Saturday, May 15, 2010

For All The Girls Dealing With Moms

At one point in every girl’s life, she will look at her friends and ask “Have my parents gone crazy?” Your friends will laugh and roll their eyes because they know, they have. It is a strange occurrence, a kind of push-pull that makes getting along with your parents nearly impossible. They spend the majority of your life filling you up with ideas that you are bright, beautiful, and capable of achieving your dreams then turn around and panic every time you want to take the car. What is going on? How can you handle the stress of your parents on top of creating your own amazing life?

First, let’s look at what is happening for your parents. They really are going a little crazy but let’s understand why. Your parents have poured everything about themselves into raising you. You have been their life and their main purpose for everything that they do. Your independence triggers the letting go process for them. While you start to let go with some fear and much excitement, they start to let go and grieve the change in their jobs aka purpose of being. Every time you move forward is a small loss they must adjust to. On top of the emotional rollercoaster of preparing for you to leave, they have fears and insecurities just like you. They begin to question whether they have done everything they could have done to prepare you for the big world and just in case they haven’t, make a point to cram it all in. Underneath the crazy, they really do want you to take risks and have your life.
It all makes sense. Now you know, it’s them not you. As they say, “knowledge is power”, and as Spidey’s Uncle Ben reminds us, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Let’s break down your responsibility in this adult to almost adult relationship. You have the opportunity to create this relationship in the same way you are creating the rest of your life-with total fabulocity! There are four simple things you can do to curtail the crazy and gain your freedom. We are going to look at one a week!

Let’s start with offering plenty of understanding.

Knowing that they are freaking out is a big key to how you are going to choose to respond in different situations. When they are having a bit of a parental fit, and your mind is going to the idea that they don’t understand or trust you, you will most likely throw a fit back. I am not even going to go into the irony about how difficult it is to be understood or taken seriously while you are acting like a two year old yourself. However, if you imagine the same parental fit, and your mind goes to the possibility that they are scared and having a hard time letting go, there is an increased chance that you will act with compassion (a very adult quality) and give them a chance to be heard. Understanding simply means that you are choosing to understand that your parents are not obstacles to overcome but instead human beings that just love you a bit too much for what you had in mind in the moment. Understanding also demands that you remind yourself that it is not all about you. This is a relationship; you get what you put into it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

unethical or criminal?

Another girl killed herself because of online bullying. Did you hear me say another? People magazine covered the story of Phoebe Prince, the news covered the story, experts came and spoke to the public about the phenomenon of online bullying, but she is still dead. Interestingly, all the stories mentioned that the bullies were actually nice kids, popular kids, and good kids from nice families. Nobody agreed whether they should be charged for a crime. While everyone agrees that bullying is a serious unethical act, is it a crime?

Does this question sound familiar? It has been asked a lot lately in regards to certain activities that have taken place in the banking and business world. We saw what CEOs did and most of us demanded some kind of accountability or consequences for the lack of ethics in our economy. We are the victims of corporate bullying. The devastation we are experiencing stems from a group of people in powerful positions who chose self interest over the good of many. One could say that this is so high school.

We have become a Lord of the Flies Nation. We live by our instincts rather than our values. Our behaviors feed our emotions. When we live by our instinctual primitive self we feed our emotions of jealousy, greed, and fear. These emotions place us in a survival mentality, our higher selves shrink and we live in the lower instinct driven place. We lose empathy, compassion, and love. We become justified in our minds to our unethical acts. We become entitled. It becomes our right to post on social networking sites such as Formspring, where people can post anonymously, and Face Book things such as “You should just die” or “I would only date you if I could keep a bag over your head” (actual posts that I have personally seen).

I have asked girls why they allow the posting of negative things people say on their sites. The answer is always the same “It is better to know”. Girls are living on the defense semi believing the statements that are being posted. They are shut down by fear and insecurity making it difficult to live at a higher sense of self. When they see someone getting bullied, they do not make a stand but it is not because they are afraid, it is because it is normal. It is considered normal to be able to say and hear any degrading, hurtful, disgusting, sexualized comment that someone has on their mind. This is in addition to the rise in lying, cheating, promiscuity, and drinking being reported in high school students. This is a snapshot of our society.

The Dalai Lama defined being ethical as refraining from doing harm while being moral is to put good into the world. Our nation is in the midst of an ethical crisis. If we do not seem able to refrain from doing harm how can we put love into the world and change the standards of acceptable behavior? Parents are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children. This means purposefully teaching your children to intentionally put love into the world. This is our job as individuals and our job as parents and we need to take it very seriously.