angry man pointing finger

Context for the quote below: the “both situations” are a parent who tells a child “You must do your homework,” and a parent who sits down and takes on an equal role as the child.

In both situations parents are using control, in the first case behavioral (sit down, do your math) and in the second psychological (“we’re applying.”) It is psychological control that carries with it a textbook’s worth of damage to a child’s developing identity. If pushing, direction, motivation and reward always come from the outside, the child never has the opportunity to craft an inside.

Raising Successful Children, NYT

Wordsworth wrote, more or less, that the child fathers the man.

My own experience is more that we have to parent ourselves, since nobody else seems to be doing the job. Certainly we are our own gatekeepers, since we are always the first to rubber-stamp our own excuses.

I think pretty much my entire blacksmithing essay is about the staggeringly awful results of pushing, direction, motivation and reward always coming from the outside, and the internal emptiness & spoiled brat stompy-ness that results.

And when all that drama results in not achieving what we (claim to) want? What then?

A loving parent is warm, willing to set limits and unwilling to breach a child’s psychological boundaries by invoking shame or guilt. Parents must acknowledge their own anxiety.

Raising Successful Children, NYT

So.

Which type of control — behavior, or psychological — do you apply to yourself?

Do you invoke shame and guilt?

Do you parent yourself badly?

We tend to do to ourselves what others once did to us. Which obviously didn’t work all that great, or we wouldn’t be here discussing it.

Time for a program change, perhaps.

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