Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 10 – Issue 5 – August, 2011
Lunch & CEUs -Fri. Sept. 2, 2011 – 11:30am-1:00pm – Unsticking Stuck Clients – An Alternative to Boot-in-the-Ass Therapy – Sponsored by the Central Arizona EAPA Chapter. Calvary Recovery Center, 720 E. Montebello, Phx., 85014 – $25 – Contact Victoria to register 602-251-8325.
Debunking Myths – Smart Kids Don’t Need a Lot of Parenting
Myth: Many parents are blessed with intelligent children who learn quickly and seem to master new tasks with ease and then assume that those kids probably don’t need a whole lot of guidance, but can figure most things out themselves.
It’s great to have kids that are smart. They learn quickly, they often want to please the parents, and they try very hard to meet parental expectations. It seems like you can let intelligent children do a great deal by themselves because they don’t really get into trouble or get hurt or do anything that would damage property. They seem like really ‘easy’ kids, and therefore, parents can be tempted to let them go about their own business most of the time, playing alone for long periods unsupervised or being allowed to go on short errands without having a parent tag along. They probably also seem able to take care of younger children. In fact, they may even like to do it and do it spontaneously and happily. Parents often think they struck gold to get a kid so wonderful. They think this is a kid that can not only take care of himself, but can take care of other children, too.
Fact: While it is true that you can teach a smart kid to do almost anything, the fact remains that they still need adult supervision, guidance, and company. We recently heard about an 8-year-old child that drove his drunken father home. Again, although the 8-year-old had learned enough to operate a vehicle, and willingly took on the job, doesn’t mean it should have been given to him. It may seem obvious that we shouldn’t let 8-year-olds drive trucks, but it isn’t always obvious that we also shouldn’t let 8-year-olds make their own breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, even if they can, and they want to, and they enjoy it.
Wait a second, aren’t we supposed to be preparing our children to be adults? Yes, and it’s great to have kids make their own meals, but they are still children and would greatly benefit from parental interaction during the meal preparation times. So, maybe they still are preparing their own food items, but they’re doing it alongside a responsible adult who can provide guidance about portion size, nutrition, and listen to the child’s hopes, dreams, and daily experiences. Just because a kid can do alot by himself doesn’t mean he should just be left to fend for himself most of the time.
Parents will also frequently leave several younger children home alone with a reasonably responsible, intelligent youngster with no emergencies arising. Again, just because no one burns the house down or loses an eye, doesn’t automatically make it a good idea to leave an 11-year-old in charge of an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. Sure, the kids might like each other and play nicely together, but it still sends the kids the message that they’re not worth having the adults hang out with them, that they are essentially on their own. Kids left on their own will willingly take on that role, but it is frightening and they’d do better with more adult support.
So, by all means, teach your smart kids how to do all sorts of things, but don’t expect them to do all those things alone.
Last Discussion Question: What are the Best and Worst qualities you got from your Dad and from your Mom?
New Reader Erin B. offers this:
My mom and dad both fought with each other, but my dad was better at it because he was a lawyer. Now I can fight with my husband or my friends like a lawyer, but it gets me into trouble.
Thanks for your submission! Good Answer! You will now be receiving the brand new 2011 Dr. Marlo Temporary Tattoos!
August Discussion Question: Where would you live if you could just pick up and move anywhere?
E-mail answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org and answers will appear next month. Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them. Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive our 2011 Temporary Tattoos!
Thought For The Day: You give most generously when you give of your time.
PERSONAL GROWTH EXERCISE
To spotlight our E-Coaching services, our newsletter includes a personal growth exercise. These exercises illustrate the kinds of activities our clients are asked to complete when they are using our E-Coaching services. The exercises printed here are quite general in nature, but the exercises sent to our E-Coaching clients are individualized to meet each client’s specific needs. E-Coaching Sessions are available for $50 each.
Focus on the Positive
Some of us are particularly good at cutting ourselves down. We tell ourselves things like, “I’m too fat,” “I’m not pretty,” “I don’t have enough money,” “I don’t know how to do anything,” “I suck at my job,” “I have bad luck,” “Nobody likes me,” or any number of other negative statements. When we say these things to ourselves, we hear ourselves say them and the more we hear something, the more we are likely to believe it. We sometimes even say these things out loud to others. “I hate my hair,” “My teeth are crooked,” “My butt is too bony.” When we say them out loud, not only do we hear our statements, but others hear them, too. Not only are we more likely to believe the bad things we say about ourselves, but others are likely to, as well. Friends might correct you and say, “Oh, your hair is cute,” but what is more likely is that they’ll try to make you feel better by cutting themselves down, too, with something like, “You think your teeth are crooked, look at mine,” or cut you both down by substantiating the first claim with something like, “I wish I had a bony butt, I’ve got a big old fat butt.” In any case, the negatives just keep compounding and becoming more and more believable.
This month’s exercise is to reverse that trend. Each time you catch yourself having a negative self-thought, replace it with a positive statement. To cement the positive, write it down and say it out loud 3 times. If you find that you keep having the same negative thought, write down the replacement positive thought in several locations and say it out loud to yourself a number of times per day.
If you catch yourself saying a negative statement about yourself out loud, immediately apologize to nearby friends for insulting their friend and say something positive about yourself instead. If you catch yourself saying, “I don’t have anything to wear,” stop and apologize with something like, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.” Then make a true positive statement like, “I will be able to find something suitable to wear to the party.” Now, instead of your friend having to bail you out by criticizing herself, she can focus on what she’s going to wear and maybe you might borrow items from each other to dress up something you already have in your closet.
Additionally, resist the urge to “rescue” a friend by throwing yourself under the bus when they cut themselves down. If you hear a friend say, “My jump shot sucks!” You could respond with the true positive statement, “I’ve been working on mine and mine has improved” or “I’ve got a good jump shot, here, watch me.” One might think that sounds conceited, but if your goal is to improve your self-esteem and that of your friends by focusing on the positive, it is not conceit. it is only conceit when you seek to make someone else feel badly by forcing them to compare themselves to you and find themselves lacking.
For a FREE 5-Session Trial of E-Coaching, send us a report of how this activity worked for you! We may share your report in our next newsletter with your name, last initial, and state of residence (unless you tell us not to). Send to FreeSessions@drmarlo.com. (Offer Expires 9-03-11)
E-Coaching! Try it Now!
Not every problem is a mental illness. Not every issue is a trauma. Not every botherment is an emotional disorder. For life’s daily issues and for personal growth, now there is E-Coaching! Dr. Marlo Archer offers a 10-session consultation package for people who are not diagnosed with any mental illness who would just like some coaching, some guidance, or some personal growth. We are offering the 10-Session package for $500. Begin by calling 480-705-5007 to make a $500 payment, then send an e-mail to DrMarlo@drmarlo.com, expressing your specific area of concern to begin!
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Read Dr. Marlo’s article, “Apologies or Amends?” in the Together Arizona newspaper.
When others get angry at you for enforcing boundaries, it’s often because you’re preventing them from taking advantage of you! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.