Monkey A and Monkey B

~~~banana jar 3

Monkey A wanders into the clearing and spots the jar under the tree.  His nose wrinkles: banana.  He scampers to the jar where the smell is overpowering.  He sees yellow skin through the jar’s narrow neck.  He reaches in, grabs and pulls, but the fruit is too big.  Puzzled, he pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  He chirps in frustration, pulls with all his might.  The banana stays stuck.  His chirps becomes angry screeches.  His little body whips around the bottle like a flag in a windstorm.  He really really wants this banana.  He is still wanting and pulling and screeching when the trapper’s net drops over him.

Monkey B wanders into the same clearing and smells the same banana.  He reaches in, grabs, pulls.  The banana stays stuck.  He pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  Oh well, he shrugs.  Can’t be helped.  And goes his way, free.



5 responses to “Monkey A and Monkey B

  • Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

    Well, when all else fails? Break the damn JAR! GEESSSS LOL. Cute post-Steve 🙂


  • Pd

    Hey STEVE
    I was wondering if you have an incredibly difficult 17 yr old – you have exhausted most all resources to get the child to comply – with no success At what point is monkey B not bad parenting. As a parent I feel as long as I am monkey A all hope is not lost. Another words are you quiting on your kid if you become parent B . For the sake of sanity. It seams all hope (control) is lost. And please any monkeys out there who have words of advice from parental experiences Bring it Thank you

    • Steve Hauptman

      Some rebelliousness in 17-year-olds is inevitable, even healthy.

      It’s been said that an adolescent’s job is to kill the parents, and the parents’ job is to not retaliate.

      That means an important psychological task of adolescence is separation and individuation: to move beyond simply complying with parental rules and wishes and become their own person.

      Lots of parents don’t understand this, unfortunately, and misinterpret teenage rebelliousness as disrespect or disloyalty or psychopathology.

      This is especially true of parents who (a) were not helped by their own parents through this difficult time, and (b) have their own control issues.

      It’s not unusual for such parents to act out their own frustration and anxiety by increasing their efforts to control their kids.

      Which is about as helpful as trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

      I tell parents with rebellious kids three things:

      First, you must be doing something right if your kid has enough ego strength to rebel. (Ego strength is the ability to say “This is who I am, this is what I think, this is how I feel, and this is what I want.”) The sickest adults I work with never went through adolescent rebellion, and so never felt like grownups inside.

      Second, try to remember your own adolescence, especially what you needed from your parents and what you got. You may find that you’re repeating that same pattern with your kid.

      Third, shut up and listen.

      We parents like to believe (or pretend) that we know everything, and so are qualified to teach our kids how to live their lives. That’s probably true up to a point. But it’s also true that none of us knows what it’s like to be a kid nowadays.

      How would you like to grow up in a world dominated by heroin overdoses, an absurd political system, and ISIS? Facebook, free internet porn and texting?

      Have some humility. Stop demanding compliance and start asking questions. Stop talking and try listening.

      If you’re lucky, your kid will start to tell you how they need you to parent them.

      • Pd

        Thank you Steve. For a very in depth explanation. I appreciate your time and efforts. I am sure as time goes on you will here details of my daughter threw Sta. My biggest fear is the drug use and promiscuous behavior, when they don’t come home and disregard all forms of communication.

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