Tag Archives: Control

Why It’s Always The End Of The World For Your Child

In my house, the end of the world came around with a distressing regularity.

With three young dudes growing up in the same house, being ruled over by the meanest, most horrible dictator ever to put on a pair of pants and then jump up and down on poor, defenseless boys who only wanted so very little. . .

Those poor young dudes. It must have been like living in hell. Only, the thing of it is. . . I was there. It wasn’t hell for anyone. Anyone but an adult in the vicinity.

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You’ve all seen it. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve seen it.Pulling an ugly face is a regular occurrence for little dudes during their toddler years. And beyond, if I'm being honest.

Something happens and suddenly the world ends for a young dudette, who starts screaming and yelling and crying and throwing herself onto the floor of the grocery store and acting like the end is not only nigh, but already here and wearing spiked heels to step on her.

On a (slightly) less histrionic level, I and probably most parents in the history of history have heard just about every single variation on the phrase, “This was the worst. Evar!”

I mean, seriously. If I hear that again, I just might be the one who screams.

So, yeah. We’ve all seen this sort of thing happen. Something minor rocks the little dude’s world and he reacts like someone tried to cut off his arm and beat his puppy to death with it. (Although that might be a bit of a harsh simile. Accurate, but still harsh.)

The big question (other than, “How do I stop this? Or, barring that, make a clean get away without being caught?) is why? Why do our little dudes and dudettes react so over the top?

The easiest answer is also the one about which we can do the least. They simply have no basis for comparison. When young dudes aren’t yet six or so, they are all about existing in the now.

If it already happened, it doesn’t matter. If it will happen in the future, it doesn’t matter. Right now. That’s all that matters.

Which means that, if a child doesn’t have something right now, at this very moment, it will never happen. They will forever be deprived, just like they have always been deprived of what they want. That’s a hard thing to face, especially for tiny humans who have so little experience.

Which leads us to a second reason. Being young, they have no basis for comparison. When little J’Amelia is mean to your daughter in school, it might be the worst day of her life so far. Really. She might not be exaggerating. Oh, she will experience worse (much, much worse) later in her life, but being young, she still hasn’t enjoyed all of life’s little jokes.

Young dudettes and dudes don’t have the life experience necessary to really make a good comparison between miseries. Stubbing her toe is bad and hurts, but they can’t ask themselves if it’s anywhere near as bad as that time they broke their arm. Or cut open their thumb. Or, really, anything.

Our ability to compare allows us to realize that it’s just pain and we’ve had worse, which allows us to calm down.

And, that’s another thing. We, as adults, are supposed to be rational, thinking beings. (I’m going to be nice and say most of us are, although, in my heart of hearts, I doubt it.) The brains of young kids don’t fully mature until they’re much, much older, say, around 25 or so for boys.

Unfortunately for the ears around them, their limbic system (which controls their emotions) is fully functioning, firing on all cylinders. Toddler brains become flooded with the hormones and neurotransmitters that cause pain and anger and sorrow and all the rest, but they don’t have the cognitive skill and experience to overcome that and regain control of themselves.

Looking back, I’m not sure I was able to offer much in the way of hope for struggling parents. Other than the obvious: This, too, shall pass.

And, though you doubt it in the midst of a truly epic meltdown, it will get better. All you have to do is stay relatively calm and help your little dude through his current issue.

It’s not personal. It’s just what and who they are at the moment. Keep showing good behavior, being a good role model and talking them through their experiences so they learn the right thing and . . . everything should be fine.

I’m going to do you younger parents a favor and not even bring up the teenage years here. Mostly because I’m a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and there’s some stuff up with which no one should put.

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The Things We Do For Love

Full-body hangovers suck. Especially when you didn’t even drink the night before.

I have a full-body hangover of such immense proportions that I beg for the sweet, sweet release of death that will never come, that will always be denied me by an angry and vengeful god.*

And it’s all because I love my little dudes and want them to be happy.

Today, you see, is the last day of Hyper Lad’s spring break. Hyper Lad, unlike his two brothers, loves to get out and do things in the great outdoors. Not just motor sports, but actual activities like, say, for instance, snowboarding.

Yes, snowboarding. It’s like skiing, but for the younger folks. Well, The dead-cat bounce is most important because the cat is, in fact, dead.maybe not necessarily for the young, but at least for those with bones that do not break in a strong wind. Those who can hit the ground and bounce, rather than those who hit the ground with a dead-cat bounce.

Snowboarding can look like one of the most Oh, he flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young dude on his flying snowboard-ine.amazing, elegant bouts of movement when performed by a professional or someone who has practiced or knows what she is doing. Spinning down a half pipe, blowing up the sides and flipping into the air in perfect control of every motion. . . That is the image of the person on a snowboard that springs to mind when dudes think about someone strapping on the single board and hitting the slopes.

I, as should probably be exceedingly obvious by now, am not that person.

I am the person who comes around the corner and into full view of

Crashing on a snowboard hurts. It hurts a lot and, the thing about it, is that it happens all the time.
Not me, but it definitely could be.

the waiting folks in the line for the ski lift, looking good, smoothly shifts from goofy foot to the correct foot and then comes in for a nice cutting stop. . .

and catches the front edge of my snowboard on some slushy slush at the bottom of the slopes and flies in for a massive face plant onto some very hard-packed snow. I ended up with snow inside my goggles and a bruise that runs all up my entire right side of my upper body.

It wasn’t the crash that has me limping, though. That’s just the result of all the snowboarding. It uses very different muscles than does skiing. I’ve skied since injuring my knee and been absolutely fine. I am not fine after snowboarding. Not fine at all.

I groan like a zombie going up stairs, limping the entire way. Going down stairs is even worse. I’m limping and grimacing just walking and almost fell when I tried to get out of bed this morning, and would have landed on my sore, bruised right side if I hadn’t tangled myself in the sheets thrashing in a nightmare of falling.

Hyper Lad, of course, is bouncing around like he’s just been dosed with adrenaline and fitted with rubber in his joints. He’s a happy camper and, being the kind and polite little dude he is, keeps slapping me on the bad shoulder and offering to jump on my back if I want to give him a piggy back ride.

The thing of it is, I almost knew that I would end up like this, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Mostly because Hyper Lad wanted to learn to snowboard and I wanted him to have fun.

There are some who think those are the actions of a stupid dude. I do not know if I can refute that** and keep a straight face.

But that’s okay. I’m having to keep everything else on my body straight so the pain doesn’t incapacitate me.

Yep, it’s the things we do for love. . . that will kill us in the end.

Footnotes & Eratta

* There is a slight possibility that I am engaging in hyperbole for effect and humor. Slight possibility.
** I can, but mostly because I am a contrary son of an individual.

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Raw, Naked Desire

I must have you.

I don’t care what stands in my way. I will break down any wall. I will smash any window. I must have you.

No naked bodies, only raw, naked desire, stronger than sense, stronger than inhibition. The man must have that woman.

Consider that scene. Consider the legalities. The social niceties. All those things thrown to the wind in the face of raw, pulsing, surging lust. Watch that scene with any woman (or at least any woman I’ve ever seen it with) and she will tell you that this is one of the hottest movie scenes she’s ever seen.

What she might not tell you is that she’s envisioning herself as the Kathleen Turner character. She sees herself as that woman, the sight of whom is enough for a man to throw away his reputation and his sense, just to have a night with her.

This sort of desire is something most married or long-term couples seem to be living without.

Dan Savage, the sex therapist, says he thinks a little raw desire will win out over kindness and compassion and sensitivity almost every time.

People have to learn to compartmentalize. We all want to be objectified by the person we love at times. We all want to be with somebody who can flip the switch and see you as an object for an hour. Sometimes sex is an expression of anger or a struggle for power and dominance. They work in concert. People need to learn how to harness those impulses playfully in ways that are acceptable in equal relationships. 

A little of what I thin is going on is that the woman becomes excited when a dude does something like this because she sees his desire for her and it excites her that some dude needs her that badly. Turns out, I’m not just speaking out my hat this time.

I got a lot of that from a recent book called What Do Women Want: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner. These women, and I’m paraphrasing here, want consensual force.

By which I mean that these ladies want to be with a partner they trust and then they want to surrender control to that partner, allowing the partner to decide what, where, who, how, when and how rough. Again, this is what I’m taking from that book and that is backed by science, not just blathering.

I think all this relates back to yesterday’s post about the chores study (in which men who do traditionally female chores are seen as less manly and less desirable by the women with who they live) because of the stereotypical gender roles assigned by society.

Dudes, in this role, are take-charge guys. They are the ones who decide what happens when, where, with whom, etc. Sound familiar. Do manly chores, be seen as manly. Be seen as manly, stir up impulses of that consensual surrender.

Let me stress a couple of things. Firstly, this is consensual. I’m not suggesting it’s against anyone’s will. Secondly, I’m also not saying that a woman’s natural place is in a subordinate position.

A thinker named Pepper Schwartz says that while women may have always had these types of fantasies, now they have permission to give voice to them because of how much power they have in real life. “The more powerful you are in your marriage, and the more responsibility you have in other areas of your life, the more submission becomes sexy,” Schwartz says. “It’s like: ‘Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour. I’ve got plenty of it.’ It’s what you can afford once you don’t live a life of submission.”

Obviously, there is a lot more to be said about this. Probably why there are hundreds of books about the subject. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d really recommend What Do Women Want. It’s a great book, full of good information and very readable.

For a shorter read (only barely, though), I’d suggest the article from which I took a bit of direction and some quotes. It’s in the NY Times Magazine and by Lori Gottlieb,  a psychotherapist in Los Angeles. She is the author of “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. When I last checked, there were almost 1,000 comments on the article.

It’s definitely touching a nerve. Go give it a read. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

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