Do your kids use guilt to play you against your partner? Our parenting expert, Katherine Gordy Levine, a therapist and foster mom, gives us a perfect example in her book, When Good Kids Do Bad Things: A Survival Guide for Parents.
See if you can spot the guilt. Then learn Katherine’s explanation.
The Gotcha Wars
MOM: "You know you aren't allowed to go driving with that crowd."
GOOD KID: (being bad) "But Dad said I could."
DAD: (to Mom): "I did no such thing."
GOOD/BAD KID: "You said, 'See what your father says.' That means you don't mind if he doesn't."
MOM: "Give me a break. I thought you had to be kidding around. What I said was, 'Try that one on your father and see what he says.' You know I did not mean that I was changing the rules."
GOOD/BAD KID: "That's not fair. You lied to me."
DAD: "Sounds like you just weren't listening-"
GOOD/BAD KID: "You're making fun of me. You know I want to be with my friends, and you pretended I could go. That's mean. I don't have to take this!" (Exits, slamming door.)
When you are drawn into the peculiarly insidious teenage ploy I call the Gotcha War, you may soon become convinced that you are a failure as a parent. That's a typical reaction. Or you may yearn to give up the struggle and make a weak truce, accepting the horrible truth that your okay kid has become bad. That's another typical reaction.
Both are Nonsense.
Gotcha Wars will keep you on your toes, but parents can win them. The alternative can be disastrous. You can't just walk away. This chapter gives you the order of battle that will lead to D-Day. And you'll learn to achieve victory that is not a defeat for your kid.
Let's APPLAUD Katherine for presenting what so many of us face with our kids. She has me on the edge of my chair wondering how to get to D-Day and achieving victory for ourselves without defeating our kids.
You can pick up Katherine Gordy Levine's e-book on Amazon.com
Sit back, relax, and share your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for dealing with the Gotcha Wars in your kids. Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.
Jean Tracy, MSS
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