Videos are powerful conveying messages. Hollywood has been an expert using videos to tell stories that will evoke people's emotions. Many raised questions that invite people to think, talk, feel and potentially decide what they do in the future if similar things happen in the real world. Videos in recent years draw attention about value conflicts.
In the House of Cards Season 4, President Underwood was shot and required a liver transplantation. Underwood's situation was critical. He was the third on the list queued for the appropriate liver. The first on the waiting list died after a few days. Underwood became the second.
His chief of staff, Stamper, could not bear to let Underwood wait anymore for many reasons. He didn't want to play chances. Stamper ran directly to the office of the Minister of Health. He tried to force her to swap the position of President Underwood with the first on the waiting list. The Minister of Health was not pursuing what was told because Stamper's demand was anti-ethical and disregard of the law. Stamper threatened her. If she refused him, he would let her resign from her duties and sweep away the whole Ministry of Health department. Underwood finally got the liver transplanted, and the first patient on the list died soon after. The Minister of Health sent Stamper a photo of the first family to Stamper. She called Stamper and asked him to check his email to make sure that he saw the picture.
Stamper's threatening was clearly very effective. The Health Minister turned Underwood into the first place against her will, giving the president a chance to live. However, the Minister of Health hated Stamper. That's why she sent a photo of the first family on the list to Stamper. She must also hate herself, doing something against her value, about what is right. Stamper got what he wanted. The relationship between them, however, was permanently broken.
Perhaps political relationships are usually intrigued. I do not want to have any position on political relations. If we have a value conflict with children, however, what is our ultimate goal? Stamper did not care a whit about his relationship with the Minster of Health. Do we want to be where Stamper was when our children hold a different value than us? If forcing our children to accept our value is at the cost of potential damage to the relationship, would we still insist that much?
One of my friends was raised in a very traditional Catholic family. He felt in love with an Asian girl, who was not Catholic. He tried to communicate with his parents about accepting her as part of the family. There was no luck. Finally, mom and dad told him: either choose her or choose us. If you decide to stay with your girlfriend, our relationship between parents and son will end. My friend went to a different country with his girlfriend and never returned home. More than ten years later, he finally came back to visit his parents, with his now married girlfriend.
You probably think that if my child is still young, value conflicts might be far from happening. Well, it may not be true. What is value conflicts anyway?
If you do not like or agree with a person's behavior, but the behavior has no real impact on you. Even if you are not affected, you still hope that this person, especially his attitude or belief can change. P.E.T. called this situation value conflicts.
Near the end of the movie "Captain America: Civil War," Captain America Steve Rogers, Iron Man Tony Stark and Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes saw a video and found that Bucky was the murderer of Tony's parents. Tony could not bear the hatred and wanted to kill Bucky. Steve tried to save Bucky because he was brainwashed and didn't know what he was doing. And Bucky was the only living Winter Soldier. If Bucky were killed, they wouldn't have any connections with the covert Soviet. Steve had said to Tony before he attacked Bucky: He is our friend! Tony Stark replied: I do not care. Revenge or Salvation? The two superheroes started a big fight.
Value conflict between parents and children may not be so dramatic. It may be simple. It may happen every day. For example:
A two-year-old boy does not like to wear socks. He likes to walk on barefoot. Mother thinks that if he doesn’t wear socks, he will catch a cold. The fact that the boy doesn't wear socks has no real impact on mom, but mommy feels the necessity for her child to keep his socks on. Mom insists on putting the socks on for her son, while the child continues to pull his socks off.
A ten-year-old daughter likes to sleep with wet hair after a bath. Mommy believes that sleep without blowing hair dry might cause a migraine. Mommy always asks her daughter to blow dry her hair before going to bed while the girl keeps her routine.
An eighteen-year-old daughter likes to wear miniskirts. Mommy thinks that the miniskirt is too short and indecent.
. . .
Sometimes the value conflicts may turn to be conflicts of needs, which will be much easier to deal with. Through confronting I-messages and active listening, the two-year-old boy may just feel his feet are too hot. The ten-year-old daughter may not like the sound of a hair dryer. The eighteen-year-old girl may just want to fit in her group of friends.
Nevertheless, parents and children often have value conflicts with certain beliefs, values, styles, preferences, or philosophy of life. If parents stubbornly intervene and try to change the behavior of their children, their interventions will almost always lead to the children's struggle, resistance, and resentment. This type of approach usually ends with a severe deterioration of the parent-child relationship.
The P.E.T. book presents seven different solutions to value conflicts, from the use of authority to parents change values. The use of power can be very efficient regarding temporary behavioral changes, but the damage towards the parent-child relationship is also the greatest. P.E.T. makes it clear that you can try to teach your children your values, but do not try to sell them too hard. You can say your values, but do not over-emphasize. You can generously share your values, but do not preach. You can raise up your values with confidence, but do not force children to accept. Then you retreat with grace.
Most of the value conflict can be peacefully solved if you can communicate with your child using the ways mentioned above.
When the value conflicts cannot be resolved, can we change our values being grateful and humble? Society will inevitably evolve with the ever-changing technologies. Values people hold onto reflects their reality about the society. Rigidity sometimes makes our lives difficult. When facing something we cannot change, we can change ourselves to adapt. Our children belong to the future. Choose what to let go, and have a great relationship with our kids. When the relationship is healthy, your child will more likely come to you for your ideas and advice.