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I’m reading the Parenting Effectiveness Training book now, and was surprised to hear the criticisms of using praise and reward in coaching a child. The book posits that making a child think she is “winning” at something will cause her to view all endeavors as a competition, and set her up to be hyper-critical should she fail at anything. Bribery is a big tool I use to help encourage my kids to develop good habits, along with reasoned explanations, but I’m wondering now if I am harming them by doing so. Thoughts?

Hi Stef. My parents were very neglectful throughout my childhood. We were upper middle class and my brother (4 yrs older) both played hockey at a country club in a high end neighborhood in [X]. We could basically do whatever we wanted in terms of sports, and we could unusually get away with new clothes and toys quite often. My mother pushed this consumer mindset on us, and many times I recall her saying not to tell our dad about this new purchase ($1,000 ice skates for instance). Due to this dishonesty (and my mother complaining quite often about never having any clothes and the like), and my father's cheapness, I always assumed we didn't have the money to spend and subsequently always felt guilty about getting anything. Birthdays and Christmas were always awkward for me, as I felt like I was unworthy of the things I was given, as well as the attention. I hated the attention more than anything, and always put on a stoic personality during these kind of events. I also did this during any kind of family gathering (I have a large extended family who lives close to each other), and I always felt so awkward during these events. For years I didn't even know the names of two of my cousins, even though I saw them at least twice a year. I could never be relaxed and carefree around anyone in my family, and at large family events it was even worse. My parents never directly commented on my lack of normal emotion (as a kid I rarely "let myself go" as kids tend to do, and I was never silly with them, I barely smiled and when I did I was self conscious.). Looking back, they clearly had no real relationship with ME (my personality), but they would say that they were very attentive parents due to their involvement in sports and such things. My mother and father had a terrible relationship. They were compete opposite personality types, never agreed on much, and there was a constant sense of awkwardness and resentment between them. They always passive aggressively chided each other, and ever since I was about 11 or 12 I thought they would get divorced. In fact, whenever something bad happened between them, or if there was some kind of announcement of news, I always anticipated a divorce. This never happened and they are still together, and continue to passive aggressively drown one another in resentment. An interesting bit of context is that my brother never seemed to have any social issues as I did, and by all appearances turned out very well. I have barely any contact with him and I find it quite painful to spend any time with him as he is like a stranger to me in most respects. When I started writing this was not going to be so comprehensive. My original question was something like "how do I cut off contact with my parents, since I DO NOT want them around my future children?" They will not understand why I want this as they don't think they were bad parents and I honestly believe they were just ignorant and incompetent idiots"

Recently, I approached my husband with my concern that we don’t have life insurance on him should something terrible happen. We have four children ages 10 months to 13 years, are in significant debt right now and would be financially ruined without his income. He completely rejected the idea at first and told me that I didn’t have faith in our family and community to step up in such a worst case scenario. He said life insurance is a relatively new phenomenon and people “did fine” without it for centuries. I responded that people have been financially ruined and homeless for centuries as well. I was raised with a strong emphasis on self-reliance and recoil at the idea of being in a position where I would have to find a way to support our family without him after having been a stay at home mom for over a decade. I told him purchasing a modest term life insurance policy is important to me—we are not in a position to pursue the Be-Your-Own-Banker whole life method at the moment. After all, it is biologically imperative for a woman to feel secure, right? He agreed to do it for that reason, but still feels I’m off base and paranoid. Am I? He has still not taken steps to apply. As a side note, he works in the cryptocurrency industry and his career and our finances have been a roller coaster for years, although he has become a prominent voice in the space. I share his vision that a free economy is the path to conquering tyranny, but I’m constantly stressed! What are your thoughts?

my husband is an engineer and keeps finding himself on teams with narcissist-types. What can someone looking for a salaried position do during the interview process to best avoid these issues?

Was the Korean War justified?

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April 2024

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