It's always comforting to hear tales of experts in child development who are as capable of loony parenting as the rest of us. At a conference in St. Louis Park this morning, renowned Ohio psychologist Gregory Keck shared a lighter moment in his relationship with his adopted son as part of a speech on parenting children who have endured trauma in their lives.
Keck described returning home once to his teenaged son and finding a screen door that had been knocked off of its railing. Not really caring about the door, he nonetheless asked his son if he broke it.
"It wasn't me," his son replied. "It just broke."
Unsatisfied with the response, that the door could spontaneously break, Keck tried to reason with him.
Just once in his life, he told his son, he'd like to hear him take responsibility and say "I broke the door" rather than blaming "it." The argument gradually heated up, with the son continuing to claim that "it" just happened.
Keck lost his cool, yanked the entire door from the railing, and confronted his son.
"Now, did I break the door?!" he yelled, "or did it just break?!"
His son replied, "You must be a really good psychologist."
Keck admitted it wasn't his finest moment as a father, and as a kicker he couldn't fix the door himself so he asked a neighbor to come and help. The neighbor, naturally, asked what happened.
"It just broke," Keck replied.
On the bright side, Keck said the conversation had some measure of payoff. His son never referred to "it" as the culprit of anything after that.
Does this sound familiar parents? Have your kids reported that "it" was responsible for anything in your home?