Category Archives: Divorce

Sexualizing Our Kids

The problem with exposing kids to sex has far more to do with trivialization and objectification than simply encouraging kids to do it.  It has to do with what kids are taught about human connection. 

Feminists are always saying that it doesn’t matter how a woman dresses.  Well, actually it does.  It sends both gals and guys a message.  When a woman dresses provocatively, it basically tells the universe that it is the best she has to offer.  Sure her body may be beautiful, but you have to realize that for guys, the beauty of a woman’s body eclipses her inner beauty (especially with all the movies out there that are geared towards teenage boys and celebrate guys sleeping around).

Women who tend to objectify themselves are more likely to have eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression, and they are more prone to being sexual risk-takers.  If women are going to represent themselves as sex objects, then there will be no equality between males and females. 

I get so many calls from parents concerned about their kids being out of control and acting like they are adults in committed relationships.  Their kids are shacking up because they’re still rebelling and don’t want to follow the rules.  This behavior is dominating our society, and for parents, it’s like being up against Goliath. 

So, what can we do?

Parents have to spend a lot more time being invested and involved with their kids. Stop with the divorces and working 17 jobs.  Realize that if you are going to have kids, you have a huge responsibility ahead of you.  Parents should praise kids’ intellectual, creative, and athletic abilities, but value their effort, hard work, and character over achievements.  Character is far more important than looks or personal accomplishments.  In short, parents really need to recommit to being parents. 

And remember, if you don’t put the time, effort, and caring in to your kids, somebody else will.  Do you want it to be you or their buddies and the media?

Surviving Infidelity

Did you know approximately 3% of all kids are the product of infidelities?  A lot of the time, the dads don’t even know.  Most of these kids are unknowingly raised by men who are not their bio-dads but they are going to be their fathers, if everything holds together.  Interestingly, yet sadly, infidelity is becoming more common among people under 30 and many experts believe this increase in cheating is due to greater opportunity and young people developing the habit of having sexual partner after sexual partner after sexual partner.  That gets to be a habit too.

Statistically more men are likely to cheat than women. But, as women become more financially independent, they are certainly catching up.  Money is one of the key factors in this.  Wow.

Emotionally, it is possible to have feelings for more than one person at a time. But pragmatically, you can’t be loving two people at one time.  As more and more women enter the work force, “office romances” are getting more common because spouses are spending more time with coworkers than they are with their own spouses.  You’ve got the internet, you’ve got e-mail, you’ve got chat rooms…well that’s the beginning of fooling around.  And most infidelities involve physical and emotional betrayal.  Read more at: Facts and Statistics About Infidelity

So one of the things I want to comment on is the discovery of infidelity since I hear that way too often on my radio program. The pain and shock of finding out your spouse has fooled around on you is one of life’s most traumatic events.  It’s seriously a punch in the gut.  So it should not be surprising it takes years for couples to repair a relationship after infidelity comes to light.

Here are some things to keep in mind about surviving infidelity, because many couples are able to recover and most of the time develop an even stronger relationship:

  • More intimacy
  • More closeness (because it put a bomb in the middle of the relationship and repairing it, there had to be a lot more attention then perhaps both were giving to the relationship). 
  • A lot more giving, and a lot more interest, it’s an awakening for many relationships. By the way, I wouldn’t recommend infidelity as a technique for awakening your relationship in order to reboot it.

What makes the difference between those who can get past it and those who can’t?  Early on in the relationship, was the quality of the relationship really, really, really good?  I don’t mean way in the beginning when you both were just ga-ga, but for years was it good?  If that’s a “yes” then we can lean on that.  “We were once like that.”  If we don’t have a time like that, it’s less likely the relationship’s going to work. 

Are both people committed to making it work?  Is everybody going to be open and in counseling with the right person?  The first thing you should ask when you go to a marriage counselor is how many times they’ve been divorced or what percentage of their clients get divorced after marriage counseling, because it’s important to know that.  Some counselors have positivity, some counselors have negativity – and they don’t even realize it.  We need to know, because we’ve really got to get to what the underlying problem is. 

The underlying problem can be all sorts of things:

Boredom – For the most part if nobody has some deep-seated problem, boredom comes from two people just not paying attention to the relationship.  And when you meet somebody new, excitement starts up again and you believe “Oh, this is better than that.”  It isn’t, but it feels that way and some people find it easier just to go into what’s exciting than to make their relationship less boring.  Everything can get boring…everything.

Too much happening – Some people get into affairs when there’s a whole lot of stuff going on, and they just lose their way.  It’s like losing your way into a bottle of alcohol; you’re losing your way into somebody else’s arms – it’s the same behavior.  So it doesn’t really have to do with the quality of the marriage; it has to do with that person just having a total meltdown. 

Disrespect – One obvious reason they’re cheating is because when you were dating there was cheating and you forgave it.  When you were engaged there was cheating and you forgave it.  When you first got married there was cheating and you forgave it.  When you had your first kid there was cheating and…need I say more?  Because when you repetitively forgive a cheater, that person now respects you less — they know they can get away with it, you’ll continue to take them back.

Revenge - Some people have an affair just to hurt the other person because they’ve been hurt in some other way.  Some people are in marriages where they’re been taken for granted and they wonder if they’re still attractive.  One way to solve that is to get your hair cut, put on some makeup and find other ways somebody is turned on to you. 

Thrills – Some people just enjoy the thrill of cheating. They’re sociopaths.  They like running around secretly, risking getting caught, creating thrilling moments, forbidden romance…some people just get off on being bad and you’re not going to fix that. But if the underlying problem does not get addressed, the cheating will likely happen again because the problem’s not been solved that lead to it.  And serial cheating…forget about it; don’t even try.

The initial shock of discovering an affair creates tremendous uncertainty and depression, anger, shame, obsessive thoughts, dwelling on the details of the affair, inability to concentrate, and a desire to monitor that person’s every move.

And at this point, giving advice to that individual is typically not useful because people are so emotionally distraught they can’t think clearly, they don’t make decisions that are in their best interest, and they shouldn’t be making decisions.   When feelings become less intense and less intrusive, it’s really important to talk about it with somebody who won’t judge it (and that’s hard to come by), but will just let you vent because you’re just going to have to vent, vent and vent.  Unfortunately the person you can’t vent with is the person who hurt you because that’ll just create a defensive reaction – denial, shifting the blame, or withdrawal. 

Sharing feelings with someone who is not willing (or able) to listen makes your bad feelings worse. So support groups, individual counseling, family or friends who don’t get too excited (you know, because a lot of them will go “let’s just kill him/her”) may help.

Now if both parties decide they want to try and save the marriage, that next phase is probably the most difficult, because people generally lack insight into their own behaviors and if they do not understand why they cheated, they often do not want to disclose this information to a spouse, thinking it’ll cause more problems.  But they’ve got to identify it.  This is really important.

But here’s the kicker: when you get to that point and you’re willing to acknowledge what’s inside your head, heart and life, you really need to work with your spouse as a team.  “How can we approach this?”  That gives the victim a sense of power and participation.  It’s very good when you start becoming a team.  You can read more: Dealing with the Discovery of Infidelity   

Now what about the ugly details?  There are different schools of thought.  I think the basic details like time and place (and not intimate, nitty-gritty, vulgar details) are enough.  So hiding how you spent the money, where you went, how you did this, the kids, whatever…you’re going to have to come clean with all of that.  But please, don’t be describing positions and stuff like that. Don’t.  But you’ve got to agree to be open.  You have to.

The Underlying Cause of Bullying

Massachusetts’ new state law requires schools to institute an anti-bullying curriculum, investigate acts of bullying, and report the most serious cases to law enforcement officers.  The new law, passed in April, was in response to the suicide of a 15 year old girl who was bullied by a group of South Hadley, Massachusetts students.

We all remember bullying situations from our school years, but those were up close and personal, as opposed to being on the Internet, where public humiliation is the game, and anonymity is the cloak of protection for this disgusting behavior.  Cruelty gets protected by abusing the spirit of the First Amendment, as parents and the ACLU fight to protect the evildoers.

In a 1995 Canadian study, researchers used video cameras in a school playground and observed almost five bullying incident an hour!  Typically, other children stood by and watched, but did or said nothing to help.

Some psychologist-types are busy making up the expensive curriculum to sell to schools for programs to stop bullying.  I guess there’s always someone around who just wants to make a buck.

My take is that schools are afraid to discipline bullying children, because parents (who are negligent in their responsibilities to their children and society) will SUE instead of smacking their kid on the tush and putting him or her to bed without supper and grounding them until they’re ready for social security.

In my day, if you misbehaved at school, you were sent to the dreaded Vice Principal’s office.  Punishment would include a severe talking to, extra assignments, time after school, and/or a refusal to allow you to participate in school activities.  And guess what?  No parent ever complained about protecting their “baby.”  The kids would expect to get even more punishment at home.

Today?  Parents are not married…divorced…remarried…fighting with exes…shacking up with new honeys…involved in dual-career marriages…focused on porn, drugs, the Internet, shopping…whatever.
Intact families with two parents whose emphasis is family and children are getting more and more rare.  Kids see the constant squabbling on TV news, between their parents, in the neighborhood, on radio, on the Internet, where meanness reigns (does anyone post kind things any more?), and on and on.

Where, exactly, are children supposed to learn to be nice?
They don’t see nice at home, in the media, or in the world at large.
Where, then, are children supposed to learn to be nice?

Policing is the last resort in a society where there is no framework for teaching and reinforcing decent behavior.  Activist groups by nature are angry and divisive, and that trickles down to neighborhoods and schoolyards as children, fighting for attention and importance (because they’re not getting it at home), group up and torment other children without remorse and without fear of consequences.

Our children have become arrogant because they are largely on their own without parental leadership, guidance, and attention.

The adults have abandoned their responsibilities to the next generations because of their determination to sacrifice nothing and fulfill every desire in spite of their obligations.

I hear this every day on my radio program, and it makes me sad.

The epitome of bullying is the homegrown American terrorist group…which is growing.

Our country, just like our homes, is fragmented by anger.  The price is our children are modeling the book “Lord of the Flies.”

Divorce, Recession-Style

A number of news sources recently reported that (sniff, sniff) people just can’t afford to get divorced anymore, what with mortgages upside down, and diminished family income.

Furthermore (more sniffs), in most cases, the couples have to stay together under the same roof just to make ends meet.  No longer can divorced spouses count on maintaining a lifestyle.  No longer are kids summarily thrown into visitation chaos and feelings of abandonment….and that, obviously, is a good thing.

One of the sadder aspects of my three decades plus on radio talking to people in some sort of crisis is the growing realization that many people see adversity as a motivation to turn on each other, rather than to turn to each other.  I understand husbands who feel depressed when they can’t adequately support their families, and I understand wives who feel desperate because they worry for the well-being of their home and children.  But I don’t understand turning away from each other at a time when both need support and hope.  Each spouse needs to (as Archie Bunker often said on “All In The Family”) “stifle themselves” and try to buoy up the other’s state of mind.

In trying to make the other person still feel valued, competent and loved; in telling your spouse that you know that, ultimately, you can count on him/her; in letting your once “dearly beloved” feel your support, makes not only them feel better, it makes YOU feel better.

I’m sure everyone reading this has some sort of strain or stress in their marriage.  Generally, it’s something that can be overcome if you both pull together and put aside your individual resentments and fears long enough to follow through on your marital vows to love, honor and cherish.