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IconI can't believe how many emails I got from those of you who watch that program, Jon & Kate Plus 8 .' It's a reality TV show, and they're breaking up because he had an affair?' Because she seems to be really mean to him, people have written suggesting I get involved.' NO WAY.'When I was young, there was a show on PBS, An American Family , that was the same sort of thing.' Cameras were there 24 hours a day, and the family fell apart.' Strangers were there, the family was performing for television, and there were stresses and strains with the celebrity part of it - there shouldn't even be a celebrity part.' I just think these things are disgusting displays.Then there was the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show , which was about his life being a television show, and he not knowing it.' I remember at the time that people said, "Isn't this a disgusting thing to do to a person?"' Well, now, people volunteer for it!' So, I have no respect for these parents.' I have no respect for any of the people who do this "reality" stuff.'My heart goes out to the kids.' Is it humane to children to let their parents exploit them in a television program when their images and intimacies are exposed to everyone for all time when they have no say or control?' Is it in the children's best interests to be USED as entertainment by two parents so self-absorbed that they put money and celebrity in front of their children's privacy?' It's like putting your children in a circus freak show strip and having a barker yelling: "Come in, come in and see what happens to children when their parents use them for your entertainment... It's exciting, it's damaging, but you won't be able to take your eyes off 'em.' Watch 'em wiggle. Watch 'em cry. Watch 'em squirm.' It's so much fun...bring popcorn and beer and come watch the show." To me, there should be a law that you can't use kids on TV like this.' It's one thing when they're acting, but it's another thing when they're being exploited.' I'm surprised that nobody stepped in and said "This is the exploitation of minor children," although late last week the Pennsylvania Department of Labor said it was looking into whether the show is complying with the state's child labor law.' But I'm not going to get involved.' There are other show-biz types who have a habit of doing that.' I'm not one of them.Here's one of the letters that came into me, and seemed to have the most in-depth information: I was once a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8.' I loved watching these children, and seeing them grow. [note: I think it's exploitation]. Only the longer I watched the show, the more disturbed I became with Kate's treatment of her husband.' I'd turn off the TV feeling deflated rather than uplifted. Episode after episode, she'd berate and belittle him:' about his weight, his intelligence, and his parenting.' He'd take responsibility for his mistakes, while she'd excuse hers.' I remember one specific episode where he'd taken the day off to help her at home.' Having noticed one of the kids acting up, he put them in a "timeout."' She went over and said "Daddy's being mean," and let them go back and play.' It broke my heart to see his authority continuously undermined in front of his own children. Recently, at the end of their last season, Jon mentioned he wasn't up for another season, explaining how he hates how he can't go out in public and 'just be Jon.'' Instead, he's 'Jon & Kate Plus 8.'' Translation:' he's the guy on TV who is whipped by his self-centered wife. Weeks later, all of the scandal broke.' Kate, in a People Magazine interview, said that Jon felt cancelling the show would make him happy, but she didn't think anything would, so she would do what she felt was right for her family.' What is right for her family is not a television show, but two parents who love each other. He wanted to cancel the show so the world would no longer see his dirty laundry, his controlling wife, and constant failures.' It may not make him happy, but it would make his life bearable.' What would make him happy is having a wife who cares for him.' I just wish that someone would reach out to that woman and give her a hard shake, before she damages the lives of 8 little ones, and her husband.' It seems silly to be caught up in the lives of ten reality show strangers, but I've learned a little something from it.' I gained a better understanding of the Dr. Laura saying:' "Do you want this woman/man to be the mother/father of your 87 children?' Thanks for being a version of reality that I can rely on. I like that last sentence.' What do we call "entertainment?"' The shows where they have people competing to cook, make clothes, and all that other stuff are such mean shows.' Hostility?' Competitive venom?' I can't understand why we call this "entertainment."' The population that enjoys sitting there with popcorn and a beer, watching people be mean, be diminished, and be demoralized is scaring me. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageParentingReality TV
IconA 66-year-old British woman (yup - 66! ), unmarried (of course), went to the Ukraine and paid doctors over there to impregnate her with fertilized eggs.' The eggs were donated, as was the sperm, but the uterus - zapped with a regimen of necessary hormones - was hers.She is due to give birth by Caesarean section next month.' Wow.' What a medical miracle!' We have the technological know-how to allow a woman almost 70 years old to "make a baby" for her very own self!' Personally, I would have suggested a shih-tzu for her case of loneliness instead - she and the dog might live the same number of blissful years together.What about the child?' What about being born to a woman who could be your great-grandmother and statistically will not live to see you finish puberty or high school?' Well, that doesn't seem to matter - it's all about what the adult wants and not about how children pay the price.Yes, I know - parents of any age can die from cancer or car accidents, and, of course, that's true.' But this woman's chances of dying before her child reaches adulthood are pretty clear.' And with no daddy in the picture, what does this child do for family?The so-called "Octomom," Nadya Suleman, also wanted what she wanted, and now many children suffer not being able to get to a teat because there are too many competitors, and they have no dad to comfort them, either.I'm so proud (yeah, right) of women who have taken on the mantle of "I am woman, hear me roar."' They serve to make the example of how low women and humanity can go in diminishing the needs of children because of their own wants.' Shameful! More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
IconPolice authorities are on a nation-wide search for a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son who fled after refusing chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy's life.' The two left their Minnesota home after a doctor's appointment and X-ray showed his tumor had grown.' A court has issued an arrest warrant (ruling the mother in contempt of court), and has ordered that the boy be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated for treatment by a cancer specialist .'His parents insist on alternative medicines, citing religious beliefs.' That led authorities to seek custody, as the court ruled that the boy's parents were medically neglecting their son, as his form of cancer is considered highly curable with chemotherapy and radiation.The parents believe in the philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and such.' However, lately the dad has jumped ideological ships and is now agreeing that his son needs the best treatment with a doctor of medicine.All over the blogosphere, you can read arguments as to whether or not the court should be able to countermand the parents.' My opinion?' Absolutely yes...when it is clear that the child is in imminent harm and there are the means to rescue him.This child is in imminent harm because of his parents and the cancer itself.' Since the cancer is likely curable, it is unconscionable for his life to be taken by parents who choose some extreme religious views which put their child on the road to death.' Secondly, the child, 13, cannot read due to some learning disability.' I question whether or not the parents helped him with that problem either.' Since the boy cannot read, he is relying on the "wisdom" of his parents, who are not giving him the truth, which is "chemo will save you and herbs will let you die in pain."Personally, I am very respectful of most (not all) religious views.' I am completely dis respectful of religious views which result in taking the life of an innocent - in this case, robbing the life of an innocent child. More >>

Tags: AbuseChild NeglectChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthParentingReligionValues
Tags: AbstinenceFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensParentingTeensValues
IconI got this after I read a letter from a stay-at-home mom on my radio program: Dr. Laura:I am a 26 year old Stay-At-Home Dad who never wanted children, and until I saw my daughter for the first time, I was terrified that I would resent her for changing my life in a way I'd never planned (and yes, I do appreciate the irony of my situation).' I have served in the military, managed people, and worked as a laborer.' I have done many difficult things in my life, but being a full-time parent is easily the most difficult (and most rewarding) job I have ever had.' My daughter is the light of my life, and, despite my earlier fears, has only helped to strengthen the relationship I share with my wife. [Recently], you read an email on your program from a stay-at-home mother titled "Staying Home is NOT a Sacrifice!"' I was awestricken, and admittedly, at the end of the letter, I cried.' I've been described as "unemotional" on more than one occasion, and was even surprised at myself with the chord that letter struck for me.' While I have never considered giving up my career and my life as a childless young adult a sacrifice, I'd also never put it all into perspective for myself.' I am surrounded by people who have shown nothing but great respect for my wife and I for the fact that we live a much different lifestyle than we did prior to our daughter being born, so I am personally (and thankfully) unfamiliar with the hostility that stay-at-home parents receive.' And while I doubt that the people who would hear or read this woman's letter would disagree with her, I, as a man and father, would like to add a little reinforcement to this woman's declaration.' Staying home is NOT a sacrifice!' The reward of staying home with the kids is not only the end result of children having full-time parents, but in the act itself.' We are not giving anything up to be with our children; we are getting so much more from them than we would otherwise. It's unfortunate to me that not everyone can enjoy the special bond that a stay-at-home parent forms with their children, and I wish that the whole world could see my little girl run at me full-bore, and crash head-first into my legs, begging to be picked up, so that she can give me a big sticky kiss and bury her face in my neck. Yes, I do sometimes miss skipping town for the weekend on a moment's notice to go drinking or fishing.' Yes, I do sometimes miss having the money to go buy a new toy whenever I feel like it.' I do sometimes miss being able to make love to my wife anywhere in our home at any time.' But one sticky kiss from my daughter is worth infinitely more than every beer I don't have, every record-breaking fish I don't catch, every new toy I don't buy, and every intimate moment that has to wait until the baby has gone to bed. A proud, stay-at-home Dad More >>

Tags: acceptanceAttitudeFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParenting
IconI received this poignant email about a heartbreaking topic, but Kelly has found inspiration in her loss, and that's the message I'd like to pass on to all of you: Dr. Laura:I listened to a call you took from a woman who had lost a baby (a twin), and wondered how to handle this as she tried to go forward in life.' I thought I'd share how my family has coped with our loss. My son was stillborn almost 13 years ago now.' He was my first baby, and the loss was devastating, especially since it was such a struggle to conceive him at all.' Three months after the loss I became pregnant again (huge surprise!).' How could I be happy for this baby when I was still mourning my son?' It was scary and hard, but I was determined to notice what would become good memories, so that I would have them to share with this child as she was growing up and wanting to hear how happy we were as we anticipated her arrival.' But I still struggled each year as the anniversary of my son's birth/death approached. And then I read a story about a woman who had been raped and left for dead.' After years of agonizing fear and dread as the anniversary of her attack approached each year, she decided to do something to change all that.' She used that date each year to celebrate her life, and the fact that she still had it.' By this time, we had already shared with our daughter that she had a brother in heaven who watched over her.' I decided to take that a step further. Rather than trying to cover up or explain my sadness at that time each year, I decided to make it a time of remembrance and appreciation.' If nothing else, my son's death taught me just how fleeting this life is, and there is not a moment to take for granted. It took me a long time to get to this place, but now, on that day each year, my husband, my daughter and I take that day off (no matter what) just to spend time with each other doing something fun, and remembering how appreciative we are that we have each other. We've been camping, spent a day at the park, went to the beach...anything that immersed us in each other.' And we take time out to remember our son, and thank him for that awesome lesson.' When it comes to the loss of a child, I really think every person has to find his or her own way.' I just thought I'd share ours, in hopes that it might help someone else. Kelly More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParenting
Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingTeens
IconI'm traveling this week, doing my radio program from Detroit and then from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, so I thought I'd feature a guest blogger today, who wrote in with the following comments: Hi, Dr. Laura!I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful children, ages 4 1/2 and almost 2.' I have been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) since the middle of my first pregnancy.' I just picked up your book "In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms," and read it cover-to-cover in two days.' At first, the book made me angry.' Not at anything you said, but it stirred up some old emotions in me that I thought I had buried long ago. You see, I have felt a lot of negativity from my in-laws since the day my husband and I decided that I would quit my job to stay home to raise our family.' My mother-in-law and father-in-law, and even both brothers-in-law and their wives, who all have children in day care, felt that I was not pulling my weight-that I was a burden on my husband, and that my children should be in day care.' Can you imagine?!! My husband and I lead a completely different lifestyle from them, but that didn't seem to matter to them. We don't have a thirty foot trailer for camping, and it's not important for us to have brand new SUVs or granite countertops.' We can have those material things in due time, if we choose. Reading your book made me think about the past again, the way my children and I have been treated over the years, and it brought back all the anger and resentment.' As I continued reading your book, it clicked!' My in-laws are jealous of the quality time that I get to spend with my children every day.' Also, the biggie for me:' happiness is a matter of perspective.' Both my husband and I feel like we are doing the right thing by having me stay-at-home and that's all that matters.' Period. In a quest to keep the right perspective, I have started journaling my proud "mommy moments," and I thought I would share this with you.' Perhaps this might help other SAHMs keep a positive outlook, too.' There's no denying that being a full-time stay-at-home mom is both rewarding and challenging.' So, I started journaling all the wonderful moments that I experience with my children on a daily basis - the moments I would never be able to experience via Mommy-cam. Today, my daughter lovingly brushed the hair away from my forehead and kissed me sweetly on my forehead, just as I have done to her countless times.' I wrote it down.' When my little boy wraps his pudgy arms around my legs and squeezes me with all his might, I write it down.' That way, when things get tough, which they will, I can quickly glance over my Mommy journal and see why I'm doing this again, to help me keep a positive outlook.' I know this won't make whatever is troubling me magically disappear, but I do think that seeing what's positive and wonderful in my life will help to clear my head and give me strength for Round 2 and 3. You have been such a wonderful influence on me, Dr. Laura.' Thank you for helping to lift my chin, so when people ask me what I do for a living, I can respond, smiling, "I am a proud FULL-time stay-at-home Mommy and I love my life." God bless you and yours, C. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMilitaryMother's DayMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingValues
IconThe coordinator behind a children's coloring book that was pulled from FEMA's website recently is standing by her work, despite its controversial cover (which shows a child's drawing of the New York's "Twin Towers" on fire, with a plane flying toward them), according to Fox News.Ostensibly, this downloadable coloring book was created to help children cope with disaster, and was developed by Minnesota's Freeborn County Crisis Response Team after a tornado hit their area. "I stand firm that it was a very well thought out and useful resource for kids," Rose Olmstead told Fox News.' I think she is sadly mistaken.' I read the entire coloring book, and these are my observations and opinions:1. The title of the coloring book is "A Scary Thing Happened," a children's coloring book to help cope with disasters.' I would not have shown this to my child.' The cover has the World Trade Center towers burning, with a plane coming in for the second kill, a house with the roof blowing away due to a tornado, and a car that is smashed from the top - this doesn't resemble a car accident, so I don't know if a tornado was supposed to have hauled it up and then dropped it on its top before righting it, or what.' Can't figure that one out.'Here's where I take issue:' a tornado is an act of nature.' The tower disaster was an act of evil people determined to murder all those who didn't share their religion.' It's wrong to put these two together, because the explanations for these events are worlds apart, and people cope differently when other humans perpetrate heinous acts on purpose, than when nature does what nature does, or when accidents happen.' Coping with these two category types is psychologically different.' As you might guess, murder and mayhem perpetrated by man is much harder to deal with, because it becomes more personal.2. After highlighting terrorism on the cover, the book starts out showing excessive rain causing a flood, a tornado and a house fire - typical disasters for a community.' The text then says, "You may wonder why anybody would do this or why it happened to you." Well, are we blaming God for rain and high winds?' Who else could do this?' This is neither discussed nor explained. "...why it happened to you" is definitely a good question to ask, because that is what most people of any age would ask.' On the next page, the question is not answered.' The page just shows a child among three different images of terrorist-hijacked planes and World Trade Center towers.' This actually made me angry, because it was a pointless segue from the previous page.3. The next section is pretty good.' It talks about sadness, but then it throws in "You might think you made the disaster happen, but you didn't." What kid thinks a tornado or flood is their fault?' This book is just all mixed up with concepts, and ultimately, I don't believe it is helpful to children at all.4. One of the worst parts of the book is a section that mentions "In the disaster, there was no warning and no time to get ready." Well, people in flood, earthquake and tornado areas have family and community plans in place, and generally instruct their children on what to do.' The same goes for house fires.' This book leads children to believe that they have absolutely no power, because it does not inform them that there is such a thing as preparedness.' Coloring after the fact is cute, but preparedness before the fact helps children to anticipate and feel a sense of power vs. a feeling of helplessness.5.' Since this book doesn't really settle on one concept, it does not effectively deal with any, which is a shame, because the last part talks about discussing your feelings, doing good deeds, and taking care of yourself as a way to cope.'I stand with the people who wanted this book pulled because of the cover with the burning towers, but I stand with them more because of the quality of the effort than just because of a controversial cover.Disasters have different origins:' those that are natural are dealt with one way, while those that are perpetrated by humans are handled another way.' If FEMA wanted to do a book about how to deal with the fear that there are millions of people who want us dead because of their blind bigotry, hate, and misguided sense of spirituality, well, that's a very different book from this one. More >>

Tags: attitudeFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingPoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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