By Dr. Meg Meeker
As mothers, we know that feeling loved brings our sons deep satisfaction, contentment, and a sense of security that they will take with them into adulthood. When they are born we ogle over them and wonder how we can feel such intense love for one human being. But as our boys grow older, that perfect love can become complicated by the realities of day-to-day living. Sometimes our sons make us mad, or they disappoint us.
I have a question regarding skin color. We are an interracial family--I am from India, my husband is white, and we have a 4-year old boy. This weekend, I was visiting my side of family. My son told me, "I am not Punjabi because I am white.” And "you are brown”. And he has said something to my brother-in-law that, "you can't come to Easter because you are brown." This hurts my feelings. We have punished him. I was mad at him all day. But I really don't know how to explain things to him. Please help me. He is a great kid otherwise. He loves all my family. I mean "brown people” lol. I need your help. Any suggestions.
Please help! As swimming suit season approaches, I am unsure of how to talk to my (soon-to-be) 8-year old daughter on the topic of modesty. Our neighbor just sent over a bag of hand-me-downs, for which we are very grateful, but which included a child's bikini. She is my eldest, and so I never really gave this much thought at all until she asked if she could wear it. Of course many girls (and moms for that matter) wear them, but my preference would be for her to not expose so much skin. How do I explain this to her at this age so I can 'set a precedent now' without explaining the sexuality behind it?
I read a survey several years ago reporting that fifty percent of mothers in America say they aren’t happy. We are stressed, tired and worried. Many mothers carry the lion’s share of child-rearing as well as providing financially for the family. Single mothers receive little emotional or physical support and mothers who do have those things feel that they just aren’t doing a good enough job with their kids. No matter what our socioeconomic situation, moms across America seem to be struggling.
Do you have any advice for potty-training our eldest grandson will be three in May & isn’t talking yet. He is very smart and understands most anything we say or ask. He doesn't seem one bit interested in going to the potty.
I'm very concerned about issues with our young adult children. Our son graduated from college two years ago, is working full time but pays no rent. His room and bathroom are a disgusting mess at all times. I say he needs to keep those areas to my standards. He completely ignores this and is quite disrespectful in his speech to me. My daughter is often rude and disrespectful, as well. I feel they are far too old to behave this way.
Every mother worries about failing her kids. We wonder what we will do if our kids turn against us, grow up to hate us or end up disliking their lives. These are natural worries but unfortunately these fears can drive us crazy. Many of us read parenting books on how to raise happy, well adjusted children who love God and then when those same kids become teenagers we fizzle. We get tired and the bigger fears surface because the teen years are upon us and now we believe that the inevitable will happen: our kids will turn to monsters.
I am a practicing Catholic, and my almost-19 year-old daughter used to be strong in her faith. She is bright and talented and in first year university. She is currently on an organ scholarship and plays for our parish church. All in all the relationship is not disastrous, but definitely strained, given that she now dates a non-practicing Muslim and I am concerned for her future relationship with this man, if he does start practicing - the difference in their faiths, etc.
Even before Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlin, buzz about transexuality began. This was due, in large part, I believe, to the fact that questioning gender identity taps into one of the deepest wonderings of every man and woman: who am I? Astute and loving parents are additionally burdened with wanting to help their children answer this question. It’s no wonder that many have become unsettled. Every parent wants his or her children to grow up to be happy, well adjusted and comfortable in their own skin.
I have listened to thousands of kids talk about their mothers over the past 25 years, so I think I know what they want from you. And what they want will surprise you. You feel you must: cook from scratch, buy organic, make sure our child is in the fast reading group, find the right school, get them on the better soccer team, keep them from having low self esteem, drive on field trips, be Room Mom for each child at least one year and read fifteen minutes to each child every night before bed. I have good news for you: what your child wants from you is a whole lot simpler. Here’s what kids tell me they want from you.
Every morning (well, most mornings), I wake up and try to think of ways that I can make my husband’s day nicer. Why? Grace.
Before you ladies scream, let me tell you about grace. I don’t mean grace that I give my husband, but grace he gave me. When I was graduating medical school and applying for pediatric residencies, we had a 6-month old baby. We both needed to do residency training but knew that it wasn’t fair to our daughter for both of us to be working 90 hours per week at the same time. What to do? I fretted.
I have a list of women in my life whom I’ve dubbed my heroes. One is my sister who just got her master’s in counseling at age 50, another is a friend who started her own business to support her four children after her husband suffered a nervous breakdown and one is a medical colleague name Lori. I admire Lori because she is one gutsy mom.
I met an extraordinary woman several weeks ago. Her name is Julie Woodley. She is middle aged with shoulder length auburn hair and a smile that makes you want to tell her your deepest secrets.
I knew Julie’s history before we met because I read her book, a Wildflower Grows in Brooklyn. If I hadn’t known her story, I never would have believed it when we met. She looked as though life had been good to her. She had very few wrinkles on her face and she stood erect- as one who has nothing to hide.
I recently spoke to a large group of high school students about sex and sexuality. A number of students had told the staff that they were either gay or bisexual. Many of the teachers didn't know what advice to give them beyond, "That's OK. I still accept you." Recently, Yahoo News posted a photo of a cake baked by a fifteen-year-old girl with the words "I'm gay" written in frosting. That's how she announced to her parents that she is gay. Her last line to them was, "It gets batter."
Extending grace to our children can be tricky. Grace is defined as undeserved favor and when you think about it, many of us give this daily to our children. Or are we really giving something else?
Dear Dr. Meg:
I am a father who has been fighting for years now to be with my children more. Long story short, I have no criminal record, no drug addictions, no abuse, nothing. I live on the same street as my children and their mother, and I’m told NO, that I cant see my kids more than one day a week and every other weekend.
Dear Dr. Meg. We have an 18 year-old daughter from my wife's first marriage. My wife has always encouraged me to parent her kids. That hasn't been a problem; I love them like my own! Especially Julia. I have been a part of Julia's life for 9 years. Then Julia turned 16. Almost as though her birthday was some sort of deadline, she abruptly stopped talking to me and was no longer interested in doing anything. If you have any insight, I sure could use the help!
I so appreciate the advice and encouragement you offer in your books and in your Facebook posts. Our daughter is almost two, and starting to show signs of being interested in potty training. So I thought I would reach out to you and see if there were any specific books or methods that you recommend? Thank you so much for taking the time to read my question.
My husband is an ENT, and he is a huge advocate for the HPV vaccine, especially in boys for this reason. His research is in this area. I am a clinical pharmacist in a gynecology clinic and primary care clinic, and I counsel all of my patients on the risk of head and neck cancer with HPV. I was hoping if you get asked about HPV again, you could include the information on head and neck cancers. Thank you for your time!
As moms we compete in two arenas, we have our lives as well as the lives of our kids to watch out for. Sometimes jealousy takes such a strong hold on us that we have difficulty having any good relationships with other mothers. When we are jealous of other mothers because they seem to have life perfectly balanced or figured out, we find ourselves wanting to be with them and hating to be near them, all at the same time.
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