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Saturday, December 15 2018 @ 04:01 PM PST

A nice new set of mental blocks

Family

Ways not to interact with your kid

More than anything else, I try to be fair with the kid. She still seems overly suspicious of me, and I sometimes wonder why.

The other day I called her cell and asked her (since it was Thursday) if she was going to swim that night.

She very cautiously said she thought she was, why was I asking?

I told her it was because I needed to know whether I should come pick her up, and why was she so suspicious?

She said she was concerned that I would tell her she can't go swimming.

To ask her "are you going to go swimming" and then when she said "yes" tell her "no you're not" is not something that it would ever occur to me to do. I told her that if I didn't want her to go swimming, I'd open with "You will not be going swimming tonight", without messing about with trapping her so I could pounce triumphantly.

In my career, I've had managers like that. Manager opens with an innocent question which seemingly has a straightforward answer. Peon answers honestly, and is rewarded with a blast of anger and belittlement. Or, sometimes not. There's no way of telling ahead of time. After awhile, the simplest question becomes a nightmare.

Some managers, and some parents, consider such verbal tactics as just another part of the arsenal. I personally think they do irreparable damage to the relationship, whether it be manager/employee or parent/child. Such tactics are easy to do and give the person in authority immediate gratification, while giving the peon a good dose of humiliation, a double bonus. In a world where you don't care about the welfare of anyone but yourself, it must seem a hot setup.

Pragmatically, it can backfire, also. The exchange could go something like:

Authority asks a leading question

Flunky gives an honest answer

Authority issues vehement negation of flunky's answer, including loud, public belittlement and much anger.

Flunky quietly shows proof that answer is correct.

A reasonable person would back down and apologize at this point, but a reasonable person wouldn't have set up flunky in the first place. So what usually follows is an even bigger blast. How dare flunky say that to authority figure? And on and on.

With a job, you can leave. With a parent, it's more difficult. But you can hate them, and plot revenge.

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