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Wednesday
Mar212018

Ask Dr. Barb: Questioning behavior in wake of "Me Too"

Dr. Barbara RosenbergDear Dr. Barb:

 

With accusations against men in many fields and the rise of the “Me Too” movement, many of us have been examining our behavior. I’ve had a predilection for making mildly off-color quips, which I’ve resolved to end. I’ve also resolved to never again discuss with male co-workers which female co-workers are the “hottest.” I’m a married man in my late 50s, and most men in my circle believe a lot of good is coming out of this movement. What’s bothering me, though, is thoughts of my past. When I first started dating, I do remember being aggressive. I’m not talking about harassment or worse; I’ve always known that “no” means no. I’m talking about what I thought were the normal fumblings of a young man who is trying to be intimate with a woman. I’ve always thought we were “wired” as men to be the pursuers, and women were the pursued. Dr. Barb, I’d be interested in hearing you weigh in on this topic as a professional and as a woman of my generation.

Dear Reader:

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about how the “Me Too” movement is encouraging you, as well as other men, to examine your attitudes and actions towards women. It’s never easy to look back at one’s life experiences and acknowledge that, knowingly or unknowingly, you were enabling sexist beliefs about women and at times your off-color jokes were demeaning of them.

 

However, even in your earlier dating years, when you were somewhat aggressive and unsure of yourself with women, it is good to know that you respected their feelings about saying “no.”

 

Unfortunately, there are men who manipulate and exploit women sexually in order to satisfy their own narcissistic and pathological needs for power. In these kinds of situations, whereby women are sexually assaulted or coerced into such behavior beyond their will, the assault is less about sex and more about control, and the female becomes the forcible target of the male’s psychopathology.

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Sunday
Jan072018

Ask Dr. Barb: Talking to kids about sex

Dear Dr. Barb:

 I am concerned about how easy it is for children to access sexually explicit material online and that it will lead to irresponsible actions kids aren’t mature enough to handle. A friend recently caught her 12-year-old daughter viewing sexually explicit material on a mobile phone. What would you suggest for a parent dealing with the many sexual cues to which children are exposed?


Dear Reader:

In many communities, it is commonplace for pre-teens or “tweens” to have mobile phones. And as they are spending more and more time connecting with each other online, parents may be unsure where to draw the line between safe technology use and healthy social connection. Kids feel pressure to not be left out, and parents really do not want this to happen to their kids either.

 

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Wednesday
Sep062017

Ask Dr. Barb: Strike a balance to join new community 

Dear Dr. Barb:

My family recently moved to a community that has, for me, a troubling level of openness. The neighborhood kids are allowed to enter the homes of their friends at will. No knocking, no announcements. Of course, we could keep our doors locked, but I already have the challenge of being a working mom in a community where many moms stay at home. I want my children to be able to make friends and feel like they fit in, but my husband and I are a little too private to feel comfortable with this practice, and on weekends, we often need to just decompress from the work week. How can we maintain our privacy and still be well-received in our new neighborhood?


Dear Reader,

Balancing your own needs for privacy and relaxation while meeting your kids’ social needs is a normal challenge with reasonable solutions. It seems you are very concerned about kids barging in to your home at all hours. You are probably worrying about this problem more than you should be. As you point out, you can keep your doors locked — at least for reasons of safety.

 

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Monday
Jul242017

Ask Dr. Barb: Embracing change in my new workplace 

Dear Readers:

In May, I had to move unexpectedly from my office of 29 years after having received notice that the building had been sold. Even when planned, moving to a new office, like moving to a new home, is definitely is a sressful event. I wanted to write about my experiences in the event they can be helpful to others.

I have now completed Week Six in my new office. Looking around, it seems almost miraculous that most of my belongings moved with me and everything, including myself, is in working order. The movers did a wonderful job, and moving day itself turned out to be the easier part of the process. It was everything leading up to the big day that seemed more mentally challenging.

 

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Wednesday
May032017

Ask Dr. Barb: Teen's death raises suicide concerns 

Dear Dr. Barb: A close friend of my 13-year-old niece  died suddenly. The girl hadn’t been ill, and some suspect suicide. The school sent suggestions on how to help grieving teens, but I don’t think it’s enough. Some parents haven’t been discreet in mentioning the suspected suicide. My niece and her classmates know their friend’s parents were in the middle of a bitter divorce. I don’t want them to think suicide is an answer to despair or any teen problem. What can I do to help?

 

Dear Reader,

 

Losing a friend or family member in sudden death is extremely upsetting in and of itself; however, losing someone close due to a possible suicide is one of the most devastating losses a person will ever experience. In this case, the lack of clarity about the classmate’s death can only intensify the feelings of grief.

 

Grief is a natural response to losing someone to whom you are close. This internal pain can affect an individual emotionally, physically, mentally and even spiritually. Grief can be experienced as feelings of numbness, sadness, confusion, anxiety, despair, shame, guilt or anger. Such feelings may progress in stages, and there is no exact timeline. How one grieves usually depends on the nature of the loss as well as one’s personality, coping style, religion and life experience.

 

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