The Norman Transcript

Features

November 7, 2013

Counterproductive parenting is not beneficial to children

NORMAN — One of the most problematic words in America’s post-1960s parenting language is “cooperate.”

“I want my children to cooperate,” a parent tells me. She tells me this in the midst of complaining that her kids rarely do what she asks them to do. That’s another problematic word: ask. Those two problematic words go hand-in-hand, in fact. Parents who want cooperation tend to ask as opposed to tell. Asking is nice. Telling isn’t. And today’s parents are trying their best to be nice. Which, by the way, is why they often suffer total cerebral meltdowns during which they get red in the face and begin screaming like lunatics. Their children have no appreciation for their niceness; they simply take full advantage of it.

I tell the above Mom that the reason her kids don’t obey her is she wants cooperation. That necessitates a peer-to-peer relationship. Neighbors cooperate. Friends cooperate. Spouses cooperate. Coworkers cooperate. But the CEO of the company, when he tells two cooperating coworkers what he wants, he’s not looking for cooperation. He wants them to obey. Two Army privates assigned to the same task will cooperate with one another. But the officer who assigned them to the task is not seeking their cooperation. He expects them to obey.

When the relationship is not between equals, the proper word is obedience. The fact that so many of today’s parents talk in terms of wanting their kids to “cooperate” reflects two things:

First, these parents do not feel comfortable with authority. They are trying to avoid being seen by their children as authority figures. So, when they communicate expectations and instructions they use persuasive speech as opposed to authoritative speech. The symptom of this is the ubiquity of “OK?” at the end of a parent’s persuasive sentence, as in “Will you please hang your jacket up in the closet, OK?”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014

  • Chickasaw Cultural Center a terrific place to visit

    SULPHUR — The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a magnificent tribute to a proud people and their storied heritage. Located an easy hour’s drive south from Norman, it’s among the finest travel destinations in Oklahoma. Set on 109 scenic acres, ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisoner re-entry planning for offenders with mental illness

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental health issues, re-entry into society can be troublesome. That is the topic in the first of the 2014 Fall ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Exhibit takes families on food expedition

    If your palate enjoys culinary diversity or if you’re interested in introducing new flavors to your family, join the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in tasting international delights and create your own treat during Family ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Resident makes art in new home

    There’s an old saying about a picture being “worth a thousand words,” which took on a literal meaning recently....

    July 27, 2014

  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014