Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ben the Manipulator - Part 2

Lately Ben is starting to grasp the concept of emotional manipulation. Whenever I reprimand him he immediately tries to cute it up so I won't be mad. His main weapon: saying in the sweetest voice, "Hi, Mommy." So, we have a lot of conversations like this:

"Ben, don't pull Minnie's tail."
"Hi, Mommy."

"Ben, don't throw toys."
"Hi, Mommy."

The thing is, he keeps saying it until I respond, "Hi, Ben." To him that signals the diffusing of the situation. So if I'm actually mad and refuse to answer, what I get is:

"Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. HI, MOMMY!"

Eventually, if I don't answer he gets mad and throws a fit. Now, the following analogy is bound to offend someone, but I think it's somewhat fitting. The relationship of a toddler and parent is not unlike the relationship of an abuser and abused spouse. The abused spouse (i.e. the parent) doesn't want to do anything to set off the abuser (i.e. the toddler), because the abused spouse knows that will just mean more trouble for her. So I usually end up giving in and replying, "Hi, Ben," because it's such a stupid thing to have a tantrum over.

1 comment:

  1. As usual, your honesty is wonderfully refreshing and your analysis on this point is salient and apt. It's not a "bad" analogy, just an awkward one. It applies nicely and obviously represents they way you feel, on occasion. The pressure to be P.C. all over the place is insidious and I'm very glad you're resisting so valiantly.

    The fact that you pick your battles so wisely shows a boatload of insight and intelligent self-reflection for which you should give yourself oodles of credit. Having him go into full tilt boogie tantrum mode over something small is a waste of your energy.

    Your final label for this post made me laugh. If I had 50 bucks for every time someone told me I was "too smart for my own good" I'd be lounging somewhere trying to decide if I wanted my wagu beef rare or just a hint over rare.