Manipulation

I’m a pretty straight-forward person who doesn’t like to play games or feel like someone is playing games with me.  I also grew up with a step-mother who was a champion manipulator, which significantly affected my brothers’ and my relationship with our dad, other family members, and each other.  Therefore, I have no patience for people who like to manipulate.  So perhaps you can imagine how upset I get when I find out that not only does my husband think it’s necessary to find ways to manipulate myself and others, but he is also teaching our kids this by example and by involving them in the process.  I would say it’s one of the top three things that infuriate me because it’s so fundamentally wrong, yet it still happens on a regular basis.

The thing that bothers me the most is that he is reinforcing to the kids the notion that it is more important to get what you want at any cost, regardless of how many lies you have to tell or how deceitful you need to be.  It undermines many of the things I am trying to teach them about what it means to be a good person with integrity and good character. Continue reading

Loyalty

loyalty

Loyalty is one of those things that is really important in any relationship.  It has to be earned though, and not expected, unless of course if we are talking about a parent being loyal to their children.  That should be expected.  The other way around though is a different story.  As kids grow older and start thinking more like adults, they start to see things differently, including their parents.  If one or both parents have been there for the child every step of the way, then there’s a good chance the child will feel a sense of loyalty to the parent(s).

When that’s not the case, the parent shouldn’t be surprised if the child doesn’t feel a sense of loyalty.  I think this is especially evident when parents split up.  It’s quite possible that a child will feel loyal to both parents if the child has had a good relationship with each of them, but when one or both parents haven’t been there for the child, the child is likely to lose that sense of loyalty.  I have experienced this with my own parent, and I am now watching my kids go through the same process.  It’s definitely a two-way street.  You can’t expect someone to be loyal to you if you are not willing to do the same in return.

The same can be said for friendships and romantic relationships and relationships with other family members. Continue reading

I Told You So

It is REALLY challenging to refrain from uttering these words when someone who seems to insist on being right all of the time ends up being wrong about something … again.   A perfect example just happened this week.  I had asked my husband recently to make sure whatever beverage container he put his drink into gets put on his placemat and not directly on the wood table.  He insisted that there’s no way his thermal cup could leave rings on the table due to condensation. Theoretically, they are not supposed to, and most of the time his don’t, but I know I have picked up at least one of the ones he uses before and found a ring on the table more than once and would rather be safe than sorry.  I thought it was a pretty simple request, but he made a big deal about me asking him to be more conscious and treated it like it was a ridiculous request.  Sure enough, I picked up his cup the other day to clean the table and found a small puddle of water underneath it. This was right next to the partial burn ring on the table that was left by him putting a relatively hot bowl of rice there after I asked him to put it on a hot pad instead, and he insisted it would be fine.

I don’t know if it is so much that he doesn’t want to be wrong or just doesn’t want me to be right about anything, but I’m guessing it’s both.  He doesn’t usually utter the words, “You were right” or, “I was wrong” and seldom apologizes in situations like this, at least not without it sounding like it is a struggle to do so or that it is sarcastic rather than sincere.

Unfortunately, these are just more bad examples being set for our kids.   Continue reading

Being a Good Role Model and Setting Standards

role modeling

This is so true, but it seems to me that there are a lot of parents out there who don’t understand this and/or who don’t see how their own behavior is so different than what they expect from their kids.  I’m certainly not a perfect role model, but at least I am aware of when I occasionally do something that is the opposite of what I am trying to teach my kids.  The one example that comes to mind is losing my cool when I am always trying to get them to stay calm and not overreact to various situations.  I do talk to my kids about that when it happens and let them know I am aware I have not been setting a good example and at least try to explain why.  Then I tell them I will continue trying to improve.

I can think of plenty of other examples that I have witnessed where parents say one thing to their kids and then do the opposite themselves.  Lying and being deceitful is a big example in my house. Continue reading

Being Thoughtful

One of the things about another person that stands out for me is how thoughtful they are.  This can mean many things.  It can be how much they put others’ needs above their own, how frequently they do things like hold a door open or let someone go first, or the fact that they will drop everything and be there for someone else, if necessary, even if it means it will inconvenience them.  It could also be doing things for other people that they don’t have to but do anyway because they know it will make the other person feel good, such as calling or texting to ask how they or doing or surprising them with something like flowers or a small gift.  Anyone who is willing to give of his or her time, whether it’s to support a cause or to lend an ear, is a very thoughtful person in my book.

To me, how thoughtful someone is says a WHOLE lot about that person’s character in general. Continue reading

Placing Blame

It seems to be human nature that when something goes wrong, many people want to immediately figure out who is to blame.  Often times, people are quick to blame anyone and everyone else except themselves.  It’s easier that way, because then there is no apology necessary and no need to do anything differently the next time because we didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.  It is difficult for some people to look in the mirror and see someone who has flaws and doesn’t have all the answers.  The thing is, no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes.  It’s just that some people are willing to admit that and do something about it and others are not.

I am one who likes to figure out why things happen, so I do sometimes want to talk about what caused a certain chain of events to happen, but I am doing that with the intent on preventing the same negative chain of events from happening in the future. It’s not just about placing blame but figuring out what to do differently the next time.   Continue reading

Mixed Messages

I know several people who tend to give off very mixed messages, mostly because their actions don’t match their words, but sometimes it’s because they say one thing one time and another thing another time.  They can’t seem to make up their minds or remember what they said, or maybe they just have poor communication skills. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with that person, regardless of whether it is a family member, friend, or significant other.

I have difficulty with people who give off mixed messages because I tend to be a very straight-forward person who doesn’t play games.  It’s not too difficult to figure out how I feel about something or someone because I will usually tell you.  And my actions usually match my words pretty well.  If you are making me happy or I appreciate something you did or said, not only will I tell you, but I will often show you. Continue reading