Parental Psychology

I never took any Psychology classes during any of my college years.  I have nothing against Psychology (and have benefited from it greatly during my life) but I just wanted to get my science requirements out of the way and Psych wasn’t offered when I needed a science class.  Most of my psychology education comes from various Scientific American articles I’ve read over the years.

I think it’s safe to say that as a parent, one REALLY needs psychology.  You just can’t make it through parenthood without figuring out your kids AND figuring out how to get your kids motivated to do what they need to get done.   YA is almost 28 and I still struggle with this occasionally.

One of the things I have figured out is that sometimes you have to come at her sideways.  She is too cool to get enthusiastic over some of my projects; when I brought home the haunted house kit (see photo above), she turned up her nose at it a bit.  If she had been with me when I purchased it, she would have indicated it was not a good idea.  But a few days ago I said “I’m going to do the haunted house tonight if you want to help”.  She responded with a non-committal grunt but when I got everything set up on the dining room table, she showed up.  And she did most of the decorating herself.   This works pretty much all of the time… Easter egg dying, jigsaw puzzles, yardwork, cookie decorating.  It even worked once on a snorkel sail when she was crabby and I said “Fine, you don’t have to go… I’ll see you later.”

If you take this route though, you have to be prepared to do the project by yourself; I think you really have to believe this or they hear it in your voice and then you’re sunk!

How to you talk your loved ones into things?

43 thoughts on “Parental Psychology”

  1. “You are going to choose what you’re going to choose, and do what you’re going to do, and I’ll support that. Please listen for 45 seconds to me as I tell you what I’ve chosen and what I’m doing. Your choice, though, is yours.” With that reassurance, that it is only a matter of 45 seconds, I usually get to say something, and learn, along the way, why my idea was lame to begin with.

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      1. Of course, it turns out that her favorite treat these days seems to be these Crumbl cookies, which are a little too expensive for me to use as daily enticements!

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        1. No… I saw them in St Louis this summer. They’re actually a bit much for me… rare that YA likes a sweet more than I do.


  2. I am more frequently the talkee than the talker. My pursuits are often as not solitary ones that have no role for a second, but I am a willing participant where I can be useful or companionable.

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        1. Robin periodically experiments with natural dyes. We had noticed an abundance of buckthorn berries in one of the nature areas where we walk and so we came back equipped.

          One of the most difficult colors to achieve with natural dyestuffs, is a good green. Buckthorn berries, despite being dark purple, surprisingly yield a pleasing bluish green.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. The big question is, did you know it was going to be a pretty green ahead of time or was it a surprise?


        3. Robin had read somewhere that the berries produce a green, but the surprise was that dyeing liquid was grayish blue and the green didn’t show up until rinsing and also that the green was bluish rather than the yellowish green most plant-based dyes yield.
          There are other factors that may be at play, like the ph of the water, so there is more experimenting to come.

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  3. What you’re doing, VS, is exactly what I’ve discovered with Husband. If I were to plead with him to join me in something, he might do it out of guilt, but that would take the fun out of it for both of us. If I LET GO and just decide to do it myself if I have to, I’ll start doing it and he often comes around.

    And it also means I have to do or go some places by myself.

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  4. i have determined it is best for me to never try to psych my family into stuff
    they all see it and flip me off quickly and completely
    on the occasions they have gone along it’s been hard for both of us
    i don’t like half hearted efforts and my trying to steer the direction of the community participation does not help
    so instead i find stuff for each participant in which events to co pilot
    my mom and i do movies and theater and concerts with the orchestra
    daughter with musicals
    son with cooking and camping
    other son with sports
    daughter with eating out
    other daughter with family social
    i’m lucky to have all my personalities spread out amongst my peoples. find a thing, pick a partner, line it up and do it
    disney cruise days were easy, i invited everybody
    to day is harder and i get to plot and pick and choose
    my psychology today is making choices that include everyone in rotation
    halloween spooky houses are for ari and no one else
    smoking pot i’ve got two
    italian food 5
    mediterranean food 1
    my cooking me alone too often
    potato’s could be a daily event but i’m all alone

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  5. If I have to sell an idea of what to do, or activity to participate in, to a “loved one,” I’d rather do it alone or with someone who is interested. I find that BiR’s observation that if your “partner,” whoever that might be, is a reluctant participant, it’s no fun for either party.

    I enjoy theater, Hans falls asleep pretty much as soon as they dim the lights. So I go to the theater with a couple of different friends. Early on in our marriage I talked him into a couple of performances that I thought he’d enjoy, and I was wrong.

    I enjoy a much broader ranger of music than he does, so after several failed attempts at introducing him to some of my favorite performers, I go with friends who are similarly inclined rather than drag him along if he isn’t familiar with the performer. (He still regrets that he tuned out the one and only Townes van Zandt performance I brought him to. This was long before he discovered Townes on his own, and came to appreciate what a gifted artist he was.) I find that if I leave him alone, he’ll sometimes investigate the artist on his own and come around, as was the case with Iris Dement.

    I suspect that some of this has to do with money. He’s extremely “tight” with his money. Over a period of several years I won a whole bunch of tickets through Radio Heartland to performances by such artists as Joan Baez, Jerry Jeff Walker, Mary Black, Keb’ Mo, and Lyle Lovett. He happily went along to all of them, though he didn’t enjoy them all. Now that I think about it, he was always willing to go the various free events, including plays or dress rehearsals of the Minnesota Opera, he just isn’t willing to pay for it.

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  6. Actually, we never did master the art of psychology with Isaac. We knew what we should do, but weren’t very reliable with it. He’s turned into the lovely boy he always really was, on his own.

    When he was born, I transferred instantly from wanting a girl (boys are horrible), to wanting a boy after all. I dreamed straight away of the two of us in the workshop, mainly concentrating on motorbikes, but ready to tackle anything. Oh well. I’m a lone wolf anyway, when it comes to work.

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  7. I never suggested any projects but always supported and if wanted joined in what they were doing. That and listening a lot and then giving advice which was always rejected as bad ideas, but their talking helped them figure out what to do. Whatever I said often made them feel worse but it cleared the air. Best abd most helpful

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        1. Welcome to the Trail, OG. I’m unable to “like” comments for some obscure technical reason, so I have to make a comment to let people know that I’ve seen and appreciate their comment.

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