Friday, August 3, 2007

I think we're using the wrong parenting technique

Originally posted at My Left Wing

I think I've hit upon an idear. (The final "r" is a result of listening to Howard Dean's speech last night--he always does that to me!) Last night I read StealthBadger's post Obama has lost me, and this morning there was gottlieb's post about Hillary Clinton entitled God Help Us All.

And it's occurred to me that we're using the wrong parenting technique on these kids. We're using a lot of threats ("If you do/say this, I won't vote for you") and threats only get you so far. You end up having to get more intense and more blustery with them, and eventually you have to back them up. And if "I won't vote for you" is all you've got, you run out of ammo pretty quickly.

Anyway, my kids are 12 and (almost) 14 now, but when reading about all the war talk coming from the Democratic frontrunners, my mind flashed back to some lines I heard other parents use, gently, firmly, and consistently when redirecting their preschoolers. "That's not okay. People aren't for hitting. That is not a choice." Eventually it became second nature for me to talk like that. And apparently it's a hard habit to break, because this morning I found myself saying (to candidates who couldn't hear me) "Bombing is not a choice."

Maybe we need to say that, gently, firmly, and repeatedly, when the candidates can hear us.