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Family
05/13/2010
IconAs long as you keep sending me stories like these, I'll continue to post them on this blog.' Today's email came from Lori: This is long overdue.' I started listening to your program 20 years ago, when I was in my twenties, newly married, and focused on my career.' I was in the middle of a graduate program that I had worked very hard to get into, when I got pregnant with my son.' I always thought your ideas that a parent should stay home with their child were ridiculous - I thought it was a crazy, backward notion.' That is what day care was for!! Then I had my son. He was six weeks old when I left him with a day care provider to continue my graduate program.' That was also the last time he was with a day care provider.' I physically and mentally could not stand to think that someone else was spending the day and providing for my son - something I should be doing and wanted to do.' After all, who could do it better?' My husband felt the same, so I quit graduate school and all my career plans went out the door so I could stay with my son full time.' While at first it wasn't easy, I can say without a doubt what a great decision that was! When my son and I went to the park or took a walk, I arranged it so I could listen to your radio program at the same time.' While I was sure about my decision, I had VERY LITTLE support from many others.' I got many comments or "put-downs" about what a waste of my life this was.' I felt like you were one of the few who supported me.' You were my advocate, and when I would feel especially down and question my decision, I would listen to you and it would lift me up, and I knew I was right. So, a belated thank you for what you gave me, my wonderfully supportive husband, and my son - who is now a smart, kind, funny, well-adjusted 16 year old.' Keep speaking up for us stay-at-home moms.' I can look back at that time of my life and say I absolutely have no regrets. More >>

Tags: choose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMarriageMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRelativesStay-At-Home-MomsValues
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Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
IconPerhaps you've seen the TV ad?' It begins with a family scene, where the father has gotten one of that company's cell phones, which permits the selection of certain people as "favorites."' Everyone is making suggestions as to who should be among his "favorites," and the eight-year-old son, in front of Mommy, suggests that Dad put in the number of the woman he stares at during the son's ball games!' There is absolutely no reaction from anyone.The teenage daughter then suggests her boyfriend (who has a mustache), and the Dad says that the "fine print" indicates that no kid with a mustache is permitted, and then he proceeds to call his daughter "dude."Using behaviors destructive to families is not my idea of good sales practices.' T-Mobile is off my radar.' I can't imagine a group of executives sitting around in a brainstorming session thinking this would make for a great sales incentive.' I can't imagine TV executives agreeing to play these ads.' I can't imagine anyone at home watching and thinking "this is cute," and feeling driven to buy T-Mobile's products or services.' I can't imagine ever buying one of their products. More >>

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyInternet-MediaInternet/MediaRelationshipsRelativesTelevision
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05/13/2010
IconTurns out that the latter leads to the former!' Recent research by the University of Buffalo Department of Communication and the University of Hawaii reveals that the people who watch reality television visit social networking websites to engage in behaviors like the celebrities they see on shows like American Idol or Survivor .When people on reality TV are rewarded for their behavior, it communicates to the (usually) young audience that these behaviors are good things.' These so-called "reality" TV shows depict people being exploitive, deceitful, hyper-emotional, vengeful, conspiratorial, sexually promiscuous, generally undignified, immodest, self-centered, and basically exhibitionistic.According to the university research, "heavy reality TV viewers may adapt personality traits association with celebrities....Reality TV even may be to blame for the erosion of the distinction between the everyday world and the celebrity world." This phenomenon is encouraging young folks to make personal information about themselves publicly available online.' We've all heard about the proliferation of youngsters sending photos to each other and through the Internet, revealing their genitals and showing themselves engaged in various sexual acts.' Instead of this being "shameful," it's trendy.' Parents are becoming way too lax in allowing their children access to electronic equipment, from cell phones to the Internet, without any supervision.' So, with a little "push" and little "pull" back, kids are getting themselves into situations which will impact them for a lifetime.When children behave like out-of-control celebrities, including drug use, sex, having out-of-wedlock babies, "shacking up," and testing their parents' limits as well as the limits of the law, they are less likely to be studying, participating in sports, or contributing charitably in their neighborhoods. More >>

Tags: divorceFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingRelationshipsRelativesSexSexualitySocial NetworkingTeens
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05/13/2010
IconI've been hearing from a lot of stay-at-home moms, and sharing some of their letters with you.' I got this one from a woman who is not a mother, but who has strong feelings about those who stay at home with their kids: My grandmother was a homemaker.' My mother was divorced, and raised us without our "sperm donor" father, because she chose to leave an abuser.' She worked at a company at night, so that she could walk us to school and help with homework (I didn't realize the magnitude of this when I was young, but I surely do now). I'm over 40 now, and don't have any children, and I work full-time.' However, with every job that I've ever taken, I've always known in the back of my mind that it would never be a "career," because I would eventually leave to be a stay-at-home mom.' So, I had to come up with something that I could do to generate income and stay at home:' writing. I haven't quite pursued my writing "career" yet.' I watch pregnant women around my office leave, have their babies, and come back.' Some of them are married, and some not.' Either way, I am dumbfounded that they would not rather be at home all day with the baby. I never wanted to have children as a single woman without a husband.' First, because I didn't want to have to do everything by myself.' As it is now, I hate taking out my own trash, and wished that I had a husband who didn't mind taking on that chore!' And second, because each parent's role is important.' They both matter and make a great contribution.' It's what all children want:' a mommy and a daddy who are together and care about each other.' So, as I get older and my biological clock "explodes," I've never been tempted to do it alone, i.e., just have a baby because that's what I want. Maybe one day, I'll have a MAN who loves to call me his "girlfriend."' In the meantime, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'll miss that joy of being able to stay at home with my baby and welcoming my husband home at the end of a hard day at work to provide for us. More >>

Tags: CommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMarriageParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconAfter posting a blog last Thursday (9/11/08) about "shame," I got this response from a reader: I grew up in a Roman Catholic family.' I attended parochial school, and I also became pregnant at 17.' I was shamed and ostracized for what I had done, but I have to say that the "shaming" I received from my family and community actually led me back onto the right track. I completed my high school diploma by attending school in the morning, and I began college at night (I was admitted to a local university because I was an honor student in my high school).' I attended college with 30 and 40 year-olds!' Ultimately, I graduated college and became a Certified Public Accountant. This was a difficult path, and I recommend it to no one.' I sacrificed much:' my young adulthood.' I did not do the things other kids my age did.' I took care of my baby, I studied, and I cleaned houses.' Although I was ashamed of becoming pregnant so young and out-of-wedlock, I loved my child more than life itself, and I always placed my child's needs before mine.' I did not "party."' I did not hang out with friends.' I did not do things just for myself, and most of all, I did not whine. I don't think most teens are capable of this, and most babies are probably better off being placed for adoption.' I had my family's help - I was not tossed onto the streets, but my parents' expectations were high, and "I" was my child's caregiver (not my mom).' I was the one up at night with my sick baby.' I was the one who took him to the park and the doctor's office, and I was the one he came to depend on most. I have been happily married now for many years to a man I am so blessed to have as my husband.' I have three beautiful children.' I have chosen to stay home with my younger kids and not work outside of the house.' I ALWAYS hated to leave my oldest child and felt tremendous guilt when I headed off to school for the day or to clean houses. It's an absolute treasure to be a stay-at-home mom.' My job in life now is to provide a warm home environment, and to be there for my hubby and kids.' By the way, the baby boy I had at 17 is now an honor student at [a major university], and quite a wonderful young man.' To this day, I still feel remorse that my oldest did not have the same childhood as my other two kids.' I feel I cheated him, and I suppose I always will. More >>

Tags: ChristmasCommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensHolidaysMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconRecently, I came across a newspaper's Letter to the Editor written by a well-known television personality.' She'd gotten pregnant out-of-wedlock at 17, and had to endure "...[my] mother's disappointment, my father's anger, the priest's admonishment...[T]he shame and ridicule were more than I could bear.' I was no good.' I had messed up.' I knew it.' My dreams and life were shattered.' Days later, I was married off and sent away.' I said I did not love this man.' I was told: 'You made your bed; now you must lie in it.'" She went on to recount the damage to her self-esteem (which she called "life-threatening" ) and described being ostracized and condemned as a "bad" girl, "when I had tried hard all my life to do well and make my parents proud." While it's natural to feel compassion for someone who has faced that kind of negative reaction from all the significant adults in her life, it's important to point out that this situation was not all about her .' And it seems like this author still doesn't get it.' It is about the innocent, dependent child who finds himself or herself in an unprepared, chaotic, non-committed, immature and fragile situation by being born to a teenager and her male counterpart who are having a sexual relationship and are not prepared for the biological consequences:' a pregnancy.The concept of "feeling shame" is a very human, emotional/social mechanism.' Its purpose is to deter people from engaging in behaviors that will have negative consequences for them, for others who may be victimized by their behavior, and for the community and society as a whole.'' The motivation behind those who rage against "shame" is to dissociate behavior from consequence.' These days, judgment of others is considered a bad thing because it hurts feelings, but having hurt feelings (particularly if they're the result of actions which cause pain to others) is a good thing; it is part of having a conscience.' Only good people feel guilt.' Only good people suffer from doing ill to others.' It's human, natural, expected and respected for people to suffer over their wrongdoing.' To complain, however, that wrongdoing should not result in any negative reaction is immature and defensive and contrary to the notion of taking responsibility for how one's actions impact others.The author of the letter complains about having to marry the young man - whom she didn't love - in order to legitimize the baby and take responsibility as a family for the child's welfare.' Why is that a bad thing?' Why was she having sexual relations with someone for whom she didn't have the highest regard and wouldn't have chosen to be the father of her future children?'' Is it not in the best interest of the child to have the foundation of a family?Submitting to responsibility for a dependent child seems like a noble action to me.' Staying mutually committed for the well-being of another human being sounds noble to me.' And many can report that people so inclined grow together and build a strong love and family foundation. These ideals, however, don't often resonate with people who marry this young.' That is why adoption is often the best solution for the child.The author of this letter was making the point that the media shouldn't focus on those young men and women who make this sort of "mistake," because it hurts their feelings and because these are private issues.' Generally, these are private issues, but when people in the public eye and their families display behaviors which undermine role-modeling obligations or expectations, it should be examined publicly, because impressionable youngsters take their cues from their environment.' When there is no public "shame" for destructive, hurtful or illegal behaviors our children see and emulate, the disasters grow exponentially.The author writes : "If my pregnancy - my deepest shame - had been broadcast for all to know about, I might have taken my life." Clearly, now that the author is a mature woman, she is making her own "shameful" history public and is not suicidal.' Maturity is an important factor in dealing with serious issues, which is precisely why children should not be engaging in activities that endanger the lives of innocent people (as we've seen with fetuses being aborted or newborns tossed in dumpsters or toilets).' The young women themselves are at risk when they have a child's view of how "life is over" just because they're embarrassed.'So, instead of railing about how upsetting shame is to a pregnant youngster, it is important to point out to all the other young people out there what dangerous ground they tread when they "walk" as responsible adults, but in reality have the footprints of na've children.' Taking this story public is a way to warn children away from playing with the "perks" of committed adults when they are in no position to take on the responsibilities of their actions, nor to cope well with the emotional fallout.We are in an era which judges "judgment" as evil.' It isn't.' Morals, values, principles and ethics are prophylactics against pain and destruction, and not just somebody's evil attempt to wrest momentary pleasure from the grip of innocent bystanders. More >>

Tags: CommitmentDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconThank goodness for technology, that's all I can say....no, it's not all I can say after all.'' The Associated Press reports that the number of children left to die in hot cars during the summer is rising.' Research shows that July is the month when most are "forgotten" by their parents to die a slow, horrible death in the back seat of cars.Now, in addition to your cell phone, BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone, GPS device, Bluetooth and mini-tape recorder, you can buy a "ChildMinder."' The device, costing about $60.00, consists of a sensor pad placed under the cushion of a car seat, and is wirelessly linked to an alarm on the parent's key chain.' If the adult walks more than a few feet away from the car with the child still in the seat, the alarm will sound.' Wow!' What a great way to help a parent remember that they have a small human being with them!In the past 10 years, almost 350 children have died in cars, because the parents or other caretakers simply forgot them.' Only about 7% of these sad deaths involved drugs or alcohol on the part of the adult.' Most cases involved dentists, nurses, ministers, college professors, concert musicians, social services board members, NASA engineers...you know, the pillars of the community.' These are the busy, self-involved folks always in a rush, for whom even dropping' kids off at a day-care center instead of tending to the little ones themselves was too difficult an assignment.Astonishingly, these parents, when prosecuted at all (and only 50% of them are prosecuted), receive only three to five year prison sentences.' Also astonishing is how much "understanding" public support they get from those who say "It can happen to anyone."' No, it can't happen to anyone.'It can happen only when parenting and family are not the highest priorities.' It can happen only when parents spend their time focused on maximizing their own personal fulfillment at the expense - and very existence - of their children. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
IconAt this point, every news outlet has discussed the conclusions of some researchers from the University of North Carolina.' The researchers insist that three genes "may" play a strong role in determining why some young men raised in rough neighborhoods or deprived families become violent criminals, while others do not.The research team studied only boys, and used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a U.S. nationally representative sample of about 20,000 adolescents in grades 7 - 12.' They found specific variations in three genes that appeared to be associated with bad behavior, but only when the boys suffered some other stresses. "But if people with the same gene have a parent who has regular meals with them, then the risk is gone," said one of the researchers.Genes give us a range of potential - the interaction of those genes with real life determines the outcome - and it appears like family is everything with respect to raising decent, adjusted, functional children. More >>

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconThis is from one of my listeners (whose name is not given in order to protect her privacy): I've been hearing a lot lately about egg donations, surrogacy, and intentional single mothers, and I don't know if you were aware that it had gone this far!' Don't get me wrong, egg donation put me through school with no debt.' Over the past 4 years, I have donated my eggs to 4 different families, going through a total of 7 different surgeries in order to do so.' I know that at least 3 of these donations resulted in the birth of a child that was a miracle and a dream come true for the parents of these children, and I am grateful to have taken part in this dream. Recently, my agency contacted me again.' They had another donation for me.' I was thrilled because my husband and I are planning on starting our own family, and we were going to start trying in the next few months.' The donation would end in $10,000 in our pockets, which I thought would be a nice little nest egg or college account for the child we are planning.' Well, the agency sent over the contracts for me to sign, and luckily, I read them thoroughly.' The recipient was not the expected married couple with unfortunate infertility problems, but a single woman who, after having conquered the corporate world, realized it was too late to get married and make a baby on her own!' My heart sunk.' How could I intentionally give life to a child knowing it would not have a father? Then the thought crept in:' this woman is going to do it anyway, so I might as well be the one to profit from it, right?' As I was talking to my husband about my concerns, I realized, 'How can I donate part of myself to this woman and still expect my husband to believe that I think he is an asset to raising our children? How can I force another baby to grow up in daycare with no masculine influence, and still show my husband that he is a hero for wanting me to stay home with our kids while he supports us?'' I couldn't. I let the agency know:' I will not be available to do this donation, as I believe a child deserves both a mother and a father.' And I hope that my "passing" on the opportunity will make the potential "mother" reconsider her options and buy a puppy.' I may have lost ten thousand dollars, but as my husband said, I still have my morals, and that's worth more to our children than a college account. More >>

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMen's Point of ViewParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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