By Dr. Ali Hill May 11, 2016

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to help someone but inadvertently placed your desires on them instead.

As a parent, this happens all the time. That’s why I try so hard to keep the platinum rule in mind.

The platinum rule encourages us to treat people as they would like to be treated (rather than treating them as we’d like to be treated, as the golden rule says). This is a great rule to follow when we’re trying to help others or to guide them, which is why it’s  especially important for parents.

I recently practiced the platinum rule when looking for a new dance class for my daughter. In New York (where my family lived until our recent move to Denver), my daughter took hip hop classes and loved them, so I went looking for a hip hop class for her here in Denver.

When I found a great studio, I noticed that they had lots of choices for classes, including hip hop, breakdancing, and ballet.  As I child, I’d taken dance classes and absolutely hated ballet (still not a big fan of even watching it).  And the very last thing I wanted was to have her choose the ballet class.

I knew I could’ve told her that I’d found a hip hop class and she would’ve been thrilled, without ever having had to show her the class offerings. However, I also knew that she is very independent and likes to make choices for herself.

Insert platinum rule here. I asked her if she’d like to see the schedule to pick a class and when she took a look, to my great surprise, she chose breakdancing! I never, ever would’ve thought she’d want that, and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen it for myself.

I’m so glad I used the platinum rule here instead of assuming to know what was best for her based on what I liked to do at her age, or even on what she’d liked to do the year before.

How could you implement the same rule in your life?

Reposted with permission from

Dr. Ali Hill

Dr. Ali Hill is a mom, entrepreneur, and sociologist who teaches adults the skills they need to understand and manage emotions, strengthen their empathy muscles, and create and sustain relationships with others. She believes that teaching empathy is the key to establishing thriving communities where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. You can find out more about her work at