Saturday, February 23, 2019

When Grandma's the Bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My grandma plays favorites with her seven grandchildren and I’m not a favorite. I’m 12 and an only child.

I’m mostly shy. My mom says, “You’re my shy – beautiful girl.” But grandma tells me I’m a wimp, a fatty, and stupid.

We get together for Sunday dinners. I always help clean up afterwards. Most of my cousins don’t. Grandma laughs and tells me it’s good that I know how to help, because I’ll probably grow up to be a waitress. She tells my cousins I’m untalented, and they laugh at me, too.

She’s so mean and I’m so sad. I cried about it once, in front of Grandma and the “angel-girl” of the family. I don’t do that in front of them anymore.

My mom told me, “That’s the way Grandma is, she doesn’t mean it. That’s just the way she is.”
Should I tell Grandma to shut-up?

The Bad Cousin

Dear Sweet Girl,

Grandma’s a bully. She may be bullying you because of your goodness and beauty. She may see you as her perfect victim because you’re quiet. She might be jealous of you, and in targeting the nice and quiet one, she’s confident she can gain power over you. That’s the hideous behavior of most bullies.

However, she’s probably unaware that she’s a bully. Still, it’s no excuse for her to treat you badly and encourage others to do the same.

Bullies come in all ages, shapes, and genders. It’s worse when the bully is supposed to be a trusted family member.

Try these healthy steps:
  1. Don’t become aggressive, but be assertive. The more emotional you are, or become a bully-victim yourself, the more power she gains. You’ll never change Grandma. So change your actions. Tell Grandma to, “Stop treating me with disrespect.” Then turn around and don’t engage in any bantering and don’t defend yourself.
  2. Dignity, dignity, and dignity. Don’t let anyone take your dignity. Be civil (caring, courteous, and considerate) and limit your contact with Grandma or others who treat you poorly. You deserve better than that. Stand tall and be noble.
  3. Talk with a trusted adult. Don’t gossip with, or about, other family members. It’s insidious. It’ll ruin your goodness and your ability to not stay a victim.
  4. Work on developing a talent or two. This is not to show Grandma you are indeed talented – it’s something for you to focus on, and something you can enjoy. It’ll also help you express your feelings in a healthy way. Be committed for six months, and learn the value of commitment.

We believe in you!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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.


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
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.  

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.

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.

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.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri