I’m going through a divorce. It is a process and not a fun process. It is stressful and costly. When I tell people I’m going through a divorce, inevitably the tell me a variation of: “I’m so sorry that you’re getting divorced.” This automatic response puzzles me. Don’t they understand that divorce isn’t the problem! Divorce is the solution to the problem! Lets see other automatic responses in some hypothetical situations. You’ve been unemployed for a while and you just got a new job: Response: “Congratulations!” You just got back from the dentist and got a cavity filled: Response: “Ouch! Are you okay?” You just had some surgery: Response: “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help?” A tree fell on your house and you’re getting your house repaired. Response: “Oh my god! Was anyone hurt? Do you need a place to stay?” Notice in all these instances, the focus is where it should be–on the person suffering the trauma. There isn’t judgment and there is generally a willingness to offer help. What People are Really Saying Of course, when people give their version of the automatic “I’m so sad” reply, they are sending several messages. Some of these might include: The “I didn’t really know you very well” message: “It is very sad that my vision of your happy marriage is over and now I’m forced to deal with the reality that your marriage was bad enough that you wanted to get out of it.” The… Read moreResponding to, “I’m getting divorced”
Here are some alternate titles for this post: Why I think I might vote for Trump A democrat voting for Trump?! Why not Bernie or Hillary? You see, I have voted democratic (or leaned democratic if I didn’t vote) in nearly every election since I started voting. My Voting History 1988: Bush 1 versus Dukakis I was 18 years old and at college in Utah. I didn’t vote and I didn’t pay too close attention to politics. I do remember thinking that Dukakis wasn’t too impressive. Bush certainly didn’t wow me either. I was pretty apathetic and certainly wasn’t interested in putting in any effort to register in Utah or do an absentee ballot, so I didn’t vote. 1992: Bush 1 versus Clinton I was 22 years old and living in France. My mom sent me an absentee ballot. I remember filling it out and voting for Clinton. Since then, I have learned that absentee ballots are essentially never counted anyway. 1996: Clinton versus Dole I was living in Utah and didn’t vote. But, I do remember thinking Dole was quite a chump. I would have voted for Clinton for sure had I voted. 2000: Bush 2 versus Gore versus Nader I was still living in Utah. This was the year Nader got blamed for Gore’s loss. I remember buying into Nader’s description of both parties as equal. I remember thinking that they it didn’t matter who got elected because it would be “more of the same.” Had I voted, I… Read moreTrump 2016. Notes from a democratic voter.
Before you do anything else, take the quiz: Take the Quiz: How Do You View Others I was recently thinking about the difference between the world view of alienating parents and “normal” parents. By normal I mean me. So, differences between how I view the world and how I suspect alienating parents view the world. The basic questions today are “Do you generally think others are good or bad?” and “Do you generally blame others or take responsibility?” An Alienating Parent’s World View Alienating parents often see the world as very black and white. Alienating parents view the other parent as all bad and no good. Thus an alienating parent might “protect” their children from the other “bad” parent. In addition to seeing others as bad, an alienating parent is likely to not take responsibility for his or her actions. Alienating parents are likely to blame others (the bad people) for bad things that happen and accept responsibility only for the good things (or view anything they do as good, even if its bad). Thus, if you score well on the Quiz: How Do You View Others, then you are less likely to be an alienating parent. If you score low on the quiz, then maybe you have high alienation potential. My guess is that if you actually took the quiz that your alienation potential is low. Someone should probably make a comprehensive quiz to measure alienation potential. Scientifically Verified! Just in case you think Internet quizzes tell you about real life… Read moreAn Alienation Potential Quiz: How do you see others?
Last Halloween I watched, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The Great Pumpkin came out in 1966 and I hadn’t watched it since I was a child. What really impacted me watching it this time was the famous “Football Gag.” If you’ve watched any of the Charlie Brown TV Specials, you know this scene–Charlie Brown goes to kick the football, Lucy pulls the football away and Charlie Brown lands on his back in pain. Charles Schulz, the writer of the comic strip Peanuts, has many variations on this “Football Gag” and you can read all about it here at the Peanuts Wiki. I didn’t even know it was called a “gag” until I started writing this piece. I don’t think it is very funny. I would call it bullying. In the Great Pumpkin version of the Football Gag, Charlie Brown refuses to kick the ball until Lucy signs an agreement “testifying” that she will not pull the ball away. Of course, Lucy pulls the ball away and its the same old story. Lucy excuses her contract violation by finding a loophole and she tells Charlie Brown that the agreement wasn’t notarized. Many, many parents go to the courts to try and get help to just see their children. These parents generally receive signed agreements from the courts–signed by the courts and also the other parent. Then, when it comes time to try and see their children, there always seems to be some loophole, some reason that these parents are not allowed… Read moreCourt with with an Alienator – A Charlie Brown Perspective
I often hear parents complain about things their child has done. I have often complained about this. Being a parent can be frustrating. Here’s a small list of things that many parents think their child should be doing for the parent: Doing chores (cleaning their room, help with dinner, etc) Being obedient Being respectful and polite Giving the parent a card and gift on special occasions (birthday, holiday, mother’s/father’s day, etc.) Calling the parent (for older children or adult children) Telling the truth to the parent Talking to the parent (“What did you do at school today?”) I’m sure that nearly every parent would have a different list of things they think their children owes them. In the box below, you can find my list of all the things that a child owes a parent: That’s right, nothing. NADA. Children don’t owe their parents anything. Children don’t owe their parents a birthday gift, a Christmas gift or a thank you. Children don’t owe their parents a phone call on their birthday, on their parents birthday or any holiday for that matter. Children don’t owe their parents “spending time together” or “communication.” Children certainly don’t owe their parents love. Children didn’t ask to be brought into this world and they certainly didn’t ask to be brought into this world to some asshole, demanding and needy parents who can’t even be nice to their own child. Parents who are “nice” aren’t owed anything by their children either. Parents brought their kids into this… Read moreWhat Children Owe Their Parents
This is post 4 of 4 on Bullying. You might want to go back and read the previous parts: Bullying Part 1: Bullying Bullying Part 2: Bullying and Spanking Bullying Part 3: Bully Parenting Here are the main points from the previous posts: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to dominate others. Spanking is the use of violence against children in an attempt to coerce a child’s behavior. If you spank your child, you are a bully. Normal parenting is usually just parents bullying a child. Almost all, if not all parents, are sometimes bully parents. Punishments and rewards are examples of bully parenting. General Social Survey Since 1972, the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey (GSS) has asked people a ton of questions, trying to determine how Americans feel about everything: parenting, crime, abortion, mental health, welfare, etc. You name it, they’ve probably asked it. In 1986 they started asking this question: Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree that it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard, spanking? Lets make sure we understand this. We’re not talking about a little swat on the butt. We’re talking about a “good, hard, spanking.” What percentage of american think that children need to be hit, I mean spanked? Here’s how the responses averaged out from 1986 to 2014:
This is post 3 of 4 on Bullying. You might want to go back and read the earlier parts: Bullying Part 1: Bullying Bullying Part 2: Bullying and Spanking Here are the important parts from that we established before: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to dominate others. Spanking is the use of violence against children in an attempt to coerce a child’s behavior. Spanking is a parent bullying a child. In this post, I want to talk about various parenting behaviors and techniques. In particular, I want to talk about “normal” parenting that is, in fact, bullying. Spoiler alert: Most parenting techniques are bullying!
This is post 2 of 4 on Bullying. You might want to go back and read part one: Bullying Part 1: Bullying Okay, just in case you don’t go back to read more, here’s what we decided in part one: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to dominate others. Those bullied can not easily defend themselves. Bullying is harmful to both those being bullied and those bullying. Anyone can bully or be bullied. In particular: Children can bully other children Children can bully adults Adults can bully other adults Adults can bully children Parents can even bully their own children In this post, I want to talk about spanking. In particular, I want to talk about parents who spank their children as a form of discipline. What is Spanking?
The Current Situation I don’t know about you, but I have been an stereotypical, materialistic, American. I have stuff nearly spilling out of my house, out of my garage, out of my car. I don’t think I’m a hoarder, but there is no question that I have way too much stuff. Here are some examples: “Juicing sounds fun, I’ll get the best juicer and then I’ll get another one while I’m at it.” (Yes, I have two juicers that I don’t use.) “Juicing is too much work, I’ll just buy a Vitamix blender.” (We actually use this, but come on, its not really a necessary item.) “Warm bread is yummy, I need a bread maker.” “Homemade ice cream is yummy, I need an ice cream maker.” “My tablet is broken, I’ll buy another one.” (I now have 3 including the broken one.) “I want another musical instrument.” (I now have 1 guitar, 1 clarinet, 3 banjos, 2 mountain dulcimers.) “If I buy this camping stove I’ll be so much more comfortable while camping.” (I probably have 4-5 different camping stoves.) “Camping and sleeping on the ground is too uncomfortable, I think I’ll buy a cot.” (I have 2 cots, 3 or inflatable sleeping pads, a couple foam pads.) “I like board games, lets try another one. And another one. And another one.” (Most are unplayed in my basement.) I could go on and on. Trust me, I’m really not a hoarder. Am I? Well, maybe I am but our house… Read moreStop Shopping and Start Selling Challenge
What is a bully? What do bullies do that is so bad? Is being bullied really bad and hurtful to someone? Is all bullying bad or only some types of bullying? Who can bully who? This is the first post in a 4 part series on bullying. A Definition of Bullying So that we know what we’re talking about, lets start with a definition bullying. I’ll let you do your own google search on bullying but here are the key points that I cobbled together: From the U.S. Government’s stopbullying.gov: Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior between individuals that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include: An Imbalance of Power: Individuals who bully use their power to control or harm others. Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. From National Bullying Prevention Center: An act is bullying when: The behavior hurts, humiliates, or harms another person physically or emotionally. Those targeted by the behavior have difficulty stopping the action directed at them, and struggle to defend themselves. There is also a real or perceived imbalance of power between the parties. Finally, from Wikipedia: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.
I am excited to review the book “Sabotaged – 3 Hidden Weapons of Parental Alienation” by Ryan Thomas. Ryan made a big splash in late 2014 when he started posting videos and telling his story as an alienated child. Ryan now runs on-line classes to help parents work to reconnect with their alienated children. By all accounts and by the videos of Ryan that I’ve watched, Ryan knows what he is talking about and has good suggestions for parents of alienation. You can learn more about Ryan at his webpage or his Facebook page: Ryan Thomas Speaks Ryan Thomas on Facebook In late 2015, Ryan wrote his book Sabotaged. You can buy his book (for $9) here: Ryan Thomas’ book Sabotaged I really enjoyed reading Ryan’s book. It is a relatively short book (about 90 pages) and an easy read (I read it in part of one evening). At the end of Sabotaged, Ryan describes the goal of this book: “My goal is that this helps you [the alienated parent] identify ‘why’ and ‘how’ the alienator has sabotaged your relationship.” I’m not sure Ryan addressed the “why” but I’m not sure I care about why (the “why” is probably because the alienator is a sick individual). Ryan absolutely nails “how” an alienator sabotages a parental relationship and Ryan absolutely nails “why” an alienated child acts in the way they act. If you want to know what alienation is like from a child’s perspective, you should definitely read this book. If you… Read moreBook Review – Sabotaged by Ryan Thomas