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About "P"

"P" (Priscilla) has been a reader of EQI since around 2007. In 2009 we met and began working together. Now we are partners as well as working colleagues. Here are some things she has added to the site.

S. Hein


May 2013 Update

P has been living with her parents for a few months in England while she sees doctors and gets treatment for some medical problems. It seems she has a few different problems, like fibromyalgia and joint hyper elasticity syndrome.

Here are examples of P's portrait drawings. - But because of her medical problems, she can no longer draw.
I feel very sad about this. - S. Hein

Dec 2014 Update - P decided to break up with me in June of this year. I went to Europe to try to talk to her but she didn't have much time to talk. She was being controlled by a girl she got in a very unhealthy relationship with. As of this date they are still together, somewhere in the USA. We are still in touch and I am hoping she will change her mind one day and want to be part of my life again. Steve

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October 14 2013

The other day P watched the video of Marshall Rosenberg giving his workshop in San Francisco. I will write more later but for now want to note that she didn't like how he says "no more wars" "no more punishment" as if he were Moses or some kind of god commanding things. I agree it is another sign that he has a big unmet need to feel important, powerful, in control and "godlike" or "guru-ish".

She also didn't like how he said "I sent my son to a jackal school." She said this was like a typical parent who just bosses a child or teen around. She said it was worse because he knows typical schools are emotionally abusive.

Dec 12th, 2011

Priscilla's notes from her reading of Reflecting and Problem Solving Around the Emotional Needs of Disabled Children (0-13)

We need to view even the most challenging behaviour as communicative. The behaviour should tell us something about the emotions underneath if we can step back and reflect with others...

To promote a child’s emotional well-being, a lot can be achieved by practitioners understanding simple approaches, such as having chill-out zones where children can wind down or using approaches such as ‘gentle teaching’. We must remember that, what we as adults may label as bad behaviour might be challenging or difficult TO US, it does not mean that the child is bad, in fact their actions in their eyes will make sense. Children with problems in expressing feelings are more likely to learn more acceptable actions from their peers. Being with other children of the same age is how all children learn when what they DO is appropriate or acceptable.

All children need to be given the responsibility to decide how they are going to show their emotions, and to understand that certain actions will be punished just like their friends, so that they can then make a choice.
[My italics.]

What? If behavior is to be viewed as "communicative", then why punish a child for communicating their feelings/needs? If they can say this despite their insight into emotional needs, it really says a lot about how prevalent the belief in punishment is.

Also, "so they can then make a choice"? I am really surprised they can say that, while at the same time beforehand saying this...

It is recognising that disabled children, like anyone else, need to feel a degree of control about what happens to them, both physically and emotionally. It is about recognising choice (or its lack as an abuse of power), and also recognising that there are some demands on our lives where we cannot always make a choice, but being aware, particularly as providers, of the difference between choice and demand.

But if you know you are going to be punished for doing something, you are not being given a *real* choice... eg. "Either give me your money, or I'll shoot you. What's your choice?"


Dec 13th, 2011

Video of suicidal boy who is getting bullied.. www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TdkNn3Ei-Lg

From P:

Was googling "Hitler's emotional needs" today.

The results still had almost nothing useful, that I could see.

Anyhow, I found this...

It is ironic, because whoever wrote it meant it be funny. ie a satire, not serious....

Hitler Commits Suicide; Ravaging of Europe 'A Desperate Cry for Help,' Say Therapists.

Fuhrer's Slaughter of Millions Blamed on 'Serious Self-Esteem Issues'

'If We Had Only Known How Much He Was Hurting Inside,' FDR Says

Berlin - Absent from the public eye for months, Adolf Hitler is reportedly dead by his own hand in an air-raid shelter in Berlin, where he had sequestered himself during his final days.

Dr. Theodore Beaumont, director of the Virginia Psychiatry Center, said he believes Hitler's marching on Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France, and his systematic killings of millions of people in Germany, was "a desperate cry for help."

According to Beaumont, "This is classic attention seeking behavior."
Beaumont said Hitler made his plea for approval the only way he knew how: by lashing out.

Other experts agree. "The British and American forces just reciprocated negatively by advancing from the west," said Dr. Johan Freberg of the Paris Center for Mental Illness. "And Russian soldiers reinforced Hitler's self-fulfilling prophesy of 'othering' by attacking from the east, instead of lending a sympathetic ear, which may of been all Hitler needed."

Upon learning of the self-esteem issues that led Hitler to militaristic "acting out," Allied leaders are seeing the once-hated despot in a new light.

"I heard his angry speeches but failed to search for the hurt little boy beneath those words," lamented British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. "I feel guilty - there's so much more we could have done for him."

Said President Roosevelt, "Inside that maniacal mass murderer - beneath the veneer of evil and sadism - there was a scared little child searching for love."

Psychologists say the global carnage of the Second World War could have been averted if only U.S. forces had met Hitler's emotional needs, giving him the love and approval he so desperately sought.

From iconicmidwest.blogspot.com/2007/06/nss-moment-if-ever-there-was-one.html

Quotes from an abusive mother...

I am a 20 year old who was emotionally abused by mother for 10 years before I finally left home. I saw your quotes page and wanted to add a couple that my mother had said to me a couple years ago..

I was tutoring a mentally handicapped child in math at the age of 17. At the time she said "Maybe your ass wouldn't be so big if you got off it and got a real job."

I was on medication for depression and was feeling quite sad and wanted to talk to my mom, when I phoned her she said: "Why don't you just take another fucking pill then?"


The more you talk about rules, the less you talk about feelings
The more you talk about rights, the less you talk about needs

The more you talk about chemical imbalances, the less you talk about abuse

The more you talk about anti depressants, the less you talk about changing society

The more you talk about distraction, the less you talk about solving problems


Dec 22nd, 2011

Email from Tim:

You know how you said this on your page? "But if you know you are going to be punished for doing something, you are not being given a *real* choice... eg. "Either give me your money, or I'll shoot you. What's your choice?""

That's kind of like believing in the Christian god. Believe or go to hell.

I got a funny video on that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUtSM2oVy_E

And there's two more parts that are really entertaining. This guy is a genius.

Dec 23rd , 2011

I have adapted a quiz about how to tell when it's time to quit your job, from www.fabjob.com/tips213.html (originally called Is It Time to Quit Your Job?)

I've been working on my painting again recently. I wanted to show a picture of it because I don't feel very optimistic I'll ever finish.

It's just taking me a very, very long time (I won't say how long because that would be embarrassing.) As you can see, I'm barely halfway through, but at least people will be able to see it now even if I don't finish, and maybe it will motivate me to do more.

Jan 20th, 2012

Do schools kill creativity? video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

March 8th, 2012

My critcism of Nigel Latta's parenting article (unfinished):


If you’re a parent, and you’re actually present for any part of the day, then you will have strayed into that most dangerous of places: The point where you become so frustrated, angry, and generally exasperated that you actually feel like your head will explode. Not metaphorically explode, but actually explode in a shower of gore, teeth and bone. They never tell you about that place when you go to antenatal classes, or if they did you didn’t listen, because it’s always a surprise when you actually get there...

I remember about a month ago I became so angry, so enraged at the ridiculousness of the latest dispute between my two boys that I actually had to go lie down. My head was pounding as I could feel the blood rushing about looking for somewhere to go. I could actually feel the arteries supplying vital parts of my brain creaking under the strain.

And what was it that caused all this? From memory it was a completely insane dispute over an empty cardboard box that had been lying around largely ignored for the last month. On that particular day though, it was the most valued, the most prized possession in the entire world, and they both wanted it with the self same passion that Gollum wanted the Ring. There was shrieking, and demanding, and pleading, and shoving, and the repeated blows thrown from one to the other. The utter rediculousness of it, combined with the both the length of time the whole thing went on, almost killed me.

We all end up in that place sooner or later, and sadly most of us will make large numbers of return trips over the years. We all get angry at our kids, and sometimes the anger is so much we become slightly dizzy, and you hear a high pitched ringing in our ears. If you don’t go there from time to time then you’re probably not spending enough time with the kids.

Latta is trying to reassure himself and other parents that his situation is 'normal' and not related to his own unmet needs or parenting skills. I agree it is natural to feel angry sometimes, but saying that if you don't feel that way "you're probably not spending enough time with the kids" is misleading. It implies feeling angry with your children to such extent is just a natural byproduct of parenthood. But I imagine this kind of situation is more common for parents who use traditional, authoritarian parenting methods, and who have a bigger need to feel in control. It probably doesn't apply so much to parents who try to influence their kids respectuflly, without giving commands or threats of punishment.

Having said all that, it’s a dangerous place to be though, because if you stay there too long it will literally take years off your life. So here are my top three tips for trying to go there less, and get out quicker when you do:

Get a plan.

The big reason most parents feel enraged is because they feel powerless, because they’re at the end of their proverbial tether, because nothing they’ve done has made any kind of difference up until that point.

We are not told what Latta was trying to do to stop the argument. He doesn't mention this, or the different outcomes of the many ways a parent could react in this situation. He assumes parents will get to the point where "nothing they’ve done has made any kind of difference". However, I believe if a parent is a good listener and good at understanding and validating feelings, it is much less likely this will be true for them.

Despite omitting the details of how he tried and failed to stop the argument, I think it would be fair to say his kids probably weren't feeling very understood by him. Instead, judging by the words he used to describe their conflict -- "ridiculous" and "insane" -- he was probably feeling judgmental towards them. Based on that, I'd say it is also likely he was invalidating their feelings.

Most of us don’t actually want to be angry, we just end up feeling that way because it’s the last refuge of a sane mind. The utter helplessness of being ignored by tiny little people is just inherently enraging.

Indirectly, Latta tells us that he was feeling helpless and ignored. Although he doesn't take much responsibility for those feelings. He states that being ignored by kids is "inherently" enraging, rather than acknowledging this is his own personal reaction.

So you need to get a plan.

The plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact the best plans are the simplest ones. Just figure out where things start going pear shaped, figure out what the little person is getting out of behaving that way, and then figure out how you can make them think again.

I agree with his advice to "figure out what the little person is getting out of behaving that way", but I probably have a different interpretation than what Latta intended. I would say: figure out what unmet need the child is trying to fill by behaving that way, and then help him fill that need. (This would be similar to feeding a crying infant, instead of punishing him for crying).

But I don't think Latta is thinking about filling emotional needs here, otherwise he would not have added advice to "figure out how you can make them think again". It seems Latta just wants the child to stop whatever they're doing, period. This minimizes the importance of focusing on what the child is getting "out of" their behavior. Presumably, Latta, like many parents, believes the child is 'just trying to get his own way' (without any good reason), and therefore must be stopped and denied whatever they are trying to get.

Also, his advice for parents to "figure out how you can make them think again" sounds to me like an implied threat to the child if they don't change their behavior. I highly doubt Latta meant for parents to figure out how you can make them think of more constructive ways to express their needs. It sounds more like he is just encouraging parents to figure ways they can manipulate their child.

You might distract them, you might remind them that if they do what you want they get a sticker on their chart, you might tell them if they keep doing what they’re doing they will end up in time out, or any one of a number of things. Read back over your old issues of Littlies and you’ll find dozens and dozens of ideas for managing little people’s behaviour.

Distracting kids is not going to help meet any of their needs, so obviously he's not thinking along those lines. Then he gets pretty explicit and admits his goal is controlling the children's behavior and getting them to "do what you want". He suggests using rewards and threatening them with punishment, but he doesn't say to try to understand them. And he doesn't suggest the parent work on improving their conflict-resolution or listening skills either.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do, as long as you do something.

This is potentially harmful and irresponsible parenting advice. If "it doesn’t necessarily matter what you do, as long as you do something", why not just beat them with a hammer? Or lock them out of the house for the night? These things would qualify as 'doing something', and it would probably scare them into going along with whatever you want.

I believe what you do in situations like these does matter, and can have a huge impact on everything from your relationship with your child, to their mental health, to the way they will parent their own children in the future. The fact Latta doesn't think it matters how you get your child to 'behave', as long as you get them to do it, seems very short-sighted.

If you have a plan you’ll feel like you’re in charge, and that will have magical calming qualities. If you don’t have a plan you’ll just react, and generally when we just react to stuff we react emotionally, and generally that emotion is anger.

The goal of his "plan" is to help the parent feel more in control ("feel like you're in charge"), but he doesn't seem to be considering the child's needs.

Keep it all in context

Sometimes it’s very easy to begin to believe that your children actually want to kill you. It can be deceptively easy to give in to those dark thoughts and start believing they spend their days and nights scheming ways to drive you insane, and thereby kill you from sheer exasperation, but this is hardly ever the case.

Again, he makes it sound like all parents are not very far removed from having these 'dark thoughts'. But that's probably not the case if you understand that "bad" behavior is caused by some kind of unmet need. A parent who understands this is far less likely to take things personally.

In fact, in all the years I’ve been doing this stuff I’ve never come across a toddler who wanted to kill his or her mum or dad. The problem is that children have an exasperating tendency to act like… well… children. You have to keep reminding yourself that they’ve been on the planet for less years than you have fingers on one hand, and they have an enormous amount to learn. Just getting their heads around walking, talking and bowel control is quite a lot to do before you’re five, let alone sort out the pros and cons of good behaviour, and learning how to be responsible members of the household. Some adults are still struggling with that stuff.

So always keep in mind that they haven’t been here very long, and that their little brains are only just beginning to wrap themselves around the world. You can’t really expect them to show a huge amount of maturity and wisdom. If you expect pettiness and silliness you’ll be far less disappointed. To remind myself of this very important point I have a conversation I often revisit with my boys when I feel in danger of forgetting it:

‘Why do you always act like a six year old?’ I say to my youngest.

‘Because I am six,’ he replies, slightly indignant.

‘Ohhhh, yeah.’

I agree with the underlying idea of accepting your kids as they are, and not just how you expect them be.

But he sounds too much like he's saying that, just as kids don't have much practice walking and talking, they haven't had much training in how to behave according to what the parent and society wants. And therefore, parents should be lenient towards kids -- since they are, after all, only kids -- but at the same time, it is ok for parents to continue controlling and manipulating them to teach them how to 'behave' (ie. obey).

He talks about kids sorting out "good behavior", but it is usually the parent who defines what "good behavior" is. So a needy parent can be expected to define "good behavior" as anything that helps meet the parent's needs. For example, in the above situation, Latta was feeling powerless to stop his kids' argument, so the solution was designed to fill his need to feel powerful at the expense of the children's needs.

He would probably say the kids were being 'well behaved' if they went along with what he wanted them to do. This is the same as labeling children as "good" if they obey their parents unquestioningly. In other words, the term "good behavior" can easily be used by parents as another way to manipulate kids into doing what they want. (Think of an example where a slave-owner is praising his slave for "good behavior" when the slave does a lot of work without complaining. Yet we know this is not healthy for the slave.)

Also, notice how he mentions that children are still learning to "sort out the pros and cons" of good behavior. I believe what he actually means is children are being manipulated by rewards (pros) and punishment (cons), to do whatever the parent considers "good behavior".

I wonder what Latta would say about a situation where a child helps someone else simply because they feel good about doing so. I doubt a child would have to stop and think about the "pros and cons" of doing something nice, if they weren't being manipulated in any way. It would just be their natural instict to do so.

March 11th 2012,

Note to self... maybe something to add to this page on Religion News...

Iraq militia stone youths to death for "emo" style

From Yahoo news: http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-militia-stone-youths-death-emo-style-171115804.html

At least 14 youths have been stoned to death in Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shi'ite militants against youths wearing Western-style "emo" clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say.

Militants in Shi'ite neighborhoods where the stonings have taken place circulated lists on Saturday naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.

The killings have taken place since Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month, labeling it "Satanism" and ordering a community police force to stamp it out.

"Emo" is a form of punk music developed in the United States. Fans are known for their distinctive dress, often including tight jeans, T-shirts with logos and distinctive long or spiky haircuts.

At least 14 bodies of youths have been brought to three hospitals in eastern Baghdad bearing signs of having been beaten to death with rocks or bricks, security and hospital sources told Reuters under condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Nine bodies were brought to hospitals in Sadr City, a vast, poor Shi'ite neighborhood, three were brought to East Baghdad's main al-Kindi hospital and two were brought to the central morgue, medical sources said.

Six other young people, including two girls, were wounded in beatings intended as warnings, the security sources said.

"Last week I signed the death certificates of three of those young people, and the reason for death I wrote in my own hand was severe skull fractures," a doctor at al-Kindi hospital told Reuters. "A very powerful blow to the head caused these fractures which totally smashed the skull of the victim."
A leaflet distributed in the Shi'ite Bayaa district of east Baghdad seen by Reuters on Saturday had 24 names of youths targeted for killing.

"We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen," the leaflet said.

Another leaflet in Sadr City bore 20 names. "We are the Brigades of Anger. We warn you, if you do not get back to sanity and the right path, you will be killed," it said.

In a statement last month the interior ministry said it was monitoring "the 'emo' phenomenon, or Satanism" which it said was spreading through schools, particularly among teenage girls.

"They wear tight clothes that bear paintings of skulls, they use school implements with skulls and wear rings in their noses and tongues as well as other weird appearances," it said.

After reports of the stonings circulated on Iraqi media, the interior ministry said this week that no murders on its files could be blamed on the reaction to "emo".

"Many media have reported fabricated news reports about the so-called 'emo' phenomenon - stories about tens of young people killed in various ways, including stoning," the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"No murder case has been recorded with the interior ministry on so-called 'emo' grounds. All cases of murder recorded were for revenge, social and common criminal reasons."


Iraq's leading Shi'ite clerics have condemned the stonings.

Abdul-Raheem al-Rikabi, Baghdad representative for Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Ali al-Sistani, called the killings "terrorist attacks".
"Such a phenonomenon which has spread among young people should be tackled through dialogue and peaceful means and not through physical liquidation," Rikabi told Reuters.

In a response to questions on his website on Saturday, Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shi'ite cleric whose followers dominate Sadr City, described "emo" youths as "crazy and fools", but said they should be dealt with only through the law.

"They are a plague on Muslim society, and those responsible should eliminate them through legal means," he said.

Abu Ali al-Rubaie, a leading Sadr aide in Sadr City, said the cleric's followers had nothing to do with the killings.

"In this issue and in all such problems we always use peaceful and educational methods to correct any wrongdoings. We are not connected in any way to those groups allegedly responsibility for killing those young people."

In the years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods were under the firm grip of Sunni and Shi'ite religious militias which enforced strict dress codes.

Today, the militias have largely disappeared, Baghdad is far more peaceful and many youths experiment with Western styles, although much of Iraqi society remains conservative.

On the streets of Baghdad, people said they had heard of the killings through the media. Many expressed disapproval of the "emo" style, but said murder was no way to respond.

"I saw them a couple weeks ago ... a bunch of girls, high-school aged, walking together, dressed in black. They had long black eye makeup and bracelets with skulls and chains on their handbags with skulls," said Abdullah, 31.

"If they are close friends who have something in common, that's all right. If other things we hear about them are true, like sucking each other's blood or worshipping the devil, that is not accepted in our society. But I think this is just a trend to imitate the West."

March 30th 2012,

Hamlet Invalidation...

Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ay, madam, it is common.

If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?

Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd: whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.' We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

May 1st, 2012

Some quotes I liked from an article called "10 Things Your commencement Speaker Won't Tell You", by Charles Wheelan:

"...I've spent most of my career teaching economics and public policy. In particular, I've studied happiness and well-being, about which we now know a great deal. And I've found that the saccharine and over-optimistic words of the typical commencement address hold few of the lessons young people really need to hear about what lies ahead."

He says time spent just haning out with friends was well spent.

"Research tells us that one of the most important causal factors associated with happiness and well-being is your meaningful connections with other human beings. Look around today. Certainly one benchmark of your postgraduation success should be how many of these people are still your close friends in 10 or 20 years."

"Don't make the world worse. I know that I'm supposed to tell you to aspire to great things. But I'm going to lower the bar here: Just don't use your prodigious talents to mess things up. Too many smart people are doing that already. And if you really want to cause social mayhem, it helps to have an Ivy League degree. You are smart and motivated and creative. Everyone will tell you that you can change the world. They are right, but remember that 'changing the world' also can include things like skirting financial regulations and selling unhealthy foods to increasingly obese children. I am not asking you to cure cancer. I am just asking you not to spread it."

"Help stop the Little League arms race. Kids' sports are becoming ridiculously structured and competitive. What happened to playing baseball because it's fun? We are systematically creating races out of things that ought to be a journey. We know that success isn't about simply running faster than everyone else in some predetermined direction. Yet the message we are sending from birth is that if you don't make the traveling soccer team or get into the 'right' school, then you will somehow finish life with fewer points than everyone else. That's not right. You'll never read the following obituary: 'Bob Smith died yesterday at the age of 74. He finished life in 186th place.'"

"Read obituaries. They are just like biographies, only shorter. They remind us that interesting, successful people rarely lead orderly, linear lives."

"Don't model your life after a circus animal. Performing animals do tricks because their trainers throw them peanuts or small fish for doing so. You should aspire to do better. You will be a friend, a parent, a coach, an employee—and so on. But only in your job will you be explicitly evaluated and rewarded for your performance. Don't let your life decisions be distorted by the fact that your boss is the only one tossing you peanuts. If you leave a work task undone in order to meet a friend for dinner, then you are 'shirking' your work. But it's also true that if you cancel dinner to finish your work, then you are shirking your friendship. That's just not how we usually think of it."

So he's basically saying don't over-value work just because of its explicit reward incentives.

"It's all borrowed time. You shouldn't take anything for granted, not even tomorrow. I offer you the "hit by a bus" rule. Would I regret spending my life this way if I were to get hit by a bus next week or next year? And the important corollary: Does this path lead to a life I will be happy with and proud of in 10 or 20 years if I don't get hit by a bus."

From: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/10-things-commencement-speaker-wont-040100167.html

May 2nd, 2012

I found some interesting quotes today by an author called Chris Hedges.

"We've bought into the idea that education is about training and 'success', definied monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A cultre that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ablitity to consume, codemns itself to death."

“Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in 'happiness' have formulated something they call the 'Law of Attraction.' It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalized this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.”

“The violent subjugation of the Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans will only ensure that those who oppose us will increasingly speak to us in the language we speak to them—violence.”

“If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are given war's perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war's consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining…

The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war's refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honor, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.”

“Jesus was a pacifist.”

“They program you to have no emotion – like if somebody sitting next to you gets killed you just have to carry on doing your job and shut up,‘ Steve Annabell, a British veteran of the Falkan War … ‘When you leave the service, when you come back from a situation like that, there’s no button they can press to switch your emotions back on. So you walk around like a zombie. They don’t deprogram you. If you become a problem they just sweep you under the carpet.”

“Patriotic duty and the disease of nationalism lure us to deny our common humanity”

May 4th, 2012,

Today's Yahoo News articles had this one among them...


It has pretty good suggestions about what not to say to kids. For example:

"I don't care."
Little kids love to share details...of their playground conversations with friends, of the cloud formation they think looks like a sea serpent, of why they squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the bathtub. And sometimes? Parents just don't want to hear the specifics. But beware of saying "I don't care!" because you're cutting off communication with your child and saying that something important to him or her isn't so important to you. "Most parents have a difficult time once children reach the adolescent stages and complain that their teens are not communicative with them. Well, the question must be asked then, 'How has the parent-child communication been nurtured throughout the child's life?'" says Melinda Garcia, a licensed clinical social worker with ESCAPE Family Resource Center in Houston. "The process of parent-child communication must evolve positively over the years. There's an unspoken trust that occurs when communication is nurtured." Try this: Garcia recommends that parents let the child know an issue can be discussed later, perhaps at a better time when the parent is more focused. She stresses, however, that parents must follow through. "Don't let the day end without addressing your child's need to share with you."

"Act your age!"
Your daughter is seven years old but you think she's acting like she's three...and you tell her so. Pincus says this common reaction is less about the child's behavior and all about the parent trying to manage his or her own frustration. The child may, in fact, be acting their age. "It's just not working out for the parent," she says. "It makes us feel better in the moment." The result? Kids hear their parents criticizing them at a time when they, as children, are having trouble and perhaps need some help gaining control. Try this: Says Pincus, "When you are stirred up, just take that pause. Come up with an effective response instead of a reaction. Most of what we do is a knee-jerk reaction. That pause helps to get that adrenaline down so you can get the thinking part of your brain working instead of the emotional part of the brain."

"Say you're sorry!"
Your preschooler takes a toy from another child and makes him or her cry. You instantly tell your child to say sorry for his or her actions. You're trying to teach your child to be compassionate, which is a laudable goal. But "forcing a child to apologize does not teach a child social skills," says Bill Corbett, a parent educator, author, and producer/host of the parenting TV show "Creating Cooperative Kids." Young children don't automatically understand why they have to apologize. Corbett says that if parent forces a child to say they are sorry, "it could delay the child's natural acceptance" of apologizing. Try this: Apologize to the child for your kid as a way to model the behavior you're trying to encourage. And make sure that when you're in situations where an apology is warranted, you deliver it just as easily.

"Don't you get it?"
You've taught your kid how to catch a baseball five times over. Or how to add and subtract fractions. But when your child shows signs that it's not clicking for him or her, you hastily ask, "Don't you get it?" Learning specialist and author Jill Lauren tells Team Mom on Shine that this comment is degrading. "If the child 'got it,' which he desperately wants to do in order to please his parent, it would be clear. Implicit in a 'don't you get it' comment are the judgments of 'Why don't you get it?' followed by 'What's wrong with you for not getting it?' While a parent may not mean to send those messages, that is the message the child receives." Try this: Take a break. If you're stuck on how to teach your child something, step away. Return to the "lesson" when you're ready to try again, perhaps after researching alternative approaches to teaching whatever it is your child is trying to learn.

"I'm going to leave without you!"
Your kid refuses to leave the toy store or a park and you are going to be late for an appointment. So you issue an ultimatum sure to freak your child out: "I'm going to leave without you!" For young kids, fear of parental abandonment is very real. But what happens when your threat doesn't work? "The biggest problem is that we want our kids to believe what we say. For a whole host of reasons, we need our kids to believe us. If you want them to believe what we say is true, we cannot say something that is patently false," says Deborah Gilboa, a family doctor, parenting speaker, and mom of four boys. The result is that the child quickly learns that mom or dad makes empty threats. "Parents say it because they don't know what else to do...it's a bad idea," says Dr. Gilboa.

What's discouraging and frustrating is how many parents on the comments wrote about the emotionally abusive things they said to their own kids, apparently feeling amused and proud of themselves for what they did. Some adults also told stories of similar things their parents said to them when they were kids, but they too seemed unaware of how dysfunctional it was.

For example,

- Whenever I threatened to run away, my mom would say "I'll help you pack." (It is scary to me that this comment got 368 thumbs up and only 7 thumbs down.)

- LMAO.... My daughter threatened to run away. I grabbed my purse and keys and she said "what are you doing?" I said, "I'll take you to the bus terminal". She never threatened to run away again. (245 thumbs up and 18 thumbs down.)

- Mom,"Go ahead but first take off your clothes. You came into this house with nothing on so that is how you will leave it." Stopped that nonsense.(320 thumbs up and 18 thumbs down.)

- I threatened to run away once when I was 10 my went in to my room packed my cloths and packed me a lunch gave ever thing to me then left me standing on the front pouch for like five min before I started crying my eyes out. (24 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down)

- My daughter tried that once, and I packed her bag for her and called a cab...had to cancel the cab, but she never threatened to run away again. (18 thumbs up, 2 thumbs down)

- hahahaha. My son thought after watching the Home Alone series that he would try the same stuff. "I wish I weren't in this family!" I showed him the door. He sat outside in the driveway (I was watching through the fence) for about five minutes. He just sat there reflecting I guess. Then knocked on the door and we had a long talk with him. Never said that to us again. (4 thumbs up, 0 thumbs down)

- I told my daughter if you hate me, I must be doing my job very well. When you get older you will realize I have your best intentions at heart. (3 thumbs up, 0 thumbs down)

My first thought was that these parents are taking advantage of their young children's natural fear of abandonment (and dependency on them). The comments also remind me of the things that suicidal teenagers who write to us have told us their parents do to them.

I imagine a child who had something like this done to them would feel deeply rejected, hurt, uncared about, unwanted, disliked, not taken seriously, mocked, scared, abandoned, humilliated, unloved... and probably many other negative feelings. This is even more harmful given that the children were evidently already in so much pain, that they felt a need to run away. So I could easily understand why a child who grows up in such a family would end up feeling depressed and suicidal.

Notice how the comments implicitly justify the parent's actions by saying it stopped the kids from ever trying to run away again. But it is very clear that they are not taking their kids' feelings into consideriation -- or the emotional impact of their actions -- at all. In other words, the goal is simply to force the behavior at the expense of the feelings. So this is a good example of how something can be 'effective', but still not take account (or even acknowledge) how someone is feeling or why.

There were some encouraging comments though, like this next one, even if it was rated down so many times that it was "hidden due to low rating"...

I remember as a teenager I said to my Dad that I can't wait until I'm able to move out of the house, well he opened the front door. I remember that to this day and how much it upset me, even now. Don't say things like that to your kids.

This one too had a low rating:

I agree with Toni that it hurts so much. The whole reason a kid says he wants to run away, is because he feels like his parents don't care anyway (even though the kid is wrong, they still feel that way.) Having a parent just LET you go, and encourage you to go, makes it hurt 10x worse...not a nice childhood memory to have.

(I'm not sure I would say the kid is wrong, since that is too much like saying the kid's feelings are wrong, which suggests there is no valid reason why the kid feels uncared about, ie. that it's all in his mind and not worthy of being taken seriously. But other than that, I agree with the comment.)

Another encouraging comment...

I don't think the response 'so go then' is the best idea. Children are usually prompted into running away when they feel unwanted. It's not a sign of being spoiled in all cases. If it is that they really feel stressed about a situation, encourage them to talk about it, not laugh at them. I remember when I was around eight, I wanted to run away, because my grandmother kept verbally abusing me, and my mother did nothing to help. My sister, I felt, was also getting better treatment than I was, and I was really upset. When you ignore these things as parents and make no real effort to rectify them, then kids end up being distant,, because they become used to not needing or wanting their parents' help. For this reason, Ive always favoured my dad. He doesnt give me a lot or anything, but I feel that he does make an effort to listen to me, and that is invaluable.

Jan 17th, 2012

We found an interesting discussion on "pseudo-choices" when googling the term the other day:


Not one mother has thought about the fact that their child will feel threatened. The word "threatened" is not found on the page.

And not one mother has thought about asking artheir child "how would you feel about doing so and so?"

As far as we can see, no mother actually said how they feel when they say things like that to their kids.


Here is one of the posts

Thanks so much for this thread, I really would like to hear opinions on this. For those who did not read the other thread, the pseudo choice idea is from the Unconditional Parenting book by Alfie Kohn. Basically, a pseudo choice is a disguise for punishment. Like "Would you prefer to walk in the store or sit in the cart?". The idea, obviously, being: "If you run in the shop I will put you in the cart" Now, the horrible thing is that I am quoting this dialogue (almost word by word) from a cartoon in the "Talk so that kids will listen and listen so that kids will talk" book, which I thought was a bible for GD and I used for a long while before the Unconditional Parenting. This technique never seemed to work with dc, and I just could not figure out why. Now I do!
Alternatives to pseudochoice:
- acknowledge it is boring to do X
- explain why the dc's behaviour during activity X bothers other people or may be dangerous
- make X more fun
- listen to dc for ideas to make X more fun
Any other ideas?