How can I treat this person like a child?

So I’ve categorized this question as “Ask your Significant Other” but really it’s a question to ask yourself ABOUT your significant other. How can I treat my partner like a child? Stay with me because this needs some contextualization. This question came from author Alain de Botton who wrote the most popular NY Times article of all of 2016 titled “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.” Let’s go straight to Alain as he explained on the On Being podcast:

“I think that one of the kindest things that we can do with our lover is to see them as children. Not to infantilize them, but when we’re dealing with children as parents, as adults, we’re incredibly generous in the way we interpret their behavior. If you walk home, and a child says, ‘I hate you,’ you immediately go, OK, that’s not quite true. Probably they’re tired, they’re hungry, something’s gone wrong, their tooth hurts, something. We’re looking around for a benevolent interpretation that can just shave off some of the more depressing, dispiriting aspects of their behavior. And we do this naturally with children, and yet we do it so seldom with adults. When an adult meets an adult, and they say, ‘I’ve not had a good day. Leave me alone,’ rather than saying, ‘OK. I’m just going to go behind the facade of this slightly depressing comment…’ We don’t do that. We take it all completely personally. And so I think the work of love is to try, when we can manage it — we can’t always — to go behind the front of this rather depressing challenging behavior and try and ask where it might’ve come from. Love is doing that work to ask oneself, ‘Where’s this rather aggressive, pained, noncommunicative, unpleasant behavior coming from?’ If we can do that, we’re on the road to knowing a little bit about what love really is, I think.”

Source: Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast interview with Alain de Botton

Have you asked this question? How did it go? Do you have advice for how best to ask it? PLEASE RATE! AND WRITE A REVIEW (in the comment box below)!

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2 thoughts on “How can I treat this person like a child?”

  1. Liza Hoos says:

    I’m a big fan of this question. What if we all treated each other in this gentle, kind, understanding, and forgiving way? Great things would happen, I’m sure.

  2. I like this question because, at first glance, it seems like a really weird question. But my wife and discussed it this morning and it brings up all kinds of interesting analysis about your past (when you were a kid), your present (how that has impacted the way you wanted to be treated), and your future (how you might raise your children).

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