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Relatives
05/13/2010
IconPerhaps you've seen the TV ad?' It begins with a family scene, where the father has gotten one of that company's cell phones, which permits the selection of certain people as "favorites."' Everyone is making suggestions as to who should be among his "favorites," and the eight-year-old son, in front of Mommy, suggests that Dad put in the number of the woman he stares at during the son's ball games!' There is absolutely no reaction from anyone.The teenage daughter then suggests her boyfriend (who has a mustache), and the Dad says that the "fine print" indicates that no kid with a mustache is permitted, and then he proceeds to call his daughter "dude."Using behaviors destructive to families is not my idea of good sales practices.' T-Mobile is off my radar.' I can't imagine a group of executives sitting around in a brainstorming session thinking this would make for a great sales incentive.' I can't imagine TV executives agreeing to play these ads.' I can't imagine anyone at home watching and thinking "this is cute," and feeling driven to buy T-Mobile's products or services.' I can't imagine ever buying one of their products. More >>

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05/13/2010
IconTurns out that the latter leads to the former!' Recent research by the University of Buffalo Department of Communication and the University of Hawaii reveals that the people who watch reality television visit social networking websites to engage in behaviors like the celebrities they see on shows like American Idol or Survivor .When people on reality TV are rewarded for their behavior, it communicates to the (usually) young audience that these behaviors are good things.' These so-called "reality" TV shows depict people being exploitive, deceitful, hyper-emotional, vengeful, conspiratorial, sexually promiscuous, generally undignified, immodest, self-centered, and basically exhibitionistic.According to the university research, "heavy reality TV viewers may adapt personality traits association with celebrities....Reality TV even may be to blame for the erosion of the distinction between the everyday world and the celebrity world." This phenomenon is encouraging young folks to make personal information about themselves publicly available online.' We've all heard about the proliferation of youngsters sending photos to each other and through the Internet, revealing their genitals and showing themselves engaged in various sexual acts.' Instead of this being "shameful," it's trendy.' Parents are becoming way too lax in allowing their children access to electronic equipment, from cell phones to the Internet, without any supervision.' So, with a little "push" and little "pull" back, kids are getting themselves into situations which will impact them for a lifetime.When children behave like out-of-control celebrities, including drug use, sex, having out-of-wedlock babies, "shacking up," and testing their parents' limits as well as the limits of the law, they are less likely to be studying, participating in sports, or contributing charitably in their neighborhoods. More >>

Tags: divorceFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingRelationshipsRelativesSexSexualitySocial NetworkingTeens
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05/13/2010
IconI've been hearing from a lot of stay-at-home moms, and sharing some of their letters with you.' I got this one from a woman who is not a mother, but who has strong feelings about those who stay at home with their kids: My grandmother was a homemaker.' My mother was divorced, and raised us without our "sperm donor" father, because she chose to leave an abuser.' She worked at a company at night, so that she could walk us to school and help with homework (I didn't realize the magnitude of this when I was young, but I surely do now). I'm over 40 now, and don't have any children, and I work full-time.' However, with every job that I've ever taken, I've always known in the back of my mind that it would never be a "career," because I would eventually leave to be a stay-at-home mom.' So, I had to come up with something that I could do to generate income and stay at home:' writing. I haven't quite pursued my writing "career" yet.' I watch pregnant women around my office leave, have their babies, and come back.' Some of them are married, and some not.' Either way, I am dumbfounded that they would not rather be at home all day with the baby. I never wanted to have children as a single woman without a husband.' First, because I didn't want to have to do everything by myself.' As it is now, I hate taking out my own trash, and wished that I had a husband who didn't mind taking on that chore!' And second, because each parent's role is important.' They both matter and make a great contribution.' It's what all children want:' a mommy and a daddy who are together and care about each other.' So, as I get older and my biological clock "explodes," I've never been tempted to do it alone, i.e., just have a baby because that's what I want. Maybe one day, I'll have a MAN who loves to call me his "girlfriend."' In the meantime, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'll miss that joy of being able to stay at home with my baby and welcoming my husband home at the end of a hard day at work to provide for us. More >>

Tags: CommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMarriageParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconAfter posting a blog last Thursday (9/11/08) about "shame," I got this response from a reader: I grew up in a Roman Catholic family.' I attended parochial school, and I also became pregnant at 17.' I was shamed and ostracized for what I had done, but I have to say that the "shaming" I received from my family and community actually led me back onto the right track. I completed my high school diploma by attending school in the morning, and I began college at night (I was admitted to a local university because I was an honor student in my high school).' I attended college with 30 and 40 year-olds!' Ultimately, I graduated college and became a Certified Public Accountant. This was a difficult path, and I recommend it to no one.' I sacrificed much:' my young adulthood.' I did not do the things other kids my age did.' I took care of my baby, I studied, and I cleaned houses.' Although I was ashamed of becoming pregnant so young and out-of-wedlock, I loved my child more than life itself, and I always placed my child's needs before mine.' I did not "party."' I did not hang out with friends.' I did not do things just for myself, and most of all, I did not whine. I don't think most teens are capable of this, and most babies are probably better off being placed for adoption.' I had my family's help - I was not tossed onto the streets, but my parents' expectations were high, and "I" was my child's caregiver (not my mom).' I was the one up at night with my sick baby.' I was the one who took him to the park and the doctor's office, and I was the one he came to depend on most. I have been happily married now for many years to a man I am so blessed to have as my husband.' I have three beautiful children.' I have chosen to stay home with my younger kids and not work outside of the house.' I ALWAYS hated to leave my oldest child and felt tremendous guilt when I headed off to school for the day or to clean houses. It's an absolute treasure to be a stay-at-home mom.' My job in life now is to provide a warm home environment, and to be there for my hubby and kids.' By the way, the baby boy I had at 17 is now an honor student at [a major university], and quite a wonderful young man.' To this day, I still feel remorse that my oldest did not have the same childhood as my other two kids.' I feel I cheated him, and I suppose I always will. More >>

Tags: ChristmasCommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensHolidaysMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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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
IconWhile it should come as no surprise that psychological, social and academic functioning are impacted negatively by children raised in family chaos, or in situations of profound change and stress, Dr. Kathryn Harker Tillman from Florida State University reports that, on average, adolescents living with half- or step-siblings have lower grades and more school-related behavior problems, and these problems may not improve over time. "These findings imply that family formation patterns that bring together children who have different sets of biological parents may not be in the best interests of the children involved.' Yet half of all American step-families include children from previous relationships of both partners, and the majority of parents in step-families go on to have additional children together. ("Non-traditional" Siblngs and the Academic Outcomes of Adolescents, Social Science Research, 37(1) More >>

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