Q. I’m very concerned about my neighbor’s children. They are frequently yelled at and, in turn, yell at other children.
A. That would give one pause for thought. Dr. Goleman wrote in his book, Emotional Intelligence, Children who have been abused tend to treat others as they were treated. Their exhibited callousness is just a more extreme version of that seen in children whose parents were harsh in punishment, critical, and threatening.
Human beings do tend to do as they have been done to—or 180 degrees differently. Just because they choose to behavior differently doesn’t necessarily make their choices functional and desirable. After all, 180 degrees from dysfunctional is still dysfunctional.