Bad Parents, Destructive Siblings, and More
Webcast Q&A: 4 September 2011
I answered questions on common mistakes with parents, severing ties with one's parents, enablers of destructive siblings, filial responsibility laws, and more on 4 September 2011. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 4 September 2011
Question: What are some common mistakes that adults make in dealing with their parents? Why do they make those mistakes? And how can they do better?
Answer, In Brief: Accept your parents for who they are, flaws and all. Don't compromise on your values under pressure. Don't fall back into your childhood patterns.
Question: When should a person maintain a relationship with his parents – or not? When, if ever, should an adult child distance himself from his parents – or cut them off completely? Does it matter if the parent was awful years ago, but since then, he's seemed to reform his ways?
Answer, In Brief: If a parent does a serious-enough wrong, such that mutually beneficial relationship is impossible, then an adult child can and should sever ties.
Question: What should a person do with destructive family members and their enablers? One of my brothers, diagnosed with a mental illness, is causing serious problems for my parents. My parents invited my brother to live with them. This brother is 26 years old, he does not hold a steady job, and he has been emotionally abusive and physically violent with my parents. At this point, my parents will not kick him out for fear of being hurt. I don't live at home, but I'm deeply worried for my parents. What should I do?
Answer, In Brief: You can't force your parents to see the facts of the situation, but you might be able to help them. Get legal advice!
Question: How should a person deal with filial responsibility laws? In your April 10th webcast, you discussed the morality of taking care of elderly parents. Some states have filial responsibility laws, which would force people to take care of indigent elderly parents. How should a person would cope with such laws in practice?
Answer, In Brief: If this might be a problem for you, consult a lawyer to find out whether and how you can protect yourself!
Rapid Fire Questions (41:17)
- How should you respond to religious in-laws who repeatedly comment that you are going to hell, and they are unable to be civil towards you?
- Should you cut ties with a parent who is a flaming communist/socialist?
- Is it moral to take government work (as a contractor) if on projects you don't think the government should do?
- Do you support ideological restrictions (e.g. Islam) on immigration as some conservatives want on national security grounds?
- What should a person do if sexually assaulted by a TSA worker?
- What was the cause of the media obsession with the Casey Anthony trial?
- Is it wrong to be attracted to unhealthy physical characteristics, like fat people?
- Would you want to live in a society where people routinely armed themselves?
- Why carry a concealed weapon, rather than carry openly?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to email@example.com.