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

Tags: CommitmentDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconToday, I'm turning my blog over to Nicole, who wrote the following: Dr. Laura: I'm glad to be able to tell you I'm sorry, but you had nothing to do with my long-ago-made decision to be an at-home mom to my children.' I made that choice long before I started listening to you (at the ancient age of 19). I am nearly 29 and extremely proud to tell you that my very own Mom was "her kids' mom" all my growing-up life.' She did this while it was very popular to go to work, have a career and leave kids with the sitter or latch-key programs.' I had very little idea that moms even went to work until friends or teachers would ask me what my mom "did."' I'd look at them weirdly and think it was a funny question to ask...she lives at home and bakes, fixes our meals, does the laundry, picks us up from school every day, and watches my younger siblings!' Who else would do those things if Mom didn't? I remember going home in the first grade and asking Mom what her job title was, because the teacher needed to know for our yearbook.' "Homemaker," she'd say proudly!' She has been my biggest influence in modeling and reinforcing what a stay-at-home mom should look like...creative, resourceful, smart, kind, loving and self-sacrificing (and always beautiful)!' Your preaching, teaching, and nagging only reinforces the atmosphere I grew up with. Thanks for all you do for all the women who didn't grow up with my Mom. Nicole P.S.' I will give you this - you did help me when I was seeking and selecting my husband.' I had to find a man who would SUPPORT me in my long-ago-made "choice of lifestyle."' I found him, and COULD NOT have done ANY better!' And, of course, Mom approves too! More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenParentingStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconI recently wrote a column for a publication in which I reiterated my position on day-care, and one of my comments was: "Tearing children away from their homes and families [for day care] is somewhere between sinister and cruel." A reader of the column wrote a letter-to-the-editor taking exception to my comment and countering with: "...there are many benefits to day care, including health screenings, nutritious meals, socialization and active play away from the TV." Could not agree with her more!' Where mothers and fathers can't or won't provide their children with food, medical care, friends in the park, and attention and play, being shunted over to an institutionalized setting may definitely be a godsend!I'm still waiting, however, for the proof that children do better or equal in day-care than with a loving, attentive, involved mommy or daddy. More >>

Tags: appreciateAttitudeFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconI am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party.' I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President.At first, I thought it amusing that McCain picked a pretty, smart, and tough female to counter the racist/sexist accusations going back and forth between parties.' I remember how Oprah Winfrey got caught in the cross-fire as she stepped up to the political table to support Obama with pride that a black man could rise to such heights in the USA, only to get slammed by feminists who told her it was gender, not race, that she should back.' Understandably, Ms. Winfrey pulled back from it all.Forget gender and race.' I'm frankly and sadly caught in the dilemma of having to balance policy versus example in touting a candidate for the office of the First Family.' I was ferociously attacked (what's new?) when I spoke out strongly against Bill Clinton's dalliances in the Oval Office.' That situation quickly turned into a debate whether "private has anything to do with public."' Nonsense.' Role models are very important.' Children and young adults look to those who are visible and successful as a road map of what is acceptable behavior and emulate those actions over the morals and values their parents and churches have taught and tried to reinforce.' It's a tough go these days, when the "bad that men or women do" is used for entertainment purposes without judgment, or is excused because of political or financial considerations.I'm stunned - couldn't the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain?'' I realize his advisors probably didn't want a "mature" woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age.' But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family's newborn.' When Mom and Dad both work full-time (no matter how many folks get involved with the children), it becomes a somewhat chaotic situation.' Certainly, if a child becomes ill and is rushed to the hospital, and you're on the hotline with both Israel and Iran as nuclear tempers are flaring, where's your attention going to be?' Where should your attention be?' Well, once you put your hand on the Bible and make that oath, your attention has to be with the government of the United States of America.I am positively moved that neither Sarah nor her daughter were willing to terminate the lives of their unborn children.' This is in sharp contrast to Obama's statement that "When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include...which should include abstinence education and teaching children...teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual.' But it should also include - it should also include other, you know, information about contraception, because, look, I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old.' I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals.' But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." (March, 2008) So, one Vice Presidential candidate and her daughter demonstrate, under conditions of great stress, that babies are valued human beings, not punishment.' However, that same VP candidate came forth in April of 2008 with a proclamation for "Family Child Care Week," in which she wrote: "These professionals are positive role models for the children they care for and the communities they serve." Clearly, Palin sees the need for positive role models.' I suggest that they be Mommy and Daddy, and not the hired help.Child-care facilities are a necessity when mothers and fathers (when they exist at all) are unwilling or incapable of caring for their offspring.' Unfortunately, they have become a mainstay of the feminista mentality that nothing should stand in the way of a woman's ambition - nothing, including her family.Any full-time working wife and mother knows that the family takes the short end of the stick.' Marriages and the welfare of children suffer when a stressed-out mother doesn't have time to be a woman, a wife, and a hands-on Mommy. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPoliticsSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconOne of the main issues for the Democrats is their passion for getting children into preschools.' Democratic Presidential candidate Obama says he believes in universal preschool, and that he'd pump billions of dollars into early childhood education, promising improved academic performance.Sadly, the past 50 years have seen a huge increase in families who put kids in pre-school:' from 16% to 70%!' In addition to being separated from parents way too early, the problem is that fourth-grade reading, science, and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) haven't gone up since the early 1970's.' Hmmm.For decades, I've read the studies about Head Start.' Those studies indicate an immediate gain on IQ tests and other cognitive measures, but show that in later years, those scores become indistinguishable from non-Head Start kids.Why the heck is there such determination to take small children away from their homes and mothers, and put them in an institutionalized setting, which does not add to their lives, but actually subtracts from them?' A 2005 study from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (neither of which is known as a conservative institution) found that kindergartners with 15 or more hours of preschool every week were less motivated and more aggressive in class than other kids.In Canada, the C.D. Howe Institute found a higher incidence of anxiety, hyperactivity, and poor social skills among kids in Quebec after the introduction of universal preschool.'As you might imagine, the only preschool programs that seem to do more good than harm are targeted at children who come from extremely poor families (often those with neglectful and/or addicted parents).' Even so, the return (adult crime, earnings, wealth and welfare dependence) were much smaller (16 cents for every dollar spent) than Obama's notion of a $10 return.' Universal preschool programs in Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee (2006, Education Week' analysis) find no statistical difference in the performance of preschool and non-preschool students on any subject after the first grade.Enough with the government intruding on parents' abilities to make educational choices for their children by guilt or mandate, without any substantiation that there is a positive benefit.' Common sense should tell you that small children are best served by a loving mommy.The reality is that the overwhelming majority of children come from loving homes with attentive parents.' Tearing children away from their homes and families for government-run, institutionalized learning programs that demonstrate absolutely no concrete benefit to the children is somewhere between sinister and cruel.By the way, Obama's daughters go to a private school whose annual fee in middle school runs around $20,000. More >>

Tags: Day CareEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingPreschoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconNo, I don't mean by the age of forty; I mean that if the trends of the past thirty years continue, it's possible that every American adult could be overweight forty years from now.' This is the warning coming from the Federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.' You can read all about this in the journal Obesity (online 7/24/08). They estimate that 86% of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51%.' By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight, a/k/a fat .The researchers also estimate that the healthcare costs directly related to excess body weight will double each decade, and reach almost $1 trillion in 2030, accounting for at least one of every six healthcare dollars spent in the USA.Being fat is voluntary.' Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, largely because people "volunteer" to move less and eat more.' Our Presidential candidates can mull over healthcare plans, but we need to take more personal responsibility for the state of our own health. More >>

Tags: ChildrenHealthParenting
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05/13/2010
IconAndrew Klavan, an award-winning author of mystery novels, wrote a brilliant op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (7/25/08) in which he stated exactly what I believe.'He pointed out that liberal Hollywood films about the war on terror ( In the Valley of Elah, Rendition , and Redacted ) have all failed, largely because they propose to make the actions and philosophies of terrorists and coalition forces moral "equivalents," because they disrespect the military, and "seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism." These films depict "good" guys as indistinguishable from "bad" guys, ultimately "denigrating the very heroes who defend us." Klavan points out that the big blockbuster The Dark Knight , is a conservative movie about the war, like 300 before it, and these films value morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right.' Liberal, ultimately anti-American, films are realistic and direct, while conservative, pro-values films are usually fantasies using comic-inspired heroes ( Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderman 3 ).What makes the real world difficult is that "good" guys must defend values in a world that does not universally embrace them, and that puts "good" guys in the awful position of sometimes having to be intolerant, unkind, and brutal in order to ultimately defend the "good" values we love.As a psychotherapist, I talk to people on the air every day who try to keep out of the way of conflict, confrontation, and judgment, so they will be liked and seen as "good" guys.' I remind them that "good" guys risk, and sometimes cross the line, to stand between evil and the innocent who need protection from the few.Instead, as Klavan points out, "When heroes arise who take those difficulties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness.' We prosecute and execute the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve." That means that sometimes good men have to kill ("murder" is to kill an innocent) to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate values in order to maintain those values.' That's just a fact of real life in which good and evil have always co-existed. More >>

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

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

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconTwo year ago, a Danish journalist/cartoonist gave his political opinion with a newspaper cartoon that depicted a caricature of Muhammed, and there were death threats and rioting by those who described themselves as "offended."' The cartoonist was arrested on charges of discrimination against Muslims.A Paris court also handed down a $23,325 fine against Brigitte Bardot, the former screen sex symbol and current animal rights campaigner.' She was also ordered to pay $1,555 in damages to MRAP, a prominent French "anti-racist" group which filed a lawsuit over a letter she published in her animal rights foundation newsletter and which she also had sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.' Evidently, she had criticized the Muslim feast of Aid-el-Kebir, which is celebrated by the slaughtering of sheep, and had expressed her concern that Muslim laws were beginning to dominate French culture and jurisprudence. French anti-racism laws prevent the incitement of hatred and discrimination on racial and/or religious grounds.' Bardot had previously been convicted four times for "inciting racial hatred."' Her attorney said, "She is tired of this type of proceeding.' She has the impression that people want to silence her." No kidding.English courts are now becoming a popular destination for libel suits against American authors.' The cases have largely been brought against American writers and scholars for criticizing Islam or "naming names" of those who appear to support and fund terrorism.' To avoid costly litigation, some American publishers are withdrawing the publication of those books.' Unlike in American law, in Britain, the burden of proof in libel cases is on the author , since British law considers the disputed information as false until proven true.'Here in the United States, Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Joseph Lieberman (Ind/D-CT) have introduced the Free Speech Protection Act of 2008, which bars U.S. courts from enforcing libel judgments issued in foreign courts against U.S. residents, if the speech would not be libelous under American law.' The bill also permits American authors and publishers to countersue if the material is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.' This legislation wouldn't protect those who recklessly or maliciously print false information, but it would ensure that Americans are held to and protected by American standards.According to Specter and Lieberman as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (7/14/08) : "The 1964 Supreme Court decision in NY Times vs. Sullivan established that journalists must be free to report on newsworthy events unless they recklessly or maliciously publish falsehoods.' At that time, opponents of civil rights were filing libel suits to silence news organizations that exposed state officials' refusal to enforce federal civil rights laws.' Now we are engaged in another great struggle - this time against Islamic terror - and again, the enemies of freedom seek to silence free speech.' Our legislation will help ensure that they do not succeed." The anti-free speech forces have accomplished a lot in Europe and in our own universities (with their tyranny of the "politically correct").' This is the time to draw that line in the sand. More >>

Tags: Morals, Ethics, ValuesparentingRacismReligionSocial IssuesValues
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