What does it do to children to grow up in a home where they usually win and their parents lose? What are the effects on children of their generally getting their way? Obviously these children will be different from those in homes where Method I is the principal method of conflict resolution. Children who are allowed to get their way will not be as rebellious, hostile, dependent, aggressive, submissive, conforming, withdrawing, and so on. They have not had to develop ways to cope with parental power. Method II encourages the child to use his power over his parents to win at their expense.
These children learn how to throw temper tantrums to control the parent; how to make the parent feel guilty; how to say nasty, deprecating things of their parents. Such children are often wild, uncontrolled, unmanageable, impulsive. They have learned that their needs are more important than anyone else's. They, too, often lack inner controls on their behavior and become very self-centered, selfish, demanding.
These children often do not respect other people's property or feelings. Life to them is get, get, get--take, take,take. "I" comes first. Such children are seldom cooperative or helpful around the house.
These children often have serious difficulties in their peer relationships. Other children dislike "spoiled kids"--they find them unpleasant to be around. Children from homes where Method II predominates are so accustomed to getting their way with their parents that they want to get their way with other children, too.
These children also frequently have difficulty adjusting to school, an institution whose philosophy is predominantly Method I. Children accustomed to Method II are in for a rude shock when they enter the world of school and discover that most teachers and principals are trained to resolve conflicts by Method I, backed up with authority and power.
Probably the most serious effect of Method II is that children often develop deep feelings of insecurity about their parents' love. It is easy to understand this reaction when one considers how difficult it is for parents to feel loving and accepting toward a child who usually wins at the expense of the parent. In Method I homes resentment radiates from child to parent; in Method II homes from parent to child. The child of Method II senses that his parents are frequently resentful, irritated, and angry at him. When he later gets similar messages from his peers and probably other adults, it is no wonder he begins to feel unloved--because, of course, so often he is unloved by others.
While some studies have shown that children from Method II homes are likely to be more creative than children from Method I homes, parents pay a dear price for having creative children; they frequently cannot stand them.
Parents suffer greatly in the Method II home. These are the homes in which I have frequently heard parents say:
"He gets his own way most of the time, and you just can't control him."
"I'll be glad when the children are all in school so I can have some peace."
"Parenthood is such a burden--I spend all my time doing things for them."
"I must say, sometimes I just can't stand them--I just have to get away."
"They seldom seem to realize that I've got a life, too."
"Sometimes--and I feel guilty saying this-I wish I could ship them off to someone else."
"I'm so ashamed to take them anywhere or even have friends come to our home and see those children."
Parenthood for Method II parents is seldom a joy--how unfortunate and sad it is to raise children you cannot love, or hate to associate with.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. book