What happens when Psychology Professionals Psychological Mind Tricks Family

Of course, all parents use mind tricks to get kids to behave and do other positive actions. Do you think B.F. Skinner ever came up to his kids’ rooms at night and read them stories or give them candy to get them to sleep? Did Sigmund Freud ever tell his crying kid (or was it id?) to stretch out on the couch, calm down and tell Dad all of her troubles?

If this title question implies that psychiatrists and psychologists deliberately do something abusive, inappropriate or unprofessional to family members, that certainly is an ethical violation, or in the extreme, possibly a criminal one. The normal relationships among family members, even if one is a psychology professional, involve many, day-by-day attempts to get into each other’s minds. It is a vital part of the human condition, and is not necessarily a negative influence.

For example, from an early age, sometimes too early, parents begin toilet training their kids. Whatever method, harsh or benign, the kids eventually learn by praise, reinforcement and personal comfort. Various training continues at home throughout every child’s life. If it involves loving and considerate help from a learned professional, it is usually to the child’s great benefit.

I don’t know if the analogy fits, but my life’s work was in professional writing. Because of it, I applied heavy emphasis on my kids from an early age to master the English language. Both were speaking clearly at one year and were reading on a second-grade level at age four. We had an evening meal ritual where each family member related his/her activities of the day, and from their ages four until they left home for college, our kids read selections of their own choice aloud for 15 minutes each night from books or the daily newspapers.

Was this putting heavy emphasis on my own professional skills to impose them on my two kids? You betcha. One now manages music concerts and produces CDs and DVDs, while the other is a writer-producer on a major network TV program. If I played mind games on my kids, I confess to the crime.