Don’t Tell Your Kids to Stand Up Straight

mother scolding her son

Does it irk you that your kids have poor posture?

Are you guilty of telling them on occasion to “stand up straight” or “sit up straight” or something along those lines?

If you have tried that approach, how well has it gone over?

In my experience, not so well.

One reason this approach doesn’t go over well is that when you tell someone (child or adult) to “stand up straight” you are also implying that their posture is wrong.

And nobody likes to be told they are wrong.

The human reaction to being told you are wrong about most things is to dig your heels in and become defensive. And then you are not going to get anywhere.

So, if you know that posture is important and the foundation of everything we do, how are you supposed to help those close to you?

I have several suggestions for you:

Don’t tell them to “stand up straight!”. You are telling them they are wrong and they will typically respond by digging their heels in and becoming defensive. Approach it differently by…

Starting with yourself. Take the time to really learn what good posture is yourself. Invest in yourself by taking some Alexander Technique lessons so that…

You can be a good model for those around you and you can…

Set up a good environment. Poor posture isn’t going to be cured by a better chair or desk. However, there are several small things that we can have around and use on a daily basis that can help such as…

Firm wedge cushions to correct backward sloping chairs; a slanted work surface for writing and drawing; holders for smartphones/tablets/books that support them a good angle for reading

Richard Brennan, an Alexander Technique teacher and teacher trainer in Ireland has a passion for children’s posture. He is interviewed in the following BodyLearning podcast. It’s worth a listen.

Image of a mother scolding her son courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

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