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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconThe great state of Nebraska was the last state of the union to sign what became the most comprehensive child safe haven law in America.' In most states, the law specifies that an infant can be left at a "safe-haven" - usually meaning a hospital or a fire department...somewhere the child will get immediate attention - without the parent having to suffer any legal ramifications.' Since the law took effect in July, some twenty-three children have been brought to safe-havens...some across state lines.Obviously, this idea came about as a means of saving lives.' The thought was that now people who might toss their babies into dumpsters or abuse them would have the opportunity to save their lives by putting them in the care of responsible people.' From here, appropriate child care would be found through adoptions or the care of appropriate and willing relatives.' I always thought this was a great idea.I had fits hearing criticism that this is abandonment or passing on responsibility.' Children in the hands of parents addicted to drugs or alcohol, suffering from various mental illnesses and overwhelmed, barely functional and generally desperate, or simply unwilling are at great risk - and if even one of them has the compassion and good sense to make use of a safe-haven...then we have saved a life...not only from death...but from abuse and a childhood leading only to troubles and problems.Society is always better off when unwanted children have opportunities with adoptive families, quality foster-families, or placement with relatives who might not even have known there was a problem.' These children will have a better chance to grow up more adjusted, and that will obviously minimize bad "acting out" (sexual or criminal variety)' or substance abuse to quell emotional pain.Unfortunately, because of criticism aimed at parents who take advantage of protecting their children rather than harming them, the Governor of Nebraska, Dave Heinemen, is calling a special session of the legislature to change the state's unique safe-haven law - amending it so that it applies only to infants up to 3 days old.' I believe this is a HUGE mistake.The communications office of the Governor prepared a statement for all Nebraskans explaining his point of view. "Children from eight families have been left at hospitals under the safe haven law.' None of the children involved were infants and one was in immediate danger.' Courts are likely to require parents and guardians to participate in parenting classes, family therapy, conflict resolution or other services in an effort to reunite youth with their families." I'm delighted that the Governor points out that there are services that MIGHT...only might...eliminate the necessity for the safe-haven - but very often, parental termination might be in the best interest of children of any age.The Governor points out that safe haven laws were not designed to allow families having difficulty with older youth and teenagers to "abandon their children or responsibilities as parents." Well, some parents just can't or won't be responsible...and abandonment would be to throw them out of the house...not deliver them to people who can help.The Governor further suggests that parents considering safe-haven might turn to local health and human services offices...well, sometimes those are not as available or supportive or empowered to remedy a desperately difficult situation.While I support his concern about protecting infants in danger...they are not the only children who need such protection.I hope Nebraska keeps its child safe haven law and doesn't dilute it down to 3-day newborns. More >>

Tags: AbusecareerChild NeglectChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenJobParentingPoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconJeremy, one of my listeners, wrote an impassioned email, shocked that a child psychologist is looking for someone to take care of her not yet born baby due in January. "I found it stunning that someone has already given up the chance to take care of their baby before it's even born.' You would think a child psychologist would know better, but even they want to put career before kid.' I wonder how important the kid would feel if he read his mother's ad 10 years from now - seeing his 'mother' in a hurry to find someone to take care of him as soon as he/she was born?" Well, that got my attention, and I clicked onto the job posting site, and leaving out the name and city of the woman in question, here's what she posted: "I am a child psychologist looking for a nanny for my baby who will be born in January. I am looking for a very special person who has experience with childcare- including caring for newborns. This person should have education in a field related to childcare/ psychology etc. and have had CPR training (or will get it). This person should be at least 25 years of age and responsible. This person should be exceptionally loving, patient, and sensitive... someone who I can trust with my new baby. I would like for this person to begin in February, providing approx 15 hours per week and then starting in April, approx 35 hours per week (7 hours per day, M-F). I am willing to pay the right person $11 per hour. If you think you are this person, please send resume to _________' and include your contact info. Thanks!" I don't even know where to start.' She wants someone with her education, CPR training, at least 25 years old, responsible, patient, loving and sensitive - someone who can be trusted with her newborn....ahh....isn't that the description of a mommy and not a nanny?''''You should also know that this therapist lives and works in a wealthy community.''''I couldn't resist...so, I answered the ad...kind of: "Dear 'Child Psychologist' Parent-to-be: Your posting asking for childcare for a yet to be born child has stirred up quite a bit of negative commentary...especially since you are someone trained in the emotional and psychological needs of children.' Would you be willing to offer a statement of explanation as to how your training led you to the conclusion that your hands- and heart-on parenting was not necessary for your child's healthy and happy development?" Sincerely, Dr. Laura Schlessinger''''The answer...well, an answer...came rather quickly: "I am shocked by this insensitive and judgmental email from you.' I wish I could stay home with my baby but I cannot afford to do this.' But this is none of your business.' You don't know me or anything about my life.' You are not a doctor of psychology.' You should keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself." I responded: "I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.' I merely gave you the information that has come to me and gave you the opportunity to explain your position in response to the emails I received.' There is nothing insensitive about concern for the well-being of a child and respect for the mother-child bond." Now - sidebar - as far as "not affording" to take care of her own baby, she was prepared to pay $1500/month and she lives in an extraordinarily wealthy part of the United States, and with a psychology license, she can always work evenings.'''''She responded: "You are very off base, insensitive, and downright incorrect to think or say that there should be any concern for the well-being of a child or a mother-child bond just because the mother must work.' Research shows (here it comes!) that it is the quality of the mother-child relationship that defines secure attachment, not whether the mother works.' I believe it is optimal for moms to stay with their babies as much as possible, but unfortunately, not everyone can afford to stay home everyday with their baby.' I hope that you show more sensitivity in the future." I'm confused...if she believes it is optimal for moms to stay with their babies, why does she cite research that says the opposite?' Also, why is a traditional viewpoint insensitive and judgmental while an "alternative" viewpoint is simply fact?''''My final communication ended with, "Frankly, I am concerned that you're not going to be there for your new infant.' You could always work at night after your baby starts sleeping through the night.' Until then, you could do what I assume you had in mind when you determined to be pregnant: be a mommy, your baby needs that from you and you will be wonderfully transformed by the experience.''''"Don't you understand why I am writing you?' I am trying to give you back the gift you're giving someone else for $11/hour.' Surely your studies have shown you how important the first three years of bonding to mother are?' It seems you've only taken in the feminista nonsense that mothering is all about the mother.''''"You see me as judgmental (there is a right and wrong) and insensitive - no way, I am trying to be sensitive to what you are giving up and what the child will miss in you." Warmly, drl More >>

Tags: AbuseChild NeglectFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconNewark, New Jersey's Roman Catholic archbishop, John Myers,' is upset that part of Bill Maher's movie, Religulous (a combination of the words "religion" and "ridiculous"), was filmed at a Bergen County parish under false pretenses.' Maher told the parish's Very Reverend Charles Grandstrand that he wanted to film his Jewish mother there, because the church was such a big part of her life.' His father was a Catholic.' Maher told the parish folks that the movie he was making would be called A Spiritual Journey .Recently, during his appearance on Larry King's CNN program to promote his activities, Maher said: "This is funny.' Religion accusing me of deception.'' Religion, the greatest scam in the history of the world...selling the invisible product for thousands of years, accusing us of deception? [he laughs] We don't lie to people.'' What we didn't tell people [i.e., when he was producing the movie] was that it was me doing the interview.' They didn't ask, and we didn't feel an obligation to tell them." This is such hypocrisy that I can hardly type.' Hypocrisy, for those who use it as a daily epithet towards somebody whose point of view they simply don't like, is a behavior of espousing and living in counterpoint.' He accuses religious folks of lying about the divine and about faith, while he lies to people to use and embarrass them.' And this, my friends, gets you a television show, after losing another one for calling the September 11 terrorists braver than Americans. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconThere were two trucks circling Bradenton, Florida last week.' Displayed on the sides and backs of the trucks were enlarged photos of dead fetuses in various poses.' Needless to say, this caused a bit of a stir.The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a Southern California-based anti-abortion group, was established in 1990, and conducts nationwide projects on anti-abortion messages usually involving large billboards, signs and photo murals.' Their initiative is to influence voters to select pro-life candidates.' Bill Calvin, the group's regional director says, "We studied all the successful movements in American history.' We need to dramatize the injustice we are fighting." Pictures are worth a zillion words.' "Choice" or "women's reproductive rights" are rather benign ways of describing the death of a human being.' In fact, it has been very smart of the pro-abortion folks to use such words and phrases, because in America, issues of choice and rights are very important.' Also, such words distract people from the realities by taking all passion and compassion--as well as horror--away from an act that terminates innocent human life (unlike the death penalty which terminates a guilty human life).I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say about this truck and its photos, especially since children see them.' Then again, children see blatant sexuality and/or horrific violence on television, music videos and games, magazines, and the Internet.' All of those "every day" visual images don't have a decent point to make - they are strictly for prurient motivations and making a dollar.When my son was 5 years old I started teaching him about sex.' I told him that it was a special experience between a husband and wife that brought immense pleasure, good feelings between them, and often... a baby.' I went on to explain that he ought not engage in that behavior - sex - as a child because (a) he couldn't take care of a wife and child, and (b) because the girl could get an abortion.' He said, "What's an abortion?"' I replied, "It's when the baby is taken out of the woman's body."' He said, "What happens to the baby?"' I said, "It dies."' He said, looking astonished, "You mean they waste a perfectly good baby?"' I said slowly..."Yes."I have railed against feminist groups and Planned Un-Parenthood who don't' want to give women who are considering an abortion a sonogram and then a day to think about their decision to terminate, keep or put the baby up for adoption.''''The feminista types use words like harassment, offensive, disturbing, intimidation, shame and such to protect women from vividly seeing the realities of their baby in their bodies.The same words have been used for these photographs.' Yes, they are disturbing...and they should offend ... the act is offensive. More >>

Tags: MotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPlanned ParenthoodSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI was at first stunned - then not - to read that research from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health points toward white, middle aged women as being particularly prone to depression leading to suicides.' I'm a middle aged, white, female baby-boomer, so this caught my attention, especially since the researchers seemed clueless as to what would be behind this spike.Having talked to women for over thirty years on the radio, I think I know.' We middle-aged, white females from the sixties were sold a bill of goods by the originally well-meaning women's movement.' The bits about equal pay for equal experience and competence were kind of a no-brainer.' The bits about men, marriage, sex, babies, and home-making being negatives in our lives - because, of course, they were oppressive and demeaning - also seemed obvious at the time.' So, with the introduction of consciousness raising (that is, learning to mistrust, not need, and even loathe men) and women's studies programs (which conceived of elevating women by making them perpetually angry victims), we were on our way to a collision course to today: depression and suicide.Women who dared to buck the feminista trend and actually marry and make babies, kept close to the sisterhood by not being very sexual, loving, or sensitive to their husbands - or just kept them as shack-up studs - and put their babies in day-care.' They did all of that so they could work at their careers full-time and have financial power.' The thinking was, what if "he" took off with some bimbo or died on them?' Money is power and safety!' They also did all of that so they could feel like "somebody."' I still have women tell me today that they only allow themselves to feel good when they have a successful career; the loving appreciation of a husband and children are swept aside like so much emotional dandruff.'These white, middle-aged, female baby-boomers starved themselves of the fulfilling emotional meal of actually being a hands-on mom in addition to being their husband's girlfriend.' Many of them are now divorced, and their adult children hardly spend time any time with them.' The kids learned how to spend time without Mom because she was so "busy, busy, busy" while they were growing up.I'm not surprised that so many of these women are depressed and suicidal.' Feministas lied to them that they could and would "have it all:" they only had to sacrifice the loveliest parts of their womanhood.I'm not among them, because I caught myself entering that depressive state.' I've been there...done that.' Saved by a marriage and a child! More >>

Tags: ChildrenFeminismHealthMarriageMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingSocial IssuesWomen's Point of View
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Tags: Family/Relationships - FamilyMarriageParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
IconEverybody wants to know what I think about Madonna's public comments during her' very public and rancorous divorce.' I think they pretty much match her general public image, demeanor, and behavior.' I have always found her incredibly objectionable, offensive and intentionally vulgar - all under the rubric of free-speech and free-spirit.To start, I'm not convinced that most current celebrity marriages are indeed commitments of mind, body, and soul as they are intended to be (think Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward).' For the most part, very 'out there' performers are exceedingly centered on themselves and want someone to adore them, serve them, be a reflection of their perceived wonderfulness or importance, fulfill a fantasy or simply put...the sex was great and the public relations aspect boosts their visibility.When the so-called object of their affections becomes tiresome, more or less important or successful, demanding, and no longer reflects a narcissistic boost...they are dispensed with.When a divorcing spouse makes public vulgar, insulting, and humiliating comments about the other spouse, children are devastated and tend to either compulsively go towards the attacked party to protect and defend them, or compulsively go towards the attacking parent so they won't also be victimized by that parent.' Either way, children become emotionally fragmented, confused, and distrustful - and that will likely be an issue for their whole lives, especially when they are ready to establish relationships.Celebrities with the usual chaos in their personal lives are the fodder of media sales and ratings.' Celebrities with quality relationships are ignored (Tom Selleck, for example).These celebrity musical chair relationships are obviously not a great image for our impressionable youth.' Quite frankly, most divorces don't need to happen at all.' Weathering lousy times is a sign of character and commitment.' Most of the time when folks call me all angry and convinced they need to divorce, they are simplifying the situation because they haven't taken the responsibility needed to help maintain a quality comradeship.' I tell them short of abuse, addictions, and repetitive affairs, they should treat the one they want so much to leave as though they loved them with their last breath - for a month - and then watch and feel what happens.If one parent decides to leave for selfish or foolish reasons, the truth of the situation can be spoken to the children without the nasty parts.' For example, "Your mother, sadly, has decided to leave to be with a man she met on the internet.' I'm hoping that she will find that she misses us all so much that she wants her life with us back.' Until then, let's pray and stay as positive as possible."This approach states the truth, which I believe children in this situation need, but opens the possibility for hope.' Children will over time form their own conclusions when mama never calls, visits, or comes home.' That parent will have destroyed the relationship with their children all by themselves.I try to remind folks considering leaving for less than important reasons to stick around and create the kind of homelife that will best send their children into their adulthood with optimism and an open heart.' I tell them that this is their moral obligation...to put themselves second. More >>

Tags: CommitmentDivorceFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconWhen was the last time you took your kids to the airport and bought some candy and magazines?' Did you notice what your kids see at their "short-eye-level" when you pay for your items?' They see what they can also notice at many grocery store check-out lines and magazine racks:' they see soft porn - half-naked, provocative photos of well-endowed men and women.Now, I'm no prude.' I wear jeans below my waist, and I have some belly-button "bling."' But I do believe that there ought to be such a thing as a free society maintaining its First Amendment rights, while at the same time jealously protecting the innocence of children.A recent female caller complained that her boyfriend occasionally looked at some photos or videos of naked women on the Internet.' It is unbelievable to me that, lately,' there is such hysteria about men viewing naked women or male/female sexual encounters.' Did somebody just discover that men are very interested in sex and are visually stimulated by viewing women's bodies?Of course, Internet porn can be a problem, particularly when it becomes compulsive and a substitute for real-life intimacy, or self-medication for emotional problems.' However, much of the time, it is just a curious male having a stimulating moment.I brought up to that caller that I thought the guys who do the workout ads for some of those exercise machines are "hunks," and exciting to see.' She agreed.' If all I did was play a continuous loop of these ads, I'd be having a serious emotional problem.' There is a huge difference between "casual," and "compulsive."That said, our society has a big problem making "crass" more casual in the public square.' The fashion police should arrest most of those young women with big bellies and big butts hanging over those ridiculously low-cut, tight jeans, and short, too-tight tops, as well as young men with no tops, and with their pants falling just at or below their pubic hair line.' Their parents either don't care, or have given up attempting to be leaders, or have joined the ranks of the "crass" themselves.This society should shun malls that harbor Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Frederick's of Hollywood, as these are establishments which use provocative photos and displays to promote their products within clear view of families and children walking through the malls.' I mean, there you are with your adolescent sons and daughters, looking up at practically naked women and men in their underwear, with seductive looks in their eyes.' What are you supposed to say to your children about that?These images tell your children that sexuality, nudity, their bodies, and intimacy are just "everyday stuff" - no big deal, certainly not private, and definitely not special.' Is that the lesson you want them to learn?One mother of a 12 year old boy wrote to me that after they came home from their town's mall in which they personally experienced all of the stuff I've just mentioned, he suggested that they should do their shopping online from now on.Not a bad idea. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconA recent female caller wondered if she should stay with and even marry a guy who spent the full first year of their relationship being violent.I immediately said, "You're a grown woman.' If you want to play Russian Roulette with your life you have the right to do that.' Please, though, have your Fallopian tubes tied so that you can't bring any babies into this situation to either be hurt directly or indirectly by a messed up, violent home-life."She wanted to know if people can change.' Well, the correct answer is....YES!' Of course people can change.' When people are motivated and disciplined and committed to being, thinking, and doing things differently, they can most definitely evolve in a positive direction.' It does take time and simply acknowledging the need for change is not (contrary to popular thought) 50% of the problem.' You all know that's true because every one of you remembers making a New Year's Resolution - which clearly acknowledges a need for change - and even a plan....which just evaporated with time and ennui.Therefore, in the context of this woman's call, a person prone to violence is not one who is going to make a quick change.' The caller wanted to know if there was hope that in the future...no matter how distant...that he could be different.' Well, sure - IF he makes the commitment and is committed long term to whatever it takes to change his way of looking at the world, intimate relationships, and his own identity.An interesting fact is that when people do make such profound changes, they rarely are interested in the people who wanted them when they were less positively functional, as they recognize that it takes a less functional person to be attracted to same.' Said in a bit 'o different way: emotionally healthy people, even though they may protest love and compassion, just don't commit their lives to a recalcitrant, unwilling to change, difficult, or dangerous person.' It is because of their own sad inner dynamics that they find solace in being involved with an unhealthy person...it makes them feel needed or puts the responsibility for their unhappiness somewhere else or is simply a place to hide from the threat of not being capable of a good life.This particular caller thanked me for my advice...I asked her to tell me what my advice was; she said, "I don't want to play roulette with my life."' I gave her kudos for making a healthy and good choice.' I also told her that she'd feel stupid for the time already spent, lonely for the company, scared of being alone, and more...but that this decision was still a healthy and good choice.You see...she is the one in her life she had the power and the necessity to change; focusing on him was just a way to hide from that.I love the beginning of happy endings...and that call was one of those. More >>

Tags: ChildrenDatingHealthParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsResponse To A Comment
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05/13/2010
IconI had an interesting call just the other day.' A husband and wife, each on their second marriages, called because the family dog, a dachshund, was consumed by a coyote.' The wife wanted to know how or if she could ever forgive her husband for this "National Geographic" moment.' It seems they've been feuding for quite a while: he doesn't like the dog to pee in the backyard and make the grass yellow; she doesn't like the dog to be loose in the street to pee because he could get eaten.'While these two were fighting, the dog got eaten.The righteousness in her presentation was astounding. It seemed she was willing to dismiss yet another marriage because she labeled her husband responsible for the dog's demise as he let the dog out.I asked her who the 'alpha' person in the dog's life was - every dog, no matter how attached to all family members, identifies the 'alpha' person as its owner and "main squeeze."' She immediately jumped in to say it was just everybody's dog.' He quietly offered that she had the dog before they married.' Oops!I then told her that she was responsible for the dog's death as she was not taking responsibility to walk the dog three or so times a day for its exercise and for it to eliminate itself where (a) it wouldn't damage their home property and (b) she could make sure the dog was safe.' That she was sad her dog was dead was reasonable; that she was looking for a cause of this event was reasonable; that she was blaming other than herself in combination with what is "nature's way" was plainly unreasonable.I suggested she apologize to her husband and promise, should she want another dog, to take personal responsibility for that animal.This leads me to a recent news headline, "Icelanders irate at lenders who ruined country." It seems that only one year after winning the United Nation's "best country to live in" poll, with its residents rated the most contented in the world, the result of a country's decision to swap cod fishing for a complex debt-laden economy exacted a heavy toll.They were encouraged by the government to upgrade to a more luxurious lifestyle by buying houses and cars that were financed by 100 percent loans with extraordinarily low interest rates based not on their own money, the strong krona, but based upon a spread of foreign currencies.According to news reports, "Icelanders are also increasingly angry, looking for somewhere to point blame for the country's spectacular fall."' "Somebody has to take responsibility," said one father complaining that his son has lost his savings.It took one 21 year old print machinist, Alvin Zogu, to give the most mature response: "We can learn from what they did wrong.' We can make better decisions." While governments and banks can offer "pie in the sky," it takes the individual decision to gorge themselves with pie while dangling in the air to cause the ultimate fall. More >>

Tags: ChildrenParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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