Monday, 12 November 2007

How an alienated child feels ... how I wanted to be disciplined

Well, I just can't stop tonight, can I? It's spilling out. That's a good thing. Instead of crying, I'm laughing ... but not in a good way. I feel a bit weird.

I thought I'd add something about the kind of discipline I would have responded to or would have liked when I was a teenager. As I said earlier, mum didn't handle teenage dramas well. The step father never involved himself. He didn't feel it was his place - but he's a good man. Mum was left to handle the alienated brat child from hell that I was by herself. She yelled. And hit. A LOT.

Bad idea.

I guess she did what she knew. She was frustrated and angry and hurt too. She had other kids and little support - not that I'm condoning whacking kids with wooden spoons and taking all their possessions away - but she mishandled me in a big way. Everything she did played into the alienator's hands. He loved it. When she took away my stuff, he said, "She has no right! That's YOUR property! Go and tell her that! Tell her she has no right!". When she told me off, he said "That's how her tiny mind works." When she punished me, he said, "She's a big fish in a small pond. She thinks she controls the world when actually she's nothing".

What I would have responded to was anything that began with "I love you but ..."

I use this approach on my offspring and so far I still get love notes and cuddles and "You're the best mum in the world", even from the teenager.


  • "I love you but you're really ticking me off. Go away until you can be nice to me, please."
  • "I love you but you're being horrid. I'm going into the other room for a bit."
  • "I love you loads, you know that, don't you? (Child nods, probably crossly and resentfully) Good, but you're really winding me up so please either pack it in or go to bed."
  • "I love you but please shut up."

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