It's a Bird, It's a Plane … It's a Parent's Worst Nightmare
I am writing this article as an expert on psychology’s effect on family life. No, I am not a research scientist or a journalist. I wasn’t even a psych major. I am writing this as an eye-witness account. That’s right. I am a daughter of a psychologist. Please, hold your gasps, shrieks, and sighs. It’s something that I was born with and have learned to deal with. This is the first time I am writing openly about this affliction. All events documented in this article are true. However, for the sake of reputation and my allowance, I am going to keep my father’s identity a secret. But, I will give you one hint: My last name is Kraut.
As you know, children of psychologists typically fall into social abnormality and exclusion by the age of three months and never come out of it. However — not to toot my own horn (TOOT TOOT) — in my own humble opinion, I turned out pretty well. I’m physically normal, socially acceptable, and after years of honing my skills, able to wipe my own nose. How did she do it, you may be asking yourself? Well, it was pretty simple. I beat my father at his own game. That’s right, I out-psychologized the psychologist.
Now folks, don’t get your PhD’s in a bunch. I only use my powers for good, not evil. I first discovered these psuper powers at about age eight. Up until that time, I suffered silently through the new-aged child rearing techniques. I endured TV-less nights, stimulating books, and positive reinforcement until one day, my powers just kicked in out of nowhere.
It was a typical Tuesday night. I broke the knob off of our newly purchased tape deck player after being distinctly told that the new stereo was not for playing. My mother sent me to my room directly after dinner with no dessert. On my foot clomping huff up the steps, I ran into my father — let’s call him ShmALAN for convenience sake. I explained to ShmALAN how totally unfair it was that Mommy sent me upstairs. I only broke one of the knobs — there were at least five left. ShmALAN looked down at me through his glasses and said “Well, Julie, I want you think about what you did. Was it worth it?” And think I did. I thought about missing dessert. Dessert in our household always was an apple — nature’s toothbrush — that I never ate anyway. I also thought about being sent to bed at 7:30 pm and how that is really not that much different from my 8 pm bedtime. After a few minutes of pondering I looked up at ShmALAN and said, “Yes, Daddy. It was worth it.” I saw a mixture of confusion and disappointment cross his face. His years of studying developmental psychology had failed him. An eight-year-old outwitted him. And that’s when I felt it — my power over my psychologist father. I was Psuper Girl: smarter than a therapist, more cunning than a researcher, able to outwit a trained psychologist with a single comment.
My powers knew no end. I remember another time ShmALAN tried to employ one of his psychological techniques on me. In an effort to get my brother and me to get along, he enacted a teamwork rule: If one child gets punished, then they both do. This would replace the sibling rivalry with comradery, right? Wrong. This was my chance to get my little brother into more trouble than his five-year-old mind could ever fathom. Punishment in my family meant being sent to your room. Now, let me describe my room for you. There are two twin beds perfectly spaced apart for the death-defying act of bed leaping. I also kept a secret pack of Hot Loops under my bed, so being sent to my room was like being admitted to pot holder weaving heaven. Let me not forget to mention the stash of Halloween candy I saved year-round for emergencies. To sum this up, my room was pretty awesome. Every night I would do something bad, ranging from not eating my broccoli to smuggling heroine over the border, and wait for my father to punish not only me but also my innocent brother for the crime. I would run up to my room, entertain myself with bed bouncing, Hot Loops, and fun-sized candy, all over the sweet background of my little brother crying about the injustice of his five-year-old life.
My father still hasn’t caught on to the powers I have over him. I’ve been feeding him the “Dad, I’m going to college” line for the past four years. He eats up this “studying thing” like it’s an Atkins friendly dessert bar. Little does he know that I dropped out of college after failing Psych 101. Ever since, I’ve been intercepting his checks to the university. Just last week, I bought the pony he refused to buy me years ago.
So, that’s how I was raised by a psychologist and survived. I refused to “dialogue” with him and if it wasn’t food, I didn’t care what I was internalizing. I am entitled to be just as out of touch with my emotions as the next kid. Well, at least that’s what my therapist says.
A Fatherly Rebuttal
When asked to respond to his daughter’s article, the anonymous father of Julie Kraut contributed the following photo of the writer. (Did she really think there would be no consequences?)
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