All Articles Tagged "adults"

Are You Dating An Emotional Grown Up Or Baby?

July 20th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Imagine a world in which we’re all acting like well-parented adults.

We hear it from our patients, from our friends, in casual conversation: “I wish that he would just grow up!” “She’s acting like a child!” “My six year-old is more mature than my husband!” “I have two kids, but it feels like I have three!” After the initial shine wears off—after dating for a while, after marriage and kids, after life throws a curve ball—it can be a shock to learn that the smart, attractive, enthralling person who swept you off your feet is not so perfect after all. After happily ever after, there may be a lot of growing up to do.

It’s terrible to discover that your amazing boyfriend has a temper, or that the woman who seemed so relaxed when you were dating is anything but. Being with someone emotionally immature creates unhappiness in the relationship, and leads to anger and a loss of respect for your partner that is draining for everyone. As psychiatrists, we see people wrestling with choices in relationships all the time: Is what I’m asking for unreasonable? Why am I always the one who has to give? Does it have to be this hard?

People come to treatment in the wake of failed relationships, trying to figure out how to do it better the next time around. They may have qualities in mind—smart, funny, kind—but we don’t often hear someone say, “I’m looking for a woman who can regulate her feelings,” or “I’m looking for a man who is emotionally evolved.”

Seeing how often people are drawn to the surface allure of the narcissist inspired us to try to describe another kind of Prince Charming: not the dashing rescuer but the Emotional Grown-up. His qualities may not be as obvious to the eye—but they are the ones that go the distance.

It’s great to be able to express your feelings, but being able to regulate your emotions is the most important quality of an emotional grown-up. When the skill of controlling your emotional thermostat (and it is a skill) isn’t learned in childhood, you end up with a simple on/off switch: On the one hand, there’s unalloyed joy and passion (the fun part); on the other hand, rage or uncontrolled crying in response to insignificant events. We expect to see toddlers screaming in public; but when a middle-aged man yells obscenities at a stranger for cutting in front of him on the road, we wonder what went wrong during his childhood. One of our biggest jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to self-regulate: how to recognize and name their feelings, how to react proportionally, how to calm themselves down. Emotional grown-ups have learned these skills and can keep themselves in check: They can express their feelings without blowing a gasket, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells or worry that they will lose it with the slightest provocation.

It couldn’t be further from the truth that “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Because words matter, words can wound; and knowing this, emotional grown-ups choose their words carefully. Everyone has moments when they feel that their partner has let them down, but phrases like “How could you be so stupid?” have no place in an intimate relationship. In managing a conflict, words and tone can mean the difference between a defensive response and willingness to change. Take the following example:

“Early in my marriage my husband had a crucial business dinner meeting. He told me that it was important that we be on time and he wanted to leave at 7. In the throes of multitasking—feeding our baby, drying my hair—I realized that it was 7:15 and braced myself, expecting my husband to yell at me like my father used to. But instead of blaming, he looked at me and said, ‘How can I help you in the future? Being on time is important to me, and it seems that you had so much to do before we left. What can I do to make it easier?’ Instead of putting me on the defensive, his language inspired me to want to try harder to be on time in the future. He may have been thinking, ‘What the f?!&!,’ but he chose his words in a way that I could hear him.”

Language can inflame or inspire, and mindful language is a gift. Taking a moment to edit your thoughts and choose your words goes very far in a partnership.

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You Can Never Be Too Old! Animated Movies We Love As Adults

July 12th, 2013 - By Kelly Franklin
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Face it, we’re all kids at heart! If you catch yourself singing the theme song to Tinga Tinga Tales when your child is nowhere around, then you can appreciate the hearty laugh and storyline animated movies and cartoons provide. With kooky humor that we can relate to as adults, these films make it as easy for us to watch as our children. Plus we’re catapulted back into a carefree, whimsical world where giggles and knee-slapping ha-has are allowed, and nothing less – no stress, no worries. Let’s move it, move it to see which animated favorites we have in common.


What happens when four pampered wild animals from the New York Central Zoo escape? All chaos breaks loose, especially when they find themselves on the island of Madagascar in the mist of many crazy, dancing lemurs! Don’t forget about the Navy Seal penguins and their wild, covert mission to help save them.

We Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Suge Knight Gets Into A Fight While Katt Watches From A Distance

December 29th, 2012 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Suge PF"

Why in the world does the city of Los Angeles keep allowing Frick and Frack to run aimlessly around with no supervision?

Okay, so we just reported this morning that Katt Williams was arrested Friday on child endangerment charges. Well, hours after he was released – hours – it appears he was a primary witness in a huge brawl involving his friend and tour manager, Suge Knight.

There are no details as to what exactly started the fight but someone sent a video in to TMZ where you clearly see him in some type of heated “situation” with a group of people. After a few security people are able to break things up (with one young man ending up on the ground), Suge walks a few feet away and ends up punching someone else in the face.  We can only assume that the person must have said something Suge didn’t like because Suge landed the first punch.

Katt Williams was hiding between dumpsters during the exchange and once blows were thrown, he was ordered by someone who looks to have been part of his security team into a black truck. They immediately sped off.

As the video continues, other security guys are urging Suge to get into a white truck in order to leave the scene. Without giving notice to the packed parking lot of onlookers, Suge sped off and almost hit quite a few people.

How do these two find so much trouble? Suge is almost 50 years old and Katt is knocking on the door of 40 – when does this end? If you can’t figure out how to avoid having a fight at those ages, you don’t ever need to go out. I would say “grow up” but somehow, that doesn’t seem applicable.

That’s That Ish I Don’t Like: Why I Can’t Stand When Parents Talk to Kids Like Adults

June 27th, 2012 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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As I made my way down the street today,with a lot on my mind as I headed to a doctor’s appointment, I found myself stopped at one of the many lights that separate me from my train station. While waiting, thinking that I should have checked the weather before I hit the streets in tight black jeans, I heard a mother say the following to one of the two children she was trying to give orders to. I guess he might have been calling himself having an attitude:

“Unfold your damn arms! I don’t know why the f**k you be actin’ like yo a** don’t know how to listen.”

…When I was young, most parents didn’t embarrass their children like that when at home, let alone curse them out like they stole something on the streets. They might put a finger in your face or put some bass in their voice in public, but you got yourself together just in time before they let you know you were going to get tore up when you both got home. In fact, my mother could make me feel just as guilty and bad by simply giving me the “Girl, you had better stop unless you want to see my belt when we get home” face or letting me know that she was truly disappointed in my behavior. But these days, people are talking uglier to their kids, referring to them as even uglier names and just can’t discipline them without calling them something you can find in Urban rather than Webster’s Dictionary.

Not only was this woman’s statement to the little boy embarrassing as people watched him get berated on the street, but it was unnecessarily harsh. I know that children can often be a hardheaded pain, but it always makes me cringe when I hear an adult curse like a sailor at a child who will most likely soak in that language and use it on someone else; Whether that be a classmate or a teacher who gets called everything but a child of God because they tried to keep them in check. People underestimate how much their outbursts or explicit conversations with other adults around their children can influence the language kids use with others. And sadly, using strong and unacceptable language to address children has become all too common.

Need another example? Well, just a few days ago, as I walked with a friend back to her place post-church, I heard a young mother talking to her friend while pushing around her son in a stroller. Out of nowhere, instead of calling him by the name she gave him, she chose to say, “Yeah, that little n***a tryna walk already.” As I watched my friend’s face turn up, I asked her, “Did she just call that little boy a “n***a”? She had, and after the fact, she laughed about it and went on with her day with her friend. I’m sure as the day went on she probably called him a lot more than that.

I don’t know about you, but it seems as though if folks aren’t cursing out their kids like Mo’Nique in Precious, they’re referring to them as everything from little “n***as” to “muthaf****s” and more. And they’re clearly doing it everywhere too: on the streets, in the stores (grocery AND retail), at the parks and at restaurants. A few are older parents, but many I find cursing up a storm are young parents, ones barely out of high school, maybe a few years into college who don’t seem enthusiastic about the responsibility that’s become a constant in their lives. I often wonder if these parents are the same ones who we hear about holding their babies under scalding water because they cried too much and too long, and starving them because they resent them. These stories get people’s blood boiling and remind folks of why not EVERY woman is fit to have children. I guess it’s a testament to the fact that if people aren’t ready to handle their responsibilities, and only find themselves yelling rather than talking to their kids, they might want to rethink their sexual activities and doing what’s putting them in these positions in the first place.

Maybe I’m being too judgmental, but I can’t see how cursing a child does them any kind of real good. All I know is that patience is wearing thin and the results are hurt and confused faces like the little boy I watched on the street today. And if you were wondering, after his mother’s rant, he looked like someone told him that he wasn’t and was never going to be anything. I’m not saying she was is a bad parent, but that behavior would probably rip her out of the running for “Mother of the Year.” Nowadays, both parents and kids are having the tantrums, and it seems as though it’s the parent who could use a time out…

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7% of Americans Carry HPV Virus in Their Mouths

January 27th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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The human papillomavirus (HPV) sometimes seems harmless because there are rarely any symptoms associated with it, but researchers believe the virus is responsible for the increased rates of mouth and throat cancer during the past 25 years, and new research says 7% of Americans now have HPV in their mouths.

The study, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association is the first to assess the prevalence of oral HPV in the U.S. population, and from the ages of 14 to 69, across men and women, the incidence was found to be 6.9%.

The findings also indicate that oral sex, rather than kissing, is the main cause for the spread of the virus—most likely because people still don’t understand that the practice can lead to disease.

“I don’t think people think of oral sex in the same way they do with traditional intercourse,” said Fred Wyand, director of the HPV Resource Center at the American Social Health Association in Research Triangle Park, NC. “Sometimes younger people engage in oral sex so they don’t have to worry about pregnancy. They may not even make the link between oral sex and STDs.”

Since most oral HPV infections are harmless and oral cancers are still somewhat rare, there isn’t a total cause for alarm, but there could be down the line. This is why the researchers say doctors, parents, and sexual partners need to talk about the use of protection upfront.

“It’s something people are not comfortable talking about, but it is protective,” Dr. Hans Schlecht, assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia who wrote an editorial accompanying the study said in an interview. “If you are going to be intimate with someone, there are some adult conversations you need to have.”

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Teen Sex Offenders: Does the Time Fit the Crime?

January 25th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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A freshman girl dating a senior guy is a common scenario in high school. For some, the story ends with popularity, a high school sweetheart, maybe even heartbreak, but for others there is shame, stigma, and maybe even a charge of statutory rape.

The Daily Beast reports that there are a growing number of parents across all 50 states who are fighting to protect their children from the sex-offender laws that were meant to do just that. From their view, the punishments inflicted on high-school boys are far too harsh and they want the laws to change.

One mother, Francie Baldino, says her son Ken’s prison term was unthinkable. In 2004, the 18-year-old high school senior was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend who was a 14-year-old freshman. Because the age of consent in Michigan is 16, he was sentenced to a year in jail and three years’ probation. When Ken was released from jail he violated probation by resuming his relationship with the girl and then was given a sentence of five to fifteen years. After serving six years behind bars, he’s now forced to wear a GPS device and was told his home address and personal information would be listed in the sex-offender registry for 25 years.

When a guy is in his 20s and a girl is 14, the issue of sex with a minor is a no-brainer, but when we’re talking two high-school students, one of whom may have just become a legal adult, the issue is much more gray. Even Fred Mester, the judge in Ken’s case openly acknowledged the complexities of statutory rape laws when he sentenced him in 2005, saying, “Half my senior class … were dating freshman girls, and I suspect half of them would be in here today.”

While the prevalence of the act doesn’t mean it should be excused, it does call into question whether the law should recognize the difference between teen sex and teen rape. As Ken’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter says, “The laws often don’t differentiate between a 50-year-old man molesting a 14-year-old girl, and two teenagers having sex.”

But how could that be done? Often times girls who sleep with older boys say the sex was consensual, but in an age where so many teen girls are admitting to being coerced into having sex or performing certain sexual acts, it’s hard to know whether they are telling the truth or protecting boys they are scared of. And as prosecutors argue, the law is there so there’s no need to delve into this issue of distinction at all. They say the law is the law and kids need to follow it regardless of whatever urges or relationships they have.

“The court isn’t imposing restrictions because it’s fun—it’s the law,” Paul Walton, a chief assistant prosecutor in Michigan, says. “You can disagree on the age of consent, but the law says that prior to that age, a person doesn’t have the ability to consent.”

Although following the law truly is the bottom line in these cases and the aim isn’t to encourage teen sex—although that behavior isn’t going anywhere—unfair laws are protested all the time.  With boys like Ken, who has now been taken off the sex-offender registry but remains a convicted felon for life, you have to wonder if their futures are being thrown away before they even get started with these harsh penalties.

Do you think sex-offender laws are too harsh when it comes to teens? Should legislators work to modify the laws or should they stand as they are to protect young girls?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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It Takes a Village: 5-Year-Old Raped At Fast Food Playland; Where Were the Grown Ups?

November 14th, 2011 - By MN Editor
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"McDonald's Playland"

Not that McDonald’s colorful Playland area is supposed to be the safest place on earth, but there’s something incredibly sad about knowing that something meant to let children be free to frolic and be innocent can be used as a grounds for predators. But then again, with some parents preoccupied with phone conversations and overly-big Big Macs sometimes and no one to watch who comes in and out, I guess it makes sense that these areas would be a predator’s own playground.

A young girl and her grandmother learned that the hard way at a McDonald’s near downtown Cincinnati on Oct. 29. While playing in the Playland area, the 5-year-old girl was approached by a young man around the ages of 12 to 15 who “digitally” assaulted her (as in using digits or fingers in case you weren’t sure) and then forced the girl to do the same to him anally. The child’s grandmother said that she knew something was wrong when the little girl came back to her looking especially upset as the Playland was preparing to close. She later told the police that she saw the young man leaving the Playland, but before she could figure out that he had done something (and shouldn’t have been that old in the freaking Playland in the first place), he had already left. The young man, once again, is said to be between the ages of 12 and 15, white, with black hair and blue eyes, wearing light blue jeans, a gray long-sleeve T-shirt and a jacket. The franchise owner and employees of this McDonald’s (in Anderson Township) are said to be fully cooperating with police.

How horrific for both the child and her grandmother. I can’t imagine the confusion and fear going through that young girl’s mind while she was being sexually assaulted by someone more than double her age. I also can’t imagine where in the hot hell her grandmother was. Playland areas, whether at McDonald’s or the open outdoor park, are obviously not the end all to be all of safety. No matter where you take children, whether they are your offspring, your grandchildren, your nieces, your nephews or a friend’s baby, children have to be watched at all times somebody. Call me overprotective, but I don’t see how this could have happened if this child’s grandmother had been walking around watching her slide through tubes and scamper around. Children are soooo easily influenced. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched my niece try and play with some random kids she met while trying to get through a tube at Chuck E. Cheese. For this young man to have enough time to penetrate the child and have her do the same to him, there was clearly not enough adults around watching the Playland and the kids in it.  And aside from these horrific assaults, children can get hurt playing around in those tight spaces with other kids. In the end, she was five, not 10. There was no reason she should have been able to run into the Playland and not been supervised by at least one person.

I’m not trying to say that it’s all her grandmother’s fault (apologies if it even sounds like that). You can also ask why doesn’t McDonald’s have employees watching the kids in the Playland too? I’m not talking some big, burly security guard, but just an employee to ensure there is no rough housing or that people who probably shouldn’t have the ability to play with such small children (like a 130 pound 12 to 15-year-old for example) can’t. Fingers could be pointed for days, but in the end, I’m really just trying to say that we all need to be more attentive out here these days. I can only hope that others can take this incident as an example of why all eyes should stay open when it comes to the protection of children. Even it wasn’t her grandmother, or an employee supervising the play area, someone should have been looking out for this child. I know it’s hard enough to watch one child (your own) when you send them off into these recreational areas covered with nets, plastic and cushioned walkways, but any child attacked by a young man like this could have been your child, so it never hurts to keep an eye out for other people’s babies, because you just never know. These days, it literally takes a village to raise and watch out for a child, because things and people have totally changed.

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