Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Parent Power/Teenager Tips

I've been thinking a lot about authority lately, specifically parental. Why should you obey your parents? I've come up with two reasons.
Authority comes from obedience. Obedience comes from respect. And respect comes from one of two sources-fear or love.
Governing a single person isn't too different from governing a nation.
"It is better to be feared than to be loved, if you cannot be both."
-Niccolo Machiavelli
If you parent Machiavelli style, your power is much more secure. It's not that you're less at risk for rebellion. You've seen rebellion before and you know how to counter it. You're also a horrible parent.
If your parents are Machiavelli wannabes, if you only respect them because you fear for your physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional, social, or financial safety, then you have every right to disobey them. They're tyrants. Just be careful how you do it. Calculate the risks first. Chose your battles.
If you're in serious trouble, here's a hotline.
Or you can govern by love. This is how my parents usually do it. I grew up with strict rules. I couldn't drink caffeine or glance at celebrity magazines in the checkout line. Internet, TV, and non-religious music were prohibited on Sunday. I never saw a PG-13 movie until I was 14.
But they're not big on punishment. If I use the computer on Sundays, nothing will happen. I only keep their rules because I love them. If I didn't, they'd fight me and I'd have to fight back. We'd be in Machiavelli territory. I try my hardest to stay on the safe side of the line.
If your parents govern by love, the best thing you can do is keep them happy. Fake a smile when you're falling apart on the inside. Use kind words when you need to scream. Say "I love you" when there's nothing else you can say. Calculate the risks first. Chose your battles.

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