Hijacking begins with the conviction that I know you better than you know yourself. I feel certain nothing could make you happier than thinking I believe that.
This is what an awful lot of adults (and not just a lot of awful adults) regularly do to the kids in their lives. Come to think of it, adults do it to each other all the time and I don’t know anyone—adult or child—who enjoys it even a little bit.
Hijackers assume kids will end up in the wrong place, or at least try to get there a different way than the adult would—which of course makes it the wrong way. No matter how mature the youngster actually may be, she will feel childish at the hands of the Hijacker.
“Do you have your lunch money?” is an insult on the lips of a Hijacker because it means I’m pretty sure that left to your own devices you’d starve. Remember that time you forgot your lunch money? You were hungry weren’t you? I wouldn’t want to let you make that mistake again. There’s very little chance the child will be hungry at the end of this exchange as she’s probably had about all she can stomach.
Most adults mean no harm when they Hijack. The goal after all is to head off undesirable consequences. But Hijackers do considerable harm to their relationships and the self-esteem of those they care for. The underlying message of Hijacking is:
You’re helpless without me. You need me for the most trivial matters. I’m saying this for your own good. You’d lose your mind if I didn’t hand it to you on the way out the door every morning. Never forget that. And, honey, have a good day.
Hijacking fosters dependence instead of encouraging intelligent independence. Right through adolescence, Hijacker insists on looking after details like what to wear, what to eat, how to study, when to sleep and wake, how specifically to get from point A to point B. Then, should the child makes the mistake of relinquishing control in any of these areas Hijackers blame them for not looking after the little things any fool can accomplish in his sleep. It’s a dirty business, Hijacking.
You don’t understand! It’s for his own good!
Blah, blah, blah.
No, really; he’d forget his head if it wasn’t attached!
Not more than once.