Between Mom & Dad
Robin (38) and Max (40) have been married for 15 years. Robin is a stay-at-home mom who studied art and sometimes does silk screens-which she gives as special presents. Max is a corporate lawyer. They have three kids: Tanya is 12. Dylan is 10, and Amanda is 7. The family is coming home from a dinner at Max's boss's house early because Dylan (10) misbehaved. He poured a drink down his sister's shirt, and she started screaming. Max grabs Dylan by the hand: You are going to be in your room the rest of the night, Dylan.
"I'd like to be more involved with my kids." "I'm afraid of holding the baby and that bothers me. You know, I wouldn't even mind changing his diaper once in a while!" "I want my kids to feel closer to me than I felt towards my father." Well, as psychologists involved in child development, all we can say is - Great! Both mothers and fathers can provide rich experiences for their children and each can use his or her unique personality and style to enhance each child's development.
Q I am so glad I found this web site. I am in a terrible situation. My husband is a "loud," yelling person. He thinks that this kind of discipline works. It just makes things worse in our home. We have two children. Our son is 12 and our daughter is 11. The yelling has been going on for years and now our children yell, especially our son. There is so much anger in the home. I am looking into family therapy for my children and myself. My spouse will not go.
Dear WholeMom, What shall I do with a mother-in-law who lies and turns everything around to make herself look good and me bad in front of the rest of her children? Had Enough Dear Had Enough, Conflicts between in-laws are as old as the state of marriage! Adam and Eve were probably the only couple who never had trouble with in-laws. (Hey, who was God going to get in conflicts with - himself?) It is a rare mother-in-law who can watch her daughter/son create a new family cell with another person without experiencing a sense of loss.
If anything in our society has truly become equal opportunity in the '90's, it has to be parenthood. We are slowly being introduced to a new family order where our functions as parents are not dictated by maternal or paternal inclinations but rather by a sharing of all duties. The jobs and responsibilities of child rearing in the 90's are no longer delineated by gender but by availability and proximity. Diaper changes are decided by the "Who smelled it first" dictum, and not by the "My father never did this so why should I?" defense of years gone by. Even the laws of nature are being challenged and changed. It is well known that the ears of the adult male are genetically not sensitive enough to hear the cries of a newborn baby in the middle of the night; the females' highly developed elbow to the stomach has made nighttime wakings by the newborn a team event rather than the sole responsibility of the frazzled new mother.
Everyone was excited when I came home from the hospital with our fifth child. Fifth child! You'd think that everyone in the family was used to the noise already, the sharing, and the conflicting schedules. Perhaps this baby would slip right in, into all those welcoming hands. But standing alone on the side of the room was my "baby" - my two-year-old son who had only recently started leaving me in the mornings. It was time to go back to my two favorite experts on children, Penelope Leach and Haim Ginot, to get another dose of what it feels like to be pushed out of babyhood. I remember the first time I read that, to a child, bringing home a new sibling is like a husband telling a wife (or the other way around) that he will soon be bringing another wife home.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I can't seem to get along. For a while he went through a period of months of staying away from home and when he was home we either fought or he was asleep. He has sleep apnea and it seems chronic. He has a doctor that he sees for it and uses a cap machine but he won't wear it. You can tell when he doesn't as his sleep is affected. We have five children and this is also hurting them. I know I can push his buttons and I'm trying not to but it makes me mad that he seems to take no responsibility for anything. He does work and is a very good provider but he does not spend any time with the children or me. He fusses with me as if he wants to pick a fight.
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