Dear Feelings Doctor: I have several mommy friends in our small community, and we all share similar ideas around how to raise our children. However, there is one mother who upsets the apple cart every day, always telling us how to do this better and that better. “That’s not how you should talk to your daughter when she is out of line.” She thinks she knows everything! I'm sick of it! Thank you for your advice.
— Beth in Santa Barbara
Dear Beth: Trying to get along with every single mother you meet on each issue of child rearing will be something that may leave you exhausted and a bit crazy! Take what feels right for you and your family, and toss the rest out with the bath water. Know that when you are keeping your children safe and loving them with good intentions you have the basics covered.
Perhaps you can find a parenting class in town that you like and invite your friend along. It could lead to new skills for both of you and maybe lessen her desire to be Miss Bossy Pants. If that fails, when she begins to lecture all of you mothers in the future, just smile and say, “Thank you so much for sharing.”
Dear Feelings Doctor: I need some help with my parents. I know they love me, I guess, but it isn't easy for me lately. They have been divorced for a few years now and I still feel sad a lot of the time. I go from one house to the other, and I don't like it. I am going into the 10th grade and it gets really hard to concentrate on my homework. Please talk with me so I can figure this out. Thanks.
— Dylan in Santa Barbara
Dear Dylan: When divorce happens to a family, it’s so important to have someone to talk to about all the changes you are going through. There are school counselors available as well as fellow classmates you could confide in.
Over 50 percent of marriages in the United States have experienced what you are going through. I share this information with you to let you know you are not alone. Please know that your parents’ decision to live apart has nothing to do with you.
Having a difficult time coping with your schoolwork as well as going from house to house is an example of what could be discussed with your parents. If there is a routine that you feel may work better for you while you are in school, have a conversation about that very thing with your mom and dad. It is really important for you to have some type of rhythm at each of your parents’ homes. That will certainly help you with your focus and add another layer of comfort while you continue coping with all the changes.
Asking your parents to come together and work with you on this issue would be a tremendous help. I know you can ask for what you need, because you have done it successfully here with me! Good luck, young man. Continue on your journey of sharing who you are and what you are made of with the world.
Imagine This ...
Every block to love lies in your heart,
it is there that it must be dissolved.
Don't wait for heaven to come
to spread your love around.
Do it now.
For heaven is in your eyes
when you see with compassion.
It is in your hands when you reach out to help.
It is in your mind when you see
"good" instead of "evil."
How you see the world determines
what the world will be for you.
So do not seek to change other people
or the world around you.
Look instead only at yourself
and you will find the place
where love begins.
— From Everyday Wisdom by Paul Ferrini, Heartways Press