Sunday, July 29, 2018

Couth is a 'thing'

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I am engaged to a man in real estate. He does well and we’ll be moving into his house.

I graduated from college and I’m a young ophthalmologist.

I live with my parents and I’m 23. My whole family is industrious and doctors or scientists. They look down on my fiancé because he has extra time to play golf and rest.

My mom has become rude about my fiancé and says he’s a couch potato and uncouth.

He may not be the most sophisticated and cultured person, and he’s opinionated about religion and politics, but he thinks my family is snobbish.

He loves me and he’s fun. This matters more to me than refinement.

I made the mistake of telling my mother that my fiancé does lay on the couch a lot. She pointed out that he’s also gained a lot weight in the two years that we’ve been engaged.

What do I say to my mother?

Fun-loving fiancée

Dear Fiancée,

You are the one who, ultimately, can choose your fiancé.

However, you may want to make a pros and cons list of things that matter the most to you, for the rest of forever. “Opposites” may work for you (and we do mean work) or it may destroy you.

Your differences can become a bigger “thing” in your future. For instance, you’ve been raised to live a “couth” life.

1 - Ask yourself if “couth” is engrained in the fiber of you, and how your core values work for you.

2 - Ask yourself if you might be rebelling against your values.

3 - Ask yourself if being refined and cultured means you can’t add fun to your life — and what does fun look like to you?

Define how you see your days and what activities will be important and what will not. Be honest with your values.

Take a look at things you’ve mentioned that might be on the cons list: Being a couch potato, opinionated, and unrefined. (Studies have shown that being a “couch potato” does physiologically change fat cells in our bodies and also increases their size.)

Will you want to change your fiancé? (Be honest with yourself.) No one can change anyone else, so that option is off the table.

Include in your pros and cons list, how you’ll raise your children together and if you’ll mesh or compromise your values.

It’s imperative that the two of you discuss your differences (not better or worse) but different values, likes and dislikes.

Weigh the pros and cons with each other, in a considerate manner, and you’ll be able to make decisions about your future relationship.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Boys need a father--even a mediocre one

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My husband left me for my younger sister (who was also married). He married my sister and moved out of state.

My son is seven. My sister didn’t want and doesn’t have kids. My ex-husband makes good money, but he abandoned our son.

He was supposed to have him for part of this summer, but they went to Europe. He could’ve sent postcards, but no.

My son has withdrawn from life. My divorced friend has a son his age and his father takes him out a lot. It hurts my son.

A girl in my son’s class said men were, “no-good rotten liars.” The teacher said my son asked, “Why are dads jerks?”

I try not to be hostile to my son’s father, but I’m sure he’s heard me say bad things about him.

I don’t know good men, except my father and he lives an hour away.

Mom with a bad ex

Dear Mom

It must be difficult to feel civil towards your ex-husband. However, women who see men as the oppressors and women as the victims, are sending a message to their sons that all men are unworthy.

Even though it’s inconvenient, take your son, often, to visit with his grandfather. It could change his life.

Boys need their dads, even a mediocre one. Government studies have concluded that boys with their dads in their lives, unless abusive, have a better chance to succeed in relationships, communicate better, succeed in college, and avoid drugs, bullying, violence, and delinquent behavior.

Studies show that boys who grow up with some good influence from an average dad, are more likely to be social, confident, and have a higher I.Q. (by age 3), and be better problem-solvers.

Dads roughhouse with their kids, causing sons to grow into disciplined and strong healthy men. Moms are more empathetic to their sons and more likely to be a helicopter parent. As a result, sons aren’t always more empathetic and may expect everyone else to cater to their needs.

Recent studies have shown that parents who expect their children to have care, consideration, and courtesy for their parents and family members will create an empathetic person, who learns to provide service and care for others and themselves.

Obviously, you can’t make your former husband into a well-functioning dad. However, you may ask him to show love to your son and help your son gain dignity and succeed.

You could also reach out to clubs, churches, and volunteer groups for healthy role-models. Consider the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for a “Big.” He may be significant for your son.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Stuck between two boyfriends

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I have a new boyfriend. We’re in high school. My old boyfriend keeps texting me with intimate conversations.

My new boyfriend grabbed me and told me to tell him to stop or he’d make him stop.

He didn’t stop and the texts became more graphic. My new guy took my phone and revenge-texted him.

I told the new guy to stop texting and he smashed my phone and grabbed my hair. He accused me of liking the attention.

My old boyfriend never hurt me. I told him to stop texting me, because he’s the one who broke up with me. He said that was stupid.

Some girl told me that my new boyfriend was violent to her and asked if I wanted to see the pictures. I said no, because I don’t trust her.

I want to go back to my old boyfriend, but what if he didn’t mean what he said about being stupid for breaking up with me?

What if my new boyfriend becomes violent with me, if I break up with him?


Dear Stuck,

We’re sorry you are experiencing boyfriend problems. However, we’d like you to answer the following:

1 - Why do I feel a need to have a boyfriend, at all, right now?

2 - What good qualities do I have? Do either of these guys have the same?

3 - Why am I with anyone who threw my phone, sent revenge texts from my phone, pulled my hair, and accused me of having bad motives?

If having a boyfriend makes you feel worthy in the eyes of others, but not in your own eyes, focus on you. Develop your talents and values.

Become the best version of you, then seek the best version of someone like you to date casually and don’t become intimate. According to statistics, you won’t be with the same guy in five years.

Start by defining yourself in positive terms. You deserve someone to mirror that goodness.

One act of violence is enough to keep that person out of your life. It’ll get worse, according to statistics.

Studies conclude:

• Almost 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.

• One in three teenagers in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from their dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.

• One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a dating partner.

Remember, you are of great worth in the eyes of God, and hopefully in your own eyes.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bullycide: A Real Problem

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Honestly, I’m tired of hearing about bullying. It’s always been around and it’s always going to be around.

With all the “awareness” about bullying, it must be better. My 12-year-old granddaughter brings home anti-bullying information almost every day.

My daughter’s family went to another memorial service for a young girl, who’s a victim of “Bullycide.” I asked what that meant. After looking at me like I was an alien, they said it’s someone who doesn’t think there’s a way out of being bullied and commits suicide.

I wasn’t being sensitive, I guess, when I asked why the parents didn’t shut down her phone. I also said that bullying isn’t abuse and that her parents should have done something when the girl starting sneaking her parents’ alcohol.

We got into an argument. I said the problem with our society, now, is that everyone’s a victim. They haven’t called me in weeks.

Should I apologize, or stick to my guns?

Sad Grandma

Dear Grandma,

We understand you may feel our society has too many victims; however, most studies conclude that bullying has actually increased and accounts for the rising number of youth suicides.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 U.S. deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten- to 14-year-old girls are reported to be at higher risk for suicide.

However, in recent school studies, where there’s anti-bullying programs, bullying is reduced by half.

Bullied victims are still underreporting their bullying events, though. It’s mostly because of fear of embarrassment — victimhood can be associated with being weak. In reality, it’s the most courageous choice to help end bullying and prevent bully-suicide deaths.

We educate students that being a victim is not a choice, but they may choose not to stay a victim. When victims choose not to stay a victim and report bullying, it’s an empowering choice. Taking that first step is extremely difficult, but may balance the control-seeking bully.

About 160,000 American students stay home each day from school, due to bullying at school. Studies also show the highest suicide risk (over 70 percent) is from cyberbullying. Parents need to monitor social media every day.

Behavioral risk factors may lead to suicide. These include substance abuse, violence (including gun violence, which is a factor in two-thirds of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the U.S. Secret Service), and sexual activity.

Many families assume talking about bullying and suicide will only heighten the risk of suicide, but it actually helps to reduce fears and victimhood.

You may be able to help your family with this new information.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Grandma's a mom again

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m 67 and raising three grandchildren, two from my oldest daughter and one from my son.

I’ve had the two girls because my daughter overdosed on drugs and died. My grandson is with me for similar reasons, although he Skypes with my son in Alaska.

My husband passed away 10 years ago. My granddaughters lived down the street from me and I loved having them over to play and spoil them. However, they went home at night. I didn’t have to worry about homework, bullying, and boys.

The girls started to date. There’s always contention in our home. I’m afraid for them. I’m worried they’ll get into drugs, too. Plus, I still feel guilty about my daughter. I feel ashamed to say how hard this for me.

The girls told me my grandson, who is 8, is a bully at school. Just like his dad, he won’t talk with me.

I’m a real estate agent, and I’m tired from working, cleaning and being mom again.

Not A Good Mom, Again

Dear Grandma,

You are a hero and you’re enough!

There are many in your situation, not that that alone helps. Statistics show almost 3 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren in the United States.

We hope the following will help you manage a most difficult situation:

1 - Take care of yourself. We live in a very challenging world and placing blame on yourself may take a toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s OK to feel anger, grief, and helplessness, when your fun, traditional role of being a grandma isn’t the case right now. Your loss of independence has to be addressed.

2 - Find support groups in your area. is a nonprofit site that gives grandparents resources, tools, and ideas on making the most of raising your grandchildren. is a federal government website that has a special page for grandparents raising grandchildren.

3 - Be consistent. Make sure you and your grandchildren have regular sleep, homework, dinner, and fun times set.

4 - Mealtime is essential. Learn about each other and don’t allow phones or negativity. Ask for their input for their rules. It’ll create a more connected and loving family.

5 - Get help from your community. Activities and relaxation for you are not a luxury, they are a necessity. A Big Brother from the Big Brother Big Sister organization may help your grandson. Continue to help your grandson stay in touch with his father.

Most of all, we want you to know you make a huge and great difference in our world, by helping your grandchildren … for many generations to come.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri