A “diehard, bleeding-heart liberal,” Darlena Cunha has turned her twin daughters into tantrum-throwing brats, she writes in the Washington Post.
I’m sure there are plenty of liberal parents with more common sense and better behaved children. Surely, liberal need not mean wimp. But read on.
Cunha wants her girls, now 6, “to think critically, to fight for fairness and justice whenever they can. I want them to value equality above all else.”
Equality is the top value? Really? And what happens when one kid is fighting for fairness and justice, while the other is fighting for equality of results?
Cunha gave each girl the same number of gumballs, but one daughter lost some. She asked for more.
“Now I have less and that’s not fair,” she moaned.
“But they’re my candy! It’s not my fault we lost some of hers!” the other one replied.
My solution — to put all the gumballs together in one bowl and split them equally — was unacceptable to both. All afternoon, they threw tantrums, slammed doors, or tried to slyly outwit me, crumbling when I didn’t fall for it.
“How about we keep our own gumballs and I get an extra other kind of candy that she doesn’t get?” said one.
“Why am I being punished for her missing candy?” asked the other.
Three hours later, Cunha split the remaining gumballs equally, rewarding one daughter’s carelessness at the expense of the other.
Cunha wanted “strong, confident girls who are able to assess situations and logically thwart unequal systems.” At least for now, she has “very dissatisfied girls who don’t know if their mother is their friend, their adversary or their keeper.”
My daughter wanted me to buy her candy but had not behaved well enough to warrant an extra treat.
“Mom,” my daughter said, “people without money need help, and people with money need to help them.”
“Yes, that’s right,” I said.
“Well, I don’t have money, and you do, so you need to help me and buy this.”
A perfectly well-reasoned, thought-out argument.
When the answer was still no, she tantrumed and screamed, and I had to drag her out of the store.
Cunha isn’t going to “go authoritarian,” but she plans to “teach the girls about priorities,” such as “why it’s more important to go to school than color in the mornings.”
I foresee more whining and tantrums ahead.
When my daughter was very young, I decided to raise her to be the sort of person I’d want to live with for 18 years. I did not want to live with a brat, so I made sure that whining, nagging and sulking would not work with me, ever. My daughter learned how to get a version of what she wanted — some of the time — by listening and proposing alternatives. She uses her excellent negotiating skills in her career.