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Wasting Some Of Our Most Valuable Resources: Children

rp_360159124_150_150.jpgIntroducing this topic, I do want to make it clear that I am Pro-Life (especially if you have not figured this out from my past posts).  Children do exist in the womb.  At eight weeks after conception, all necessary organs for the child exist and the rest of the time in the womb is spent growing and becoming capable of  independent existence.  In my lifetime,  science has found more and more ways to detect life in the womb and to sustain such life either in the womb or out of the womb.   The question is at what point do we determine that another human being does not have the right to exist.   No one is infallible when it comes to making this decision.

Maybe we should call our children the “throw-away generation”.  I think we would all admit that many children are not given the training, experience, and resources necessary to grow up to be responsible adults.  How can we consciously keep the next generation in areas of the country that are veritable war zones in inhabitable surroundings with irresponsible adults and penalize those that do sacrifice resources, time, and sometimes careers to help raise responsible adults whether as parents or teachers or volunteers to provide opportunities to help the next generation grow up as safe responsible citizens.

rp_Truman_pass-the-buck.jpgHere is one example of how ignorant one of the most responsible areas of our government operates in one area of my state.  Custody determinations cases (often done when a divorce is granted) are given to the judges who are considered the least competent and who have little or no training in this area.  This leaves them free to make up their own minds about the cases and/or to depend on professionals who are presented to them as qualifying “experts” by dueling attorneys for each person seeking custody and those agencies who deal with these cases with certain biases as to parental (often not children’s) rights.  This was in spite of well recognized and highly motivated diversion courts for domestic violence, drug addiction, and mental illness.

A bad custody decision can result in a “life sentence” for some children.  One they didn’t ask for and one they didn’t deserve.  It appears to me that in these situations early and appropriate intervention is desired and those appointed to discharge this duty should be well-trained and held responsible for what they do.  Is there anything “flippant “about making a custody decision? and shouldn’t the best and most well-trained judges be given this duty.  Another point that needs to be made in this area is that the best person for this position of making custody decisions should be someone who is and/or wants to become knowledgeable about child-rearing.

Warm Fuzzies-Cold PrickliesChildren at different points in life need different things.  Initially, it is important that needs must be met that help maintain the physical body of the child such as food and clothing, shelter, etc. and physical gentle, loving touches and caregiving, and by someone who is concerned about the safety and well-being of the child.  How a task is done in caring for a child telegraphs to the child whether or not he or she is safe, secure, and the object of someone’s care and concern.

One of the next steps necessary to a child’s development the ability of the person providing the care and education of the child be aware that children are different and that is not necessarily bad.  Nature requires diversity and  that means that those providing nurturance be able to able to provide and or seek out sources for the education, training, and future achievements possible for each child.

rp_2290679982_1eaafcaf2b_m.jpgChildren also learn at different rates and in different ways.  Having, eight young grandchildren, I have noticed this.  Children progress at different rates in different areas and it does not necessarily mean that the child is “backward”  and may not catch up in this area later when he or she changes their focus of learning.

Over time, children need to become responsible for certain things and to have certain experiences.  For example, you don’t don’t teach a child about dating by not letting them be around the opposite sex until they are twenty-one and then let them figure it out by themselves.  Children need also to learn to make certain decisions for themselves and to experience the appropriate consequences.  Learning is done in steps and certain concepts need to be acquired and practiced before going on to other more advanced and/or difficult ones.

Things Usually Are the Most Productive When They Are Painful

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You Or Does Fear of Change Bring Out the "Devil" in You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You Or Does Fear of Change Bring Out the “Devil” in You

Progress in my life has often been scary and painful and I often did not work on solving problems because I didn’t want to face the pain involved.  This is especially true in interpersonal situations.  Do you think that the most progress is made when something is easy to do?  Be honest with yourself….

Progress can not always be assured even when we face something painful and that is potentially painful too.  Could we learn something?  This is something that could realistically happen.  Learning can be painful too especially when you have to give up all or part of a long-held belief system.

When confronted with new conflicting information about a belief that a person has long held, people can either reject the new information in some way or change it so it fits their paradigm.  The other option is to change their belief system to fit the new information.  This is what learning is all about.

Some people are not really looking for conflicting information as it makes them uncomfortable so they back away from confrontations.  They think there always has to be a winner or a loser in a disagreement and they are programmed not to lose because it hurts too.  Compromise is sometimes a new thing to some people because of this.

When people come to new understandings about things, they can both be winners.  They understand each other better and can anticipate making better decisions without out so much potential “flack” from the other partner.

Feeling Beat Down And Worn Out?

Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke.  Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions  and/or wishes of those being put down.  The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.

Anger Is Often Used To Control

Anger Controls People

Nagging can result from such interactions.  If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument.  Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.

Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope.  Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.

Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is.  Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer.  Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are.  Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You

For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types.  Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences.  For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”).  However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.

It often boils down to a whole issue of control.  If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like.  In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.

Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship.  The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”.  This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.

 

 

Men & Women? Or Women & Men?

amygdalaEver wonder about the differences (if any) between the sexes in childhood and in adulthood?  Sometimes I wonder if my husband is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.  What strikes me constantly when I pull in the drive or come in the back door is what needs to be done.  There is trash in the yard and trash in the house that needs to be picked up and/or disposed of!  There are things that are completely worn out and that need to be replaced.  Things that need to be finished that were started several years ago before they completely deteriorate and fall down and have to be torn down and probably never replaced.  A lot of wasted money and energy have gone into those things.  I never miss seeing these things and it frustrates me every time I see them.  It is like I have a huge “to do” list that I can never even start let alone finish.

Don’t think that men don’t notice things.  They are always noticing things that you have done to cope with these problems that they don’t like and complain about and threaten to tear down or throw out.  Some men (oh, my) even cuss about these things as though you really deserve a cussing out rather than some appreciation for trying to do something about the problems.  Doesn’t it seem here that there is some attempt to not take responsibility for all the problems you have to live with and cope with everyday and to shift the blame onto you.

rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGThere is an idea going around that men are more able to focus on things and ignore what is not relevant.  The idea is also that women are more able to multitask and get more done because they can’t as easily let things go.

Men also can also divert themselves by horsing around and talking about what other people, not them, are doing or not doing.  Men also can pull pranks on each other and then forget about how awful they were to each other and even laugh about it.  Women take things more personally and like an elephant they can never  not forget.

For example, I remembered being pranked by my room mate’s future sorority sisters who tried to throw me in the shower clothes and all I fought them like a wildcat.   I still am mad at them for tearing up the room including dumping out my things and attempting to haze me as well as my roommate.  I was not a pledge of theirs and didn’t deserve that. Now if it had been guys they might have forgotten it and /or even thought it was funny after the fact.

Guys can get angry at each other, even fight each other physically, and apparently forgive and forget the next day.  When in training for something that they must complete and reach a certain standard of excellence, they expect to be treated badly and brag about surviving and even plan ahead as a group how to outwit their trainers attempts to subdue them.  To them, it is part of the game.   Is the mistreatment of women trainees partially because they don’t understand this or can’t or don’t want to participate in this?  It’s a guy thing?  Do men think “Why doesn’t a woman think like a man?” like in the musical, “My Fair Lady.”

rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgThe next part of the problem is whether or not men think of it as a problem that they should have to do something about?  Or do only women do?  Do they find it is more impossible to live with than women do?  Or do men think they have already done something about it when women can’t get them to notice the problems let alone do anything about them?  Do they feel that hurt feelings don’t count and should be forgotten as easily as they forget them and/or don’t acknowledge them and/or pass them up as not counting for anything.  I guess if you can forget about a guy socking you in the face the next day and go on about your business with him as if nothing has happened, you can do it.  As a woman, I may still have a bruise or injury that reminds me of what that person who hurt me owes me and which can not be forgiven easily if at all?

 

 

Should You Judge A Book By Its Cover? What Do You Think Is More Important? Looks? Or Personality??

Drp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifo you realize we learn to like certain skin colors, hair types, body shapes, heights, and to discriminate between them.  To me, my mommy was beautiful and my grandmas were a “sight for my sore eyes,”  although they were older and heavier than my mother.  My BFF, who I met in first grade, was not judged by me on the basis of her physical size but on how much fun we had when we were together.  I had a cousin the same age as I was and I often got hand me downs from her as she (although my age) was “bigger” than me.  We have to be taught to see these differences as significant.  The standards of beauty and handsomeness can vary quite strikingly from culture to culture and have you looked at wedding pictures and seen that there is a man for every woman and a woman for every man.

I was having a discussion with my daughter-in-law and discovered that an actress that I considered to be no beauty was considered very attractive by my daughter-in-law.  Also men and women focus on different parts of the anatomy when they try to decide if a woman is beautiful and/or and a man is a potential  “chick magnet.”  Haven’t you ever heard a discussion about what physically attracts a man to a woman: her boobs, her butt, her legs, her hair color, or whatever.

Remember the saying, “Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses.”  Doesn’t seem to face-partsmatter now.  It used to be what attracted a woman to a man was his profession or his ability to be able to support her in the style she was or would like to become accustomed to.   At mid-life or latter some men look for a younger woman sometimes even young enough to be their daughter.  Then there women who are “cougars” and seek younger men.  Ever hear the terms, “sugar daddy”or “trophy wife”?

There is one particular cable news channel that is often on at my house and one of the recurring “experts” I became acquainted with was so ugly, I didn’t like to look at him; however he was very knowledgeable and had a very credible life history to support his road to being this “expert.”  All of a sudden one day as I was listening to him, I realized he no longer was bad looking to me.  His looks didn’t change but my attitude toward them had.

rp_5798468679_59ea50286a_m.jpgI came to realize that I had been selling other people short when I concentrated on their looks instead of their personality, knowledge, and abilities.  I also I noticed I was selling myself short too when I dressed to impress and probably could not afford it instead of wearing something flattering and comfortable so I could be comfortable being me.  I don’t mean that looks don’t count.  You can go too far in this direction to the point of being offensive.

I had planned to post on the fact that the cable news channel had only impossibly beautiful women in at least distracting (if not very conservative) clothes, dangerously high heels, high maintenance hairstyles, and glamorous makeup that required that these women show up early for work in order to attain this look.  Also of course, the men who had the same jobs were often not necessarily tall, athletic, and youthful and wore more comfortable, less revealing, clothes.  I then realized I was judging these women on how they looked but in a negative way.  They didn’t deserve that either.  They invested a lot of time and money into looking the way they did and should not be judged for trying so hard.

Date Rape Can Happen to Seniors or the Middle-Aged

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgCaution:  you may not believe this warning but hear me out.  Just because you are newly single and female whether it is due to divorce or to the death of your spouse, you do not have to go out or spend time with any man in your life who asks you.  First of all that person is not being very sensitive about your situation and they may be assigning motives to you that you do not have.  They maybe projecting their needs and wants onto you and an acceptance by you of an invitation is seen as consent in their eyes to something more than a mere friendly outing.

Date rape is another name for a kind of rape; but the woman who gets raped has  consented to go somewhere with someone where she will be alone with him and he sees it as an invitation or opportunity  to satisfy his needs and does not accept her refusal of his advances towards her as “No”. because he sees her agreeing to go out with him as a tacit agreement to take the relationship a step further one that she finds out once  they are alone together that she is not willing to take; but feels forced to comply with to get out of the situation safely.  But of course, it is not true.  It never was safe to have to cooperate with a “date rapist.” .

This may lead to women in this situation to requiring a chaperon or only going out with other women or in groups and never getting off by themselves with a man.  Some perceive a newly divorced woman or newly widowed woman as “open season” to try to get them into bed and any response no matter how timid by the woman is seen as an acceptance of the inevitable outcome anticipated  by the man.   I am not considering that women in this situation should remain celebrate for the rest of their lives; but they have to be cautious and may not be as perceptive of  any ulterior motives in wanting to cheer them up and to get them out of the house.

rp_Carlrogers.jpgMen, not to leave you out of the equation.  I have heard of newly single men getting gifts of food delivered to their door by many different women and possibly the offer to satisfy some of their needs now they don’t have a woman in the house.  Don’t believe that these gifts and offers don’t come with the assumption that the acceptance of such gifts and offers don’t come with the implication that you want more than that from these women.

Leopards, male and female, can change their spots when they learn that somebody is free game.  With young people in some families courtships are very thoroughly investigated and chaparoned.  If you are older, this still might not be bad advice for you.  With a such an upheaval in the one’s life,  one can be very vulnerable and can often make poor decisions while he or she is already under stress.  I know of people who have done this and it seems to be best to wait a year or two before making any commitments.   When it comes to divorce, people often get into the same type of relationship they had with their previous marital partner and don’t find this out until after they have made the mistake of getting attached to someone prematurely.

No, it is not true that all men are only looking for sex in a relationship and that all women who are single want to latch on to the next free man as a meal ticket.

PS:  people often grieve after losing a relationship and grief comes in many “flavors.”  What is appropriate for one might not be appropriate for someone else.  If this happens to you or has happened to you, take your time, allow your grief to have an outlet (grief kept in can cause tremendous damage not only to the person who does this but also to the  other remaining family members that they have contact with).  Watch out for “shoulds” and quick fixes for your problems offered by somebody who really  doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

rp_3560209936_056df083c8_n.jpgAlways  watch out for people who immediately say that they know what your problem is and that they can solve it for you.  Everybody’s problems are different.  Some people get a “charge” out of telling other people what to do and criticizing them if they don’t do it and/or decide to do something else.  A good resource is Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s material on death and dying where you will find her five stages of grief explained.  Grief occurs after divorce too.  Another resource is a group of widows and/or widowers who are all going  through the same things.  For divorced persons and widows and widowers with children, there is another  possible resource, Parents Without Partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight With A Friend Or A Loved One?

 

Have a fight with a friend or a loved one?  Do you know that you can be attracted to someone who has as many problems as you do?  Often there is no such thing as a perfect couple or a marriage made in heaven and best friends can have fights.  The glue that keeps a relationship together is often forgiveness and acceptance of each others faults and lacks.

 

Divorce

Divorce (Photo credit: jcoterhals)

Do you know that in divorce and custody determinations that sometimes who’s at fault can’t easily be decided.  That is why sometimes both people are granted divorces from each other in the former and in the later joint custody is granted.

 

As I have said before in this blog, “People with equal problems attract.”  Thus the pot can call the kettle, “black,” and the kettle can also call the pot, “black.”  If you are a friend or a relative or even a mere acquaintance, be careful and don’t spontaneously take one’s or another’s side in this kind of dispute.

Some people repeatedly take on people with problems and that is what their real problem is!  “Can I help you?”  is what they say when they see someone with a problem and the answer that the other person gives is “Yes,” initially but it is soon followed by a, “But.”  Worse yet if these people make up and they often do, then you may become the one who gets blamed for interfering.

 

 

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People With Equal Problems Attract

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

I have always said that people with equal problems attract and I admit that was true in my case in a past marriage.  I know you have (like I have) heard recently separated or divorced friends talk about all the problems their soon-to-be ex or ex spouse had.  To hear the story told, your friend is or was a blameless or a helpless victim  in the situation.  Actually a person with fewer problems than the ex- had would not have gotten into a permanent, or ,should I say, semi- permanent, relationship with such a person as he or she described often using not-so nice names like “lazy,” “useless,” “slut,” womanizer, “boozer,” or worse.

Not Her Taste

Not Her Taste

I am sure most people have had a narrow escape where they met a person and got involved with them and escaped before any damage was done.  I once went out with a person whose sex seeking line was, “You wanna?”   He said this at the end of the first date.  He drug me from one college party to another where he would consume “doubles” and “triples”.  I was glad to get out of that relationship as he was the one doing the driving that day and also he had ignored me all day and even stopped on the way home to wait while his buddy had a quickie with the girl he was with.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a cat person like some people are dog persons.  I went out with this guy also for the first time and he told me he liked to go out into the woods and shoot feral cats for fun.  Needless to say, I never went out with him again.  I surely got the wrong number in both cases.

Some people think that they got lucky and escaped into the arms of someone else before their partner could dump them.  No matter what if you left them or they left you, you both could be making the same mistake if you do this.   That is going from one person to another with the same problems.  I did, but I got lucky.    When the first guy I was dating seriously after my divorce dumped me, he revealed his passive-aggressive side which had hurt me before.

It takes at least two years and/or some exploration on your part of what the problems were in your past relationship, both the other person’s and your own, before you can enter into another relationship without making the same mistake as you did before.  Haven’t you heard of women who kept getting involved with alcoholics time after time?

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Learning Through Experience

happyoldercoupleLearning through experience is sometimes the best way.  If things don’t happen to you early in life, how will you be able to cope with them later in life?  We all wish for our children to have happy uneventful lives, but is this the best thing to want to have happen for them?  If we could insure that the rest of their lives would stay this way, then that would be ideal and they wouldn’t have had to deal with unpleasant things.

Learning through experience is sometimes skipped by people in some areas of life.  For example, a woman meets the man of her dreams in high school, they have a long and happy marriage with nothing happening to upset the applecart while they were together.  Then one of them dies and the other one does not know how they will get along without the other.  There was always someone else to rely on to do the things that he or she didn’t learn how to do.  What happens in this worst case scenario?  Someone has to cook, do laundry, clean house, pay bills, and deal with the unpleasant details of planning a funeral or administering an estate (especially if there are unexpected expenses or unpaid debts belonging to the departed).

Learning through experience often seems to be the hardest way to learn.  There is a price to pay but whether it is money, pain, loss, or sorrow, it usually leaves the learner with some new usually hard-earned skills.

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It’s All About You

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I was raised to think that my first thought should be, “What will other people think?” when I did something.  I grew up thinking that “other people” were more important than me.  Yes, my parents were included in that important group of people that I should always defer to; but even my parents were not as important as “other people” were.

This continued on into my adult life as long as my parents were alive.  This was the main consideration my mother had when I told her that I was going to get a divorce.  She was more concerned with the stigma that being divorced would give me among her friends and family than she was with my well being.

Back when I was first married, I remember coming home to visit my parents by myself and I was wearing a brand new bright red maxi coat which I dearly loved and when it became time to go to church the next day, my mother said, “You are not going to wear that,” and she actually expected me to wear instead one of my old coats that I had left at her house.  I stood up for myself and I told her that I was not going to church if I couldn’t wear my new coat.

When I remarried and had children and we were visiting my mother and the other grandchildren were coming to visit too, my mother would become critical of my children and not the others.  We were glad when we could leave and escape being found wanting when compared to the rest of the family.  Oh, believe it or not, later after she died, my cousins told me that she secretly bragged on my children when we weren’t there.  I know she was raised to think that way and her growing up experience was not easy as my grandmother (her mother) was often sick and withdrawn from the family leaving her and her sister with the help of their father who had to work to  fend for themselves.  I am sure she didn’t know what to tell other people when they asked what was wrong.

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