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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconA caller with a seemingly simple question has been haunting my mind since Monday.' The caller was a stay-at-home mom with four children under the age of six.' I thought I was heroic chasing after one child who never napped.' I can't imagine four little tykes going in different directions, all with different personalities and needs.' Wow.After asking some sneaky questions, I discerned that she was - in two words - BURNED OUT.' It's difficult to get around the understandable embarrassment or shame that a mother has for even thinking that she wished she were on another planet away from the children for a while.' But this is a totally understandable and normal reaction to a lovely, but draining, situation.When a woman is at a job, she can take a number of bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, and a lunch break which may even include shopping (a great tension releaser!).' When taking care of a number of children whose needs are relentless and inconsistent, it's easy to see how one brain and heart can be overwhelmed if the kids don't nap - mine never did, and I remember feeling mentally exhausted.Mothers do, but shouldn't, feel guilt at not always being thrilled out of their ears to be taking care of their children.' My first argument is that there is no one with any career or activity who doesn't regularly feel the same way.' Human beings need breaks - changes of scenery and input - and activities that help let off steam and revive one's sense of joy in life.' That's why in my book, In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms , I've written about the necessity of taking guilt-free breaks - and taking them before you break!First, to the husbands:' Make sure you command and demand that your beloved wife and mother of your progeny go out with her girlfriends, go have a one-hour bath with bubbles and wine, or go ride her bike with a bike club for a morning - something so that she can feel revived and relaxed.' Plan it for her if she's stubborn (the stubbornness usually comes from feeling guilty).' Tell her that a GOOD mother takes care of herself so that the "giving" flows more readily.Second, to you mothers:' Grandma is useful for a break while you do nothing or something that relaxes you.' I told this caller to get one of those carriers that attaches to a bicycle, and get a child bike seat affixed behind her bike seat - that takes care of three kids right there, and one is in kindergarten.' Take 'em all on a bike ride to picnic or relax in a park - that's only one of the things I did with my child.' Turn on an exercise video and dance along with the music to get a workout - the kids will join in, or play next to you with their toys.'My message is:' no guilt.' Any profession has tools that must be taken care of to keep working properly:' a computer, a saw and hammer...whatever.' For us mothers, the tool is ourselves.' So, no guilt.' Take it as a responsibility to keep yourself loose and refreshed.My final message is that being home with your children opens up many opportunities if you think out of the perimeter of your property.' It isn't supposed to be a "work farm."' It's supposed to be a joyous home.' Oh, and here's why that caller stuck in my mind:' I heard a depth of sadness in her voice that seriously worried me, and I realized that many of you moms try so hard that you forget to take care of yourselves.' In doing so, you lose contact with your mission in the first place.' When that happens, your children miss you.So, ladies, turn on that music and dance and sing around the house and enjoy! More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMental HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconI am just sickened.' It seems the "male" who impregnated Sarah Palin's teenage daughter outside of wedlock (and now, with no wedlock to be had) is going on television shows to give "his side" of the story.' What "sides" are there to be had when two teens breach basic moral good sense and have sex when they are in no position emotionally, psychologically or financially to raise a family?' Now there is yet another poor child in the world without an intact, covenantly committed, grown-up and secure two-parent, mom and dad family.' Sad.In the old days, the man "did the right thing," and marriage was the solution.' These days, men just walk away, or women declare that they "don't need" a guy - they can do it all themselves.' Well, the abandonment by a dad is devastating to a child in many painful ways, and no woman, no matter how nurturing, can offer any child what they lose in not having that paternal influence.So, instead of tarring and feathering this young man for daring to "kiss and tell," he's being treated like something special, with polite interviews on television!' I find this utterly disgusting, but typical for TV, which goes looking for situations like this to exploit for ratings, e.g., "We have an exclusive interview with the boy who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter!"During the election, Mrs. Palin paraded her pregnant daughter and the sperm donor around to display family values, saying they were "engaged."' That, too, was a disgusting display, especially with John McCain embracing this shameful young man on international television."Normalizing" children born without the protective womb of family is an assault on the well-being of children everywhere, and a bad influence on young men and women who too often follow that old adage:' "Monkey see, monkey do."Children should be our first concern and responsibility - not our incidental playthings. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensParentingPersonal ResponsibilityTeensValues
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Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenParentingSexStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a child in school, my parents were called in each and every year to have a conference with the principal about my inattention, underachievement, and disruption of the class because I talked too much - all the things that would have me doused in Ritalin today.I get way too many calls from mothers that their local school is threatening to drug their child (usually a son) with Ritalin to cure his ADHD, and thereby control his behavior.' I always tell them:' NO.' There are numerous reasons why children (and especially boys) won't sit still and won't pay attention.' Sometimes they're bored, sometimes there is so much turmoil at home that they're acting out, and sometimes they just have so much energy that they can't sit still.' Schools have virtually thrown out recess breaks and physical education.' Sometimes, too, they're just the sort of kids who need more one-on-one attention in order to keep focused.' Of course, there's also the possibility that there are other problems.There's an important (and not surprising to me) piece of news published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry :' that stimulant drugs like Ritalin that are used to treat ADHD do not improve children's symptoms in the long term.The latest report tracked almost 500 children for eight years, and found that those still taking stimulant medication fared no better in the reduction of symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity or in social functioning than those who had not taken medication.' The difference was clear in less than two years.Behavioral treatments are going to have a much bigger benefit in the long term.' It's easy to find a doctor who will prescribe Ritalin.' However, it takes some time to find a doctor experienced in behavioral intervention, and for many "too busy" folks, popping a pill seems easier and more expedient than ongoing behavioral techniques that will require their time and energies to learn and utilize at home.Here in Los Angeles, we have The Drake Institute , which is expert in this area.' These ongoing interventions are costly, and not all insurance will cover them, which is, indeed, a problem.I remember reading on the air an email from a grandfather whose grandson was the child of a two-career household.' The grandfather was retired.' He found out they were going to "Ritalin-ize" his grandson, and immediately took over.' He homeschooled this child and spent the entire day combining school work with structured play and discipline'' The child blossomed.' He wrote: "I sometimes think that it is not the child who has attention-deficit problems, but the parents who give the child a deficit of attention." While that may be true in a lot of cases, there are still those children whose impulse control and thinking processes need special attention.' Find a good behavioral therapist with the experience to make a difference, and realize that you, as a parent, will have to spend the time to understand, learn and help your child mature in a healthy and productive way.' Stop with the popping of potent pills as a first and last resort.....please. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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Tags: AbuseChild AbuseFamily/Relationships - ChildrenIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraSexStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I brought our one child into the universe, I pushed hard for 12 hours, but he must have been holding on for dear life, because I ended up having a C-section.' I was a bit bummed that I couldn't just pop him out in 20 minutes like the 22 year old down the hall - humphff!They had to give me morphine so, of course, I was out like a light until morning.' The first minute my eyes were open, there was the nurse with my little miracle.' She reminded me that I had signed up for breastfeeding, and...well, here she was and he was hungry.In my sad little stupor, I mumbled "I haven't been able to do anything right yet...I don't know if I can do this." She said it was easy, and then showed me how to hold him.' The side of his cheek touched my breast, his eyes perked up (typical guy!), and he went right on, and all the pain of the night before just evaporated and I fell in love.' Imagine - my own body feeding my own child.' Seriously cool!All of this is not idle reminiscing on my part.' It is a lead-in to the story that there is a new Rhode Island law that allows a woman to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child in any place open to the public.' This new law permits a woman to allege a violation of her civil rights if she is prevented from breastfeeding in public.Now, breastfeeding is very important, not only for the mommy/child bond, but to pass on the mother's immune factors to the child for the first 6 months, saving everybody time, money, and discomfort with infants getting sick.' One might also suggest that it is the responsibility of the mommy to breastfeed for the health of her child, but there is more to the story.Dr. Laura Viehmann, a Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said "Too often, mothers are asked to stop breastfeeding, to move to a private location, or to cover themselves up when they breastfeed at a playground, at the airport, in a restaurant, or in other public places." This is where the typical separation of rights vs. responsibilities occurs.' I breastfed my son whenever he was hungry, wherever I was...but I never imposed this lovely experience on strangers at another restaurant table, or passers-by in the mall, or a pew in a house of worship.' I would either go to a private place for the peaceful setting, or I would take a thin diaper and cover us both up...kind of like "tenting" us.'While at that time, my breast was a source of life fluids for my son, as modestly endowed as I am, the breast is still a source of sexual stimulation to half the population.' Perhaps women who breastfeed uncovered in public with men around should be charged with sexual harassment?' While I'm kidding, of course, I don't think my point is a minor one.People are always "crumbing" about their privacy, and' yet they're willing to show their underwear with pants that barely stay up, or skirts that barely stay down.' My point is that while breastfeeding is a sacred, wonderful, natural part of mothering, it deserves respect, and we hardly show respect for something by parading it in front of strangers.I was a breastfeeding woman, and I always showed respect for the situational expectations of others.' I also never brought our son to a fancy, adult restaurant when he was an unpredictably screaming baby.' To me, breastfeeding is a sacred bonding moment between mother and child - like the passionate act that brought that child into being is between husband and wife.' These sacred moments are private, and should be kept that way with a simple draped cloth.Exposing yourself in full view of potentially unwilling onlookers is less about bonding and feeding, and more about exhibitionism or disrespect for others, or an attitude that nobody else in the world matters - like that Sixties mantra of "if you don't like it, it's YOUR problem."' No matter how you look at it, special things are put on pedestals and treated as special. More >>

Tags: HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
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Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraSexStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconAs children do in general, when I was a small child, I lied to my parents when I got caught doing something I shouldn't have, or not doing something I should have.' The reason why lying is so popular among children is that it is their attempt to keep out of trouble and avoid punishment.After a while, as children mature, they learn that lying is worse than the dumb thing they did (like eat all the potato chips before their parents' party started), because it hurts the relationship by destroying trust .' In addition, lying brought consequences - dire consequences in the old days (spankings) and stupid consequences in the present (loss of cell phone privileges for a few days), or none at all (when parents are just too busy).Nonetheless, the value of honesty (as demanded in the commandment not to bear false witness) has been a cornerstone in this country's value system about measuring character in individuals.We already have way too many "role models" who actually make superficial lifestyles, drugs, casual sex, and domestic violence attractive to our children, making it harder and harder to tell them " That's wrong to do, and if you do it, you will be publicly embarrassed, and your life will get off track ."' There isn't much in society to back that statement up anymore.I am soooooo glad I don't have a young child at home anymore.' Sitting at breakfast last week, watching the so-called news, I looked up to see Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd say (and I paraphrase) that the line in the federal stimulus bill which would have given over $100 million in bonuses to AIG executives - the ones responsible for the company's demise - if they were promised before February 11th, was nothing he knew about. "When I left work after writing that part of the bill...that sentence wasn't there." I sat there "chewing" on his statement, wondering what gremlin snuck into his office and typed that sentence while he was home in the bosom of his family.' My question was answered within seconds as a second news clip was shown with him admitting the HE was the gremlin, but then he threw the White House under the bus with, "They made me do it."Now I am mortified. "I didn't have sex with that woman," and "I didn't' write the sentence that stole money from Americans to give bonuses to high-ranking losers" have entered the ranks of the story about George Washington admitting to his dad that he cut down the cherry tree.I could see my kid right now..."Ah, mommy, what's the story here?"' You said lying was bad, and bad things would come of it, like at least looking bad, but he's still going to be a Senator tomorrow."Millions of you out there have children who saw what I saw.' What are you going to say to them about corruption at the highest levels that ultimately gets just a "wink and a nod?"' What about all those courses in school where "character matters?"' Where does it matter in public anymore?' Some of you can fall back on "God knows, and for all eternity, it WILL make a difference."' I like that a lot, except children don't think long-term, nor do they dwell on the importance of what they can't see.Asian countries have it right - they threaten people with the anger and shame of their ancestors.' America has it wrong.' It would seem to children that the only really important quality needed to become a public figure is to not give a damn about right and wrong or what people think, or that a lie is anything but an expedient tool with no meaningful consequences.Oh, yeah, the White House is acting all outraged about the AIG bonuses at the same time it is apparently the source of the benevolent donation to the failed executive fund of AIG.' Is this what they mean by the "trickle down" theory?Were I to have a child by my side this morning, I would say:' "Beloved child, when you read history books (and not the purged ones you get at school, but real history books), you will see that success and honesty are not necessarily bed partners.' Nonetheless, never do anything you would be ashamed to have your kids know you did or have them do.' I would rather you lost everything you worked for, rather than lose your soul."' I figure the more you tell kids this from the day they're born to the day you die, we'll have some people in this life we can trust. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconI can't even guess how many times I've read about some so-called "mother" leaving her kids in cars to die in the heat, either because she "forgot" she had a child, or she was busy with partying, and then the sympathy goes to....the mother!The same thing applies to women and their abusive "significant others" (choke).' Recently, in North Carolina, a mother left her child in the care of a gang member.' She knew he was a gang member when she made him her boyfriend-of-the- month.' The self-declared Bloods gang member beat her 2-year-old son to death, with a combination of 41 blows, which ultimately burst his liver and caused his brain to bleed.According to the report in The News & Observer , the murderer will spend the rest of his life in jail, and there's no mention of the mother being held on any charges whatsoever:' not negligence, not child endangerment....nothing.When informing me of this story, one of my listeners wrote: "I am incensed that this woman was not fined or jailed as well.' I guess our society no longer expects moms to protect their innocent, helpless children.' No doubt, this is what the abortion mentality has done to us." I thought about her comment, and it holds water.' Mothers farm out their kids to daycare, nannies, and baby-sitters.' The "feminista" movement talks about women having power, yet treats women as helpless victims of sexual harassment when they get meaningless comments about their butts, and suggests that only men are responsible for domestic violence.Power and responsibility are two sides of the same coin....or should be.' To leave a child with a known, self-acknowledged gang member should be considered a criminal act, because it clearly puts a child in harm's way.'As a woman and as a mother, I am shocked. More >>

Tags: AbuseChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityViolence
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05/13/2010
IconI'm turning my blog today over to Sharen Cervantes, a sophomore at Occidental College, with excerpts from an article she wrote for her campus newspaper: It's a testament to the changing times that single motherhood is no longer a lamentable predicament, but a choice, something pre-meditated and embarked upon with pleasure.' An even bigger testament to the nature of the 21st century is the fact that more and more of these unwed mothers do not fit the archetype of the uneducated, hapless teenager. According to a recent article in " The New York Times," the number of college-educated women choosing to have children out of wedlock has increased by a staggering 145% since 1980, with most of the women in this pool of mature age (i.e., in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s). Now, I support progress as much as the next person, and I'm especially supportive when it comes to women's progress.' Up until a short time ago, women were bound to the household and familial unit, unable to aspire toward anything beyond domestic and childcare obligations.... Single motherhood, however, doesn't strike me as progress.' While it may serve as testimony that the modern woman can single-handedly manage a household and act as a financial provider, it also denies the single-parent child something essential:' a father.' It's hard to explain what it means to have or, or why not having one is significant.' The impact of a father's absence ranges from the trivial...to the vital (forever wondering what a father could have brought to your life, for instance).' And there's just something about having a second parental figure in the house to forget or disregard a punishment when Mom is away.' Things aren't always this rosy, of course.' I'm enough of a cynic to realize that phenomena like divorce and negligent fathers make single motherhood almost more desirable than traditional husband/wife parenthood.' But shouldn't the dual-parent model still be a goal? I guess my biggest issue with single motherhood is its effect on a child's psychology.....The issue here is not ability.' The issue here is efficacy. What happens, for instance, when a single mother decides to play the inevitable dating game?' Does she introduce these men to her child?' It is even appropriate or conducive to an impressionable child to do so?' Not in my eyes.' It actually strikes me as rather selfish.' It is not in a child's best interest to witness a slew of men (or even a handful) come into and out of his or her mother's life.' It's even less permissible for a child to witness men coming into and out of his or her own life, especially when there's a strong chance of attachment on the child's part.....Attachment then leads to affection, affection leads to love, and love leads to a sense of hurt and loss if and when Mom and "Mr. Potential" end things. Is this fair?' No.' Does this promote a happy and healthy childhood experience?' No.' Is this type of situation inevitable and nearly universal?' Unfortunately, it is.' So, really, why the suddenly-escalating need to put children in this difficult position?' And what's wrong with a little tradition? Progress may be great, but so are old-fashioned values.' After all, isn't it especially critical that we uphold traditional ideals like daily family dinners and family game nights in today's high-tech, progress-driven world?' It seems to me that there are already too many conflicting interests to which the family must take a back seat, including work and financial anxiety.' The one point of stability in all this disunity and dysfunction is the mother/father/child dynamic.' So, I firmly believe that it should be maintained. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingValues
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