Coercion of adults vs. coercion of children


From the archives: Posted on 3rd May, 1996

“So all coercion is wrong, but few adults undergo anything like what many children go through every day.”

“I’ll agree that coercion is wrong … I think that adults are coerced in far more subtle ways than you might ever believe. Some of those ways may have resulted from putting themselves into situations where they can be coerced mind!
     Take working for example. Most employers coerce their employees through a constant progress monitoring process. You don’t keep up production, you lose pay or you’re fired or … I have a family to feed, I have a roof to keep over their head. My employer feels no need to be less coercive … he has hundreds of employees and hundreds applying for jobs to replace me at less than my salary at the drop of a hat. I’m over 40 years old … finding a new job to escape this situation is extremely hard. I have little choice but to stay and be coerced, or coerce my children by not providing a roof and food never mind that toy they want!
     The stress has made me sick, I cannot sleep properly, so I don’t perform as well as I might, so my job is hanging by a thread.
     My children and my existence are being controlled. There is no consensual solution with my employer. The only solution rests with me and that is to find a new job, and pray that my current employer doesn’t find out that I’m looking before I DO find one. (He takes the attitude that if you’re looking for a job, then you don’t want this one … so you might as well go now.) If we are lucky we find a new job … if we are very lucky we find one before our mental health goes down the tubes.
     Sound far fetched? Not really … I’ve been there … LOTS of people are there now … we call it trapped.
     Don’t tell me that adults aren’t coerced … or aren’t coerced badly, or have more resilience.”

If there was someone who took all of your salary, and decided how to spend it in what they considered to be the best way but you didn’t. And if, even if you did find another job, your employer could ban you from leaving (and was backed up by the law). And if you were not able to run away because your employer could send half the police force out to stop you, and if you were never allowed to go home, and always had to be under the thumb of your employer or his agents 24 hours a day, And if your employer had the right to dictate exactly what you should do, but could decide how much or little to pay you. And if he could choose your friends and your clothes and what food you eat, regardless of what you thought about it, and a whole host of other things, THEN your life would be something of the same burden that a typical child’s is. Because whenever you say “I have virtually no chance of doing this or that” the operative word is “virtually”. A child has NO way to quit, a child has NOwhere to run,, a child has NO source of income, and a child has NO one to turn to if things get too hot for them. You think you are coerced a lot? You are coerced because you don’t know much that is useful to anyone but have voluntarily taken on responsibilities that are more than you can handle. A child is coerced because they CAN’T avoid it! You are not coerced into your lifestyle by your employer, why should he pay you more than you are worth to him, simply because you have a family? If you want someone to blame, then blame either yourself or your parents. Don’t post bullsh-t about how you are coerced and under stress, because whatever stress you are under, your children are under more! You are your boss’s employee, your child is your slave!

The kid who really could quit if he wanted to (not),


See also:

Nick, 1996, ‘Coercion of adults vs. coercion of children’,

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