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PREVIEW: Guilt Tripping: A Harmful Destination by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

Larry and Corrina Johnson took their children on a trip this summer. No, they didn’t visit Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Canyon. Fenway Park, the Field Museum, and the Mackinaw Bridge weren’t part of the itinerary either. In fact, the Johnson family never left home. The trip their children experienced took place at the kitchen table. They received a full-blown, all-expenses-paid guilt trip delivered by Larry Johnson and lovingly supported by his wife, Corinna.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” Larry said to his nine-year-old twins to begin their summer excursion down Guilt Trip Lane. “You haven’t done anything of value all summer. All you do is lie around watching television, eating junk food, and leaving messes in the family room. Your poor mother works her fingers to the bone cleaning up after you. Don’t you have any respect or feeling for your mother? If you do, you don’t show it. She’s a good woman and doesn’t deserve to be treated the way you treat her. Do you see her gray hairs? Where do you suppose those come from? You’re going to be the death of your mother the way you ignore her efforts. She loves you so much and you treat her like she’s invisible. If anything ever happened to her, you’d be sorry. She’s not going to be around forever, you know. Sometimes she can’t sleep at night from worrying about you two. I hope you’re proud of yourselves, because I’m not. I expect to see a radical change in your behavior starting right now. Go over and give your mother a hug and show her how much you love her. Go on, do it now.”

Larry Johnson did what a lot of parents do to manipulate their children into behaving in a desired fashion. He dispensed a huge dose of guilt.

Parents who use shame and guilt as a motivator do so because they believe that if children can be shamed into feeling guilty, they will change their behavior and do what their parents want…

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