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power dynamics
  • Lixina
    Posts: 289
    Do you find that your kids have much better understanding of power dynamics than of other social things?

    I was just realizing that most of the time when watching people, it's very hard for me to figure out how they relate to each other (eg that two people are romantically involved) but I can always immediately spot a power differential. Even if other people are looking at it and saying 'oh, look how nice A is being, helping B', I'm looking and thinking 'A is exercizing power over B'. And even as a kid, I always noticed when someone was trying to use their power over me.

    Do you think your kids have an easier time spotting power imbalances than, for example, liking/disliking or friendship networks?
  • Moose
    Posts: 1,843
    Hi Lixina,

    this is an interesting question and for my son, at least, does not have a simple answer.

    In many ways my son is able to read social dynamics very well, in fact it does seem to be a real quality that he possess that has developed to a maturity beyond his years. However, this is often more of an 'academic' understanding rather than practical.
    He can observe others and note their mood, attachments etc and pick up nuances that others may miss, but usually only while he is not part of the dynamic. As soon as he is drawn into the dynamic this skill is lost and the base instincts of power, control and demand over rides.

    I don't see my son as having greater or lesser abilities in specific areas of social interpretation, his difficulty is whether or not he can access his ability. Adding anxiety into the dynamic equation can block learned or intellectual skills and expose or leave only instinct available. For those with PDA assessing power balance is one of their instinctive skills.
    I think this principle is actually true for all of us.
    For example, we might have a good command of English and be able to argue with eloquence and reason, yet load us with anxiety and we can no longer access these abilities. How many of us have had an important meeting regarding our children, but have failed to express ourselves properly and have perhaps been reduced to tears?
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