Monthly Archives: February 2008

Monster Kids

What’s happening (so many people wonder) that is making at least half of kindergartners engage in frequent fighting, aggression, and tantrums?  Is it ADD or ADHD or any more letters from the beginning of the alphabet?  Yes, it must be…so drug ‘em into obedience!

Over the last year, we’ve also seen many reports that pre-schoolers were being thrown out, because of “bad behavior,” including an unwillingness to cooperate, to listen to “teachers,” and even a tendency to assault other children.  Well, we can drug ‘em for that, too.  Or, how ’bout yoga and other forms of meditation? (I personally find that foot massages take off my edges!).

We have two choices:  figure out how to get control of these out-of-control kids, or how not to drive them to distraction in the first place.  I vote for “Door #2.”

A 2006 study in the journal “Early Childhood Research Quarterly” demonstrated that day-care children show increases in the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day compared to children at home. 

A 2007 study, headed by Susanna Loeb, an Associate Professor of Education at Stanford University, found that children who spend more time in child-care centers early in life show more behavior problems in later years, compared with kids who have spent less time away from home and momma, and that the negative effects were greater among children who had entered child-care centers at earlier ages.

It takes a momma and a daddy, and a warm, loving home to get a child ready to deal with the unpredictable, unfair, restrictive, and demanding realities of life.  Please give them that time with you.

Whose Uterus Is it?

An essay by Sara Schaefer Munoz in the “Home and Family” section of The Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2008) caught my eye.  The essay, entitled “For Single Moms, Access to Better-Paying Jobs is Key,” talks about how difficult it is for single mothers to balance work/life issues. 

First of all, it never distinguishes between widowed, divorced, and never-bothered-to-be-married moms.  The issues are quite different:  insurance, spousal and child support, his extended family’s continual involvement, and so forth.  Contrast that to a woman who simply got pregnant by some guy.  The latter situation is far different and each of them requires its own newspaper column.  They are generally lumped together because of “political correctness” (no judgment and no hurt feelings), and not because the three situations vary widely due to the financial situation and the well-being of the children.

The essay did the usual by suggesting available careers and child-care possibilities.  It was the “Readers Say” portion that requires a response from me. One reader wrote: “Maybe if more men took accountability for proper birth control, there would be fewer single mothers working two jobs to make ends meet.”  I just can’t let this one go.  Oh my, are we unfairly picking on the woman?

Here’s how I see it:  it is in the woman’s body that the miracle of conception, gestation, and ultimate birth of a new human being takes place.  It is legally the woman’s prerogative to kill it or bring it to term.  No man has any legal say in the life or death of his child’s first nine months of existence.  These two facts give the woman the overwhelming preponderance of responsibility.

There are too many never-married mothers, because women have become more casual about sex (abortion is just another form of birth-control), and more casual about children (they don’t really need a daddy). The children pay the price:  no dad in the home, and they’re in day-care (which I call “day orphanages”), so momma can hopefully find a job.

So, to get back to the title of the essay, “better-paying jobs” is not the key.  Marriage is.

Quote of the Week

A word to the wise…keep your love notes sincere, or you’ll end up on the Internet looking like this:

To Mary, the love of my life:
There is nothing I would not do to reach your side.  I would climb the highest mountain!  I would cross the trackless desert!  I would swim the widest ocean to be near you, my beloved.

With love and tenderness,

Jonathan
P.S.  See you Saturday night, if it doesn’t rain.

Love Speaks When We Can’t

On Valentine’s Day, I thought it was appropriate to share with you this email from Kathi, one of the listeners to my radio program.

My husband and I have been married for 16 years.  We have one natural child, a boy, 13, and are caring for five others my mom adopted (my mom is a widow).

At the end of last year, my husband was in a motorcycle accident.  He was intubated for three very long days, and hospitalized for seven.  During his silence, I realized a few things:

1. I knew if he never spoke to me again, he loved me and I knew he knew I loved him.
2. I already appreciated him and loved him and cared for him as I should.
3. The reason he was such a wonderful husband was because I treated him as I should and, in return, have always felt and been very loved.

As he lay in the hospital bed and couldn’t speak to me, I realized how much I missed the text messages and the two or three phone calls a day I would get from him, the tap on my rear when I was cooking and he came into the kitchen, and him standing at the door when he comes home every day and we give each other a kiss.  I just wanted to hear him say “I love you,” and when he did it, it was more precious than the day we married. 

I was there every day, of course, and would cry each night when I had to leave him.  I was able to bring him home two days before Thanksgiving, and then continued to care for him for eight more weeks.  I told everyone I was having an 8 week-long vacation with my best friend.  I would take him to doctor visits and to physical therapy.  One of the therapists couldn’t believe I had such a positive attitude, and had such a loving environment in my home.  She had expected to see an exhausted woman and an unclean, unshaven “un-helped” man like she usually saw.  Instead, I was positive and happy and had helped my husband shower and shave and get dressed like I did each morning since the accident.  It seemed the natural thing to do. 

In his times of depression, I encouraged him; in his tears, I comforted him, and now I have released him back into the world fully recovered.  He frequently gets down on his knees and holds my hands and looks me in the eyes, and says “I love you and I trust you with my life.”  He often asked me why I did all this for him.  I looked at him and told him “because I love you and know you would do it for me.”

I have never read one of your books, but have always agreed with you.  I guess the beautiful examples of the proper care and feeding of husbands I had in my life taught me all the things you are trying to teach each caller now.  I hope I am as good an example to my children.  I hope this letter causes someone to appreciate their “best friend” even more.  Thank you for all you do.

Kathi

Letter of Love

Listener Leslie wrote:

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so I wanted to tell you about my sweet husband.  We have been married for over two years, and are now hoping to adopt a baby (you wouldn’t believe how long and tedious this process is, but we know it will be worth it!).  He has always supported my decision to be a stay-at-home mother, and we’ve been saving and planning for two years. 

Two weeks ago, after a long day at my stressful job, I came home crying.  My wonderful husband told me to quit my job, stay home, and relax so that I am 100% ready to be a mother. 

Oh, Dr. Laura, what a relief!  Tomorrow is my last day at this job, and every morning for the last two weeks, I have made my husband lunch, and my job is now to make our dollars go as far as possible.  Every night, he has come home to a happy wife, a hug, an “I love you,” and a hot meal.  Oh, how he beams! 

We may not yet have a baby, but I can already say that my husband is his kid’s dad, and I am proud to be his wife.

Accidental Sex?

Any woman who has ever been pregnant knows how absurd it is when we hear about some young woman who did not know she was pregnant until the moment at which she is giving birth to a full-term baby.  Preposterous, of course.  Its more like she’s not willing to take responsibility.  Well, the February issue of Seventeen magazine focuses on “Shocking Ways You Could Get Pregnant By Accident.”  Huh?

The cover piece does mention the option of not having sex, and even points out that “studies show that girls who have a big plan for their future are significantly less likely to get pregnant,” but the main focus of the magazine article is not about how to avoid sex simply because you feel all tingly and your girlfriends are doing it or the guy tells you that you won’t be popular if you don’t.  It’s mainly about accepting that it’ll probably happen, so this is how you talk him into a condom or how you take the pill (which, by the way, does not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases).

“…sex is a natural, healthy and fun part of loving relationships.”  That is a fact.  What Seventeen does not take an entire issue to explain is that every time you feel butterflies or are hot for someone, it isn’t love.  The issue does not spend page after page extolling the virtues of mature awe, respect, admiration, friendship, trust, etc., which take years to develop and can really only take place once you’re a mature adult.

Surely Seventeen magazine knows that the number one issue for teens is acceptance and fitting in.  To be such a formidable influence in the lives of teens and to be so remiss in cheating them out of the blessings of true intimacy – instead, touting the fulfillment of urges as love justifying sex – is a sad, irresponsible, and disgusting misuse of their power.

Stupid Love Science

Philosophers throughout the ages have contemplated and agonized over what causes people to fall in love.  Sociologists and psychologists have done the same over what causes people to stay in love.  Now neuroscientists are trying to solve both their problems by taking brain scans of folks in love looking for the “cause” of love.

The report of their work prepared by the Wall Street Journal (2/8/08) seems to miss the main point.  Looking for brain sites of increased activity in people who after many years of marriage still feel fabulously in love, is not likely due to some abnormal hyperactivity in centers associated with affection or pleasure.  It is the opposite way around.  People who behave consistently in a loving manner constantly stoke the fires of affectionate and passionate love – all which will show up in their brain scans.

The couple they “analyzed,” the Turners, are described up front:

“Ann Tucker is pushing a shopping cart through the produce section of a supermarket in Plainview, N.Y., when she turns to kiss her husband.  The supermarket kiss is a regular ritual for the Tuckers.  So are the restaurant kiss and the traffic-light kiss.  ‘I guess we do kiss a lot,’ says Mrs. Tucker…Mrs. Tucker is living happily ever after, and scientists are curious why.”

Why?  That’s easy: she and her husband constantly behave like people in love.  Feelings follow behavior and both feed into brain pathways that become “well-worn” through constant activation.

So, stop looking for supplements, hormone injections, or implanted brain stimulators, miracles or moonspots.  Instead, behave like a man/woman in love and you’ll create what you wish for.

Where’s NOW When You Really Need Them?

According to the Associated Press (February 1, 2008), remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars on Friday, killing at least 73 people.  The women had Down Syndrome.  Considering the explosives were detonated by remote control, they probably were completely unaware that they were to be used as human bombs.  The attacks were most likely the work of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Associated Press records show that since the start of the war, at least 151 people have been killed in about 17 attacks by female suicide bombers.  Involving women in fighting violates cultural taboos in Iraq, but Al-Qaeda in Iraq is recruiting females to perform suicide attacks because militants are increasingly desperate for volunteers.  Women in Iraq wear the long black overgarments called abayas, and can avoid searches at checkpoints, because men are not allowed to search them, and there aren’t enough female guards.  This is an obvious “PC” mistake – this is war, and such proprieties need to be put by the wayside, because people are being murdered.

I wish NOW (the National Organization for Women) would spend less time on rants assuring women that murdering the babies in their bodies is some kind of noble “right,” and spend their time in the Middle East, protecting women from being used as cannon fodder.