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June 22, 2009

Honor Thy Father

I once read that the difference between fathers and mothers is that a mother's love is unconditional, whereas a father's love must be earned.

Until today, I thought this quote was quite possibly the dumbest thing I'd ever read on the subject of fatherhood. It turned out that I was wrong:

Today's dads are more cuddly with their children than the generation before them.

At least that's what dads are self-reporting in a new survey from Lever 2000, part of its Making Every Touch Count campaign. According to the survey, up to 84 percent of dads surveyed say they show more physical affection to their own children than their parents did with them.


What's wrong with this? Apparently, every time a father gives his children a hug, what he's really doing is abandoning his role as an authority figure and ushering in the decline of Western civilization:
... the touchy-feely parenting style that started a few decades ago is not for everyone. Among its harshest critics is John Rosemond, a psychologist, author and syndicated columnist. On his Web site, www.rosemond.com, Mr. Rosemond says the nonauthoritative parenting of today has "wreaked havoc on the family, the community and the culture."

Mr. Rosemond, who bases his parenting advice on biblical Scripture, says today's permissive parenting results in arguments and fights as parents try to explain themselves rather than just demand respect and good manners from their children. Mr. Rosemond is not opposed to spanking children.

The idea that fathers cannot be affectionate and good disciplinarians at the same time is nonsense. In fact, fathers more often than not set the tone for the entire household. They are the originators of the standards families live by.

Fathers seem to have an awfully bad rap in the media. When they're not being depicted as inept or uninvolved, they are seen as unreasonably harsh taskmasters who insist upon harshing the all knowing maternal mellow. But the truth is that we mothers can sometimes be too close to our children to take a properly detached view of what is best for them. Mothers are good at teaching our children about love and friendship. We train them to respect the rights and feelings of others; to listen to their conscience and wash behind their ears. These are all important lessons. But Fathers, while no less loving, have a steadying influence on a household. They balance all that maternal care with a thorough understanding of how the outside world works and a pragmatic insistence that children learn to compete as well as compromise. They offer children a loving bridge between the accepting world of home and family and the often critical and demanding world of work, sports, and school.

Everywhere one looks these days, Fathers are taking a more active role in their children's lives:

Most of the guys I know are in their 30s or 40s and kill themselves to get home early enough from work to do bath time or catch a soccer game. Nobody goes to the gym anymore after work. Forget about seeing a father of school-age kids on a weekend. He is at three games or on a school retreat or a swim lesson. Men now are as involved in their kid's lives as women are and the stereotype of the father who hasn't changed a diaper or met with a teacher is completely passé. The reality is that most fathers have that much more to do now. They are trying to balance all their previous responsibilities and all the new ones brought about by children. Just about everything other than parenting has fallen by the wayside.

And yet they receive little credit for their many sacrifices. Over the years I lost count of the times my husband stepped up to the plate when I was at the end of my rope with our two smart (and at times challenging) sons. Raising two sons with nearly opposite personalities required every bit of insight and intuition I possessed.

It also required the active participation of a loving father whose keen observation and unfailing integrity gave me the strength to hold my ground as a parent. Today when I look at my sons I see, not their mother's influence, but their father's. Each, in his own way, strives to live up to the ideals their father modeled for them every day.

A mother probably speaks a million words to her children over the years. But a father, through his example, shows them how to live. He is the standard against which daughters will measure their future husbands and sons will measure themselves. It's hard to think of any influence more important, nor one that has a more lasting effect on a child, than that of a father.

And it's hard to think of anyone more taken for granted.

Posted by Cassandra at June 22, 2009 08:20 AM

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Comments

Mothers are Mercy; Fathers are Justice.

Mercy cannot rob Justice, but it can temper it.

Posted by: Cricket at June 22, 2009 11:41 AM

I hem and haw on these findings in my own internal dialogue. It's not that I think fathers (and mothers) should not be involved in their children's lives, it's that I see - by parents overwhelming dedication to their children by trucking them to lessons/sports/outings/etc. they are showing their children that those children are the very center of the universe.

And those children are NOT the center of the universe. They just don't know it. And when they do learn it (in a very hard fall at some time or another in their adulthood) they do not know how to manage that new knowledge.

It's not that I think fathers should not be physically demonstrative with their children (my father was not, but my husband most certainly is), it's just that I'm not convinced that our increasingly child-centric - and in fact youth centric - culture is in our own best interests.

I don't think it's the fault of fathers for being more involved - I think it is the collective fault of parents for misguided thinking that an easy life for children where whims and fancies are constantly indulged is the best way to prepare them for their future.

It's not. Pa and Ma Ingalls would roll over in their graves to see what parenting has come to today - fathers and mothers both. I've always thought that those Little House books that I loved so much as a kid provide some wonderful examples of how to live a good life, how to overcome, and how to be a good family. Certainly Pa was very involved in his children's lives and upbringing - the children just did not run the daily life of the Ingalls family.

But maybe I'm just old fashioned and crochety.

Anyway, I think these findings are more along the lines of the infamous "ice cream and murder rate" study than the real truth.

Posted by: airforcewife at June 22, 2009 12:02 PM

Your last paragraph is outstanding. Fathers are the example by which all other men are judged.

Yesterday, during the Preachyness Time (we don't have a professional clergy but a lay minister, therefore the talks/sermons are given by the members), the gent that was talking gave an excellent illustration; he was talking about his own father. They were hanging drywall and taking a dust break (using a table saw to cut it...don't get me started. The Engineer nearly fell on the floor in silent but reverent laughter), when an Older Guy showed them how to use an X-acto knife to score the drywall and then snap it, thus eliminating the dust.

He said, 'My dad learned with us. That floored me, as I thought he knew everything. But his life, then as now, is one of example.' The other point was that their dad was working with them on hanging the drywall.

As to the cuddle factor...well, after the Engineer got back from Kuwait, he and the children moved as a unit. It was a huge group hug for several days. We had a slumber party in the living room for a week after he got back; no one slept in their rooms; dad was home!

Even now that the Lads are teenagers, they are not embarrassed to hug their dad.

But...when they want permission for something, they talk to me. When they need guidance and help, they talk to their father.

Equally yoked? I think so.

Posted by: Cricket at June 22, 2009 12:03 PM

The idea that fathers cannot be affectionate and good disciplinarians at the same time is nonsense.

Absolutely. I never doubted my father's love and affection--I remember his hugs, the fun things we did together, the kindness he showed us all, and sitting on his lap as a little kid--we were a very physically affectionate family and there were years he was more central to my life than my mother. But I also never doubted that he was the strongest of disciplinarians and I experienced the consequences of my willfulness, etc (oh, the stories I could tell!--I was a challenge). And I learned a great deal from him about integrity, honesty, and how to treat people outside the family--lessons that I still follow today.

Love and discipline go hand-in-hand, for a parent who does not discipline sets the child up for a life of failure.

Posted by: FbL at June 22, 2009 12:03 PM

It's not that I think fathers (and mothers) should not be involved in their children's lives, it's that I see - by parents overwhelming dedication to their children by trucking them to lessons/sports/outings/etc. they are showing their children that those children are the very center of the universe.

Well, I agree with you there.

One thing I never heard from my kids was a lot of gnashing of teeth about all the times their Dad *couldn't* be there. They always understood that he had an important job to do, and if he was deployed or busy at work that was just the way it was.

My husband never attended a single one of my prenatal doctor's appointments (that seems to be the new thing these days) and yet I never felt he didn't care.

So I agree that the caring/sharing thing can be overdone. But I also think it's a good thing for Dads to get involved with sports if they want to. I know that is some of the best time my boys spent with their Dad, and it offered him an excuse to make room in his busy life for his boys. I think they both gained something from it.

Of course, we were also the mean parents who told them "only one activity per season", and also that there was a finite limit on the number of things they were going to be involved with, since every activity impacts the whole family. Part of what I think Dads often provide is sensible limits :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 12:09 PM

(not that I wasn't already inclined to impose those limits, but man does it help when both parents present a united front).

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 12:11 PM

"But maybe I'm just old fashioned and crochety."

Oh, I'm tucking that one away with the family mushroom....they can ferment together for a while.
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 22, 2009 12:51 PM

As some of you know (especially those of you who also follow Grim) I've been a Scout leader for the last 17 years. I spend a lot of time in September and March working the fathers to try to get them involved in being Scout leaders. They usually tell me that they don't have the time, they have to work. Well, I'm not retired. It's all about priorities. We've got a anesthesiologist who's a member of our committee and makes a few campouts a year. The other thing I get is that "I don't know how to tie a square knot/set up a tent/cook a meal." What I tell them is that I can teach them how to do any of that stuff. The important thing is not the lesson, it's the meta-lesson. It's not that you're teaching him how to put up a dining fly. It's that you're teaching him that fathers take time out from other things and teach things to their sons.

Posted by: RonF at June 22, 2009 01:38 PM

My sisters and I would get in my father's lap, all three of us, while he read us Alice in Wonderland after dinner.

Richard Feynman told a story about how his father guided his curiosity when he was a boy. His father showed him a way of thinking that brought him joy throughout his remarkable life.

My own father admired Feynman very much. One day when we were talking about these memoirs, my father observed wistfully that he wished he had had a father like that. I said it was lucky for me that I had. I never saw him look happier.

He was an infuriating, drunken old coot. I'll miss him every day for the rest of my life.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 22, 2009 01:38 PM

I couldn't agree more, Ron.

Another point: often Dads are unintentionally "chased off" their own children by overanxious mothers. We don't always mean to do it, but I've found it doesn't take much to discourage many fathers from doing anything at all with their kids. If they're told they're doing it all wrong when they try to change a diaper or burp a baby, some of them give up.

On the one hand it's sometimes hard for me to understand why a grown man wouldn't just say, "Look - there's nothing wrong with the way I'm doing it - now toddle along and let me do the Dad thing."

But that's often not how it goes. Kids love spending time with their Dads, and it's not just boys who need that. I have wonderful memories of my Dad teaching me to change the oil, the filters, and the spark plugs on the family car. I also put in many happy hours polishing crome and washing and waxing his car, or cleaning the interior.

I ran into the thing you're talking about with Scouts - they couldn't get Dads to volunteer and so I tried to volunteer to help. But it really isn't any more appropriate for a grown woman to go camping with boys than for a grown man to supervise a bunch of girls and I understood the liability concerns. At some point boys - especially teens - need a man around.

It's good for them.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 01:48 PM

A fine post, Cass.

I'll be going back home myself, soon. Just a few days now.

Posted by: Grim at June 22, 2009 02:59 PM

Thanks, Cass. Its rare to see Dads get a thumbs up in today's feminized world. As a Dad, I thank you.

I also think the affectionate dad argument is misplaced. It is not an "either or" equation.

I was always very strict with my son, but also showed him plenty of affection. I set down the household rules for him at a very early age and stuck to those rules. Whenever those rules were broken, he got punished (usually spankings), depending upon the severity of the transgression.

We had a little procedure that occurred when he was punished. I usually pulled him aside to someplace private (I do not believe that public embarassment or humiliation is productive except in unusual circumstances). I then made him look me in the eye and tell me why he was being punished. He could usually cite chapter and verse of the household rules he had broken. I would ask him whether that behavior was acceptable, and he would confirm it was not. I would ask him if he was ready to pay the penalty, and he would agree. I then gave him the appropriate number of wallops to the backside, and he would cry. I would then give him a hug and tell him that I love him, but that I expected him to behave the way he should. I then gave him a moment to "fix his eyes" as he called it (wipe his eyes and nose to remove any evidence of crying, so as not to be taunted by the other kids), and he was happy and running around with his friends again.

This "Punishment procedure" was important because it held up and enforced a standard of behavior, but also let him know that Dad loved him no matter what even if the BEHAVIOR was unacceptable and required punishment. I have never had to deal with any kind of sullen resentment from my son, even though he'll be heading of for college in a year or so. My son has never doubted ny love for him, and knows that, while strict, I have also always been fair with him and held him to a consistent set of behavioral rules.

So, I think dads can perform the important functions of boundary setter and discipline enforcer, even to the point of developing a reputation as the neighborhood hardass dad, while simultaneously being loving and affectionate which is so important for a child's healthy emotional and character development.

Posted by: a former european at June 22, 2009 03:15 PM

I usually pulled him aside to someplace private (I do not believe that public embarassment or humiliation is productive except in unusual circumstances). I then made him look me in the eye and tell me why he was being punished. He could usually cite chapter and verse of the household rules he had broken. I would ask him whether that behavior was acceptable, and he would confirm it was not. I would ask him if he was ready to pay the penalty, and he would agree. I then gave him the appropriate number of wallops to the backside, and he would cry. I would then give him a hug and tell him that I love him, but that I expected him to behave the way he should. I then gave him a moment to "fix his eyes" as he called it (wipe his eyes and nose to remove any evidence of crying, so as not to be taunted by the other kids), and he was happy and running around with his friends again.

Couldn't agree more, afe. Kids need love, but they also need discipline to feel secure in that love. That's almost exactly how I dealt with my boys when they acted up :p I didn't always have to spank both of them - often a sharply worded "Knock it off!" sufficed, especially if they'd been spanked recently. But if that wasn't enough, I didn't hesitate to spank them if that was what it took to get them to mind immediately.

Also, there is some value in being 'the neighborhood hardass' ;p

I used to tell my boys, "Go ahead - use me as an excuse if you need to - I don't mind being the mean Mom." I always figured they're going to try a certain amount of stuff no matter what you say because it's in their nature, but that gave them an out if they were tempted to do something that would really get them into a world of trouble with us :)

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 03:25 PM

As I type this, the Engineer is spending QT with the youngest CLU at Day Camp. He is mentoring the two eldest CLUs through their Eagle projects.

As much as I wanted all of them to participate in soccer, we took a long hard look at the benefits of both for the cost involved and we believe Scouting gave us the best value for the money.

Not only have they gotten to spend quality time with their father, but with other adults. Some good, some fine and some...well, let's just say you can learn how NOT to do things.

afe, I agree.

Posted by: Cricket at June 22, 2009 03:27 PM

I do that too; I have no qualms about being the Mother From Hell. We told them that it would be far better to suffer a few taunts from their friends than to face us, and if their friends wanted a reason, to us that meant they needed boundaries that their own parents weren't setting.

We have found that when we allowed them to use us as an excuse to not do something stupid because 'my dad/mom said so,' their friends sometimes didn't follow through with whatever foolishness they were planning.

Then, you have the child who tells you it is easier to get forgiveness than permission...

Posted by: Cricket at June 22, 2009 03:31 PM

My favorite question:

"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, SON?"

Usually followed by my saying,

"Never mind. I don't want to know." :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 03:38 PM

If they're told they're doing it all wrong when they try to change a diaper or burp a baby, some of them give up.

I think this goes for most things, not just parenting. Most people will not willingly take on a task for which they are constantly criticized (even if that's not really the intent). Standard Skinnerian response says that punished behavior dimenishes.

When the perception is that doing it right is more important that putting forth the effort, don't be surprised when you no longer get the effort and you are the one stuck with having to do it right.

This was something the LG learned real quick when we were taking a trip with some of her friends one weekend after finals. She was apparently still a little stressed out from them and was giving me hell about my driving. Before we even made it 5 miles down the road I had to literally pull off the side of the road, yank the keys out of the ignition and held them infront of her and ask her quite curtly if she wanted to drive. She became a lot more complimentary about my driving after that. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 22, 2009 03:44 PM

My sister nearly lost it one day when her twin boys were splashing water in the bathtub all over the floor.

She exclaimed, "I've told you two repeatedly not to do that. SO WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"

One of them looked at the other and asked him very sincerly, "Why did we do that?"

She had to leave the room because she didn't want her boys to hear her laughing and think they weren't still in trouble.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 22, 2009 03:51 PM

That used to happen to me a lot ;p

Sometimes it is no fun being the parental unit.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 03:55 PM

If they're told they're doing it all wrong when they try to change a diaper or burp a baby, some of them give up.

I'm so glad YAG got this one already. It's called "aversion therapy". You want to get a guy to quit trying to do something, tell him he's doing it wrong. The more times you apply this, the less likely it will be that he will try.

I love your solution to the backseat driving YAG. I wish I'd have thought of that at times. Maybe it's different with the ladies, but after the third or fourth time of stacking the dishwasher "wrong" (since when will spoons NOT get clean unless they're fat side up?), my motivation for wanting to help with the dishes REALLY dried up.

Maybe I should have said "the spoons will get just as clean fat side down, now run along and let me do the dishes," but what really came more to mind is, "why am I trying to help if all I'm going to get is grief for doing it 'wrong'?"

Posted by: MikeD at June 22, 2009 04:49 PM

That's not just a male-female thing, Mike :p

My husband regularly grabs spoons, dishes etc. I've just loaded into the dishwasher and re-loads them the "correct" way.

My Dad does the same thing.

Somehow (I'm never sure entirely how) I've managed to do thousands of loads of dishes over the years and hardly ever had a spoon or dish come out dirty (or worse, broken, as happens all the time to my spouse). But if it does come out dirty, I just wash it again by hand. After all, I'm nearly always the one who unloads the dishwasher anyway :p

After years of gritting my teeth over this, however, I learned not to take it personally. I am just stubborn enough that I'm not necessarily going to change the entire way I do things just because someone else does it differently (especially when I do it most of the time). I just chalk it up to personality differences and try to let it wash over me.

I suppose that's why it's hard for me to accept the 'feeling criticized' excuse for not doing certain things - I feel that way all the time, but I figure you can have me perform a task, but if I perform it you don't get to tell me how to do it :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 05:08 PM

Another mahvelous post M'lady...

"I'll miss him every day for the rest of my life."
Sorta choked me up. I feel the same about my old man. Hopefully my girls will think of me in the same way. But I think I'd better give the youngest another few years to mull it over. =8^} Mostly because I too recognized, early on, that
"there is some value in being 'the neighborhood hardass'."
Especially when you're raising two young ladies in the current "well all my friends parents allow < insert aberrant behavior du jour here> them to" and < regardless of what it is, it's all good > climate.

Posted by: bt-the resident-curmudgeon_hun at June 22, 2009 05:09 PM

"well all my friends parents allow them to..."

1. Travel all by themselves at the age of 16 to a foreign country to meet some person of the opposite sex they met on the Intertubes? (Mom's hands-down fave of all time)

Check.

2. Spend the night camping in the desert with a large number of mixed-sex friends in HS?

Check.

3. Have sleepovers with their SO sans benefit of marriage?

Check. And double check :p

4. Lie around all summer, sans gainful employment?

Check.

5. Watch some movie that shocks Mom pink in the face (never an easy feat at the best of times)?

Check.

And the list goes on and on :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 05:32 PM

Heh... I always suspected that the list was little more than an infinitely permutable list composed of a finite number of elements of mischief for which the correct answer was/is always...

Not in this lifetime, FUGETABOUDIT!

AND DON'T SLAM YOUR BEDROOM DOOR YOUNG LADY OR IT MIGHT NEED TO BE REMOVED ALTOGETHER!

-Which, btw, saved many a wall-hung picture and precariously perched on a shelf, borderline stable, Walkin' Boss treasured, whatnot.

Posted by: bt-the resident-curmudgeon_hun at June 22, 2009 05:48 PM

After years of gritting my teeth over this, however, I learned not to take it personally. I am just stubborn enough that I'm not necessarily going to change the entire way I do things just because someone else does it differently

And that, I think, is the difference. Male ego is often times tied to competence. For us, it *is* personal. It's not about the spoons. It wasn't about my driving. She says "You're going too fast", "Watch out for that child", "You need to be in *that* lane", "You're too close to the edge of the road", "You don't need to rev the engine so much changing gears", etc. He hears "You aren't competent to drive without *my* help."

She thinks she's being helpful (offering a different way of doing things), he thinks he's being insulted.

And that kinda makes the difference in coming behind and quitely reorganizing the dishwasher versus "You're doing it wrong, spoons go *here*". In the former I can accept that the other person "just has a different way of doing things", the latter, to me at least, is openly unappreciative. And it's these two things: competance and appreciation that are the real issue, not having a differing opinion on how to do things.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 22, 2009 05:55 PM

Maybe it's different with the ladies, but after the third or fourth time of stacking the dishwasher "wrong" (since when will spoons NOT get clean unless they're fat side up?), my motivation for wanting to help with the dishes REALLY dried up.

This is one of my pet peeves with a very good friend of mine. She's a lovely woman and she adores her husband but she is forever complaining he doesn't help in the kitchen and then when he does, complaining he loads the dishwasher wrong. Despite being extremely bright, she seems unable to figure out that the latter complaint probably leads to the former complaint. I have to agree with my sister-in-law on this one: if the door closes, the dishwasher is loaded right.

And that, I think, is the difference. Male ego is often times tied to competence. For us, it *is* personal. [snip]

She thinks she's being helpful (offering a different way of doing things), he thinks he's being insulted.

I've figured out - through trial and error - that "helping" doesn't always go over well with my husband but I've never really figured out exactly why. What a great explanation.

Posted by: Elise at June 22, 2009 06:59 PM

There is nothing I can say on this subject that won't get me into trouble.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 07:09 PM

First year of marriage, I taught Walkin' Boss how to cook.

Shortly afterwards, I thought it would be more efficient to organize the kitchen and have a place for everything and have everything in its place. About five minutes later it was agreed that I would stay the <expletive deleted> out of the kitchen. =8^}

I have only recently begun to bring my skills back from the outdoor grill into the kitchen, but I think I'm on probation. And if I do after dinner duties like clean the kitchen, the dishes, and load the dishwasher, being the considerate, thoughtful, and rote trained Neanderthal that I am, there is no peeking!

Regarding motoring about, we both read and/or listen to music with eyes closed while the other drives. But, the fantasy persists...

Posted by: bt-the resident-curmudgeon_hun at June 22, 2009 08:14 PM

Regarding motoring about, we both read and/or listen to music with eyes closed while the other drives.

Ah. The secret to a long and happy marriage.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2009 08:32 PM

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Posted by: david at June 22, 2009 10:06 PM

My earliest memory of doing something with my dad goes back to the first time we lived in Augsburg. I hadn't even started school yet. We lived on the first floor of the apartment building. It was winter, and Daddy took me out behind the building to help me build a tiny snowman. Mom was inside. Daddy passed my little snowman through the dining room window so he could live in the freezer for a little while.

My parents took us places. Daddy has always been a history buff, so I guess it had a lot to do with him sharing that interest with us. Daddy also coached DYA sports that my older brother played, particularly baseball and basketball. At least one season, I was the "manager", attending practices, and helping lug around a duffle bag (a big, OD green Army one) full of basketballs.

I got my share of spankings, too, from both parents. I might have been mad about it, but I still knew they loved me.

Yesterday, the Express had "catch with Dad" in the outfield before the game. It wasn't limited to fathers with little kids. My sisters and I went out there with my dad. They were all better at it than me, but it was still fun, and I think Daddy got a kick out of it ;-)

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 22, 2009 11:40 PM

There is nothing I can say on this subject that won't get me into trouble.

Hey, I never said it was *right*. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 23, 2009 12:03 AM

And that, I think, is the difference. Male ego is often times tied to competence. For us, it *is* personal. It's not about the spoons. It wasn't about my driving. She says "You're going too fast", "Watch out for that child", "You need to be in *that* lane", "You're too close to the edge of the road", "You don't need to rev the engine so much changing gears", etc. He hears "You aren't competent to drive without *my* help."

Yes. That exactly. YAG nails it.

There is nothing I can say on this subject that won't get me into trouble.

As YAG also says, it's not right that we do this, it's just how it is. So you can point out how dumb this is that men do this. We're going to agree with you. Or at least I know I will.

Posted by: MikeD at June 23, 2009 08:38 AM

So you can point out how dumb this is that men do this. We're going to agree with you. Or at least I know I will.

Oh, I'm right there with you, Mike. How rational is it to think that the woman who loves you more than anyone else in the world is purposefully trying to insult you?

What is "Not much at all", Alex?

It's a completely emotional response possibly due to congnitive dissonance. That is, the two ideas that 1) she is not the type of person who would insult you, and 2) that she appears to be doing just that are not really compatible with each other and so holding these two incompatable ideas at the same time causes frustration.

The real issue is that the subtexts for each gender can be radically different and both sides needs to learn and adapt their behavior accordingly. She needs to learn that offering unsolicited advice can be insulting, and he needs to learn to take unsolicited advice in the manner in which it was intended: caring helpfulness.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 23, 2009 09:35 AM

After many full and frank exchanges of views on the subject over the decades, my taller half and I have nearly learned what a bad idea it is to offer impertinent advice to each other.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 23, 2009 05:31 PM

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