Lesson 081: Confusing the child
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/10 ('Cost of Living')


Worf, of the Klingon alien warrior race, is having difficulty raising his pre-teen son alone while on board the Enterprise. Treating his little boy as though he were an adult Klingon warrior, Worf booms out commands to his son.

In one instance, when Worf calls his son to dinner, his son says that he had promised a friend earlier to meet with him at this hour. Worf's son then asks Worf if he should break his promise.

Worf clearly states that a Klingon never breaks his promise. Upon hearing this from his father, the child begins to walk away and exit the room.

Worf immediately growls at his son, demanding to know where he is going. The son replies that he is following his father's words, to not break a promise, and was going off to keep his prior appointment with his friend.

Worf retorts that he didn't mean for him to keep his promise right now, but that for now, he needs to sit down and eat his dinner.

The child replies that he is confused and does not understand what his father is saying.

In true parental fashion, Worf tells his son to understand later, but for now, just sit and eat.


No one should ever presume to tell a parent how to rear their child.

However, we have all been witness to situations where we are stunned at the sheer negligence or incompetency of parents in dealing with their children.

These parents, of banshee screaming to fish-out-of-water thrashing tantrum children, appear to us to be very inept at communicating, let alone controlling their off-springs.

Most of the failure in communicating with a child usually boils down to the parent sending mixed signals to the child and, thereby, totally confusing the child and causing the child to ignore the parents instructions.

When a child misbehaves, if the parent reprimands the child, then out of sheer guilt, quickly hugs the child, the message of their reprimand is lost. If the parent punishes a child for wrong doing, then gives them a gift to stop the child's crying, then the punishment loses all value.

Instead, with this kind of parental behavior, the child quickly learns the parent is totally incapable of admonishing them without rewarding them in some way; thus, the act of misbehaving becomes the source of gaining favors for the child, instead of being penalized.

Children, in spite of their pure innocence, are masters at communicating their wants and needs through various types of crying and outbursts, manipulating the parent into performing exactly per the child's wishes.

On the other hand, some parents often diminish their control over the child by resorting to constant yelling at the child.

Just as we adults learn to be totally dismissive of our grumpy, belligerent bosses, because we know it's just the way they are and that there is no way they can fire us because we are so vital to the company, so the children learn to ignore their parents who exercise lung power over common sense in communicating, because the child also quickly learns how irreplaceable they are to the parent.

There are no rules set in stone for raising a child. However, there are some very basic, common sense approaches (as mentioned above) for all parents to follow. If these approaches are not utilized properly, then they can turn even an outstanding Starfleet officer and iconic Klingon warrior into a befuddled, unfocused and unreliable guide for a child.

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