The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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My parents are controlling psychos.





































(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Misc. Intro Movie clip

Female:          We all have these terrible stories to get over.

Male:  It’s not true. Some of us have great stories. Pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good. 

Female:          No ! ! !


Dr. Kenner:               Listen to that very quick no. What happens with something good goes on in other people’s lives and you’re just sitting back and you’re not doing much with your own life? How do you deal with that? Many people just become very envious and they need their negatives in their life as an excuse - look what’s happened to me, but really you’ve got to be very careful with that because sometimes the truth is not that you’re severely and sincerely traumatized and you need help with that, but sometimes it’s that you’re running away from yourself. You know you haven’t made good choices or you know you haven’t made what you could have of your life and you’re so angry with yourself that when you sit back and look at other people excelling and doing things they want to do and leading good lives, you just need to cling to your terrible stories and you need to cling to other people’s terrible stories and the great ones are an irritation. If that’s the case, you don’t want to engage in self-betrayal. You don’t want to always find ways to run away from yourself. You want to find ways to make your life great, even if you’ve gone through significant trauma.



Over-Parenting ~

My parents are controlling psychos.


Right now, we’re going to turn to our after hours line to listen to a darling 16-year-old who is having problems with her parents. Her parents want her to obey them and that resonates with almost all of us, so listen to whether you feel scorn for her or sympathy. 


Teenager:       Hi, I’m 16-years-old and I was just wondering, how do I avoid my parents? Because my parents don’t like my boyfriend, and my boyfriend and I of seven months and we brought him along on a trip one day and he was being shy and stuff. We came home and my parents dropped him off at home and my mom was like, “You’ll never see that boy again.” And I don’t know why. They said he was being rude. I’ve been dating him for so long and I just really want to leave them and stuff and I wanted to know if you could help me. My parents, they don't let me do anything. They are controlling psychos. I know I'm only 16-years-old, but they don't let me out of the house at all, they really don’t. I do all what they say. I obey the rules. I’ve been doing this forever and I just am getting tired of doing what they say. I don’t know what to do and I’m just wondering if you could help me.


Dr. Kenner:   Okay, if you can bear with me a minute, I’m going to say something that I don’t believe, but you will hear common advice like this and then I’m going to tell you what I really think. You know, these are your parents and you have to obey them. I mean, they know what’s best for you. You’re not old enough to know what’s best for you and maybe this boy is bad news and your parents can sense it and you just have to go by what they say. I mean, you’re lucky to have parents that care enough and they’re there and tell you what to do all the time.


Now, do I believe that? Not one minute. I tend to believe what you think, which is that your parents are psychos, meaning that they’re too over-controlling. Not that they’re psychos. That they’re way too over-controlling. I highly recommend a book Between Parent and Teenager. This is by Dr. Him Ginott. It’s an older book, it’s on my website, One of the wonderful gifts that a parent can give a child in his teenage years, his or her teenage years, is psychological independence. Letting your child make their own decisions. Assuming that your child is making rational decisions. But if you’ve been dating a boy that you judge as good - I’m assuming he’s not a drug addict, you sound like one of those kids who really has tried to be a good kid, a good girl, and hopefully you're becoming a good woman now, and you want to train yourself to use your own judgment. That’s what a good parent would let go and let you do. Even if you make a few mistakes, if you found out this guy is no good and you got burned by him, well, then you move on. That doesn’t mean you jump into bed and have sex with him right away. If you get pregnant, that’s major, especially if you’re not comfortable with getting an abortion. Especially at that young age. I would highly encourage an abortion, but you can call me another time on that question if that ever comes up. Right now your goal is not to obey your parents, but to use your own judgments, but don’t rebel either. A lot of teenagers just rebel against their parents and that makes it hell for everyone. Your parents are probably decent parents, but I would say that if they read Between Parent and Teenager, they might feel like they have some support in a different direction to go that's much more respecting of you.