Avoid raising doormats

11:58 AM

I came across an article about the book "The Doormat Syndrome" by author and psychologist Lynne Namka, Ed. D. published in 1989. Just in case you're not aware of the term, a "doormat" is a person who allows himself to be hurt or taken advantage by others. There is a big difference between being an innately good person and being a doormat. When someone avoids conflicts, he is usually tagged as a good person. However, in times of conflicts, this person can always speak his mind out and stand for what is a right. A doormat, on the other hand, will just let things pass and let more powerful persons trample on his rights. It's like willingly submitting himself in an abusive relationship.

I learned that door mats actually develop this kind of wrong submissive personality from growing up in a closed family system. A closed family system is one where children are not allowed to speak up and "rock the boat." The unspoken agreement is that the parents are always right and that children are supposed to follow without question. Classic doormats communicate with others as though they are constantly asking for permission or apologizing for mistakes that they haven't actually done. For example, in ordering in a restaurant, a doormat will say, "Could I have hamburger?" instead of just saying "I'll have a burger." This makes them a magnet for bullies and other people who will take advantage of their weakness.

It is therefore important for parents and children to have open communication. Let your kids speak about how they feel while still keeping their respect for you. Let them have a say on family issues especially if these concern them the most. Should you find their decision unacceptable, explain to them the pros and cons while also giving them a chance to explain their side. In the end, with this kind of give and take communication, you and your children will definitely find a way to meet in the middle and compromise. Open communication doesn't necessarily mean that kids can forget who's on command. Rather, it gives them a sense of independence and self-confidence that they will need when they grow up.

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