Jan 7, 2010

Why Has Power Persisted in Child-Rearing?

This question, raised so often by parents, has puzzled and challenged me. It is difficult to understand how anyone can justify the use of power in child-rearing or in any human relationship, in the face of what is known about power and its effects on others. Working with parents, I am now convinced that all but a small handful hate to use power over their children. It makes them feel uneasy and often downright guilty. Frequently, parents even apologize to their children after using power. Or they try to assuage their guilt with the usual rationalizations: "We did it only because we have your own welfare in mind," "Someday you'll thank us for this," "When you are a parent, you'll understand why we have to keep you from doing these things."

In addition to having guilt feelings, many parents admit that their power methods are not very effective, especially parents whose children are old enough to have begun rebelling, lying, sneaking, or passively resisting.

I have come to the conclusion that parents over the years have continued to use power because they have had very little, if any, experience in their own lives with people who use nonpower methods of influence. Most people, from childhood on, have been controlled by power--power exercised by parents, schoolteachers, school principals, coaches, Sunday School teachers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, Scout leaders, camp directors, military officers, and bosses. Parents therefore and experience with any other method of resolving conflicts in human relations.*

*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. book

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! - P.E.T.