Jul 9, 2009

Aggression, Retaliation, Striking Back

Because parental domination by authority often frustrates the needs of the child, and frustration so often leads to aggression, parents who rely on authority can expect their children to show aggression in some way. Children retaliate, try to cut the parent down to size, are severely critical, talk back nastily, employ "the silent treatment," or do any one of the hundreds of aggressive things that they feel may get back at the parents or hurt them.

The formula for this way of coping seems to be "You hurt me, so I'll hurt you--then maybe you won't hurt me in the future." Its extreme manifestation are cases, frequently reported in newspapers, of children who kill their parents. No doubt many acts of aggression against school authorities (vandalism), against the police, or against political leaders are motivated by a desire to retaliate or get back at someone.

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