyze what they are thinking and feeling too. It’s no wonder that overthinking is a very common problem nowadays. And, if a child is in therapy, this problem could compound depending on the type of therapy the child is participating in.

In our “follow your truth” “you do you” culture, youth are informed that to be “authentic” they need to find their truth and follow it. And, their truth is found by following their feelings. If this sounds a bit like faith gone wrong, that’s because it is. To have faith a person acknowledges truth that is greater than themself, seeks for spiritual confirmation of that truth, and then takes action to align themselves with that truth. The current “find your truth” model is a counterfeit to faith since it suggests that each person creates their own truth based upon their feelings and follows it instead of faithfully submitting to a truth that is greater than themselves and confirmed by spiritual feelings and thoughts.

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker: Overthinking and evaluating feelings leads to emotional, mental, and psychological drain or even bondage. The obsession with what a child feels at any given moment, leads the child to search for who to blame for how they are feeling. When ideologues, through media and education sources, push children to find their oppressors and excuses, this disempowers children and encourages them to carry that burden of disempowerment with them.
  • There are good people and bad people: Instead of helping children through tough feelings, many parents who are obsessed with feelings start looking for the perpetrator of their child’s negative feelings or experiences. This type of feelings witch-hunt by adults teaches children the unspoken lesson that some people are “bad people” because the child experienced a bad feeling.
  • Good people only do good things and bad people only to bad things: It’s human to organize information. Children developmentally look for opposites to guide them to safety and good choices. So, if a child is taught, whether through an actual lesson or an unspoken lesson, that someone is a “bad person,” then the child may assume that nothing from that person can be trusted. Additionally, society is more than happy to help children organize information by teaching about purposes of life and identity, and to classify people as “safe” and “unsafe” with its new intersectional (victim and oppressor) view of people and relationships. The intersectional lens combined with the socially promoted concept of disregarding parental authority leads many youth to believe that if their parent says or does something that they don’t like or believes differently than the youth about a social or politically issue, that the parent is “unsafe” and cannot be trusted in all things.

Today’s youth are socially encouraged to be in full control of their relationships and interactions and classify people who won’t allow themselves to be controlled as “unsafe” or occasionally even “narcissistic.” During these trying times, when youth are devaluing their parents, despite the biological, social, and psychological need to maintain a bond with parents, youth end up canceling their own parents in order to “protect” themselves by controlling their surroundings, conversations, and comfort zones. Anyone who suggests that the youth should do something different than follow their feelings and protect themselves is not to be trusted. And, once a parent disappoints or misbehaves one time the parent may not be trusted again because the parent is now considered “controlling” or “unsafe.”


It’s true that some parents do mistreat their children and may even be abusive, toxic or unhealthy for adult children to stay closely connected to. However, those circumstances are rare. It should be a red flag to all of us that currently it’s extremely common for youth and young adults to devalue and cancel their parents. The abundance of instances of youth and young adults emotionally controlling and canceling their parents is well beyond normal, historical numbers of parents who are actually abusive or toxic.

The very prevalent four untruths are causing youth and young adults to label their parents as “unsafe,” “narcissistic,” or “controlling,” and youth are pulling away from parents in an effort to “create boundaries” (which many times just means controlling the relationship). This process is difficult for parents and children and doesn’t actually solve any problems if problems do actually exist in the relationship.

Some other consequences of canceling parents include:

  • Youth feeling alone in a big world.
  • Youth turning to peers or media for guidance.
  • Youth being overwhelmed and anxious without allowing for parental support.
  • Youth being vulnerable to being controlled by others outside the family.
  • Youth never being able to break free from their perceived villain (the parents) = burden.
  • Youth having increased mental health problems including anxiety and depression due to loneliness and overwhelm.
  • Youth self-soothing or self-medicating because a vital bond with parents is missing or life is overwhelming.
  • Youth’s relationship problems don’t get solved.
  • Youth often struggle trusting anyone that they can’t control.
  • Parents feel alienated and alone when the child pulls away from attachment or relationship.
  • Parents are not allowed to attempt to solve the problems or set the relationship back in order.
  • Parents can’t defend themselves and are discredited.
  • Some parents resort to bribery and buying their youth’s affection.
  • Parents and youth can both experience situational depression.
  • Youth and parents miss out on many months or years of memories that could have been made = regret.

What Can We Do?

  1. Teach the children that being action-focused (taking action to solve problems) is better than being feelings/self-focused (needing to worry about finding and following all of their feelings to solve their problems.) Action-focus empowers and encourages a person to make choices. Feelings/self-focus overwhelms and leads to spending a lot of time focusing on the past for answers instead of choosing to move forward for solutions. This lesson is learned by following instructions from self and others, accepting the “no” answers in life, and accepting consequences and moving on. A truly emotionally healthy, action-focused person can even give and accept corrections from themselves.
  2. Teach the children how to identify the four untruths being perpetuated nowadays. They need to know the social climate that they are living in. The more they learn from you, the more empowered they will be to question other information that they are given.
  3. Teach the children that discussion with you is always “safe” because they can always disagree appropriately with you, you will always listen, and you will be calm when talking to them, correcting them, or teaching them.
  4. Teach them to handle disappointments by consistently correcting them as needed. A child who is calmly corrected often, is not afraid of correction.
  5. Teach the children that regular talk time is a healthy part of relationships. Create a tradition of weekly and daily talks. But, these talks should be about goals, plans, joys, problem solving, and taking action more than they are about how a person is feeling in the minute or earlier that day.
  6. Stay true to your principles and way of life. Don’t bend your beliefs to manipulate someone’s feelings. Manipulating feelings and over-focusing on feelings is how things started in the first place.
  7. Have a deliberate conversation about what you want your relationship to be like in the future. And, then have faith that as you both focus on that that you will make progress.
  8. Finally, trust that your child is able to still see truth, even though they might be confused right now. Don’t over talk about the relationship problem. Just keep moving forward with hope and a prayer in your heart. They will see how much you love them by and by.

Four years ago, when I was canceled on social media for trying to empower and help parents I didn’t think that I’d see the day when so many youth and young adults would bring the cancel-culture into their most private and meaningful relationships, their families. This is a painful time for many parents and youth. However, time really does heal confusion and relationship problems. Don’t lose hope or heart. Your child wants to have a good relationship with you too. They just don’t know how to see through the untruths yet.

Be patient. Be loving. Be calm. Be constant.

For help with calmness try this Free Calm Parenting Toolkit