Sunday, June 25, 2017

Include humility in civility

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My daughter is egocentric beyond belief. She’s a good ballerina. Not the best, not the prettiest, not the hardest working.

Since she got into high school last year, she brags about being a great dancer and that she doesn’t even have to try.

She stopped attending many weekly classes. She dismisses the “poor other slobs” who have to practice all day, everyday.

Recently, she was telling her friend how everyone is jealous of her because she’s the prettiest and most talented dancer at her studio. Her friend made the mistake of saying she was getting a little conceited.

She made snarky remarks back at her friend. I intervened and tried to make light of the situation. My daughter went ballistic. She yelled at me and asked who I was to get in the middle of a fight with her friend.

Her friend quietly walked away. My daughter made a feeble attempt at apologizing, then blew her off saying, “She was lame anyway.”

I don’t know how to make her see that a little humility goes a long way.

Humility advocate

Dear advocate,

Unfortunately, the people who act like they’re the best, the most important, most intelligent, best-looking, and most competent are usually the most insecure people.

They mistake confidence for being loud, boastful, arrogant, and entitled.

Many people who display a larger than life ego are really suffering inside with the fear of not being good enough. They cover for it by creating the façade of who they want to be.

When their façade is shattered with the reality that they may not be quite that terrific, they become histrionic about it or aggressive towards those who dispute them.

It’s best to walk away until she calms down.

When she does, express the following:

“You’re a good person who I think may be experiencing some very difficult challenges with dance right now. I think you’re spending a lot of energy on looking great without facing those challenges.

“I want to help you face them so you can feel great, which is more important than putting on the best show of greatness.

“One of the best virtues you can have is humility. Humility is not weakness. Humility means not being arrogant or prideful. It’s being patient when you’re afraid. It’s important to fail and not fear failing because that’s how you learn.

“Being humble makes you strong, because you can overcome hardships, feel powerful, and be teachable.

“You can be courageous and humble at the same time.”

The virtue of humility makes a person great.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's wrong with today's parents?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m a mom of two young children and I’ve noticed parents can’t say “no” to their kids or tell them what’s right from wrong.

One parent said to me, when I asked her if her daughter could have some cookies I made, “Well, let me ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea before dinner to have cookies.”

Her daughter said, “Yes, Mommy, I’ll only eat two so I can still eat my dinner.”

Her mom said, “She’s learning to think for herself.” I almost choked. The daughter didn’t learn anything except that she has power over her mom.

My kids looked surprised, as if to say, “She has a choice?”

Don’t get me wrong. I give my kids a choice in simple things, like letting them pick which of two outfits they want to wear.

Parents say their kids are so creative by putting any top together with any pants. What happens when those same kids are bullied for wearing weird combinations?

Of course, I’m not just talking about style. I’m talking about parents who won’t set boundaries. There are other serious issues that require a clear-cut understanding of right and wrong.

I don’t think parents want to tell their kids what to do because they’re afraid their kids won’t like them. Since when did parents become people-pleasers to their kids?

Real parent

Dear Parent,

You have observed a few important social tragedies.

Many parents are having a hard time parenting. Just a few thoughts:

Parents need to exercise authority in order to teach children and keep them safe.

Children learn how to be safe emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually through boundaries set by parents.

Parents are the experts who teach children what’s best for them.

Children need to be taught that there are absolutes in this life. It’s good for parents to demonstrate this by saying: stop, don’t, no, yes, and so on.

Parents teach children what’s best for them by example.

Children need strong parents who share their God-given wisdom, talents, and love by being definitive, not wishy-washy.

Strong parents teach kids how to define themselves.

Instead of being a shuttle service from one extracurricular activity to another, parents can spend time together with their kids, doing things such as having dinner together every night and communicating well.

Stop doing all the work for your kids and teach them the value of having a good work ethic.

And stop being a people-pleaser, especially to your kids.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Their divorce isn't my fault, but....

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I know I didn’t cause my parents’ divorce, but somehow I feel weird about it.

I’m in eighth grade and play football, run track and I’m a drummer in a band. The guys I hang with are cool. I have a girlfriend, but she has a friend that I kind of bully. I don’t know why. I know he’s not hitting on her.

My sister said I should write. She said I’m becoming a “narcissist” like dad. She said that’s why mom kicked him out.

I don’t get what that is. What’s going on?

What’s up?

Dear What’s up,

We’re sorry you’re experiencing shame over your parents divorce. You are right: you did not cause their divorce.

It might be hard for you to understand, right now, that everything that directly affects you isn’t necessarily about you. Your parents’ break-up is very traumatic. It may feel like a punishment for doing something horrible. While you feel the way you feel, until you don’t, you haven’t done anything to deserve blame for their divorce.

On the other hand, you may be bullying someone else because of your own revenge against your parents for breaking up your family. That’s not fair, of course. Vengeance never helps anyone. Bullying isn’t going to make you feel better and it will certainly harm the other person.

If you know you’re bullying someone, and you know it’s wrong, then you need to stop. Ask your parents for professional help.

Also, it doesn’t matter if the boy you are bullying is “hitting on” your girlfriend or not. You must stop taking out your pain on someone else.

You didn’t have a choice to become a victim of your parents’ divorce, but you can choose not to stay a victim. Learn how to grieve the loss of your family. Be a survivor and Define Yourself Before Others Do with our 5C’s: Civility, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Communication. Then you’ll become a good leader, who never wants to bully anyone.

We are concerned you have a girlfriend at your young age. You are still learning about yourself. Don’t limit your growth and confuse your focus.

A narcissist is someone who is intensely concerned with only his or her self – interests and who seems to forget that other people exist.

You are concerned about your family and you are in emotional pain.

You aren’t a narcissist, or you wouldn’t be writing us about your concerns.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, June 5, 2017

Don't ask--It's rude!

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

People need to stop asking others every question under the sun about their personal lives.

Don’t they know it’s rude to ask very personal questions, in public, especially, about religion, politics and sex? I was taught not to do that.

It’s not just the big things. I was asked what color my hair dye was and if my color came from a box or a stylist.

This might seem small, but it feels intrusive to me.

This got so annoying that I decided to start writing down questions that I was asked.

Here’s a sample of what I wrote down for one day:

• What kind of bra do I wear?

• Where do I get my teeth whitened?

• Am I getting enough sleep? I “look tired.”

• Do I ever sleep in the nude?

• Am I a born-again Christian?

• Does my husband go to the bathroom in front of me?

My husband laughed when I showed him what I was writing. He wanted to know why I care. I care because it’s private information and I feel violated.

People are rude these days.

Not rude

Dear not rude,

Congratulations! You have manners!

Manners are a lost art in our culture of entitlement. Many feel it’s their right to know personal information about anyone because the values of respect and civility are missing in our society.

These values need to be taught, starting at a young age, if we expect to regain civility.

Civility means courtesy, consideration, caring about someone’s comfort and having manners.

Rude means being impolite, discourteous, bad-mannered, offensive, or being vulgar.

Most in our culture don’t consider the questions you mentioned to be rude.

Parents can help teach the basics:

• Say please and thank you

• Have table manners

• Don’t ask unsolicited personal questions

What are personal questions?

• Anything about money, sex, religion and politics … no one has a right to know. Curiosity isn’t a right, it’s an indulgence.

• A personal question is something that makes someone uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Our society has become accustomed to asking sensitive questions in order to judge or label.

Being gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, Muslim or Christian doesn’t mean you are good or bad.

Don’t feel obligated to answer these questions.

Don’t engage with anyone who demands personal information. Look them in the eye, and change the subject.

You deserve to be treated with civility.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri