Sunday, June 26, 2016

I'm ashamed I was date raped

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

On my 16th birthday, I drank alcohol for the first time. It started at home because my parents said they knew I would drink, so they bought me champagne.

I didn’t eat much that day because I had my first real date where a guy picked me up in a car and took me to dinner for my birthday. I was feeling the alcohol a little.

My date was Jason (not his real name). He’s 19.

I am sure Jason drugged me at the restaurant where he ordered me a vodka and OJ. I only drank half of it. I didn’t really eat because I was nervous and not even sure I liked Jason.

Jason was sure about everything. He took me to a club an hour away. I remember dancing and then I remembered nothing.

I woke up in a hotel in another town. It was 4 a.m. and I had a sheet wrapped around me and my clothes were on the floor everywhere.

According to Jason, I got drunk, seduced him, we had sex, and I passed out. Jason said he had to call my parents and convince them he was watching out for me and he’d make sure I was safe and bring me home in the morning.

My parents simply said, “Don’t do that again” … as in drink too much, pass out and embarrass myself on a date.

A friend heard Jason say he’d had sex with me after I passed out and made jokes about it. Now I have heard Jason’s former girlfriend say he did the same thing to her. She won’t tell anyone because she thinks no one would believe her because they had sex all the time.

My friend keeps telling me to tell the police or my parents or someone. I can’t! I’m ashamed and no one will believe me. Plus, I don’t have any evidence and it was months ago. I’m going crazy that this happened!

I’m Ashamed I Was Raped

Dear Victim,

You are a victim. Sexual assault happened to you. This was an act you did not want to happen and you did not – because you were unable to – give consent. You could not give consent when you are unconscious.

You need to heed your friend’s advice and report this. It’s the only way you’ll start healing! Tell your truth, pray, and start the process of forgiving Jason for your sake. Your process may take many years!

When you were under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol, you were not able to sense danger or resist a sexual assault. Even if you drank alcohol or willingly took drugs, you are NOT at fault for being assaulted.

Rape is defined as sexual intercourse without one party’s consent. Most state laws refer to this crime as “sexual assault,” “sexual battery” or by a similar term. Whatever you call it, rape is a crime defined by and punishable under state law.

We have great compassion for you. You were raped by an adult man in whom you had confidence. You trusted his decency and for that, you can’t be faulted

It’s an act of violence and you were violated.

What you didn’t know is that Jason (or any person who commits rape) is measurably more angry at their victim and more motivated by a desire to dominate and control them. Men who commit this crime are more impulsive, less inhibited, anti-social, hyper-masculine, and less empathetic.

Jason is a coward and a criminal, plain and simple. He’s also an adult and you are a minor.

•One in four American women will be the victim of a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 84% of those will know their attacker.

• Only about 5% of women/ girls report their date rape.

Please know we care! Go to a trusted adult and report this crime! Keep doing this until you receive the help you need!

Rhonda & Dr. Cheri

Sunday, June 19, 2016

When Kids Lie

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My kid lies all the time. Darla, (not her real name) is 10 years old and she’s been lying to her friends, boys, and us since she started school.

Darla started lying about little things when she was in first grade, like she said she had dozens of shoes, she said she had blisters on her toes from dance class, and a million other little things.

The first time Darla lied a big lie was last week, when she told her friend that she had a baby sister at home.

Her friend asked to see Darla’s sister and I was standing right there in the kitchen and Darla said, “She’s sleeping.”

I was surprised but I didn’t want to embarrass Darla so I played along with her about a baby sister. The friend found out that Darla was making it up.

Darla got mad and let us “have it” when her friend left. Darla said she just wanted to be normal like everyone else who has brothers and sisters.

I tried to be understanding, but her dad blew up about the lying and yelled at her, sent her to her room!

I feel upset, but stuck in the middle about her harsh punishment.

Our Daughter is a Liar

Dear Mom,

As best you can, try not to label your daughter as a liar. Why? Because many kids will live up to their labels and judgments, true or not. Why? Because they have already incurred the punishment of being judged and feel powerless.

Kids sometimes lie to gain control. Help her to feel in control with reasonable decisions that she may make when you provide an either or choice.

Use Darla’s single incidents as problems with solutions to help her learn that she doesn’t need to lie to feel powerful, in control, and worthy of attention.

Let’s start with the lie Darla made about having lots of shoes. Let her know that even if she only has one pair of shoes, if they’re fit, clean and go reasonably well with her clothes, that she may feel good about having one pair.

Three pairs of shoes are ideal for one to have for sporty situations, school or semi-casual and one dressy for church or special occasions. Take her shopping to pick out the best fitting, best looking pairs she may find in thrift stores, discount stores, or on sale.

We suspect Darla lied about blisters on her toes because she feels she needs more attention and/ or she is experiencing a lot of emotional pain. If you give her bad attention for lying, she’ll make her injuries bigger and more dramatic until her need for more attention is addressed.

Address Darla’s emotional pain with bite-size conversations like, “What went well today … tell me one thing.” And “What was your biggest challenge or difficulty today and how can we change that for tomorrow?”

On to the baby-sister dilemma: Don’t make lying okay by keeping Darla’s lies going on. Teach her to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have a baby sister. I see how much fun it is for you to have one. I wanted to be happy like you. I won’t lie to you again.”

More than anything else, learning to problem-solve together will help Darla grow, love herself, as well as others, and love and respect honesty.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Is your nose real?"

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My granddaughter, Carla (not her real name) has had her ears pinned back, her nose reshaped, and her breasts enlarged.

Carla was bullied in elementary school for being fat and then in middle school because she developed anorexia. Once she was in high school for a year, she was attractive if not beautiful.

Carla’s mom then started with the surgeries to make Carla feel better about herself but I don’t think Carla felt or even noticed that something might be wrong with her ears, nose, or breasts.

Now Carla runs around school flaunting her new good looks. She quit being friends with anyone who was a friend. She knows that kids know she’s had plastic surgeries.

Evidently, however, Carla has taken the offense and started asking everyone she knows if “those are real” or “is that real?” She even pulled on someone’s eyelashes to check on them and one side came off. Now that girl is calling Carla a bully.

I think Carla’s learned to be rude, but her mom thinks it’s good that Carla “stands up for herself now.”

Carla and her mom think this is okay. They live in California, by the way. Am I wrong to be a worried grandma?

Dear Worried Grandma,
It’s always good for grandmas to be alarmed when valid reasons arise. However, let’s make sure that you are worrying about the most important reasons of concern. Let’s determine together how you may possibly help Carla and how to approach her and her mom.

We do not agree with parents making life altering decisions for their under-age kids. Yes, we said “for” her because a teen Carla’s age cannot do that on her own - and with good reason.

Carla was most likely confused and insecure about her looks when her mom allowed her to change them.

Now that Carla’s changed her external self, she has gone on the offense to make up for her inability to know how to stop being a victim and she sounds as if she’s hiding behind her “new beauty” to empower herself.

Carla may benefit from a life lesson about learning how to Define Yourself Before Others Do™ - a motto we teach to help adolescents empower their own self with identifying their internal and external self using our 5 C’s to develop her good leadership skills; Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and strong Carriage (stand tall and have eye contact).

Carla seems to know that her new beauty could be misconstrued as pseudo-beauty and her new rude behavior of trying to point out what she thinks is fake makes her feel powerful because she is mocking what she considers to be hypocritical.

Our opinion about altering your appearance is that you must make sure you have the maturity to decide what is a reasonable modification to your looks- to feel well enough about yourself in order to stop focusing on yourself and focus on the things that matter the most like creating healthy relationships and service, and not making extreme changes to hide behind.

Please approach her mom and ask her to read this column. Then ask them both to go into therapy now before Carla crashes and burns under her new looks and new bad-mannered behavior.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Seven Percent Solution - Or Not

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My teenage son just told me that he does spend a lot of time with his friends talking and having fun, after I “lost it” and told him (for the hundredth time) that he and his friends need to learn how to talk with other people and put their “gadgets” down.

Sam (not his real name) said his friends don’t want to come over anymore because “I make them talk!” I make them put down their phones, get off Facebook, turn off their music and talk. At least I care enough to try to get these boys to not be socially awkward.

He has two friends in particular who hang around here waiting to be invited over for dinner or to eat treats that I make after school. They all get good grades in school but none can carry on a single sentence conversation!

It’s frustrating to watch teenage boys act like they have never been told that it’s rude to be involved in another conversation (on their phones) when someone is talking to them. Or it is inappropriate to monopolize the computer while also having earphones and music on. My twin 11-year-old daughters’ can’t get their homework done.

I told my son that everyone in my house has to learn some manners and decent communication. I also told him that everything isn’t about seeking amusement and sharing things that are funny or ridiculous.

I told Sam these are our rules. He said he’s going to move in with his dad now.

Mom of a Socially Awkward Kid

Dear Mom of Sam,

We agree with you that your son and his friends need to learn a few social skills. Everyone, about 25 and under, does.

We understand your frustration, however, please know that this has become the “norm” for this generation, especially in the last five to eight years.

In our hurry up-society, it’s simply “inconvenient” to actually take the time to talk personally to someone. Our society doesn’t even like listening to voice mail because it takes too much time.

With this mentality, the current culture seems more interested in sharing pseudo-selves that are created with endless media and shared in endless ways.

This leads to three current societal outcomes:

    The social illness of narcissism

    The youth of today’s civilization is having an increasing difficulty knowing how to Define Yourself Before Others Do™

    True communication is almost non-existent. Body language and tone of voice equal 93 percent of communication. Only 7 percent is composed of words.

How we (generations older than 25) may help:

• To combat narcissism: set boundaries, say no when necessary, and teach by example

• Teach kids to define themselves with our 5 C’s: Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and strong Carriage (stand tall, eye contact, speak clearly)

• Model true communication with C.L.A.S.S.™: Connect (compliment others and be attentive), Listen (listen more than speak), Ask (who, what, where, when, why, and how), Summarize (tell the other what you heard them say), Suggest (an activity based on the other person you are communicating with and not yourself)

With the advent of the internet, social media, Instagram for sharing pictures, SnapChat, texting, Facebook, emojis, superficial communication has become rampant.

Helping your son and his friends to stop hiding behind technology and to, instead, shine by their lonesome and well defined selves, is something all moms may inspire to do by example first.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri