Mental Abuse: A TranscriptMay 5, 2009
About eight years ago, Dan and I signed up for a parenting class that was being offered at our church. It was based on the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Kevin Leman.
Our pastor and his wife spent some time at the beginning of each session talking about their exeriences — and being the parents of two then-teenage boys, they had quite a few to share. One of the funniest (and, in retrospect, most accurate) things that the pastor’s wife said was that kids sometimes like to practice a form of mental abuse on their parents.
A case in point: Sunday after church, Dan was taking a long time to get out of the building. Trevor decided to go on out to the car and wait for us there. After ten minutes or so, I decided to go out as well. When I got to the car, Trevor was sitting in the driver’s seat. We had a conversation that went like this:
Me: You need to move to the back seat.
Trevor: Why do I need to move?
Me: Because I said so. (I know, we aren’t supposed to say this to our children but, I swear, if I give that child a reason as to WHY, he always argues about how my reasons aren’t valid.)
Trevor: Come on, Mom, let me drive around the parking lot. I’ll be getting my permit in less than a year!
Me: (sputtering) It… it isn’t less than a year. It’s more than a year. And… no!
Trevor: Aw, come on. Why not?
Me: (going into full-on rant mode) You can drive after you get your permit, not before. You don’t know the first thing about how to operate a vehicle, and… (I notice him glancing up at the voice recorder thingy. I follow his gaze and see that the little red “record” light is on. He has been recording our conversation)… oh ho ho!
Trevor: (stops recording and busts out laughing about how he played his mom and has the evidence recorded for posterity.)
*sigh* Is it any wonder that I’m exhausted most days?