Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 5 – Issue 4 – May, 2006
This Mom’s a Hero – On the 7th of last month, a tornado destroyed the Tennessee home of the Hawkins family.
The father, a fire fighter, was at work when it happened, but called his wife to warn her of the danger. She was already aware of the impending doom and laid herself over the two little boys and saved their lives. She is still undergoing painful recovering today in an Atlanta hospital. This family’s strength and faith are amazing and if you can do anything to support them in this dire time of need, please go to the website that has been set up in their honor and do so.
Debunking Myths – It will be great when my kid can tell the judge himself!
Myth: Rick A., a regular reader, looks forward to when his son gets old enough to tell a family court judge himself that he doesn’t want to go to his mother’s house any more. Rick has been battling with his ex-wife on custody issues for several years now and their son is sick and tired of the battle. Recently, Rick wrote,”It will be great when he turns 14 and doesn’t have to go to his mother’s house any more!” Rick wondered what our response to that would be and suggested we share the results with our readers.
Fact: Other than sexual and physical abuse, I cannot think of anything more destructive to a child than a long, ugly custody battle. Our practice is full to overflowing with the casualties of parental wars and it’s truly heartbreaking. However, there seems to be no way around it. Parents who couldn’t cooperate when they were married rarely spontaneously discover how to cooperate once they are divorced. In fact, once the pressure of the marriage and living together are out of the picture, most divorced couples solve problems together even more poorly than they did when they were married. Add a step-parent or two to the mix, and the level of cooperation often becomes even worse, and the kids suffer the consequences.
Kids love their parents, almost no matter what. It’s built into us to love our parents and it really takes something outrageous to destroy that love. Most parental bad behavior is overlooked by the children who continue to love each parent, regardless of whatever crimes, terrors, or injustices they may have committed. To put a child in a position in which they must choose between living with their mother or father is awful. There is no right answer. The child must alienate one parent and choose the other and they simply cannot do it, or, if they can, their relationship with the other parent ends up being totally destroyed for years and years, possibly forever.
Adults who have reproduced need to take responsibility for their actions and not put such difficult decisions on the children. They should also not drag such decision-making through a court of law for the majority of the minors’ childhood. Nor should they waste thousands that could represent the child’s education on funding an endless legal battle in which no one ends up as a winner, including the well-compensated lawyers who have one of the highest suicide rates, when adult suicides are analyzed by occupation.
Although judges will allow children 12, 13, 14, or older to express their wishes in court, the truly best answer is to save your kid the trauma of having to do that and sort out your issues with the other parent long before that becomes necessary.
March Discussion Question: If you could make a new law for your hometown, what would it be and why?
In our last issue, we accidentally missed printing this fine response from Lori B., in Arizona. Sorry, Lori!
i would make a law that parenting classes would be taught to all high school kids, male and female, before being allowed to graduate.
April Discussion Question: If you were really, really brave, what would you try?
Lacy R. of Texas offers this humorous and insightful response:
My first reactions to your question were the normal ones: skydiving, spelunking, snake handling, and such….
But on second thought…. it would take even more bravery to teach high school. Just the thought of having 10 to 30 teenagers in the same room makes me SHIVER!!! My hat is off to those dedicated teachers out there who are brave enough to do it year after year.
We agree, Lacy! For those of you who included your mailing addresses, your Dr. Marlo prizes are on their way!
May Discussion Question: What thing frightens you most about growing older?
E-mail answers to: email@example.com 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 a BRAND NEW Down To Earth PRIZE as well as temporary tattoos until supplies are exhausted.
Thought For The Day: The fact that no one would tell him didn’t change the fact that the Emperor still had no clothes.
FEATURED ARTICLE – Everything Counts
The “Small World” theory has been studied since the early 1900s. A play entitled, “Six Degrees of Separation,” and a party game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” popularized the concept in the early 1990’s. It’s basically the idea that any two people on the planet can often be shown to be connected to each other by as few as six links. Although these unintentional connections have been studied formally for about the past 100 years, the importance of connecting networks has been understood since earliest recorded history. Powerful families arranged marriages with each other to fortify and expand their realms of influence. Once again, our attention has turned to the intentional use of the influence created by human connection as we see an increase in focus on “Networking.” There are networking events, networking companies, networking coaches, networking books, and networking networks available to those of us who want to increase our area of influence.
I was at a Chamber of Commerce (Networking) event and the speaker’s topic was, not surprisingly, networking. He mentioned a local networking “queen” and said that if that person didn’t know you, you simply weren’t KNOWN. Not wanting to be ‘not known,’ I contacted that individual and introduced myself to her. She connected me to three individuals she thought could help me reach my goals. One of the three bombed, but the other two invited me to speak in front of their groups. Through each of the two events, I was exposed to about 100 new people. I later received calls from a couple of people at one event, and I have stayed in touch with a number of individuals from the other event, and most recently, one of the attendees made a contribution to my Breast Cancer fundrasing efforts. Much later, I saw the original “queen” again as she was speaking at another event I attended. During her speech, she needed to use examples several times, and, having met me prior, used my name and the name of my business in her examples, thus upping my visibility in the present group, which included several potential new clients.
Thus, the power of intentional, forward, influential networking has been well-documented, studied, illustrated, and is a widely accepted positive phenomenon.
What I’d like you to consider now is the unintentional, negative, influential networking that occurs with as much, or even more, power and vigor as the intentional positive networking described above. What is unintentional negative networking? Well, it goes like this…
I go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and am short with the pharmacist, whom I don’t know and don’t care about. He obviously has my name as he dispenses my medication. He has seen me on television, as an expert consulted for psychological advice. He cannot believe that a so-called expert could be so rude in person, so he makes a remark to his male co-worker, who, before today, hadn’t even heard of me. Later that week, the co-worker gets a call from his sister who has a 14-year-old son who has gotten suspended from school. His sister asks him to help find her a counselor, so he gets on the Internet and starts looking up counselors. What do you know, here comes my name! He recognizes my name, but doesn’t remember where he ‘knows’ me from, but he remembers it was something bad, so he skips over my name and keeps on looking, and gives his sister a referral to one of my colleagues. Thus, in a brief moment of rudeness, to a person I didn’t think ‘mattered,’ I lost myself several potential customers.
How often do you suppose that happens to you? You snap at the 16-year-old kid behind the counter at McDonalds, because, what difference could he possibly make in your life? He leaves work that day dejected and smokes a little more pot than he usually does and gets into a car with 3-4 buddies, all stoned. Meanwhile, your 16-year-old angel is out in a car full of her fellow sweethearts, on their way to a basketball game when his car collides with theirs, killing everyone instantly.
Okay, that’s pretty extreme, but it is possible. How about something more like this… You wake up a bit crabby and you sorta snap at your spouse who thinks very little of it, but leaves in a slightly poorer mood than normal. He goes to work where he is greeted enthusiastically by an attractive co-worker. Delighted by the pleasant interaction with her, he smiles and makes a cheerful comment and is now back to his former self and he goes on with his day. Encouraged by his playfulness, she thinks about him for part of the day and makes a careless error on a form, which delays an elderly woman’s water bill payment. Coincidentally, it happens to be your mother who does not understand the warning that comes 3 weeks later. As you try to help her, you wonder if she really paid the bill or if, perhaps, she’s not quite as sharp as she used to be. You start to contemplate the loss of your mother and are plagued by anxiety and depression to even think of being without her. And this is all because you were a little bit crabby one day to someone who didn’t even really notice.
Every action that we do, all day long, has ramifications. Everything we say and do counts and can have a positive or a negative effect. It is up to us to live consciously, mindfully, and with awareness of our surroundings in order to try to minimize negative effects of our behavior. When you go to the Circle K gas station today and when you drive on the freeway and when you throw your change into the toll booth or check your bag to see if they included ketchup, remember that everything counts!
Ask yourself if you can afford to sever or destroy a single link, a link that might grant you access to the rest of the world, or if you can really afford not to take the time to make any new links that might be the one that links you to the others you need to succeed.
Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness – Entertainment & Education
Still held on the Third Thursday of each June, Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness will be moving to FRIDAY MORNINGS IN JULY to try to accommodate clinicians’ schedules. Each month we show a free movie with a mental health theme. Interested parties can stay after the movie for a discussion about the movie. One credit informal CE awarded for a $10 fee. Upcoming Features: June 15 – Door to Door (FREE Watkins products for the first 9 to register for the June 15th movie!). Networking at 7:15pm, Movie at 7:30pm, Discussion until 10:00pm. July 21 – Walk the Line. August 18 – Matchstick Men. September 15 – Suggest a Movie. Networking at 9:00am, Movie at 9:15am, Discussion until 11:30am. Sign up for Movie Madness updates by sending a blank e-mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to MovieMadness@drmarlo.com.
Do you have a relative or friend who could really benefit from therapy, but can’t take the time out of their busy schedule to drive across town to see a therapist? Perhaps e-therapy would be right for them. Dr. Marlo provides e-mail consultation and phone sessions. Please refer your family or friends to www.drmarlo.com/EasyPay.html to select a 30 or 60-minute phone or live chat session or e-mail consultations. Perfect for people outside of Arizona, people too busy to come into the office, or people who want to investigate therapy a little bit before coming in for face-to-face sessions.
Publish Your Work – Promote your Practice – Two ways to publish – for free as a semi-anonymous author (your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used), or, for $10, as a professional promoting a mental health practice (your full name, with credentials, address, phone number, and e-mail address will be included). We reserve the right to decline to publish any submissions. Send creative contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Marlo in the Media – Reporters continue to turn to Dr. Archer for advice or comment about current events.
Affordability turns family photographs into works of art.
March 7, 2006
Star-Gazette Health and Family Reporter Kathleen Costello and Gannett News Service contributed to this report.
“People always have been fascinated by their own likenesses, says psychologist Marlo Archer of Tempe, Ariz. Tour any art museum and you can see examples – huge portraits and busts of the aristocracy and political figures…”
PARENTS CAN ULTIMATELY CONTROL ONLY THEMSELVES
Rather than trying to control their children’s behavior, parents need to teach them to make choices and accept the consequences of those choices, whether rewarding or punitive. Dr. Archer says, “What we should do is set guidelines and boundaries and make it clear, ‘When you do behavior A, you get reward A, and when you do behavior B, you get consequence B. Choose whatever you like.’”
Quoted by Financial Observer’s Weekly:
DON’T LET WHAT YOU OWN OWN YOU – This is some sage advice, not from a financial advisor but from a psychologist, Marlo Archer. “If you merely have what you need, that is the most comfortable. When you own more than what you need, more than what you can manage, that’s when you feel really oppressed. We get tricked into thinking that if we just had more we’d be all right, but it’s actually the other way around. We do much better with less.”
The Psychology Session – Internet Radio Show – On Hiatus – Our First Season is complete and we are currently on hiatus! The show will return again in the fall. Watch for the announcement. In the meantime, go to the archives and download any of our shows you may have missed. We will, however, be accepting show suggestions and making advertising sales during the hiatus. E-mail suggestions or inquiries to PsychologySession@drmarlo.com.
How did I get on this Mailing List? – This mailing list started with all of my family and friends and colleagues, about 6 years ago. Since then, I have added just about any e-mail address I come across as well as people who request to join the mailing list. If you do not want to be on this list, you can unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe link below. I continue to subscribe people upon receiving their e-mail addresses because I get positive feedback for doing so from many of those I subscribe. My apologies if you are not one of them.
Gratitude goes out to all the moms and dads who have risen to heroic heights to raise their children, especially my own! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.