I just read the fantastic book "Girls & Sex" by Peggy Orenstein. What I love is that while it paints a somewhat dire picture of the landscape for teen (and even pre-teen girls), not to mention young adults, it's not just about diagnosing the problem; there's a prescription. You can help your daughters navigate that landscape, but it involves talking to them differently than you might have considered before. It means that instead of just talking about the risks of sex, we have to talk honestly about rewards, which is probably far more uncomfortable but incredibly valuable. So here are some ideas for how to have those talks. And remember, even if you've been approaching it differently, it's never too late to try something new.
So Trump's latest racist affront has arrived, and as usual, he makes no apologies. And the Republican party wants him to just say he's sorry so he can end the conversation. As anyone with kids knows, forcing apologies does nothing for the victim or the perpetrator. Expressing remorse is just the start, though. It's also about helping the other person (or people) to heal from what's been done to them. All of that takes tremendous strength. Sadly, the Republican nominee seems to believe it's a weakness. How do we teach our kids otherwise?
No, really. It can be a good thing. People who get each other -- who truly understand trauma, down in their bones -- can heal each other. In my clinical experience, finding a non-judgmental love (and extending that same non-judgmental love back) is incredibly powerful. So how do you let the light in, together?
Do you ever feel like you've become just a spouse or a parent or a worker? Or maybe you're a combination of all those but you've lost sight of everything else that came before. Here's a reminder of how (and why) you need to get your mojo back. And it's easier than you think.
So often, I talk to parents who are confused about how strict to be with their teenagers, when to say yes and when to say no to their children's request. My answer? Help teenagers know for themselves when it should be a yes and when it should be a no. Teach them to be cognizant of their own safety. How do you do that? I have one (sorta) simple trick.
I think every mother has experienced this at some point: Your young child is acting out in some way, you're trying to handle it, and you can feel other people's overt, undisguised disapproval of both you and your child. (And I call it "mother shaming" rather than "parent shaming" because typically, men don't tend to receive the same treatment--or maybe they just aren't as sensitive when they do.) I recently experienced this where I least expected it. It was from a staff member at my daughter's preschool. Instead of saying, " Your child had a hard time today," she flagged me down at pick-up, leveled me with an extremely unpleasant look, and proceeded to tell me, in detail, about my daughter's transgressions. I felt what I was supposed to: ashamed of my child, chastened, stammering how both my daughter (and I) would do better. No dessert for her! I hustled her to the car, not even wanting to speak to her. I felt like a terrible mother. I felt like she'd made me LOOK like a terrible mother. My poor daughter. She didn't deserve that. She was just a tiny human having a hard time. Her preschool should have been thinking about why she'd been struggling, and what they could do to support her. Instead, I got mother-shamed, and she bore the brunt. What's a mom to do?
There are a lot of ways to be an enabler; they don't all involve a substance abuser. But they do all involve making yourself far too responsible for the well-being of another person. As regular readers to this blog know, I believe that identifying a problem is crucial to its solution. It can even be a solution in itself. So here are some questions that can help you recognize your enabling tendencies.