By Dr. Meg Meeker
Is it just me or have we all become addicts to phones? I believe phones have become idols & gods. If you look around, everyone is glued to these devices! There's no room for quiet in our lives & for God to speak into our hearts because we are tuning Him out, along with the people around us. I find it ironic that the symbol of these devices is the Apple with the bite taken out of it. Sound familiar?
One of the real delights in raising boys is that they are, in general, less complicated than daughters. They aren’t less emotional than daughters but they are more pragmatic in general. When a problem arises, they try to identify the problem and then find a solution. Girls might experience the same problem but overanalyze it to the point of missing the solution.
Dear Dr. Meg:
I am also going through a divorce, primarily because I was unfaithful. Although, I know what I did was wrong, I felt a need to find the love, passion, warmth and tenderness that I had not received from my wife for many years. My marriage was toxic for many years, and our parenting differences were a significant reason, as well. My daughters are 25 and 20 now. I had always had a great relationship with them, much better than did their mother. From the beginning, I was always there for them, for everything, and their mother was not, as she was more interested in her career and outside interests to give them the care and attention they needed. Yet, when they learned of my infidelity to my wife, they turned against me. I have not seen or talked to them for 16 months. My wife has portrayed me as a terrible father and husband, and they have accepted that and, as a result, will not communicate with me. I am confused by all of this...
I read your articles about grandparents and I am wandering what your thoughts are about grandparents who don't support your values. We recently saw a Catholic counselor who suggested that my husband ask his mother to show respect or not be allowed to come around. She has lied, planned parties on days we couldn't attend and insisted we be there, planned family vacations where young unmarried adults would be staying together, etc. She will not apologize and even sent our teenage son a letter that disrespected us and bad-mouthed my husband. Fortunately, our son never saw the letter. She is divorced from my husband's father and bad-mouths his father. She did not recognize my husband's birthday this year after we sent her flowers for hers. She calls us "too Catholic," while supporting cohabiting and a granddaughter who has posted satanism as her religion on social media. Do you think we should bother with her?
We have a five-year-old son who is bright, active, creative and happy. Recently, he started making comments when we correct his behavior. These behaviors are not major, mainly just simple things any parent of a five-year-old boy would address. His comments are “I know, you hate me.” “You think I’m stupid.” And even, “You wish I was dead.” Each time we have simply stated 'we love you very much' and have shared that as parents it’s our job to teach right from wrong. Any suggestions?
How you listen determines whether your son keeps talking or stops the conversation. If you start talking about feelings with your son at an early age, this type of conversation will become second nature to him as he matures. The threat of being socially unacceptable is perhaps the largest hurdle for boys to manage when it comes to openly sharing their feelings. But fear runs a close second.
Dear Dr. Meg:
I am a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan, and work with transgender adolescents in the new Gender Management Program at Mott Children's Hospital. I strongly support the draft policy statement. Specifically, I support the statement's focus on creating a comfortable learning environment for transgender and gender non-conforming students. Students who are called by preferred names and pronouns, and are able to use the bathroom in accordance with their affirmed gender, are much more likely to thrive at school and have diminished anxiety and depression. I commend the efforts of the State Board of Education and their commitment to protecting this vulnerable population of students.
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.
My state, Michigan, is going through a crisis of sorts. And it’s over bathrooms: who or what should use whose- and when. You need to get in the loop on this, because whether your state is having this showdown or not, it's coming.
I know you probably get a million messages a day, but I have a 3-year old (she will be four in a few weeks) who is acting out at school when she doesn't get her way. She has slammed a kid’s head into a bookshelf, is cussing at and hitting her teachers, she pushed over a bookshelf today on top of a kid... Recently, we moved in with my boyfriend (not her father). We've been here for two months and I've had to leave work three different times because of her behavior. She doesn't act like this at home, she doesn't have a problem listening or following directions, but I just don't know what to do anymore. I can't keep leaving my new job and I can't have her kicked out of daycare. She's never acted like this before. She's always had an attitude problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
There is a truth I have come to believe about boys: I think they are far more sensitive than girls. I have listened to teenage boys break down over failed relationships with their girlfriends, watched seven-year-old boys fall apart over the death of a pet, and seen adult men emotionally shut down over the loss of a parent. I also believe that the reason that we are seeing many young men today end up unemployed, or worse, in prison, has nothing to do with delinquency and everything to do with the kind of emotional pain that they simply have no clue how to handle.
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.
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.
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