kengr: (antenna girl)
Break Up to Make Up by The Stylistics just came up on my playlist. And it got me thinking.

*Way* too many "love songs" are about *severely* screwed up relationships.
kengr: (Default)
This post got me thinking. And while it's appalling I realized something about the way guys are "indoctrinated".

Guys, especially teens *know* that *of course* everyone wants sex. They don't even question it.

A fair number figure that there are reasons why a girl might not want to admit it. They get *that* much* of female cultural conditioning.

But I suspect that the vast majority would find the concept of girls actively not *wanting* to have sex totally incomprehensible. And a lot don't "get it" even after they become "responsible adults.

The simple fact is responsible for vast amounts of suffering.

So, not only do we need to quit teaching that "no means no" (rather teach that "anything but an explicit *yes* means no") but we need to get across to guys that for females sex is a *horribly* risky thing and that they have a lot of very good reasons to not even want to *consider* it.

With that context, teaching them that "consent means an explicit yes" will be a lot easier.

Heck, it might even make the stupidity that is "abstinence only" sex "education" a bit less of a major fail.
kengr: (Default)
This post raises some interesting issues about consent.

It also reminds me of something else I read recently regarding questioning someone for information when they may be trying to be misleading (or just trying to give you the answer they think you want). Again, as in the post, you can't ask questions that suggest what the answer is.

That is, Don't ask "did he do X?" Instead, you have to ask "what happened?" or "show me what he did."

This is especially true with kids.

Asking leading questions is one of the big things that lead to all the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" nonses 30(?) years back. Folks asking very young kids leading questions, and the kids trying to please the adult by giving the answrs they think the adults want.

BTW, this may have been a factor in the Salem Witch trials, at lesast at the beginning. Later, things were more driven by the girls realizing the power theyt had to get other people in trouble.
kengr: (antenna girl)
I've been working my way through an interesting person's tumblr (warning, she's got a *lot* of NSFW content) and I ran across this entry.

The comments about "forced socialization" are *so* true. Yet somehow most teachers, parents and other adults don't seem to even *consider* the possibility of any of this.

I expect a lot is due to this cultures overwhelming bias towards extroverts.

But it's also a symptom of the practice of adults not *listening* to kids. You can't just throw a kid in with a bunch of other kids and expect them to learn social skills by osmosis, much less make friends.

Yeah, it works often enough to be seen (via selection bias) as workable. The problem is that when it doesn't work, it usually goes pretty far into the negative. And then we blame the kid for not being able to get along or whatever. Hell, it's where a lot of bullying comes from.

Parents *really* need to stop and listen. And consider that while the kid may not be expressing himself well, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have a point. He (or she) may well know quite well that things are going wrong (and how), but just lacks the vocabulary to discuss it.

Lack of success does *not* mean lack of effort. Often it's a case of clashing personality types. Or of ignorance.

I know that I had some difficulties fitting in in the first few grades because (due to being raised by a widow) I didn't know the rules to baseball, football, etc. Didn't help that mom's husband had been a lefty, so when she gave me his old baseball glove it didn't help.

We *really* could use someone sitting down and writing out all the stuff "normal" kids *do* pick up thru osmosis and writing it down (probably as a series of "age" appropriate books) for the kids (and adults) who *don't* figure it out.

Also need something to explain to the kids who don't "work" the way "normal" kids do (and their parents and teachers) that it's not *wrong* to be different. And suggest coping strategies that *aren't* "fake it".


Apr. 4th, 2014 08:47 am
kengr: (Default)
(sparked by one of [ profile] fayanora's tumblr posts)

God answers prayers. But what most people fail to realize is that often the answer is "No."
kengr: (Default)
I was reading about a study of what happened when men got into women's spaces. Stuff like there being 5 men to almost 40 women, but the men did 50% of te talking, and were "deferred" to a lot.

I suddenly remembered an incident at a party some years back. I'd wandered into a group of folks I mostly knew and they were talking about something I was interested in (might have been computers, might have been gaming). And I kept trying to join inn but kept getting ignored.

Now, this is a continuing problem with me as I'm overly polite and not very assertive. So I have trouble finding a break I feel I can use to interject things.

This time it was a lot worse than usual. So much so I finally went elsewhere feeling really lousy.

But now I'm wondering. I know that I went to a lot of those parties en femme. Being as it's been so long, I don't recall if I was that time. But if I was, that'd make the suck even worse. Because those folks knew me both ways. And that'd mean that they were unconsciously tteating me differently.


Nov. 7th, 2013 02:34 am
kengr: (Default)
Wish someone had told me this when I was a kid.


  1. If I say “no” to someone and they get angry, this does not mean I should have said “yes.”
  2. Saying “no” does not make me selfish.
  3. Although I want to please the people I care about, I do not have to please them all the time.
  4. It is okay to want or need something from someone else. 
  5. My wants and needs are just as important as those of anyone else.
  6. I have the right to assert myself, even if I may inconvenience others.
kengr: (Default)
[ profile] fayanora posted a link to this post about procrastination.

While reading it, I was reminded of other issues with similar causes.

Especially this paragraph
You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.

Growing up with "high expectations" and a parent who didn't believe in praise except for *exceeding* her expectations led to that sort of thing.

To use a sports analogy, it was like being criticized for every stumble and missed step, but at the same time being expected to turn in exceptional times on the track. *Before* you have gotten any experience at running, nor worked up your "wind", stamina and other skills and abilities that require practice or training (training in the sense of exercising an ability to improve it, not in the sense of being shown how to do it).

So you turn in a time of 15 for the hundred yard dash and get criticized for not being faster, totally ignoring the fact that your previous time was 17.

Improvement didn't matter because you weren't "good enough".

This is a recipe for getting someone to *hate* whatever it is that they are supposed to be "good at".

Being "smart" doesn't apply equally to all subjects. Nor will it help if the problems haven't been explained properly.

Mom got that basic arithmetic required drills (because it was mostly rote memorization). But any other math "should" have been "read the text", or "hear the technique explained" and then you should be perfect.

Yeah right.

Add in a large dose of "because *I* understand [unspoken rule] then it doesn't need to be explained to the kid. And if he gets it wrong, he's "not trying" or "lazy".

The logic there escapes me. You make getting things wrong *very* painful (often *literally* with liberal applications of the switch) yet failures must be from lack of effort, they can't *possibly* be from poor teaching that lead to lack of information or lack of understanding of some crucial detail.

In my later teens I actually had the guts to actually say that I wished I had a father so that there'd be somebody to appeal mom's irrational decisions to.

Oh yeah, hit someone with "not trying" and "lazy" often enough, combined with their best efforts getting "you can do better" and eventually they *will* quit putting forth any effort they aren't forced to. Why should they? They'll get punished anyway (and don't try to claim that "not trying", "lazy" and "you can do better" *aren't* punishment regardless of any physical "discipline" applied)

Yeah, I've never raised any kids. Hell, given what *my* childhood was like, and the "sterling example" I had, I decided a *long* time ago that it was best if I didn't ever have any. Not that I've had the chance.

But that doesn't mean that what I have to say can be casually tossed aside. I've got *lots* of experience (that unlike too many adults, I actually *remember) at what sort of treatment will be seen as grossly unfair by any child with an ounce of brains.

Sure, kids don't have the best judgment on many things. But there's that famous quote about a ruler not only having to be fair & just nut must be *seen* as fair and just.

Lots of necessary stuff is going to be resented by kids. But there's lot of stuff that *isn't* fair or just, merely "parents always have [and always will] gotten away with" that just maybe needs a second look. Or a third.

At the very least folks, try to rein in your expectations. Take a look and see if the kid has done better than last time. Even if you think the kid can do better (and you just might be wrong about that) they *did* do better. That doesn't merit a "you can do better". That merits a "you did better. Good" Then, *after* they've gotten that little bit of carrot, *maybe* it will be appropriate to start discussing how they can do better next time.

And don't *assume* things. Maybe they got that wrong because what they heard/read given what they know (which is *not* what YOU know) is wrong or lacking in some critical detail.

Sad and painful example.

I got confronted with some "math" problems where letters had been substitued for digits. And you were supposed to be able to work out the answer. Which involved figuring out what digit (0-9) had been substituted for which letter.

Not easy, but doable. But when it was explained to me, all I was told was that you substituted numbers for letters. Mom thought that was sufficient. But she *assumed* a crucial detail was "obvious". Namely that in a given problem, you *always* substituted the *same* digit* for the same letter.

Lacking that little bit of info, I quickly came to the (*correct* given the info I had) conclusion that there weren't any unique solutions, so the problems couldn't be solved.

Guess who got in trouble for not doing the problems?

I've heard of a kid who got into trouble for similar reasons on some problems. Only unlike my mom, someone wondered why he got such wrong answers and worked the problems thru with him.

In his case, there'd been an example problem at the start of the section to explain how to do the (simple algebra) problems.

When the person working with him started working the firsat real problem the kid exploded. "You aren't using the same numbers!!"

After a bit of back and forth the adult realized that the kid had been trying to use the X and y values *form the example* in the rest of the problems. Because nowhere was it stated that they'd be different in each problem. Because "everyone knew" that.

Once that was cleared up the kid did very well n the problems.

But without someone willing to dig into *why* he'd gotten wrong answers, he'd have flunked. All because it was *assumed* that students would know something that was never explicitly stated.

Little kids are *notorious for behavior that if you look at it *objectively* is *not" "stupid" or "silly". It's them quite logically applying the e rules they have been given and getting tripped up because the *adults* had not given them necessary information or rules, they'd just *assumed* that it was "obvious".

Classic example is the joke about the little girl who told her mother that she'd made a bunch of money off the little boys betting her that she couldn't do a handstand. Mother tells her that the boys were trying to see her panties, and she shouldn't let them.

Next day she's boasting about how much more money she'd made betting with the boys. Mother reminds her that they were trying to see her panties and that she shouldn't have let them. At which point the girl pipes up "Yeah, I fooled them by not wearing any!"

Perfectly logical from the girl's point of view, and *horribly* inappropriate from the mother's point of view. But it's ythe mother's fault for *assuming* that she only had to tell her daughter not to let boys see her panties.

Adults do this with other adults as well. Bosses or trainers who don't think to explain crucial details about a job because they are "obvious". Or politicians who use the principle with malice aforethought to mislead people by leaving out info so that folks will *assume* the "obvious" (but *wrong*) fats as background and conclude that something awful is being done.
kengr: (idiot-free)
Had to put myself back in the mindset of my younger (primary school) self to work out some reactions of a character that age.

That got me thinking about a few other things, both in other stuff I was reading and bits and pieces from various real world events, both very old and recent.

And it struck me that a lot of times, perhaps even most of the time when adults complain about kids being "stupid" or "not listening" (at least for pre-teens) what they *really* mean is that the kid acted (or failed to act) in accordance with the way the adult would have acted in the situation.

What's going on is that the adult sees the kid as actingt contrary to a "rule" or instructions. And they Either expect the kid to know that the rule is a variation on one the kid dooes know or a "reasonable" corrolary of such a rule.

Or in the case of instructions they feel that the instructions have been ignored.

Heck, they may even consider the kid's protests to be an attempt at rules lawyering.

But what I recall from when I was that age (and from observing some adult child interactions since) is that often the adult is assuming that the kid has the same base of knowledge AND EXPERIENCE that the adult does.

So what is clear and "obvious" to the adult is sometimes anything *but* to the kid.

A classic example surfaced a few decades back when some kids were being put thru the typical "don't talk to strangers" etc indoctrination at a school and someone (as I recall) decided to do so live practice to see how well the kids got it. To their surpridse (and horror) the kids would walk right up and start talking to the folks playing "stranger".

When they asked the kids why the response was "But they weren't strangers!". Further questioning elicited that the kids had never been explicitly *told* what a "stranger" was, so they'd come up with a "definition in their heads that ran along the lines of "weird and scary person". Which kinda makes sense given the context that they'd encountered the word in.

Thinking upon it now, I suspect they were also trying to work things out from the "obvious" relationship between "stranger" and "strange". With them knowing that strange meant "weird" but not the other connotations of "not known".

Anyway, that was quite a shock to a lot of folks, including many educators.

And it's the principle that I think applies far more broadly than most want to admit. Most words are *never* explicitly defined to kids. They have to pik up meanings from context and it's way easy to get things wrong that way.

So the "stupid" kid acts on his best knowledge and gets it wrong because the *adult* assumed that what he told the kid meant the same thing to the kid as to the adult.

Or the kid "didn't listen" because the kid didn't do what the adult expected.

Sad to say, this is actually a big problem in adult-to adult communications as well. Read any of the various fora where tech support types or even customer service types have to deal with adults who "know" things that aren't so (like "wireless" routers don't need to be plugged in)

The idea that other people do *not* necessarily think the way we do, nor have the sane "background" knowledge we do is often a shock to people. And in too many cases, it's utterly rejected as just not *possible*. Which results in the "they must be willfully misunderstanding out of sheer malice" reaction.

Take a look at some child-adult confrontations and you'll see that (not that kids *don't* play that sort of game, but there are times when they *aren't* but the adults refuse to believe that they aren't).

Likewise some thorny political & social problems run into the same morass.

Not easily solvable without a *major* overhaul of our culture and our educational system.
kengr: (Default)
Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85%

Check the stuff about ACEs. It's *way* too familiar to me, and I suspect to many of you.

I scored a 3 on their shortened version of the ACE survey. I rather expect I might score higher on the full version.

I could *so* have used a school like that back when I was in high school.
kengr: (Default)
I was dealing with some stress by "acting out" some stuff in my head. Mostly having a third party (say, the shrink I don't currently have) trying to explain to the folks running the apartments that some of their practices are very "triggery" for me.

I do this sort of thing from time to time, because it bleeds off some of the stuff that'd otherwise build up and make me likely to explode at some far too trivial trigger.

What was odd was that I suddenly realized that the "spokesman" in my head was referring to me with female pronouns. Given that my femme side has been more notable by its absence for some time, this was a bit of a surprise, to say the least.
kengr: (Default)
I ran into the old chestnut about "Can God create a rock to big for Him to move?"

The standard answer is that it's a nonsense question.

But then it occurred to me that if God can set rules for the universe, maybe he can set rules that he has to follow. In that case, if he created a rock with the intent that he not be able to move it, then it would indeed be immovable, because he'd made that a new rule.

Different, but plausible, yes?

Then it hit me. God created man with free will. And if the above idea is true, he's stuck with us having free will.

That explains a *lot* of things about the world that are otherwise hard to square with am "omnipotent" deity. Most of what theologians refer to as "The Problem of Evil" to name but one.
kengr: (Default)
"You're not trying!"

Thus runs the familiar cry. Be it from a PE coach, a teacher of some more academic subject, or a parent.

Right or wrong, what they *actually* mean, even if they don't realize it themselves is "You aren't achieving the results I expect you to."

Note the rather significant difference between those two statements. The former is an *assumption* based on their observations of your results and what they think is your attitude. It's also an attempt to make the lack of desired results your fault.

The latter is a statement of fact. Worse, it highlights the fact that their *expectations* are a critical component of the situation.

Consider. The kid isn't doing well and perhaps looks sullen and resentful. Or maybe listless.

"Obviously" they aren't trying. Right?


Or maybe they've been giving it their best shot and failing because they lack the ability or because your expectations are too high. And continued failure *combined with accusations that they aren't trying* is why they are acting the way they are.

And the failure in spite of actual (and unrecognized/ignored) effort may be because the adult has *assumed* things. Like assuming a kid knows things the adult does. And without those minor but *crucial* bits of info (or technique) the task isn't *possible* to complete satisfactorily.

This is a somewhat specific case of a far more general problem.

People confuse effort and results. They assume that sufficient effort *will* produce results. And they also assume that lack of results means lack of effort.

This affects *everything*. It's part of why the jobless are assumed to be at fault. Likewise for welfare.

It's also why so many programs that are producing no results or are actually counterproductive survive. They are "major efforts". Just look at all the money/manpower being thrown at the problem.

As an overly simple example, a group of people can push on a log all they want and it won't move if the middle is up against a big rock. Push *sideways* and once it's past the rock *then* it can easily be rolled to where you wanted it.

But as long as that rock is there, adding more manpower won't help.

Now consider where the problem is less obvious. Say long branch stub that got buried in the ground when the ground was a sea of mud.

The log still won't roll. But there's not an obvious reason. And to an uncritical, uncaring or just plain stupid boss, the reason it won't move *must* be that the worker or work crew isn't trying. It *can't* be that there's a *hidden* problem making the situation different from other, outwardly similar ones.


I'm sure the parallels with various policies, government programs and various common memes are now obvious.

But that's not going to help with getting folks to quit confusing effort and results. Not any more than they are going to quit believing that good intentions *can't* have bad results unless someone did something out of malice to cause them. (Another rant for another day).
kengr: (Default)
Reading yet another tale that all too accurately recounts what childhood was like for many, I once again had the "If I were dictator" thoughts on dealing with such things. But this time a few new ideas came to mind.

Not sure how to break the culture of "don't involve the adults" that keeps so many kids enduring stuff that should never happen. Finding ways to make it obvious *to the kids* that adults who can't be trusted get punished for it might help. Meanwhile:

Fighting: Ok, many boys (and some girls) actually enjoy a bit of a tussle. Or at least have no problem with it if it's a fair fight and they've got a reason.

So outright saying "no fighting" is a non starter. Finding ways to limit it to something resembling mutual consent and one of one with no retaliation from "buddies" of the loser against the winner would suffice for that.

The big kid picking on the smaller kid (or other mismatches such as a kid with lots of skill/experience/strength against a kid without it) and ganging up should get treated as assault, with only some mitigation for age.

"Games" like keepaway are theft. Plain and simple. No excuses of the "we were just playing" sort. Again, *some* mitigation for age.

Damaging/destroying things belonging to other kids is vandalism. Period.

Adults who are supposedly supervising or otherwise responsible for the kids and either don't prevent this stuff or shrug it off get charged as *accessories*. As adults. (one of the new thoughts).

Somehow, I suspect that the teachers, coaches, etc who try to say "kids will be kids" or "the wimp needs to stand up for himself" or any of the other loathsome things that are too often used as excuses would change their tune is the "pranks" or "jokes" or "boisterousness" could result in them facing criminal charges. And face it, these things *are* crimes, even if current society doesn't want to treat them as such.

Alas I can't come up with good ways to deal with the "sports are super important" folks.

One thought regarding PE though. Heart rate monitors are pretty cheap, and pulse oximeters could be if they were produced in larger numbers.

I have this vision of a PE class were all the students are wearing them and some authority figure points at the readings for some kid like I was and reams the PE teacher a new one for telling the kid to try harder when the "wimp has a higher heart rate than the jocks and is struggling with a lot lower blood oxygen level as well.

Come to think of it, something like those, maybe with a couple other things like a temp sensor might be able to be pushed as a way to avoid liability for pushing kids too far...

Dealing with the various horrid memes out there, like "being brainy is bad" or worthy of getting picked on for, or that acting "gay" or "like a sissy" is worthy of abuse are another whole set of problems.

But being able to just stop the *physical* abuses would help.
kengr: (Default)
Just remembered part of dream from a nap earlier.

I was trying to get some small parts back into place on some things that had gotten messed up by folks bumping into them. But they were getting in the way and I was getting really upset.

The thing that prompted this post was what happened when I tried yelling at them. I was yelling but at best a whisper was coming out. Which just got me more upset and frustrated because I couldn't *tell* these people to get out of the way or why they should.

What prompted my posting this was that I now recall having had that same sort of "need to talk/yell and can't" thing in other dreams in the past.

Anyway, *gee* I can't *imagine* what sort of symbolism *that* is supposed to be... (heavy sarcasm).


May. 7th, 2007 04:01 pm
kengr: (gender discrimination)
Well, I just had my self-image altered.

Or maybe I should make that my *awareness of my self image.

I was over at the store buying groceries. And a guy said "Excuse me, sir" as he squeezed past me.

And I found that it *bothered* me. Even though I was unshaven and in boy mode, it bothered me.

Oy. I hate learning experiences.
kengr: (antenna girl)
After reading an entry in [ profile] tallin's LJ (here) I pointed it out to [ profile] griffen and suggested that he should try it. Discussion ensued. And that led to some thoughts I'm going to share.

Many people get *very* upset about "labelling" people. I can understand why. The LJ entry I point to above has lots of bad examples.

But labelling *is* useful. It saves time. The trick is that you have to remember that people only "sort of" fit the group characteristics. And when it's group that you don't get to pick (white, male, etc) the fit can be almost non-existent.

But as I told Griffen, it can be useful to look at what you think of when you here "so-and-so is X" when you are also X. And then consider how you *differ* from that image.

Then look at the way the general public would think upon hearing that. And you may pick up a few things worth trying when educating people about the group in question.

Still, I maintain that labels have their place. "She's blonde" will help someone recognize a person. And (if they have brains) suggest that blonde jokes *might* not be a good idea, at least not until you know them better (I've had blonde friends who *collected* blonde jokes!).

"He's gay" suggests that trying to set that person up as a date for your sister probably won't go over well (on the other hand, if you've got a *brother*...). But he's *not* necessarily going to like show tunes or have great fashion sense. :-)

And so on. Stereotypes and labels *can* supply useful information. But you have to realize that the map is not the territory. and that it may be *very* inaccurate.
kengr: (antenna girl)
On a mailing list someone made this comment:

"Someday, the Special People will come and take me away from this miserable home and all the people who hate me because they don't understand me" is one of the most basic, and least-examined, tropes of young adult fantasy and SF (with its roots in ancient myths and faerie tales about changelings and demigods).

It occurs to me in spite of having good reason to want out, I never really fantasized much about that sort of thing. I did escape into books, but I never really saw *me* doing that sort of thing until long after I was on my own.

And I'm wondering if part of the reason for that is that part of the abuse from my mom consisted of making me think that nobody else would *want* me.

I know there are other abuse survivors reading my journal. Does that fit any of you? Or is this just unique to me?
kengr: (antenna girl)
Reading [ profile] griffen's recent entries made me look at some of my "stuff" a bit harder. A few thoughts follow.

Read more... )
kengr: (antenna girl)
I was thinking of writing a "what I'd like for Christmas" post, and remembered this bit that I wrote in March of last year.

It's a bit of a downer, but I think it needs to be said anyway.

Read more... )

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