dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

On the fear of positive reinforcement.

Now, to get back to the whole "Phil doesn't understand that Elly is the problem when he tries to figure out why Mike wants to quit", it occurs to me that Phil is less capable than he can be because he takes Elly at face value when she tells him that she tries her best to support Michael. The poor goon is thus left with an inaccurate mental picture, one in which a loving mother praises and encourages her ungrateful defeatist slacker goof-off son. He is no more capable of understanding that Elly lives in pants-soiling terror of letting it slip that her children do things that please her and make her proud of them than he is capable of flying without wings or gasoline.

The reason that Elly fears the awful day when her children find out this dangerous fact is that she misunderstood what her childcare books told her about praising her children. Rather than differentiate between praising the effort involved and the outcome derived, the very simplistic thinker we call Elly came to the conclusion that all praise was equally bad and, like her mother said, would lead directly to his becoming entitled and defiant. What she doesn't ever realize is that Mike can't help but think that nothing can ever please her. She also never quite put it together that since Mike wanted to undergo the whole exercise in the first place for the express purpose of finding out if his mother loves him and is grateful he exists, her refusal to admit anything like that because WE MOMS know that it would clearly ruin him is most of why he wanted to quit. Since Phil doesn't understand this, he is as powerless in the face of horrible parenting as his nephew. His impotence takes the form of aiding and abetting Elly in destroying happiness for the common good.
Tags: elly versus her family, phil: bee and bop king

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