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Language Log

Friday, Jul. 05, 2013 - 9:32 a.m.

Yesterday's exchange of the day: MIL "but when we were kids, we didn't have a choice about whether to do chores. We just had to." Me: "Well, there have been a lot of things that other people wished I didn't realize I had a choice about."

I was a very uncooperative teenager. I regret some of it, I regret that my mother and father didn't come up with better strategies for eliciting cooperation. It's part of who I am and I would still react that way today.

It's why I'm committed to not using punishments with Q and U. I always thought my lack of compliance when I was a teenager was because they didn't punish me. I was never grounded or anything for my transgressions. I knew there would be no consequences. Now I would say that it is because my mom tried to use guilt and shame, punctuated with angry explosions of temper. She never helped me to _want_ to cooperate. She put distance between us and inadvertently reinforced the behavior she didnt like. And there were consequences. If I got found out, I got a long, boring lecture designed to try to shame me into good behavior. Or I got nagged mercilessly.

I don't really regret anything. I know I'm supposed to feel bad now that I sometimes acted badly, but I just don't.

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