Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan is widely known in the business world as an expert in the strategic management of change. To name only a few, his client list includes American Airlines, IBM, eBay, Federal Reserve Bank and presidential cabinet officers in two White House administrations. Dr. Duncan recently asked me to comment on personal responsibility, ethics, values, and moralities of today. You can read my interview at his website: DoctorDuncan.com
Should parents be concerned about Internet porn?
The thing parents should be worried about most is the victimization of their children. Whether it’s being preyed upon by a pedophile or experiencing crass sex totally disconnected from intimacy, it’s all victimization.
Today’s kids live in a culture where hard-core pornography is everywhere. Kids have an arsenal of portable devices these days which enable them to go online just about anywhere. Even if you monitor them closely at home by getting them to use child-friendly search engines and setting up OpenDNS or other parental controls, you still might not be able to stop them from looking at porn. They could see it at a friend’s house, on a cell phone, or someplace where there’s public access to the Internet – like the library or at school.
As far as I’m concerned, the windows in front of Victoria’s Secret stores depict soft-core pornography. The same goes for Abercrombie and Fitch. When parents walk by these stores in the mall with their kids or get their catalogues in the mail, they are exposing their kids to porn.
A lot of people call in to my radio show wanting to know if they should wait until their kid asks about sex to talk about it. I just tell them that at that point, it’s already way too late. You should talk to kids about sex beginning at a very, very early age because they already have a high chance of seeing porn when their age is still in the single digits.
You can say we all have different morals and philosophies about this topic, but mine is very child-centered and focused on kids having quality lives with quality relationships. I think the ultimate goal for developing a child’s sexuality is making them see why connecting both sexually and spiritually is important. You need to make them see that sex is a special act, and it symbolizes deep love and commitment between a husband and wife. There are things that are sacred and sublime, and there are things that aren’t. To take something sacred and put it in a meaningless context diminishes humanity, and affects not only the child’s sexuality, but his or her values, such as how women should be treated.
By helping your kids see the big picture about how sex is sacred and how it is being abused largely in our culture, you will be better prepared to confront the problem of pornography when it occurs in your children’s lives.
If you find out your child has looked at pornography, don’t get hysterical. I think children are always victims of a form of sexual abuse whenever they are confronted with sexually provocative materials. Gently find out if someone introduced it to them. It’s really important to understand the context in which they got a hold of it. It could have just been a pop-up, or their web search request came back with a porn site (e.g. they typed the word “fox” with two “x’s” by accident).
And in the worst case scenario, your child could be looking at porn because it has been sent by someone who preys on kids. “Pedophiles can use access to porn to establish a bond with a child. The bond can lower a child’s resistance to meeting in person, and viewing porn may lower his or her resistance to being persuaded to perform sexual acts. Showing a child pornography also is a good way to prevent detection because the child knows at some level he or she is doing something his parents wouldn’t sanction and is unlikely to tell them.”
Lastly, if your kid was just curious and looked at porn, don’t punish them. Yelling, “We’re taking the computer away and we’re not going to feed you for four days,” is not helpful. Instead, I think you should use the incident as an opportunity to teach your child that not everything and everyone on the Internet is harmless. It’s a good time to talk to them about sexuality, how it can be exploited, and your values about sex, marriage, men, women, and relationships. In your own home, it’s always a good idea to put the computer in a place where it is visible to the adults and limit the amount of time your child spends there. You initiate the Internet session, log them on and off, and use blocking software and tracking services. Basically, you set the rules. If a child breaks the rules, then they get punished, but don’t punish them simply because they were curious and looked at porn. If they are going to get a punishment, it should be because they disobeyed the rules. Above all, you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable talking to you about something as incredibly important as their sexuality.
Your kids are being seduced all the time, and you have to keep that in mind. I constantly see commercials that make my drop jaw. It used to be that people would get hysterical over a kid getting his hands on a Playboy, but it’s not even close to that way anymore. Our kids have lost their innocence and their sensitivity about viewing certain things that should be special. It’s time to redirect and educate them.
Here are some alarming statistics about how Internet pornography is affecting our kids:
If you are in an intimate, marital relationship, you need to be sensitive and appropriate when it comes to friends of the opposite sex because it’s a very complex and delicate situation.
The most important issue you should be concerned about is the safety, comfort, and trust of your spouse. Too many times on my program, I hear from people who care more about their friend than their spouse. To me that’s a dead giveaway that the friendship line has been crossed, whether you’ve been naked with the person of the opposite gender or not.
I want to discuss some ways you and your spouse can be protective of each other, but still have friends of the opposite sex:
What does it look like? If you are getting together for a drink with someone who is on the verge of leaving a relationship, lost their spouse, lost their boyfriend or girlfriend, or is known to fool around, it’s inappropriate. Plain and simple. You’re only fibbing if you say, “Well, I’m just trying to be helpful and solicitous.” Especially if your spouse says they don’t want you to be helpful and solicitous to somebody in that situation and you argue that point, it means you’re interested. Just have the person go see a counselor, a member of the clergy, or family. Your marriage is always supposed to come first.
Be careful of that little “edgy” sexual tension. If either one of you is feeling a little horny about the other, or if you’re touching, talking, or acting a little suggestive, seductive, or over-the-line cutesy toward each other, it needs to be over. If your relationship with a friend in any way makes you question or stress about your boundaries and limitations (which every relationship does at some point), you could be led toward temptation, which will change everything in your universe forever.
You should always make sure you introduce all your friends to your spouse. Have them over for dinner or a barbeque. Have them be familiar with the family, and have everything be on the up-and-up and open. Full disclosure makes it clear to everybody that it’s a friendship – solo time is where the problems start.
You need to socialize with others who are also in committed relationships. People tend to hang with people who share their same values, more or less. So, if couples are friendly with each other and everybody has clarity, then everyone is sharing the same values. Your wife can go with your friend’s husband and do archery while you go do a mini-marathon with his wife. As long as it’s all on the up-and-up and everybody is sharing the same values, that’s the important thing.
Be careful about using the words “sweetie” and “honey.” “Sweetie” and “honey” should be saved for your spouse and should not be used on a friend. Use the person’s name when talking to or about them, and save the lovey-dovey stuff for your spouse.
Give your partner power. In addition to honesty and openness, you have to be willing to give your partner power. If your spouse is really uncomfortable about a particular outside relationship, I recommend you honor that and make the appropriate adjustments. However, if your spouse just freaks out at anybody with the opposite genitals, then that’s an insecurity that has to be dealt with, probably by a professional.
What it all boils down to is that all the choices you make have to be in the best interest of your marriage first. Otherwise, you’re not being nice, and it’s all going to come back to bite you.
Everyone has a mean person in his or her life. I’ve had one in mine for the past 8 years. To be truthful, it really upset me in the beginning. It wasn’t because anything this person said had validity, but rather it bothered me she could keep doing ferocious things without consequences. I was brought up to think if you did something bad, there was always a consequence. And to this day, it’s overwhelming to me that people get away with doing bad things.
However, at this point in my life, I think it’s funny so much of this person’s existence revolves around being ferocious toward me. Nonetheless, most of you are not at that stage.
We all know what mean people are like — they gossip about you to others, ignore you, say hurtful things, break or steal your stuff, belittle you, set you up to get into trouble for something you didn’t say or do, call you names, imply you’re not as clever, good-looking, well connected, valuable or nice as they are, intimidate you, leave unfriendly or unkind messages about you on social media sites, and break promises they swore they’d keep.
Yet, people don’t seem to want to accept some people are just plain mean. Remember The Hillside Strangler during the 1970s? They molested, tortured, and murdered women, and then scattered their body parts around. I remember the psychiatrists (the “whores of the court”) coming out of the woodwork during the trial saying The Strangler must have been crazy. But, I also remember one female psychiatrist’s interview in a long documentary about the case. When asked about The Strangler, she said, “All I can tell you is some people are just evil.” That’s what people don’t wish to accept – they want to make evil an illness that they can fix. They think if they can fix it, then a) they won’t have to face the mean people in their own lives, and b) they feel in control – i.e. if you can fix someone with pills, you have control over him or her.
Therefore, evil does not exist for a lot of people. Evil is just something that needs fixing. But I’m here to tell you evil is NOT a psychiatric illness. People who put other people in ovens and gas showers, shoot or burn their fellow man, or throw babies up in the air for target practice are evil!
If you’ve been dealing with a mean person at work, in your neighborhood, in your club, or in your family, the best way of handling that person is to not go up against him or her. You can’t win. You’re unequipped to deal with a mean person unless you’re equally bad. Mean people have no rules and no limits. You do. Try to avoid contact with the person. If you’ve tried to sort things out and he or she decides to keep being mean, there isn’t much you can do to influence or change his or her mind. If this person actually hates you or feels like he or she can’t lose face by dawning a different attitude, you don’t have to put up with it. Remove yourself. Don’t listen to his or her taunts, don’t read the crap he or she writes about you, and don’t have any connection to his or her spiteful attitude. Let this person know you’re not going to tolerate it and make a clean cut. Even the meanest person may get bored when his or her target stops responding.
I remember one Star Trek episode (from the original series, which I still think was the best) where a hazy, dusty force took over the Starship Enterprise and caused the crew to get mean and fight with each other. The crew tried to kill it, confront it, and reason with it, but to no avail. Finally, somebody figured out the haze was a force that ate anger and used it as energy to get bigger and stronger. To stop the force, Captain Kirk got on the intercom and told the crew that no matter how much anger they all felt, they should all laugh and hug. The thing shriveled up and went away.
I thought the episode offered a nice parallel to how we should approach meanness. Similar to the Enterprise crew, no matter how much we try to confront or reason with meanness, we can’t. Some people simply need to be mean to feel better about themselves. And there are people like that all over the world.
My advice? Just get out of their way. Don’t take it personally. Unfortunately, karma won’t always kick in and nothing bad necessarily will happen to them. In fact, sometimes they lead long and financially successful lives. That may be hard to swallow, but the quality of your life is more important.
So laugh. Throw your head back and laugh. Let them pound sand and not you.
People feel entitled to challenge everything these days. Even if they’ve understood the rules and they’re reaping the benefits, they decide they’re above the system and the rules don’t apply to them. They get lawyers, go public, and cause grief. These people make me sick. So when I recently read about the Christian school teacher who got knocked up out-of-wedlock and sued the school for firing her, I was disenchanted yet again.
Here’s what happened: A 29-year-old science teacher and volleyball coach was fired from a Texas Christian academy for getting pregnant out-of-wedlock. She says she has a fiancé, and defends herself by saying, “I’m not just some teacher that went out to a bar and got pregnant and went back to school saying it’s okay. I was in a committed relationship the whole time and probably would have been married if things had gone differently and this would be a non-situation.”
She’s absolutely right. If she had done things the right way – went on a date, received a ring, got married, and then had babies – this wouldn’t be happening. By the way, a committed relationship is called marriage, not shacking-up.
She then claimed she had no idea she would lose her job over the pregnancy.
She teaches at a Christian school! If you want to live a free and easy life don’t teach at a religious school. She wasn’t fired because she wanted pregnancy leave. She was fired because she broke the moral rules of a Christian school and became a bad role model for little kids. And getting married at this point wouldn’t work , because she’s already knocked up out-of-wedlock and the kids all know.
The school’s headmaster said she was fired for violating her contract, which includes a clause requiring teachers to be Christian role models. “It’s not that she’s pregnant,” the headmaster said, “the issue here is being an unmarried mother. Everything we stand for says that we want our teachers, who we consider to be in the ministry, to model what every Christian man and woman should be.”
I can’t believe this twit has the gall to sue. If this had happened back in the day, she would have been ferociously embarrassed, kept her mouth shut, and gotten married 20 seconds after she took the little pee test showing she was pregnant, because her behavior would have been considered unbecoming a lady and unbecoming a teacher in a Christian school in particular. These days, if you don’t tolerate something, no matter what it is, you’re a bad person. In my opinion, how dare she sue.
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.
As a father, what do you say to a daughter who is dating a guy more than two decades older than she is?
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Two people get to know each other through dating. They develop awe, respect and love for each and then decide to marry. The next step is usually creating another life which should be celebrated as a blessed event. But what about attending a baby shower for a “shack-up pregnant honey”?
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