Page 2 September 17, 2020 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
Happy Birthday Your Neighborhood Therapist
Happy 103rd Birthday to Verdie Faas
Experienced Construction Trial Attorney
Helping homeowners get projects completed.
Helping contractors get paid.
Ryan@Baldino.Law (310) 300-1511
Dear Neighborhood Therapist,
Sometimes it feels like my household is
falling apart. We have three children who
are ages 10, 12 and 15, and it feels like
they are fighting all the time, both with each
other and with my wife and me. I understand
that conflict is inevitable, but it feels like
it’s all the time lately, and we cannot get
it to stop no matter what we try. Everyone
seems to be weathering Covid-19 pretty
well, we all have friends, and our marital
relationship is great. Any idea of how to
reduce the tension?
– Conflicted, El Segundo
Any household will be full of complex,
dynamic relationships, and trying to resolve
every issue is like playing family whack-amole.
It’s exhausting, futile, and problems
will just pop up again more often than not.
Instead of trying to resolve each individual
conflict, problem or tension, try thinking
about it in a different way: Who holds power
in a given relationship, and how do they use
Most of us don’t mind too much if our
hand gets slapped away from the cookie jar
when it shouldn’t have been there in the first
place. But very few people are okay with
feeling they are treated unfairly. I have never
come across a thriving relationship where one
person consistently uses their power unfairly
or blatantly to their own benefit.
We don’t like to talk about power differences
in relationships, but they are real.
One of you is almost certainly going to
have more power than the other. The most
obvious case is with parents having power
over their children, but older siblings usually
have power over younger siblings, and power
differences are real in couples, too.
Most of us have been in the position of
being subject to power that seems - or simply
is - unfair. Maybe it was a parent who
grounded you for no reason. Maybe it was
a promotion you deserved and didn’t get.
Maybe it was being pulled over because of
the color of your skin. No matter what the
circumstances, the feeling of powerlessness
in the face of unfairness - let me put it as
mildly as I can - stinks. And the more unfair
it seems, the more it stinks.
Your children are around the age where they
begin to see that their parents, their school,
their social lives, and their environment are
not perfect, and this awareness makes being
subject to power even more frustrating. They
may get that stinking feeling a lot.
So what happens if you’re the one with the
power? Does it carry certain responsibilities?
How will you choose to use it? When you’re
sure you’re right, how important is it to win
an argument or teach a lesson?
I’m not suggesting anyone should or even
could refrain from exercising power over others,
especially their children. But do try to
remember what it is like not to hold power,
and act accordingly. Two things could help
right away: first, taking the time to explain
your thinking and decision-making (avoid
“because I said so,” tempting though it is)
helps reduce a sense of unfairness, even
when you cannot agree. Second, remember
that wielding power takes skill, and teaching
your children to wield it properly is a worthy
use of all of your time.
Tom Andre is a Licensed Marriage &
Family Therapist (LMFT119254). Please text
to 310.776.5299 or write to tom@tomandrecounseling.
com with questions about handling
what is affecting your life, your family, the
community or the world. The information in
this column is for educational purposes only
and nothing herein should be construed as
professional advice or the formation of a
therapeutic relationship. •
Long time “Diamond” resident, Verdie Faas,
will be turning 103 on Saturday 9/19. The
family will be having a “drive by celebration”
at 3:00. If you’d like to join the parade, contact
her niece, Susan Beasley @ 562-884-5094
for meeting location. •
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