Have you ever been suckered? Manipulated? Felt like you were pushed into a corner?
One time, I was suckered into buying 3 bottles of green all purpose cleaner--at around $20 each! The poverty stricken college-student-sales-person licked the spray bottle hose to verify that is was non-toxic and harmless to kids. Then she cleaned a part of my car, a piece of my carpet and claimed it would clean anything, any time, anywhere. Then she told me her wretchedly sad childhood story and how this sales job would pay for college and help her pull herself up and better her circumstances--but only if people were willing to buy cleaner from her.
I didn't need it, I didn't want it. And I didn't have much money to spare. But what is a kindhearted person to do?
Another time, back when I was single, a guy I just met asked me out. He was cute, so I said yes. We went out, but eventually I just got a really uncomfortable feeling around him. I put the feeling off and put it off again. Finally I asked him to take me home.
All's well that ends well, but as I look back, I can see that I was in a pretty dangerous situation. But even still--I felt really awful about asking him to take me home. Why? That's stupid! But unfortunately, that is how we are wired sometimes. We naturally don't want to rock the boat. We don't want to cause problems, and we want people to like us. But sometimes that means doing things aren't in our best interest, violate our beliefs or are just plain foolish and dumb.
I want my kids to learn to make logical decisions that are made by principle and not emotion, to stay true to their values, and not be coerced into doing something they don't feel good about. I want them to feel perfectly comfortable standing alone and/or going contrary to everyone else if they feel it is right.
Enter the BS Guys (standing for Behavioral Science). These guys are awesome. Backed by research, but easy to understand, be sure to show this (and their other videos) to your kids! They show in an entertaining way how we are manipulated and what to do to avoid it. Targeted at teens, these are super fun to watch. If we recognize and understand the tactics that are being used in the world around us (consciously or unconsciously) we can be in control of the situation instead. And we don't have to feel dumb or mean.
That is empowering.
P.S. My favorite part of this video is when a girl keeps her promise and slaps a boy upside the head because he was cheating. She was great!
Family Discussion Guide
-What is the difference between manipulation and persuasion?
-What are the four ways we are manipulated? The men in the video use pretty big words. Can you give us examples?
-What can you do to avoid manipulation?
-Why is it important to not be manipulated?
-Have you ever felt pressured to do something you didn't want to do?
-How can you help hold people accountable for what they are doing? (Without hitting them!)
-Have you caught yourself trying to manipulate someone else? What was your motivation?
*VitalSmarts, L.C., www.vitalsmarts.com. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.
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