Sunday, February 21, 2016

Teens and foul language

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I have three kids, two teenage boys and a young innocent kindergarten girl who just told her brothers, “Shut the F-up” (only she actually said that word)!

I don’t even let them say “stupid.”  I have always taught my kids that it’s rude and shallow to name-call, especially the F-word.

My oldest son and his dad used to swear a lot (we were divorced). So I got a jar and we had to put a dollar (yes … the price of swearing has gone up) in it every time he said something offensive. Then my son thought it was funny to call a girl a slut to his brother and they laughed until I made them both put $5 in the jar.

The boys think it’s funny to say any bad thing. Recently, my husband and I left a movie because it had so many disgusting words or insinuations. My sons thought it was great!

I was a substitute teacher when my older kids were in elementary school and I was a single mom. I’m not perfect and I used to let things slip when I was angry. But ever since the jar, I stopped.

My friend is still a teacher and she said I should get over it. She said the kids swear all day long and they can’t police it, especially the F-bomb.

Isn’t anyone going to do something?


Dear Disgusted,

We understand your feelings. We go into schools, to speak, and kids are swearing with every worst word or phrase that exists.

There is a bigger problem in our society to address:

How do we help our kids know who, what, when, where, why and how and to express their feelings appropriately and with civility, when the whole world is upside down?

Being polite is out-of-style. The new norm means rude and offensive is funny. Our society has run out of self-control. Swearing is impulsive and out-of-control. 

We admire that you started with yourself. Too many adults think it’s hilarious to watch foul movies and TV shows. Parents have taken to YouTube to post babies saying bad words for their 15 minutes of fame.

Your five-year-old child is innocent and probably doesn’t know what the word means. She probably wanted to express her angry feelings to her brothers. If her brothers laughed, she might be confused, but ultimately it got her good attention.

The best thing to do is calmly take her aside and ask her if she knows what the word means. She probably won’t. Tell her it’s an adult word that is unacceptable in your home. Shut down movies and songs that are foul. This isn’t going to be easy. But do it. The everyday person has to start saying the following:

“Not in our home- not today – rudeness isn’t ok” and mean it! Be consistent!

Schools need to stop the epidemic of swearing, especially a violent word like the F-word. Adults and teens, if you had a hundred cockroaches running around in your room, would you say, ‘There are too many, I can’t do anything?”

Of course not, you’d get an army of pest controllers and get to it!

By the way, “bad” words are ruining our vocabulary (along with the simple-mindedness of social networking) which ruins our communication which ruins our chances of expressing ourselves and having healthy relationships. Having healthy relationships matters the most. You can take those to heaven. You can’t take a trophy, money or fame, right?

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm the Fat Girl!

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

Wow, I think I’m the daughter … the one from your column last week. I’m the Fat Girl! And my mom’s story is crap.
My mom didn’t write to help me! She wrote because she thinks she’s a great mom. Well, she is not! She’s mean and makes me feel like a criminal because I’m fat!
My brothers and mom only care about how they look. They don’t care about me. They just want to put me down for being fat and I’m like 30 pounds over-weight! 
All they do is work-out, hike, do yoga and stuff. Like hours a day! They go on hikes or something every weekend and every school break.
No one asks me (ever, ever, ever) what I want to do. I’m bad cause I like movies and candy and fashion. I like doing plays but they hate coming to see me. I asked if I could take singing classes but they didn’t even answer.
I started going into my room cause my mom never wants to be bothered with me. She is the one who said I should move the “family” computer in my room. She wants me out of her way.
I hate all the kids at school who make fun of me for not being a stick Barbie Doll! I loved playing with Barbie dolls and they made fun of me then too.
And my family will never go to therapy! I hate them.
Not a Barbie Doll

Dear Not a Barbie,
We are really glad you wrote to us. We can actually feel your pain through your letter. You do not deserve to feel abandoned and unworthy. Every person is a precious child of God!

Every person on this beautiful earth needs to be loved. It is the core of our lives. You don’t have to earn it. You are the one who decides who you are. You get to say to yourself that you are good, caring, loving, real, and creative.

Your parents need help handling the fact that you are different from them. Not better and certainly not worse.

We want you to follow your valuable dreams and good passions. Stand tall! Look them in the eyes. Don’t engage in conversations about who you are (according to them). Stand up for yourself and think about how you can live our 5 C’s and be happy.

Civility means being good instead of right, being polite, gentle and disagreeing without judging them. Hate is a big ugly word that hurts you the most. Get rid of your hate by screaming into your pillow or writing your anger down and flushing it down your toilet for timed pity-parties.

Do the things you like to do and don’t have any expectations that your family will applaud you. It’s sad and we understand that. But history has shown us the heroes of happiness start when they stop caring about the expectations of others and care about their own high standards.

By the way,  it’s adults who have made Barbie into a psychological nightmare. Kids don’t over-analyze dolls … they just play!

Become confident by saying something good about you every morning to your mirror.

Now, have the courage to show this to your parents! 

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Help! My daughter is fat!

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

I feel like the worst mother ever. My little girl who is nine years old now has gained a lot of weight this year because she started staying in her room after school and getting on Facebook and her email. I let her have a Facebook account only because I watch it and make sure everything is okay.

However, she started taking food into her room to snack on after school. I let her do this as long as she didn’t take too much and she ate dinner. Yesterday, I decided to look through her room  and found stuff stashed all over.

I couldn’t understand why she was doing this.  I said she couldn’t take food into her room anymore.

She cried and told me I was the meanest mom ever and now I was just like all the kids at school who hate her because she’s fat. I have never called her fat.

Her dad sat her down without me and told her she needed to do something active like dance (I already tried to get her to do that).

She decided to take dance classes, but after the first class she came home crying and said no one likes her because she’s fat and she’s not going anymore.

I can’t force her to take dance classes, but I don’t think her dad and I should let her go back to getting fatter and hiding from the world!

Mom of a Fat Girl

Dear Mom,

The fact that you signed with saying your daughter is a “Fat Girl” tells us that you may have feelings of disdain toward your daughter because she is gaining weight and you don’t like it.

We don’t think a girl as young as your daughter should have a computer in her own room. It’s her escape from the work of finding friends and growing up.

It seems eating is an escape  as well and if you simply punish her by taking food away, she will eventually try to find other ways to escape the pain of being lonely and different. She could easily turn to drugs, self-harm (cutting herself or harming herself in other ways), alcohol, and sex.

It’s a good idea to take her to a trusted therapist and also engage in family therapy with all of you. She needs to feel like she’s a part of the whole family.

Designate a time each week when you could all do things together such as board-games, a picnic, or walking in a museum.

Walking is a great way to get to know your daughter plus fit exercise in. Find out what she does like to do (a hobby) and tell her you will support her interests as long as she stays committed to do that same activity for six months.

She needs to maintain a disciplined life with rules that she must follow. Reward her with going to a movie or something fun to do … but not with food.

Take her to a doctor and let him tell her how she can become healthy – her way – and be happier with herself.

One activity that might work with your beautiful girl is to have her put on dance music and dance hard for twenty minutes free-style. It will release stress, depression, and anger. In fact, do it with her too. Make it fun and show her your love for her. 

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri