Guilt, Manipulation, and Other Helpful Tools

Observations and opinions from a woman who believes that the best way to raise good kids is to create a psychological hold over them from which they can never escape.

The Guilt and Manipulation Institute Presents: A Parenting Style Quiz*

What type of parent are you?

Please answer the following questions as truthfully as possible. 

 

1. Your child knows it is wrong to steal because:

a. They listened to you yelling at the dinner table about the "...lowlife, no good, son-of-a-bitch" who stole your wallet.

b. You sat them down and thoughtfully explained to them that it is wrong to steal.

c. Stealing is wrong? Define "stealing."

 

2. You walk in the living room and find your teenagers watching a reality show full of sexual situations and foul language. You:

a. Use this as an opportunity to send a message, saying something along the lines of, "This is disgusting! What the hell's the matter with these people? Aren't they afraid their mothers are watching? Their mothers are probably the same way, that's why they think it's okay to walk around naked and shower with seven other people! Thank God my kids aren't like these idiots."

b. Promptly turn the television off, telling your kids, "We don't watch shows like this in our house. It's not appropriate."

c. Immediately fill out an application to audition for the next season of your new favorite show, thanking your kids for alerting you to this opportunity.

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3. You pick your high school freshman up from school. She is covered in food stains and starts crying as she admits to you that a bully has been assaulting her with food on a daily basis. You:

a. Hug your child, reminding her that she is beautiful and that the boy is an a**hole with a Napoleon complex and, most likely, tiny balls.

b. Reassure her that sometimes life "presents you with challenges" and encourage her to ignore the bully and change lunch tables.

c. Are you sure my kid wasn't the one throwing the food? I'm confused.

 

4. You or your spouse provide a delicious home-cooked meal for your family:

a. 4-7 nights a week.

b. I cook 4-7 nights a week, but it's not always delicious!

c. Does McDonald's count?

 

5. Your college-aged daughter wants to plan a trip to Mexico with her girlfriends for spring break. You really are not comfortable with this idea. You say:

a. "What the hell would you want to go there for?" Allowing her to feel the shame wash over her as the image of her drunk, under-age self, partying on the beach, flashes through her mind.

b. "You are forbidden from going, young lady."

c. "Sweet, I'll pack my bags. Let's party!"

 

Okay, time to figure out your score. For every "a" answer, give yourself 3 points. For every "b" answer, give yourself 2 points. For every "c" answer give yourself 1 point.

14-15 points - GUILT AND MANIPULATION GURU! You love your children and want them to grow up to be responsible adults, but you recognize that sometimes that means giving them a little bit of room to screw up, allowing them to wallow in the guilt that follows. You understand that the best way to teach your children right from wrong is through the terrible example of others, so you are uninhibited when it comes to "commenting" on people who behave poorly. You give your kids tons of love and encouragement, making them feel like part of a team, and so they begin to live in fear of behaving in any way that resembles the people you are so clearly disgusted by. Additionally, you are very aware that food is one of your most important mind control tools. Well done!

9-13 RESPONSIBLE PARENT - You are a rule follower and expect your children to follow your rules as well. You love your kids very much and believe that your most important role is to provide structure for your family. Everyone in the neighborhood looks up to you as the perfect parenting role model, but secretly they feel inferior to you. You only wish you were in as much control as everyone thinks.

7-8 PENDULUM SWINGER- You have a wild streak and are not naturally a responsible person, but every now and then you get terrified that your kid is going to turn out like you so you try and do the right thing. Usually it backfires.

5-6 BAD INFLUENCE -You like to party, never met a rule that wasn't meant to be broken, and take tremendous pride when your kid screws up, fancying him a "chip off the ol' block!" Some people weren't meant to have children; you are one of them. Perhaps think twice before doing any further "breeding."

*Not a scientific survey.  Please tell me you already knew that. 

Comedian Elizabeth Beckwith's first book, Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation is in stores now from Harper Collins.

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