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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconI'm just sickened to hear the news that Lori Drew was only convicted on three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access to computers after she, her then 18 - year-old assistant, and her teen daughter plotted to humiliate a neighbor 13-year-old...who ended up killing herself because of the emotional pain she endured at their fingertips on the computer keys.You've probably heard the story: the young girl committed suicide in October of 2006 after the end of her online relationship with a fictitious 16-year-old-boy created on a fake MySpace account.' According to various news reports, the trio used the account to contact and befriend Megan.' Within a few days, Lori Drew encouraged her daughter and her assistant to on-line flirt with Megan; they planned to lure Megan to a mall to confront her with the hoax and taunt her.As things go and grow, another neighborhood girl got involved in the whole thing and sent Megan a message - as if she were the fictitious boy - that he didn't want to be friends anymore.' Lori Drew's assistant then, according to the District Attorney, wrote, "the world would be a better place without you in it."Twenty minutes later, Megan's mother found her hanging from her belt in her bedroom closet.I'm not a lawyer and I don't really understand all the legal machinations about what criminal behavior this planned cruelty constitutes, but it's clear that there's no real punishment for people who misrepresent themselves on an internet chat site with the INTENT to do emotional harm to a child known to have several psychiatric disorders.' Federal and state laws appear to be mute on this issue, and while companies like MySpace have "Terms Of Agreement" (which is kinda what "caught" Lori Drew, because she didn't abide by those terms), they don't have much in the way of "teeth" - often the most they can do is terminate the service of the offender.Imagine: one mother decided to drive another mother's child to devastating emotional pain as entertainment; she includes her own young teen daughter and a young adult employee....and they all have a great time of it.' No one charged the assistant or the daughter, even though they were all complicit in the intent to do emotional harm.'I hope there is a civil court for something like wrongful death so that these people pay some price for their evil cruelty.Now - add to that the parental responsibility of more supervision of this vulnerable, fragile, emotionally compromised child...her parents had reversed the lock on her bedroom for her "safety," as they were aware that she had problems.' Children without psychiatric issues ought not have unsupervised access to the internet or text messaging or any form of communication without parental oversight.' Children with psychiatric issues are at more risk.'Recently, another teenager, this one 19, overdosed with several medications to kill himself while his computer stayed on so that everyone on the net could watch him die.' There was a huge rageful response to folks waiting 12 hours before reporting this situation to the net site or the police...who came too late.It seems that he'd done this before, so many folks thought he was playing "wolf," others just didn't care, some showed concern, and others just "egged" him on....the same way folks on the ground often "egg on" a person threatening to jump from a tall building.' There are always creeps about.What was curious to me is that the reports of this event include that the boy died in his father's room and on his bed; that he used a combination of prescription and illegal medications.' Again we have a pathetically ill young man without proper supervision by those who could understand and help him.' It sounds like he needed hospitalization.The Internet gives young folks the attention and pseudo-importance they naturally crave.' It is also a conduit for evil...the same way electricity is neutral...unless you try to electrocute somebody with it.Parents have to be less casual about the evil that comes through all these technological marvels of communication. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingSAHM stay at home momTeensValues
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Tags: AdulteryaffairChildrenEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageParentingSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconAds proclaiming, "Why believe in a god?' Just be good for goodness' sake" will appear on Washington D.C., buses starting this week and running through December.' The American Humanist Association recently announced the controversial $40,000 holiday campaign.Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group told the Associated Press: "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion." No matter what side of the Christmas and God wars you may be on, that is one lame excuse for challenging the majority of people in the United States who are "believers" (92% according a poll by the Pew Research Center).'I am Jewish and have never felt "alone" because the end-of-the-year holiday event of the country was "Christian"; Christmas is a lovely spectacle no matter what your beliefs, and for those who are seriously Christian, it is additionally a sacred time.Last month, the British Humanist Association upped the ante with their bus sign campaign, which said: "There's probably no God.' Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." At least the American version still holds to the idea of doing good , while the British version is like letting kids go wild in a candy store claiming there are no such things as cavities or obesity.''''American Family Association president, Tim Wildmon, calls the American Humanist's ad, "...stupid.' How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God?' God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong.' If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world." Don Feder, editor of the "Boycott The New York Times" website, demanded equal space in the New York Times for the display of religious symbols as he perceives the paper to have a "relentless drive to secularize society." Feder writes: "The New York Times gives the game away when it insists that public property 'must be open to all religions on an equal basis - or open to none at all.'' In other words, a town that chooses to display the Ten Commandments - which are sacred to 90% of the American people and an integral part of our nation's heritage - has to give equal space to every other faith and New Age sect that's out there.' In reality, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was intended to prohibit a state church, like the Church of England.'"If the Founders thought giving one religion preference was odious, why was Congress's first official act to hire a Christian chaplain?' And why did the first Congress appropriate sums of money for Christian missionaries to the Indian tribes?' What about 'In God We Trust' on our currency and 'One Nation under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance - which clearly give preference to Judeo- Christian tradition over Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Summunism?" To read more from Don Feder's point of view: www.boycottnyt.com and www.aim.org . More >>

Tags: ChildrenParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconI know I have made myself quite a controversial subject by my insistence that children be loved, cared for and raised by their mommies and daddies instead of hired help and institutionalized child care. As I have said many times, children evolve each and every day...and those minutes need to be influenced by and experienced with the people who matter the most. This is why I am thrilled about the one-sided effect of the current economic problems in America.According to a recent report in USA Today , parents nationwide are telling day care providers that "they must scale back or abandon their services. Instead, they keep kids at home with grandparents or up-end their work-life balance because gas and food prices have become prohibitive and average child care costs outpace rent and mortgage payments - even for those drawing salaries." Of course, the day care industry is scurrying around trying to come up with a plan to save itself. Many are offering all kinds of hours and financial deals. The USA Today article, after noting that the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau data (the most recent available) indicated that 2.65 million preschoolers attended day care, and that current statistics of un-enrollment were not available, called the situation "distressing."Sure it's distressing for an industry that has been so effective in its marketing, that parents who actually raise their own children are made to feel guilty for doing so. But it is not distressing for the children, who will now be in the arms of people who love them and are there to teach, nurture, support, and experience life with them.Sure it's distressing for parents who have to reconsider and reconfigure their lives to accommodate raising their children. But, they will find surprising rewards in the true experience of family.The hysteria from the child care industry has included dire warnings that parents will leave their kids home alone, in cars, or with strangers who might hurt them. That sort of child neglect and endangerment goes on in spite of filled-up day care establishments and should be dealt with through social services (to help families make better adjustments in their priorities) or through the legal system (where children are removed to live with safer relatives or foster care).If it is true that every cloud has a silver lining, then the "shine" is there for many children of parents who can no longer pay the $3,000 to over $10,000 a year for day care, because mommy or daddy is coming home to you . More >>

Tags: EconomyFinancesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconThis is one of those times when one of your emails says it all.' The following email puts every parent on notice with respect to the proper protection of their children from influences which hurt their souls: "Hi Dr. Laura!' I type reports for some youth programs and typed a report a few weeks ago that has been on my mind. This report said that this particular teenager had been using very offensive swear words since the age of 5 when this person saw an R-rated movie. My first question was "What is a 5-year-old doing watching an R-rated movie?" Where is the parent? Another report indicated that one teenager had started inhaling cocaine after seeing it done in a movie. I see kids being influenced by the media all over. As a teenager many years ago, I was taught that our minds are like a camera - i.e., taking a picture that you can't get out--so be careful about what you put in it. Many people are concerned about the effects of violent video games and truly believe that these games will affect kids, but why don't they use the same standard about movies that have sex (especially explicit sex) and vulgar language in them? That sticks every bit as much as violence. Once something has entered your mind, it is changed. Today, I read in a local paper about a study that was done regarding teens and media (television and movies) containing sexual content. The teens who watched media with sexual content were more likely to engage in such behaviors than those who did not. We would never invite a stranger into our home without knowing their purpose. Yet, every day we invite strangers into our homes when we turn on television or put a movie on. We think we know these people--they're on the front cover of every magazine at the checkout. These people often, don't have our best interests at heart or the best interests of our kids at heart. They are there to make money, and generally, that is their only purpose. I'm amazed at some of the talk show hosts and authors that have shared their infidelities, whether on TV or in books, like it is a badge of honor. They will certainly take credit for lending their influence in the [recent] presidential campaigns, but they certainly would not take credit for their influence in the lives of today's teens in the terms of drugs and sex. We have choices! We as parents need to be more judicious as to what we will allow in our homes and what we will allow our kids to be exposed to within our realm. We need to love our kids and ourselves enough to turn "that program" off and spend our time with our kids or developing ourselves. Our kids are influenced by a lot of other people away from the home, but when they return to the home, we do have the influence to reinforce the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. Thank you so much for all that you do to fight the negative effects on the family!" When you're so busy, busy, or have long given up on taking the leadership role in raising your children, or you're way too easily dissuaded by popular culture from having moral standards and values by which you wish to raise your family, your children become prey and the predators are many.' Like vampires, they wait to suck the blood out of your children's souls and psyches, leaving them to the forces of their immaturity and the allure of their impulses.Your children need you to take stands...their futures depend on it! More >>

Tags: EducationInternet-MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesMovie ReviewParenting
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05/13/2010
IconA listener labeled his email to me:'"The Newest Movie "Trash" Banned in Utah! Go Utah!" I read recently that some parts of Utah had banned the release of the new film "Zack and Miri Make a Porno". The film is about a guy and girl who have nothing better in their dull lives to do but to produce a pornographic film together just for the fun of it. I, for one, am sick and tired of films that exploit women AND men!!! Whatever happened to going to the cinema and watching a good movie? Thank God that Utah, a state that won't forfeit its values and morals, stands up to films such as these, and won't let them play in theaters there. I am a high school teacher, and believe me, Dr. Laura, our kids are craving to be taught values and morals. They want direction. They need direction. Films like these are teaching them that sex is just something that can be played with. I teach a student who has been sexually abused by his own stepfather, and I'm trying to guide him and show him a bit of comfort that he has never received....It breaks my heart to know what he has suffered, and it also breaks my heart to see students being exposed to trashy sex and stupid behavior on film. This kind of sick mess makes our jobs much more difficult in the teaching arena.... it's time that we did something about this trash that's being shown to our children. " This email coincided with a US News and World Report study that sounds like "yes/no yes/no" silliness. The new research suggests that teens who spend the most time watching sexually charged television shows are twice as likely to become pregnant or impregnate someone else.No kidding.' My generation grew up on The Flying Nun and Leave it to Beaver .' I never knew anyone who knew anyone who got pregnant in high-school.'Here's where the back-and-forth nonsense begins.' First, the report says that these findings don't prove that sexy programming causes pregnancy - well, of course it doesn't " cause " pregnancy.' But it is clear that a permissive media has a huge influence on impressionable teens, opening them up to behaviors which are not in their best interests, emotionally or medically.'Interestingly, the researchers refused to "name names" with respect to which television shows they considered "sexually charged."' I guess they don't want to be open to lawsuits for suggesting that there are specific programs on the air that hurt children by opening them up to behaviors which could lead to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, or the psychological trauma of sexual abuse.Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who studies kids and television says that these findings "add to the growing body of evidence that what children see on screen affects their behavior in real life." I've always gotten a laugh from much of what psychological research - a soft science at best - finds.' They state the obvious like it was a revelation and they get grant money to do it.'Let's see, if we didn't think that media impacted how people behave in real life, how long would the advertising business last?' Oh please, they pay millions for product placement movies...to influence you,'' They pay millions for seconds of promotion on SuperBowl Sunday...to influence you.' It must work.' So to be "surprised" at the impact of images and behavior the media immerses our children in has got to be some kind of joke.Back to the beginning... hooray for Utah.' Parents who want to expose their children to "trash" can always buy it on the Internet. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingSexSexualityTelevision
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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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