A Time to Talk

by Elliott D. Landau, Ph.D.

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    Let’s talk about agreeing and disagreeing with one’s parents. It would be good to share these thoughts with your parents. Perhaps you’d like to suggest that you read and talk about them together.

    Parents expect their children to be obedient. There are times, however, when you might have honest differences of opinion. It is at these times that it is important to present your point of view, discuss it quietly with your parents, listen to each other, and finally accept what they decide.

    Parents should know that a certain amount of disagreement between parent and child develops the qualities necessary to finally make up your own mind about many things when you are old enough. Too often children who do everything their parents say without ever talking it over never learn to make decisions for themselves.

    We are free agents to follow our own course of behavior, but we should realize that we must pay the price for our bad decisions. That’s why we have parents to guide us in making good ones.

    A few months ago I threatened to punish my son for something he did. His argument was not that he should not be punished but that the punishment should be related to what he had done. I saw the wisdom of his argument and punished him in a way that was wisely related to his wrongdoing.

    Obedience to parents is important and necessary. This does not mean blind obedience, however. Both you and your parents will feel better if you gently and calmly discuss your disagreements.

    Illustrated by Nina McNaughtan