Jul 6, 2009

The Effects of Parental Power On The Child

Despite all the serious limitations of power, it strangely enough remains the method of choice for most parents, no matter what their education, social class, or economic level.

P.E.T. instructors invariably find that parents in their classes are surprisingly aware of the harmful effects of power. All we have to do is ask parents to draw from their own experience and tell us how they were affected when their parents used power over them. It is a strange paradox that parents remember how power felt to tehm as children but "forget" when they use power with their own children. We ask those in each class to list what they did as children to cope with their parents' use of power. Each class develops a list of coping mechanisms not too dissimilar from the following:

  1. Resistance, defiance, rebellion, negativism
  2. Resentment, anger, hostility
  3. Aggression, retaliation, striking back
  4. Lying, hiding feelings
  5. Blaming others, tattling, cheating
  6. Dominating, bossing, bullying
  7. Needing to win, hating to lose
  8. Forming alliances, organizing against parents
  9. Submission, obedience, compliance
  10. Apple-polishing, courting favor
  11. Conformity, lack of creativity, fear of trying something new, requiring prior assurance of success
  12. Withdrawing, escaping, fantasizing, regression
Watch the blog this week for more in-depth descriptions of what these coping mechanisms look like, and what's going on behind them.

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