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Parenting35: Alice Miller 'n' Stuff


This show marks the ¾ point in Season Six starring Daniel Mackler, and again it’s hard to summarize our conversation in 50 words or less.  Some hints include: spanking, hands-off forms of torture, freeing slaves and children, bad feelings, levels of consciousness, arithmetic, calculus, and growing past our teachers.

There was one thing that Daniel said today that I found not only humorous but also I think it’s a clue about the “gap” I’ve been exploring lately, and possibly a clue about many other things as well.  When I said to Daniel something like “Your website isn’t really addressed for parents,” he replied “Well it could be argued that my website isn’t really addressed for anyone…” to which I replied “lol” and also “oh!”

If you want to read Daniel’s critique of Alice Miller, just click on this friendly little link here and voila! (Ain’t that internet an amazement??)

So now it’s time for us to all be patient while Amy and Daniel figure out when they can find some time to skype and record the last four episodes of Season Six.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, I imagine you’ll be able to find some beautiful springy something or other to help you while the time away…. well, that’s what I’ll be doing anyway.


3 comments to Parenting35: Alice Miller ‘n’ Stuff

  • Derek Vernon Smith

    I was amazed to hear that Daniel’s mother/parents actually introduced him to Alice Miller. That has to be pretty damn unique. I understand that this literary advice was immaterial or even, perhaps critically, instrumental in defining the negative aspects of his childhood (my sympathy to Daniel for that heartbreaking situation). I wonder, since, on a purely superficial level, a parent who introduces his or her child to an author that consistently (almost) sides with the child might consider him/herself as – or be viewed as – caring and empathic, could this history be one of the reasons why Daniel is so cagey around even the “best” of parents in the current world? I mean because being a “good parent” (in popular or perhaps leading-edge culture) was, perhaps, used to manipulate him as a child?
    I speak as a “conscious” crappy parent who is attempting to make restitution.

  • Kyle C

    I would say that giving a child a book on how parents can abuse children, is not a particularly empathetic act. A parent who took this seriously would begin a process of trying to regain a child’s trust through open and honest dialogue, requesting the child’s thoughts and feelings, and sharing their own. Not to mention a thorough apology, which would only gain value if it was backed up with action on the parents part to change. But handing someone a book hardly qualifies as love. I can also see logic in his mother doing this to excuse herself, “see, I am doing what is natural. It isn’t my fault”. The Drama did not condemn parents for this behavior, it simply outlined it, if I am not mistaken.

  • Julie

    1. I think your analogy – “working with the slaveholders” – is spot on. Sounds awful, but makes absolute sense.
    2. My father read Alice Miller, R.D. Laing. . . He was/is trying to figure out his own trauma. When I was old enough to read and understand these books, the fact that he did indeed read this material, and talk about it, made his abuse of me even more enraging. He talked openly about the cycle of abuse, and stated, as a “good slaveholder” (yes, it is a perfect fit), that he knew he was giving my a lousy upbringing, that he was aware of it, and that the arc of progressive/liberal human beings is for each generation to do an incrementally better job. “That’s all we can do.” Nice try with the justification. He, at least, admitted, “I should never have been a parent.” Still, he was, could not, would not, and would never be able to meet both his unmet childhood needs, or the needs of his children. He could not and can not be with his feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse.

    In the end, I do believe that one MUST be able to be able withstand one’s “negative” emotions. If not, there is no possibility of any change and growth.

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