Saturday, February 16, 2019

Slut-shaming: Still significant

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
 
I’m in college, but it feels like high school. I’m so humiliated and it’s not my fault.

I was sexually assaulted by some guys at my high school. One of them was charged with indecent exposure. Another student called the police on my behalf.

Someone took pictures and posted them on social media. People accused me of being a “slut.”

This was after school in a nearby wooded area, where kids smoke pot. I did not, and do not, use drugs. But I was there. I feel guilty.

One of the guys had a girlfriend and she spread untrue rumors about me. My best friend said she’s just jealous.

Now I’m in college and the pictures have reappeared. I’m worried I’m going to be treated badly again.

It’s not fair. I’m not a slut.

Signed,
Scared


Dear Young Lady, 

We believe you and we believe in you. This is absolutely not your fault and you do not deserve to feel guilty or unworthy.

Our culture is one lacking in civility. Our definition of civility is to be courteous, considerate, and caring. None of these people are treating you with civility or even common decency.

Just so you know, indecent exposure may be a misdemeanor or a felony, and he may have to register as a sex offender. That could haunt him.

But we don’t want this to haunt you. Please get help with a good therapist.

Girls are sometimes targeted because they’re attractive, or good, or intelligent young women, and research shows girls are the ones (mostly) slut-shaming other girls when they’re jealous.

Unfortunately, slut-shaming is still a culturally acceptable form of social critique, even though the judgments are usually wrong and hypocritical.

This is a smear campaign. We want you to decide to not to stay a victim. It will be extremely difficult, but you can do hard things.

Victim-blaming is a common reaction to sexual assault or rape victims, unfortunately. We’ve become a refined society with improvements in science, technology, economic development, but not social maturity.

The action of slut-shaming is a form of social punishment and is sexist. It’s still a double standard in our society – boys may actually be praised for their “conquests.”

The improvement of your condition starts with you defining yourself before others do. No one has that right but you. Affirm to yourself that you are good, worthy, and loveable.

The last thing you need to do is ignore cruelty. Be courageous, stand tall and don’t defend yourself. Do not collapse in the face of victim-shaming bullies. You can be strong and gentle as a great lea
  
Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mom distraught over daughter’s late-term abortion


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m sick about my daughter’s late-term abortion. She was pregnant until her 23rd week, when she decided she didn’t “want his child anymore.”

The abortionist doctor said she has a mood disorder as defined in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," to comply with state laws.

I tried talking her out of this abortion. I said I’d raise her baby girl.

They injected her with something to kill the unborn baby and she delivered her. It’s a nightmare.  

Signed,
Almost a mom again

Dear Mom,

We’re truly sorry about your trauma. We know your daughter’s child would have had a great life with you.

We’ll discuss “late-term abortion” in an ethical and educational way (not in a political manner).
The “Value-of-Life” principle states that human life should be preserved, protected, valued and revered.

We believe in the conceptus (conception to birth) principle of pregnancy and that a baby’s viability (ability to live after birth) has become increasingly younger (the youngest at 21 weeks), because of improvements in neonatal intensive care.
 
Forty-three states prohibit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy, and at varying viability ages. Also considered in late-term abortion is the mental and physical health of the pregnant woman and rape or incest.

We believe in adoption when possible.

One of the most conflicting laws regarding the language of human terms is homicide, when the law charges the person who kills a pregnant woman with two counts of homicide. In the case of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, for killing his wife Laci and his unborn son. Homicide laws justly criminalize these cases and address both unborn children and their mothers. 

Abortionist doctors must induce fetal death before starting a late-term abortion procedure. The injection of digoxin/ potassium chloride is used intrafetally. Laminaria sticks absorb moisture from the cervix and it must dilate the cervix to 2-5 centimeters for delivery.

In surgery, the fetal (human) skull is crushed if it’s too large to fit through the cervical canal. Instruments must be used to take all body parts out. This is a gruesome and inhumane act and we do not support it or believe it to be moral or ethical.

Your despair is a rational aspect of grief. You have experienced the great loss of your beautiful grandchild. You have a wonderful daughter who is mentally compromised, so her level of accountability and rationality are not fully developed.

Have mercy and love for her. Allow God’s arms to cradle you as work through your grief.

 Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Rebellious Adult Children


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

When I got divorced, I did all the parenting.

I thought I was a warm, loving and caring parent. We went to church and my son was involved in lots of activities.

Now he says I “forced” him to do too much. He said I’m a “helicopter parent.” However, he lives at home, he’s 26, and doesn’t work (mostly) and quit college. I pay for everything.

I thought we communicated well and had a happy, secure, and close emotional bond.

I’ve failed him, but I’m hurt that he doesn’t see how hard I try.

Maybe he should live with his father, Mr. Disneyland Dad.

Signed,
Still trying

Dear Mom,

We have no doubt that you are a “warm, loving, and caring” parent. No one’s a perfect parent but you are trying perfectly.

Research shows that parents who are caring, warm, and responsive to their child’s needs, will produce adults who are more content, secure, happy, and emotionally stable. Dr. Mai Stafford, of the Medical Research Council’s Lifelong Health and Aging unit at UCLA says parents who provide stability cause children to learn to explore things. And responsive parents help their children develop social, emotional, and attentive skills.   

A lot of talk in today’s culture has been based around parenting styles like:

1. Slow parenting – Children grow at their own pace, with few boundaries. This creates confident, but sometimes entitled children.

2. Helicopter parenting – Parents are closely involved in their children’s activities and directing their lives. The parent is caring, loving, and giving – but the hovering sometimes causes kids to lack confidence.

3. Tiger parenting – Parents are traditional, strict, and have high expectations. This child excels but is usually unhappy and rebellious.

This is a partial list, and not as key as the one thing that matters the most (besides love) – helping your adult children identify problems and solutions, especially in relationships.

Hold “Critical Growth” monthly meetings: Come up with concrete lists of promises: Your son will work full-time, or go to school full-time, or do both part-time. Time your agreement (3 to 6 months). Either he complies, or you help him move out (and not to another dependent situation like Disneyland Dad).  

Yes, we acknowledge that, unfortunately, many young millennials have master’s degrees and work at fast food restaurants. We still recommend this same solution.

Data shows one in four adult children, mostly men, ages 20-34, are still living at home.
No amount of love or any particular parenting style will provide what your adult child needs now. He needs to mature and provide for himself without blaming anyone for his life.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Friday, January 25, 2019

Momo – a dangerous new form of cyberbullying


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My mom reads your column. I’m writing because I’m scared. My girlfriend and other junior high friends are playing a game, called Momo, on their phones.

She asked me to play this fun “truth or dare” type of game.

I asked what I had to do. They showed me the picture of a bug-eyed scary girl … Momo. Her eyes pop out of her face and she looks like a witch. I got upset. They called me a baby.

We’ve had speeches about not taking challenges, like eating laundry detergent pods or cinnamon, but she said this is different and not dumb like the other stuff.

They said people all over play it and no one has died or anything.

I don’t want to play this game and my mom will take my phone and call other moms.

Signed,
Truth or Dare

Dear Ms. Truth,

You’re very mature and brave to write us about this dangerous game. Why is it dangerous?

Although the WhatsApp is used for wonderful reasons, like connecting friends and family at no charge, the WhatsApp is encrypted. Any user can be anonymous. It’s hard for police, parents, or anyone to identify the Momo person or group. Momo is still unidentified.

There has been direct confirmation of a girl who committed suicide after following the threatening risks and suicide instructions. Everyone should be warned about a game that promotes suicide.

The people behind this game are morally wrong to include curses or visits from Momo. Momo eventually tells the “gamers” to commit suicide, or murders will happen to their family, friends, and pets.

A purpose of Momo is to generate moral panic through the creation of evil fear. Many researchers will tell you this harms the well-being of societies.

A story on “Inside Edition” compared Momo to “Slenderman,” a fictitious demon on social media, who supposedly convinced two 12-year-old girls to kill their friend.

Momo is not just an innocent game. It’s a new form of cyberbullying. Momo can collect personal information about you, spread rumors (true or not), and send hate-speech as if it’s coming from you.

The more risks that the player takes, the more “bullets” Momo can launch, causing you to lose friends, family, or your life.

People who have been seduced by this game have actually experienced severe anxiety, anger, and depression.

Congratulations for not being gullible and giving into this peer-pressure induced viral “joke.”

Now, take your hard-earned courage and show this to your mom. She will understand the severity of this non-game and not take your phone.

Signed, 
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fear is Not a Managment Style


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I have a senior manager who’s from a different country. She’s so tough. Everyone’s afraid of her.
I have seven people working for me. They’ve all come to me about her abuse and rage.

The CEO has been notified. He defended her and said she was very effective in her management style.

One of my team employees from the same country complained to me because she was berated in front of everyone.

When I defended my employee, I was called into Human Resources. My employee got mad that I defended her. The HR manager said nothing about her anger, but asked me if I’ve heard of the acronym F.E.A.R., meaning False Evidence Appearing Real. Is she saying that I’m crazy?

I was so stunned. Then she said to let the two people from the same culture work it out. She defended my boss’s management “style,” and asked if I wanted to keep working there. 
  
 I’m a single mom. I’m paid well. I don’t understand how my boss gets away with this.

Signed,
Can’t Leave

Dear Valiant Worker,

Fear is not a management style.

You’re not wrong to speak up about the abuse. However, in the future, try to “save face” in privacy to avoid humiliation.

Knowledge is power. Now you know the parameters of your work expectations, and you have difficult decisions to make. As a single mother you need to observe, document, and look for other employment options, if it becomes intolerable.

Fear means anxiety, the unknown, reluctance, and losing courage. Fear can lead to procrastination, creativity blocks, and loss of confidence. Taking action steps, even if the steps fail, is important for you to find a way to change your situation.

Change is scary, and that’s what most people fear.

Cognitive psychological research helps us to realize that even though we know we can’t always control how we feel, we can control our action steps.

Physical and mental action steps:

1. Physical gestures lessons anxiety adrenaline. Push your fingers together hard (maybe under the table where no one can see) for a minute. It stops the paralyzing effects of fear, and helps you take a positive action. Scream or punch into a pillow.

2. Turn anxiety into excitement. While you still have your job, put feelers out to see if you can get a different job with a better environment, or a whole different career.

Anxiety is mostly about control. You’ve done everything you can to change your reality. Don’t worry about the acronym regarding F.E.A.R. You know what is true.  Remember, you can only change yourself.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, January 14, 2019

Dealing with Authority Bullies


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’ve had workplace problems throughout my career. I’m a social worker.

I’ve left several companies because I’ve been brutally smeared with gossip, berated, shunned, and ignored. This behavior has always been by my superior and their groups. I feel like I never left high school.

I’ve tried talking with my bosses or respectfully confronting them. My friends say nowadays, many bosses are power-hungry narcissists.

My new boss complained about my approaches with parents of the kids I work with. I’ve never heard this. 

I had to be “trained” to have more compassion. I’m not the one missing compassion. I’m a child advocate. Some parents have been arrested for child abuse, neglect, and drug

My boss kept looking at her watch and saying, “uh-huh” but she didn’t actually listen or care. She was insulting and heartless. I think she’s a narcissist.

Signed,
Not a Narcissist 

Dear Lovely Lady,

We admire your desire to challenge bosses who may have authority figure problems. Usually they are the ones who are insecure.

Narcissism Personality Disorder is actually rare. However, recent psychological studies found that behavioral trends signal that narcissism is on the rise. Approximately 70 percent of students today scored higher on narcissistic scales than 30 years ago. Research shows lack of empathy as the main reason for this.

Before we label all bosses narcissists, let’s look at what defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):
  • Lack of empathy
  • Exaggerated esteem
  • Entitlement
  • Selfishness 
  • Enviousness
  • A need for praise and attention
  • Arrogance and being judgmental
  • A need to feel superior
Many researchers say that excessive unwarranted praise and admiration by parents, who were, conversely, the recipients of hyper-criticism and abuse, plays a large factor in a child’s lack of empathy.

Perpetrators who are authority figures have been shown to abuse their power. They can be disconnected from people and their organizations because of their inability to have empathy.

Workplace bullies get away with their abuse because their superiors don’t take the bullying seriously and subordinates don’t continue to report it. 

You didn’t decide to be a victim, but you can continue to choose not to stay a victim, by standing strong (literally) and showing compassion anyway. 

You can’t change the bad character of anyone else, but you can help create virtues, values, and care for others by your goodness and humble, yet bold example.

It doesn’t matter if your bosses are narcissists, it matters that our society educates others on empathy and helps to stop children from becoming entitled. 

We need valiant people like you to change our current culture.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri