Someone You Can Enjoy Living With
Children who have practiced and acquired the three exchanges of mutuality are generally nice for parents to live with, and nice for others to interact with out in the world. But what about children who have not been so trained?
What about those children who have been trained to believe in one-way relationships? What about children who have been trained by insecure, compliant, indulgent, or neglectful parenting to believe all the benefits in a relationship should go their way? What about children who have modeled themselves after a parent who mostly gets and takes at home, but rarely gives? In those cases, you get a child who is no pleasure for parents to live with.
One of the risks of adolescence, when children typically become extremely preoccupied with their own needs and become more intent on satisfying personal wants, is that parents may allow training in mutuality to lapse. And when they do, they get a teenager committed to one-way behavior: “My needs come first,” “Things should be done my way,” and “My feelings matter more than anyone else's.”
Unless you want to live with a teenager who believes these statements and acts on these beliefs, you better insist that the three exchanges of mutuality be met all the way through the teenage years.
One goal for parents is to raise a nice child — one who, for the most part, they enjoy being around because he or she has been trained by their discipline to live in a two-way relationship with them.
A spoiled child is a child who has not been taught to practice mutuality in relationships. Spoiled at home, he or she is usually spoiled for meaningful relationships away from home, because who wants to put up with such a self-centered human being? Using the exchange points to teach a child mutuality serves the parent's needs now and the child's needs later on.