How the Silent Treatment Really Works | Part Deux

Dear Kid,

Now that you know how to deliver The Silent Treatment (read about the silent treatment here), you should know that it sometimes often generally doesn’t work. At least not the way the person inflicting the ST might intend.

Silent Treatment? I think not! (And here's how it actually works.) DearKidLoveMom.comThinks the inflict-or (let’s call him Bob): Ha! I shall punish MaryEllen by not speaking to her. She will (of course) read my thoughts, recognize how brilliant and correct I am, and beg me to speak to her. After sufficient punishing I will deign to delight her with my acceptance of her sincere apology.

Bob is (of course) a twit.

Possible thoughts MaryEllen is having:

Scenario A
Well, thank goodness for this bit of quiet.

Scenario B
He finally stopped talking. Now I can give him a piece of my mind!

Scenario C
What a twit.

Scenario D
All of the above.

You’re a college student. Bet you know the correct answer.

Love, Mom


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There Are Things In Life We Don’t Love (And How to Deal)

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, you had a job you didn’t love. Once upon a time, we’ve all had a job we didn’t love.

In the here and now, approximately 70% of Americans are in a job they don’t love. Or even like.

Staggering figure, isn’t it?

Forbes had an article a while back called 3 Surprising Benefits to Staying in a Job You Hate (quite a title, huh?).

It got me thinking that there are all sorts of situations we find ourselves in that might be somewhat less than ideal.

It might be a required class that is (fill in evil adjective here). It might be an event at which you’re required to make an appearance but you’d rather be hung upside down by your toenails than go. It might be a concert you’re excited to go to but when you get there it doesn’t live up to expectations and you’re stuck in the center of the row, unable to leave.

The list goes on. The point is at one time or another we all find ourselves wishing there was an easy way to escape our immediate situation.

Note: There rarely is. Because if there was an easy escape route you’d already have taken it.

The point of the Forbes article was (more or less) that you have a choice to wallow in the unpleasantness of the situation or to find a way to make your life better.

Important: I did not say to make the situation better. We can’t always do that. And presumably if there was a way to do that you’d already have done it.

A True Story

One thousand three hundred fifty-six years ago (exactly) I worked at a fast food franchise. I was in high school at the time and it was a typical part-time job. I remember one night in particular being assigned to wash dishes. Not my favorite job as the pots and pans were big and proportionally dirty. I was in the back, by myself, being miserable, explaining to myself how miserable I was, and generally multiplying the miserable-ness exponentially. Then things got busy and I was called to work the drive-thru window. This was back in the days before we were expected to be rude and so I made An Effort to be cheerful and pleasant. Within minutes I actually was cheerful and pleasant. Cue music for “I Whistle A Happy Tune.” Extra points if you get the reference.

We can’t make every situation better. But we can almost always work on our attitude about the situation.We can decide not to punish those around us with a (fill in evil adjective) attitude. We can challenge ourselves to find something good in the situation and lock onto that. We can figure out a way to turn the situation into a fun blog (see 12 Really Good Things About Winter Weather for an example).

We really are in charge of our own happiness. We really can control how we handle a less-than-wonderful situation. It’s a good lesson for all of us.

Love, Mom

Love DearKidLoveMom? Why not sign up for delivery? It’s a magical experience.

“I Whistle A Happy Tune” is from The King and I (video from a staged production included for your viewing pleasure). The relevant part of the lyrics included too.

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I’m afraid.

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I’m afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear, I fool myself as well!

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January 11th and the History of You

Dear Kid,

Today is January 11th.

To you, it is the day to go back to school for second semester. To some people it is the day before Monday.

But to me, it is more than that.

It is the anniversary of the Day I Met Daddy.

You probably know the story. But in case you don’t:

Once upon a time, I didn’t know Daddy. I thought that was OK. The Universe thought otherwise.

Dad’s grandma and my grandma lived in the same complex in Florida and had lots of friends in common. At a luncheon on day, Dad’s grandma was lamenting the fact that her grandson didn’t have a girlfriend. “Rebecca,” said one of the mutual friends, “You have a granddaughter in New York, don’t you?”

Translation: They can both fog a mirror and they live within 1,000 miles of each other—perfect!

Not too long thereafter I received a letter from Grandma saying that this guy would call me. I cleverly rolled my eyes, thanked Grandma politely for the introduction, and ignored the whole thing.

One night, the phone rang.

Let’s get the technology clear. This was in the days before cell phones when one had to get up off the couch and get the phone because it was sitting on the counter. This was in the days of the TV show LA Law (and EVERYONE knew better than to call me on Thursday nights from 10-11pm). This was in the days before the internet carried episodes of shows so one could watch at one’s own convenience.

The phone rang.

I glared at it, wondering who would be idiotic enough to call during LA Law. The phone kept ringing. (This was in the days before caller ID.)

I answered the phone.

Dude was on the other end of the line. He seemed nice even though he seemed to have no clue that he was calling in the middle of LA Law. We talked and it turned out he lived in West Chester which for a Manhattan girl was a Deal Breaker of the Most Serious Variety.

I did my best to get off the line and get back to LA Law. He did not take the hint.

He asked me out. I rolled my eyes, got off the couch, looked at my calendar (paper—this was in the days before PDAs and electronic calendars), and agreed that yes, I would go out with him on Saturday afternoon.

I missed most of LA Law, so it was clear the relationship was doomed.

Friday evening when I got home from work there was a message on the machine (this was in the days when answering machines were completely separate from phones) from BFF Nancy. Nancy (who lived in Boston) was going to be in the area on Saturday and could we get together.


I called and left a message on the guy’s machine canceling the date for what was a completely true but completely fake sounding reason.

Then I went out to a party. Because I was that kind of girl.

By the time I got home, there was a message from West Chester guy. Of course he understood and how about the following weekend.

Really? Sigh. Only because I love my grandmother, I thought. (Translation: whatev.)

The following weekend rolled around and (wait for it) I had a cold. A reasonably nasty cold. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for about a decade. But I had this date.

So I took DayQuil (or something like it) and I was ready for Dude to show up January 11th at 2pm.

In a pattern that hasn’t changed much in lo these many years, Dad was late.

He missed the train and didn’t show up at my apartment until 3pm. I was thrilled with this start. Not.

We went out to an exhibit at the AT&T building (which I remember was pretty cool). He wanted to go out to dinner. My cold and I wanted to go home and die.

And that’s the story of How We Met On January 11th.

Love, Mom


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Date Rape, Sexual Assault, and Nail Polish

Dear Kid,

So you know about date-rape and assault on women on college campuses, right? I know you’ve heard the “no means no” lecture. And you’ve probably heard the new “yes means yes” affirmative stance (you actually have to hear a “yes” for it to mean “yes.” Silence isn’t consent.).

But have you heard about the nail polish?

My original title for this post was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. The Jury’s Still Out On This One (extra points if you get the reference) because I don’t yet know what I think about it.

Here’s the story.

Four undergrads at North Carolina State University (three cheers for the undergrads) have created a nail polish that changes color to indicate the presence of date rape drugs (Rohypnol, Xanax, and GammaHydroxybutyric Acid). I did not know how to spell any of those before starting this blog. But that’s not the point. The point is, you get a mani with “Undercover Colors” polish, coyly stir your drink with your finger (or your toe if you got a pedi), and voila! you know whether or not your drink contains ingredients you haven’t ordered.

Ingenious? Absolutely. Controversial? You betcha.

On the plus side it’s a mighty fine piece of innovation and engineering which we should applaud 100%. Did I mention they are undergrads? Quite impressive.

Unlike some of the other gimmicky things that are on the market, it’s tough to be without your digits (if you’ve misplaced your fingers, date rape probably isn’t your biggest problem of the evening).

And it’s pretty clear (to me) that ANYTHING that might prevent even one incident is a good thing.

On the “not so much” side, people are pointing out that new-fangled drugs aren’t used all that frequently in date-rape situations. When there are substance issues, the substance in question is generally alcohol.

Mostly, critics seem concerned that nail polish (of any type) doesn’t really address the issue. Some say it doesn’t really make women safer, it just fools them into thinking they are safer. Certainly, it doesn’t teach students about risky behaviors. It doesn’t substitute for taking actions on our campuses to make all our kids safe (from assault and from accusation) and it doesn’t take the place of having difficult conversations.

As you think about this, it might not seem entirely relevant (what with you being a boy and a Most Good Boy at that). But think about this: would you want your sister wearing Undercover Colors nail polish? Your best friend? Your date? Your daughter?

It gets a little tricky, doesn’t it?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (more about that in a week or two). My wish for you today is that you can always think about this in the abstract without ever knowing anyone who has faced domestic or campus violence. The statistics say I’m unlikely to get my wish, but I keep hoping.

Love, Mom

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#YWeEndViolence | 7 Scary Facts About Domestic Violence

Dear Kid,

Last week I attended a luncheon at the YWCA of Cincinnati. The lunch itself was lovely (including one of the best cookies I have ever had). The topic was highly un-lovely but exceedingly important. So important that I am taking a moment to be serious and tell you about it. The topic was Domestic Violence. #YWeEndViolence

Scary Fact #1: 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.

One of the speakers at the lunch told us this. Then she said “Look around. Many of you in this room have directly encountered domestic violence.” Wow.

Truth: A home should be a safe haven. No one should ever have to worry about their safety or the safety of their mother or child in their own home.

Scary Fact #2: In most cases, abusers make a choice to use violence.

The notion that most abusers “can’t help themselves” or “are driven to violence” is a bunch of hogwash. These men (most, but not all, abusers are men) are making a decision to use violence or emotional exploitation.

Truth: No one deserves to be abused NO MATTER WHAT.

Scary Fact #3: Chronic stress damages the brain and our youngest children are the most vulnerable. If no one is available (or able) to soothe, settle, and make the child feel safe, toxic stress builds up. Toxic stress causes children to lose more IQ points than lead exposure does.

Most children can recover from living with domestic violence. One of the most important factors is having a strong relationship with the non-violent parent.

Scary Fact #4: Little boys are more vulnerable than girls. They are more likely to be hurt, more likely to become violent, and more likely to be written off by family members including the non-violent parent (“Oh, he’s just like his dad”).

When the parent “writes off” the child, the nurturing environment is taken away and the boy is more likely to become a batter as he grows up.

The court system awards custody to the violent parent more often than to the survivor—even when the survivor is recovering and likely to be able to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the child.

Scary Fact #5: One out of three (that’s 1 out of 3) teens experiences dating violence. Often this is our younger (12-14 year old) kids.

As a mother, I find this absolutely terrifying.

Scary Fact #6: In homes where children and a spouse are abused, the majority of pets are abused.

Often children are willing to tell a non-family member what’s happening with their pet far earlier than they will admit what’s happening to them or their mother. Women frequently won’t leave an abusive situation because they are afraid of what will happen to their pet.

Scary Fact #7: Children frequently blame themselves for not being able to make the situation better.

No one should ever have to feel they are the cause of domestic violence. No one should ever, ever be told “if only…”.

What Can You Do?

What You Can Do #1: Donate your used cell phone to Verizon’s Hopeline. They’ll refurbish the phone and donate to people in need.

What You Can Do #2: Listen. If someone needs to talk, be there to listen and support her.

What You Can Do #3: Always, always respect her decision. There are many reasons a woman may choose to stay in an abusive relationship. There are reasons a woman may choose to stay in a relationship where her children are seeing the abuse. You cannot know the situation as well as she does.

What You Can Do #4: Learn some of the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

What You Can Do #5: Find out about resources in your area. In Cincinnati, the YWCA provides all kinds of services including several shelters where women and their children can go with just the clothes on their back and be in a safe, supportive environment.

I hope that you never meet anyone who has lived with or who is living with domestic violence or emotional abuse. But the numbers suggest otherwise. So I hope that you will be the solid rock someone needs to take back control of her life.

Love, Mom




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Rules for College Kids | Ten Things You Really Must Know

College life--there's a blog for that DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

A good while back, I wrote an article for e-zine called Ten Rules for Teens. This is my adaptation to Ten Rules for College Kids.

Rule 1. Life is too short to hang out with people you don’t like. College is a time for meeting new people and finding new friends. No need to be rude, but no need to continue a “friendship” that isn’t working for you any more. Get involved and find activities and people you enjoy.

Rule 2. There is always a nice way to do something hard. That doesn’t mean it will be easy for anyone involved, but you can look back and feel good about how you handled the situation.

Rule 3. If it is to be done, best done soon. Shakespeare said it better, but the point is, if you are going to break up with him/her, do it sooner rather than waiting. (This is not a bad rule for writing papers, doing research, and drafting blogs. Get moving. Don’t wait to start.)

Rule 4. Take care of yourself. You are the only you we have and we think you are very special. Don’t smoke, don’t ride in a car without a seatbelt, don’t drink and drive and don’t drive with anyone who’s been drinking, don’t assume you are invincible or invisible. Eat well, drink lots of water (I may have mentioned that), and get a reasonable night’s sleep.

Rule 5. Nothing you put on the internet is ever truly gone. Facebook is part of the internet. So is Twitter, texting, and YouTube. Even with sites that promise that their content disappears (Snapchat, OKHello, etc.) you cannot be sure it’s really gone. If you don’t want your grandmother, your future employer, your future spouse, and three Supreme Court Justices to see it, don’t put it in cyberspace.

Rule 6. Nothing electronic IS your life. This includes tv, social media, email, cell phones, iPod, and gaming systems. Being deprived of any of these for any length of time will not stop major bodily functions or kill your social life. There are scientific tests proving this. Put the electronics away when you are in class (duh) and when you’re studying. You really can’t multitask and do well at both things. There really are scientific tests proving this.

Rule 7. Be nice to your mother every now and then even if she doesn’t deserve it. Send a text, drop a tweet, post a facebook message. Go crazy and dial the phone.

Rule 8. This too shall pass. Take a deep breath. If possible, take a nap.

Rule 9. Commercials, print ads, and videos are not reality. No one in real life spends nine hours in hair and makeup or has the advantage of a full time airbrush. Strive to be the best you can be, but don’t aim for something unrealistic. What’s inside you is much more important than your haircut or your clothing. Sooner or later your peers will figure this out too.

Rule 10. You are the perfect you. And I love you.

Love, Mom

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly.


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