by Tara Pringle Jefferson
This September, I enrolled in graduate classes at my alma mater (Kent State!) to pursue a Master’s in Family Studies.
As many readers of BMWK already know, healthy, well-functioning families have many implications of society. Families that can handle conflicts are less likely to divorce. Families that know how to nurture their children and develop their talents end up with high-achievers versus families who don’t. So I think my study topic is a big deal. Not as sexy as Chemical Engineering or heck, law school, but it will help people all the same.
In our reading last week, we learned about “the benign assumption”:
“In families where there is a highly contentious tone, each daily event that annoys or even has the potential to annoy someone is responded to with far more negative response than the event should warrant.”
Basically this means that when everyone in the family is uptight, little events that might not be a big deal in some families, might mean a huge blow-up in others.
Let me give you an example of the “benign assumption” in action:
Let’s say I didn’t empty my husband’s pockets before putting his clothes in the washer. Little did I know, he had a receipt in his pocket that he needed to return a recent (expensive) purchase.
Upon finding out about the receipt being ruined, my husband could say something like: “Ugh, why didn’t you check my pockets first? You’re always snooping through my stuff any other time.”
“So the receipt’s messed up, huh? Oh well. I know you didn’t know it was in there. No big deal.”
The first response would usually occur in a household with an under current of anger. Quick to judge and assume a negative view.
The second response? Typical of those families that practice the “benign assumption.” You assume the best and don’t take everyday mistakes personally.
Which one sounds more like you? When surprised with unexpected events, are you harsh or understanding with your tone? Would your partner expect you to listen to their side and assume the best, giving them the benefit of the doubt?
Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer and blogger living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog, www.theyoungmommylife.com, to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love.