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April 1, 2012

April Fools

The Cinnamon Challenge

What it is: A dare gone viral Kids challenge each other to eat a tablespoon of ground cinnamon without water.  It will surely cause coughing, gagging, choking, and sometimes vomiting. Oh, and it burns like heck, too.

Why It's Important: Schools across the country are reacting with bans, searches, and disciplinary action to prevent kids from bringing cinnamon to school. 

The Problem:  Double Dog Dare

What’s going on?!? Society seems to have stopped believing in the power of influence and choice.  We’ve forgotten that “the generation gap” isn’t just a cliché; it’s real and it’s an important part of child development.  There’s a gap between what you want for your child and what they think is best for them.


 A bridge is needed to safeguard against choice mistakes

The bridge is built out of your ability to influence choice


The bridge goes up in flames when we ban, ridicule, humiliate, and bully with authority. 

  • Is the answer to the cinnamon challenge to ban cinnamon and punish kids? 
  • Is the answer to soda in school to ban all outside food
  • Is the answer to snubbing a dress code making kids wear prison jumpsuits?  

While we’re at it, why not ban dinosaurs and birthdays? Yes, this stuff is actually going on.


These are not answers to problems, they are double-dog-dares:  I double-dog-dare you to carry cinnamon, drink soda, or, heaven forbid wear cargo pants!  Have the fire extinguisher handy!


The Tip:  Relax, Talk to your kids

The only way to learn from a mistake is to first be able to acknowledge that you made one. The tip this week is how to create an environment of trust that enables admission of a choice mistake.

Step 1: Redefine the word “consequence” so that it includes both good and bad.


Step 2: Allow natural consequences to do the heavy lifting for you—natural meaning no one controls the outcome of a choice – it just happens because of the environment created by the choice.


Step 3: Personalize the choice options so that each choice connects with your child. Encourage your child to play to win – always.


Step 4: Let your child know that you’ve had your share of “cinnamon challenges” as a kid and understand the pressure and allure. Toss in a few examples of your choice mistakes, too. There’s nothing like showing your vulnerability to ensure your child feels safe to acknowledge a mistake.


Step 5: Don’t over think or over speak. By focusing too much attention on something like the cinnamon challenge, you’re sort of waving the red cape in front of an otherwise peaceful bull.


Step 6: Demonstrate your confidence in your child and in your ability to influence and let it go.

The Benefits 

Lessons Learned – without skinning knees too badly. 

You don't have to be right – Phew, that's a relief.  Sometimes you'll have an answer and sometimes you won't.  Adopt a "win or learn" attitude vs. "win or lose" and you'll be spared a lot of struggle. 

Influence2  -- As always, the power of your influence increases the minute you communicate.


Related Articles: Skipping School, We Can't Be Trusted, Tip First

Related Tip of the Week: Credibility,


The Cinnamon Challenge

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