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I Met Toohey's Intellectual Daughter Today

Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 2 years, 10 months ago to Education
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I've had quite a day. My father invited several of his friends over, and they brought their grandchild. Usually, I am a kid person; I like their curiosity and their playfulness. I didn't think until today that I would truly loathe a 6-year-old child.
She is a spoiled brat. She has been raised with an iPhone, a iPad, a Leapfrogger, and everything she wants on a silver platter. I was assigned to the unfortunate task of entertaining her while the adults talked.
First, I invited her to look in my room, in order to get her out of the living room. In the hallway, she saw my collection of stuffed animals (which I don't touch, but still love dearly) and begged to have some of them. I said no, over and over, and finally got her into my room, where she saw my large collection of medals hanging on the walls. She gasped and said, "Wow, you won all of that!" I was starting to forgive her because she admired achievement when she asked, "Can I have one?" I was pissed. I looked her in the eye and asked:
"What did you deserve to get a medal?"
She paused for a second, then said:
"I never win ANYTHING!"
Isn't it crazy that this spoiled little girl thought that was an adequate explanation? It's even crazier that in a mere 24 years, this girl could become a senator and start advocating for the newest plan of ultimate equality: "achievement redistribution."
After that, she begged to have some of my other toys; I surrendered two model cats, a unicorn, and a jolly rancher in order to shut her up. I felt guilty for my toys, like I had betrayed them by indulging her selfishness. It was hardly 10 minutes later that she lost interest in them (although she revived later in order to play with me for two. straight. hours). I wonder how long my beloved toys will stay intact? A week, maybe? She doesn't appreciate the kind of emotional investment I put into my toys as a kid. She didn't even thank me.
Although that was the worst part, we went downstairs and started drawing pictures. She was bossy and entitled. She kept saying things like, "We're having fun, right?" "I'm so glad you're my friend!" "Aren't you having fun?" A phrase of Ayn Rand's kept popping into my mind: sanction of the victim. I kept trying to evade the questions, hoping not to give any verbal sanction, although I felt guilty that my actions gave her a green light. All the while we were coloring she kept trying to go back up to my room; hoping to cheat me of some more of my toys, I'm sure. After I told her, frankly, nothing would make me give up more of my possessions, she said:
"How about a hundred dollars?"
I asked her what on earth a little girl like her needed a hundred dollars for. She explained that she bought things for her friends at the school store. It didn't surprise me at all that she had no respect for her parent's money, and that she thought I could be bought. I told her that some things were priceless.
After she left, I went upstairs and practiced my violin for an hour. I drilled some scales, etudes, Mozart passages, all in order to forget about it and swallow the guilt and helpless rage for my toys and my time. I was angry that she took so much of my time away, time I'll never get back and could have invested into productive endeavors. I had so much to do today; my favorite teacher's birthday is today; I was going to make a cake to show him how much I appreciate his teaching. I still need to write program notes and study for a test. Most of all, however, I was given The Romantic Manifesto as a belated birthday gift. I was dying to read it all of today.

She was a nightmare and I still feel horrible, but right then I was appreciative of the upbringing my parents gave me. I was taught the true meaning of money. I was taught to be polite and to value honest interactions with other people, and not electronics. Most of all, I was taught the value of achievement and hard work.

If you made it to the end of this, congratulations! I apologize for writing so much. To all grandparents and future grandparents: Although you may have limited time with your grandchild, do your best to prevent them from turning into this hellish little girl. Parents: You are the ones with control. Teach your children your values. I pity this girl, because she wasn't taught any better. Don't let the public schools spoil your precious child's ideology and mind. Take their learning into your own hands and teach them in Ayn Rand's footsteps.


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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 10 months ago
    The hardest part about being a parent is that your children won't necessarily agree with what you teach them. If you are going to be consistent with Objectivism, you can encourage these values in your children, but you can't force them to have such values. We are not so much in control as you might think, Sarah, particularly with teenagers.

    One of my daughters is a Dagny in training. The other daughter agrees with my wife and I on many things, but she behaves like a spoiled brat once in a while. Parenting is like breaking in a horse that has never been ridden before. As growing children are capable of making more and more self-sustaining, self-generated actions (see Life in the Ayn Rand lexicon), parental control must necessarily decrease.

    I must say, however, that I dislike many in this generation of children. Spoiled brats are the norm, not the exception.
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    • Posted by blackswan 2 years, 10 months ago
      The only thing that gives them a chance at "getting" it is consistency. You cannot weaken your standards for any reason, or you've lost. That's the toughest part, because you must be completely ruthless about that. Rather than giving her some of your toys, you should have had her do something to earn them. Build the connection between work and achievement, earning and effort leads to accomplishment. It doesn't have to be much. If she had sung a song, or shown some skill in arithmetic, that should have been sufficient for her to overcome her "I never win anything" conversation. You might have had a breakthrough during those two hours, rather than an ordeal to be survived.
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      • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
        That is a good suggestion; if I'm put into the same situation again, I will try to be more consistent in that regard. It was the one moment of weakness I had during my interaction with her.
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    • Posted by term2 2 years, 10 months ago
      I am not a parent. It seems that although parents might teach their children good values, they are only around the kids a percentage of the time. The rest of the time they are surrounded by people with terribly entitled values. Look at Sanders' supporters- they are the young people of the country. Unless you have a lot of money, the kids go to public government indoctrination centers and get common rotten core education. No wonder we are where we are.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 10 months ago
        Not only do kids get the wrong values at the government indoctrination centers, but they also watch the trash on TV. One summer afternoon, I came home early from work and found my daughter watching "Sixteen and Pregnant". She said it was so that she could laugh at them, but undoubtedly some of it rubs off.
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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 10 months ago
    Also, have you considered applying for a scholarship to the Atlas Summit in Vegas this July? I think you would enjoy meeting other like-mined people your age. There are some great classes.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
      I've looked at this before. Do you know, if I am not selected for a scholarship, would I still be obligated to come? My parents are already paying for three trips this summer (two a science trip, one a family trip) and it would be impossible to go without financial assistance.
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  • Posted by Lucky 2 years, 10 months ago
    Thank you for the story, yes I did make it to the end.
    Your story is not unique. For good and bad reasons we often get assigned to tasks. Sometimes the reward is just the pleasure of recognition. There will be times when it does not work. Maybe with intellectual skills this can be anticipated, otherwise experience teaches us.

    At the end of your story you give correct advice to parents and grandparents, but what about you?
    Are you ready for the next time?

    Consider, be open to saying -no. Do not make excuses that can be challenged, be ready to insist that you are in charge of your time. As well, you can change your mind, if the task is unpleasant, dropout, hand the child back.
    If you do not straighten out a spoiled brat there is no need to feel guilt, you correctly felt compassion, but you have no responsibility.

    It may have happened in the past, if not it will happen that you will have experiences with children that are delightful and productive to both. This particular event emphasizes those joys.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
      Yes: I should have been more assertive and told her to sit quietly with her grandparents while they talked. She was extremely distracting to them too.
      My experiences with children are generally good; my largest exposure is to 6 Catholic kids not raised with electronics. They're polite, imaginative, curious, and usually don't throw tantrums.
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 2 years, 10 months ago
    Sarah, I have had the same experience of deep dislike for a young child. It's an eerie feeling, and I felt somewhat guilty about it, even though the child deserved my contempt. In reality, my guess is that although the child was spoiled with electronics and toys, she was also rejected by her parents, who gave her all those things and basically said, leave us alone. We don't want to be bothered by you. It's ultimately a sad experience for you, but look at it this way. Now you know what you dont want in your life, and you will not have a child unless you treat it very differently.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 2 years, 10 months ago
    Refreshingly honest, delightful. It reminds me of myself many many years ago. Having had a dad who modeled objectivist thinking, I was raised to be responsible and civilized before school age. I was taught the value of things. Our daughter was raised the same way, but had the entitlement teaching of government schools -VERY HARD to undo. She did learn that you do not ask for things and you do not disrupt restaurants with howling. That one really gets to me, as parents sit and ask the howling child what more they want. Take them outside and say you will get nothing until you ask calmly! Even a toddler is capable of calm communication, something beyond instant gratification. Our daughter now has two kids, and is beside herself with the horrible values and entitlements they come home with. She says she now knows what I went through, always going in and telling teachers to teach responsibility along with rights, not just grant rights.Your story reminds me of when my cousins, all 11, would be set loose on our house during visits. I hid my stuffed animals and books from them, forbid them to be near my horse. I had learned respect and took care of my stuff, they would get out of the car and be on the roof of our house in seconds! I would not put my horse through such disruption. In contrast, my grandpa was raised poor, little money for toys. So, when he was 80, he passed on his childhood dog statue he had from an early age. He knew I understood what it meant to him and would cherish it for the joy it had brought him. Thank goodness there are still young folks like you, who may share what rational living is about.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
      My cousins were like that as little kids, but they've grown out of it. They're still good Democrats, but they don't ask spoiled anymore. We used to be extremely embarrassed to go out to restaurants with them.
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  • Posted by  $  Ben_C 2 years, 10 months ago
    This is a systemic problem in our society. I live in a very liberal town and observe this entitlement behavior in most of my teenage daughters friends. Being a parent is not an easy task. My son from my first marriage rebelled as most son's do against their fathers but in the end he has become a very productive person. My daughter is nearing the age of rebellion and I hope she discovers her parents wisdom sooner rather than later. She will be required to read Ayn Rand as well as the other side of today's mainstream media dialogue. The rest is up to her.
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  • Posted by ohiocrossroads 2 years, 10 months ago
    So will there be a next time for taking care of the Little Princess? What would you do make her understand that to get something of value, she has to earn it? I'm thinking of something similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger running "Police School" with the 5-year-olds in Kindergarten Cop.
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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 10 months ago
    I think there are great comments here. and I wish you some peace this week. I wanted to talk about your title though. "Toohey's Intellectual Daughter" although clever, is it accurate? Think of his niece, Katie. She did not present as spoiled. In fact, she was cowed by her uncle. This little girl is spoiled and clueless. She may learn better manners-probably not, too entitled. But Toohey? I imagine he would have been raised with some discipline and his manipulative ways were not displayed on his sleeves. He was careful. The kind that might have stolen one of your toys when you weren't looking and then left it broken for you to find. Careful, sneaky, getting a kick out of destroying. Yes, this little girl was a pain. but one day you will meet that child or adult who understands the long game and wants to take advantage of your good nature.
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    • Posted by IndianaGary 2 years, 10 months ago
      The word that comes to mind that describes Toohey, is "sly". Your example of how he would have handled her toys was perfect. Toohey is a manipulator of people. If a person has a weak spot, Toohey finds it and pries. He is interested in power over people and nothing more. The antidote to Toohey is to see him for the evil that he is and deny him your sanction.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
      That's very true, from the context you read about; the conversations I did not mention between her and I were essentially her trying to manipulate me into giving up more toys. When I called her out on it, she responded: "Just kidding!" If I hadn't kept her totally supervised she would've tried to steel them (I believe). It was a very poor choice to let her into my room at all. Edit: Very good clarification, khalling, thank you!
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      • Posted by khalling 2 years, 10 months ago
        it sounds like she is a little piece of work. But, she is still 6 and if her parents and teachers reign her in, she may change. She certainly seems precocious- a girl who needs to be steered to interesting books to read and interesting things to do -take all that electronic away! gah!
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    • Posted by Mamaemma 2 years, 10 months ago
      I seem to remember that as a young boy Toohey took the blame for something just to make the other kid look bad. There is a difference between spoiled and entitled and evil. Interesting distinction, K Edit: clarity
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  • Posted by  $  richrobinson 2 years, 10 months ago
    Sounds like the kind of kid I want to put in the tub and let them play with a toaster. Tragically there is little you can do at this point. A lot of damage has already been done. Sounds like you stayed on message as best you could. Maybe the fact that you didn't cave as easily as the others in her life will have an impact. It's hard to know when we have influenced a young mind. If need be you can always borrow my toaster.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 10 months ago
    you were subjected to abuse because that kid was
    totally spoiled, like so many people -- not just kids --
    these days. . this is cultural rot, and it permeates this
    society from kindergarten to Harvard. . the students
    who "deserve" co-miseration and a "safe place"
    because someone chalked a candidate's name on
    the steps at school are suffering from the same
    character deficiency as this young girl. . so sad.
    they have had access to reality stolen from them.
    I feel for your loss, and hers, Sarah. -- john
    .
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 10 months ago
    On the other hand you stuck to your beliefs and presented them as an alternative. Who knows...one day she may ask Why don't I" win anything?

    I had a phone call just the other night from the daughter of friends. She had gone to a party and was stressed or 'anxious' as they put it these days. Should I stay even though it isn't enjoyable, should I go home - wondering who was with the youngest one if anyone should I walk, take a cab, or a bus (all available choices)?

    By the third call I said time to make an adult decision. It ended uip she chose stay at the party first, go home second, walk so she had money for shopping as number three.

    Good news is the 'anxious' moment had disappeared. whatever that meant.

    Stick to it....your doing fine...and setting the example is the only way to 'give back.'
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  • Posted by  $  Dobrien 2 years, 10 months ago
    My oldest son was a challenge through out most of his pre adult life. He learned early on how to play mom and dads different disciplinary approaches in a manipulative manner to reach his own objectives.
    The result was a very frustrating relationship.
    He wasn't spoiled he just wasn't meeting his responsibilities. He had manners and was not a trouble maker. In his mid 20's he met his soulmate, he became responsible, now he is the father of 2 handsome wonderful boys. He exhibits the best qualities of his mother and dad. I am very proud of him ,his hard work, dedication and devotion to provide for his young family. He is consistent in teaching his boys 1 1/2 -- 4 years old manners and it shows. I believe that we were good role models and that every individual matures at different rates. The responsibility examples provided consistently offer the best long term parental results. A six year old is just starting to learn and her poor manners likely a reflection of manners not taught or emphasized to her.
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  • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 2 years, 10 months ago
    Have you told your parents about this experience? They need to know. If the friends return they can ask them to either leave the little creature at home, or bring her own toys. Clearly the grandparents weren't interested in spending much time with her as they had an extended visit with your father.

    I am unclear on 1 point. Did you let her play with your toys while she was there and under your supervision, or did you 'give' them to her and she left with them.

    Don't take the unearned guilt of this spoiled child. You didn't do it, and it's not your responsibility to fix it.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 2 years, 10 months ago
    And there we have the problem and the answer in one felt swoop! accountable responsibility for what one has created and it's effects upon the future.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 10 months ago
    "I was assigned to the unfortunate task of entertaining her while the adults talked."
    This passive voice sentence stood out to me the most. Constantly dealing with wrong-headed thinking it is part of taking care of a 6 year old. It's an important job, one that many people find mind-numbing. I see people thoughtlessly "assign" it to family members, usually females, or hire people at minimum wage or less to do the job.

    It's not this six-year-old's fault. She needs constant attention and correction to understand how reality works. She probably won't get it from those electronic babysitting devices that we have kids now or from whatever random females who get roped into doing it.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
      I did my best to keep her off the d*mn things while I had her. I tried to be a good influence, but I know four hours will do little to nothing to change her thinking.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 10 months ago
        "I did my best to keep her off the d_mn things while I had her. I tried to be a good influence, but I know four hours will do little to nothing to change her thinking."
        That sounds like a succinct summary of the sad situation.

        It's hard to know because I didn't see the mannerisms, but much of it sounds like normal 6-y/o behavior. Just a few years ago, a 6-y/o rightly had all her needs met when she cried. She's just starting to learn she's entering a stage where she has to trade with others. The concept that she should clear her dishes instead of waiting for someone else is new to her. The concept of money or how much work $100 represents is abstract and probably beyond well her. Even the concept of playing together and finding games that are fun for both parties is new to her. Kids younger than that don't really play together. I see my kids (5 and 7) working out how when they want to play different games they can play independently or find some game that they'd enjoy playing together.

        You suggest the parents haven't even started teaching her this, which is sad for the child.

        Dealing with kids this age is hard work. People who wouldn't expect you to do a four hours of repair work for free think nothing of assigning the task of childcare to you. It makes it harder if they don't give you clear authority to take away the electronics, set the kids straight if they hit, steal, or expect everyone to put the kids' desires ahead of everyone else's.

        Unless you happen to enjoy watching 6-y/o and just have a desire to do it, it would be better IMHO for the child's guardians to call Nanny Connections or someone like them and get a nice person who at least claims to love watching and playing with children for $20/hr. Having another set of hands around wouldn't preclude you or other adults from interacting with the children.

        That probably won't happen, and you're left with the unenviable choices of a) spending four hours gently reminding/showing a 6-y/o that the world doesn't revolve around her or b) just letting her zone out on a tablet and shuddering to think what not learning normal human give-and-take is doing to her development.

        It sounds like you need to find a way to say politely that they need to find someone who wants to provide this service because you don't feel like doing it. It's hard to say, but IMHO it needs to be said, preferably with tact. I feel like people expect you do it because "it should be a labor of love, something you put ahead of whatever you would do with that time because good people want to care for children for the sheer joy of it." That is the beginning of a very corrosive way of thinking. I'm not sure of the best tactful way to handle it, but letting someone assign a brat to you for 4 hours seems wrong.
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        • Posted by  $  2 years, 10 months ago
          Very clear, logical thinking. At the beginning, I didn't realize she'd be such a brat. I should have, however, given her back to the grandparents for a while. As I said to rockymountainpirate (I think it was him), I will be making it clear the next time they come over that I will not be interacting with her whatsoever. It felt so wrong.
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 10 months ago
            However be prepared for the following. Brat comes bouncing in and says I was so happy we were visiting again. You are the only person that pays any attention to me and made me feel wanted...

            Which is quite likely the case. If so don't feel guilty but see if you can exploit the opening to effect positive change. It's one of the challenges adults face on a daily basis.,
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    • Posted by term2 2 years, 10 months ago
      That kid needs to just be adopted by someone in Norway and live there. I wouldnt want her in the USA to subvert our values at all.
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      • Posted by blackswan 2 years, 10 months ago
        Norway isn't far enough away. The same ideas are taught there, too. While teaching a class, a student brought up global warming. I pointed out that that's not a fact, and pointed out some facts to support my argument. If it had just been her, I wouldn't have put in the effort, but with a class full of people, I needed to put the kabosh on flaky thinking. That was then followed by a discussion of Malthus, and I pointed out that the fact that his predictions didn't occur proves that he left out at least one important variable (viz., innovation), and he hasn't been proved correct for over 2 centuries. Her response was that, even though his ideas have been incorrect for over 2 centuries, he might be right in the future. I argued that the only way for that to happen is for people to stop innovating; that point left her unmoved. That was a case of someone needing to be "right" in spite of the facts. You will run into folks like that. My suggestion is to only challenge them when they spout off in public, where others can be influenced by what they say; we must do everything we can to limit the damage.
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