What children need


This father just got his butt metaphorically kicked from here to Shanghai by his adult daughter. She just flat crawled him. A strafing run.

This father is perplexed. Sincerely incredulous. Dazed and confused. Hurt, too, but that seems unimportant to him for the moment, compared with his inability to grasp what just happened and why.

The daughter’s outburst is all over the map. But she does swirl back several times to one particular indictment: “I was never good enough for you!”

She doesn’t speak of spankings, cruel punishments, exploitation or verbal degradation. She doesn’t say her father was overly stern or rigid, quick to anger or over-reactive. Her anguish and torment in the relationship points to more of a Greek tragedy than actual crimes.

As I listen to the man’s story, if anything I’m tending toward the opinion that his parental style and disciplinary expectations leaned more permissive than rigid.

The man gapes, blinking like those unsuspecting participants on “reality” shows luring you into pranks and other theater of the absurd. Like any minute now Allen Funt is going to step into my office and say, “Smile! You’re on ‘Candid Camera!’”

 

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