Dear San

Why we give in when faced with determination by another to make us do something that we feel/know is unacceptable is an interesting question?

I have a Labrador who suffers with poor hips and shoulders and at the moment is limping on a front leg. I know that if I throw a ball she will hurt more but she looks at me with eyes that would melt the coldest heart and pleads ‘just one throw – please’. I don’t throw her ball because it would cause her pain but I compromise and throw a soft toy in the hope she doesn’t leap and chase it when it bounces off her nose. Of course it develops to one more throw and then another until her limp is more pronounced. I have become her enabler and I am not doing the right thing for her.

I think the answer to your question is that we ‘hope’ that by giving in a bit we will make the other person’s life better but as can be seen with your small boy and my Labrador it doesn’t always follow.

Many people say they give in for a ‘quiet life’ but surely we all hope for a quiet life. Not so I think. People, dogs have agendas that are not deliberately cultivated, hence the insecure seek to dominate the secure, the young flex their muscles testing their strengths against the experienced and the CG seeks to dominate the non-CG for enablement. The secure, the experienced and the non-CG, I believe, make allowances hoping that by doing so those they love/care about/ meet in life will ‘learn’. I believe that there has to be a balance and it is reached by an individual being happily in control of their own life and able therefore to make the right judgement on a situation for the right reason without giving in to the unacceptable. Your young charge’s demands were not the best but they were also not unacceptable and he will not suffer. You will be ready for him next time having given thought to his behaviour and your reaction.

I was sorry you didn’t make the group last night but I am pleased to see you thinking positively in the cold light of day. Examining your reaction when the stakes are not as high, as they are with your son will, I believe, give you strength. You were not being officious – you knew your body wasn’t up to a fighting game with a 4 year old (I really relate to that) and you knew it was better for him to meet his mother off the train, than to watch television. You have experience and knowledge that he lacks but you weighed up the confrontation against that which you thought would please him. You also know from you own experience that always being told ‘no’ is not a lot of fun.

I love the questioning San

I hope today will bring you the peace and strength you need. Thank you for rattling my little grey cells.