In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share a couple of controversial but critical parenting tips.
First a quick update:
“Stop being your child’s friend?”
Professor Jean Twenge (Associate Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University) in her second book “The Narcissism Epidemic – Living In The Age of Entitlement” warns parents to stop being their child’s best friend. But why is this behavior dangerous for the child’s development and are there other seemingly innocuous parental styles that harm children? Listen to my conversation and interview with Dr. Vicki Panaccione, Child Psychologist and founder of The Better Parenting Institute as she elaborates what is dangerous parenting, what is healthy parenting and the real role of a parent. In the enlightening and at times frightening conversation, Dr. Vicki also warns parents about the dangers of “inappropriate seductiveness”; creating anxiety in children; seeking their children’s approval; expecting the child to fulfill the mental and emotional needs of the parent and; sharing a bed with a child.
To listen to my interview visit Radio-Interviews.
Now, let’s talk about a few other specific tips and strategies for parents and teens.
The latest studies into abuse in relationships reveal that one in three teens is abused in a relationship. The Chris Brown and Rihanna story has further highlighted the need to address domestic violence and violence on women. Brown (age 19) is alleged to have beaten and bitten his girlfriend during an argument inside his rented car that landed her in hospital. It’s alleged that he even held her head in an armlock while driving and hitting her.
Domestic violence is not limited by economic, cultural, educational or geographic factors. According to a new survey by the Boston Public Health Commission, nearly half of Boston-area teenagers say Rihanna (age 21) was responsible for Brown’s alleged attack.
The survey of 200 Boston youths age 12 to 19 found that 51% said Brown was to blame, 46% said Rihanna was to blame, and 52% said both were to blame for the incident. In addition, 52% said the media were treating Brown unfairly, and “a significant number of males and females” surveyed said Rihanna was destroying Brown’s career.
The conclusion from these statistics is that children have learned that violence is an acceptable and appropriate response to a domestic disagreement and that it is OK to hit a woman. But unfortunately that finding isn’t limited to teens. A survey in the UK suggests one in five people think that it’s fine for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she’s wearing sexy clothes in public while fourteen percent of adults think that it’s ok for a man to hit his partner if she’s nagging him. Years ago, in Australia, when I was a journalist, I recall a study that revealed that women thought it was OK for a man to hit her if she deserved it or provoked it.
How have we arrived as a society at the point that we think it is OK to hit a woman?
Obviously there are multiple factors that determine and shape our beliefs, morals and values. One of the primary and dominant causes is our childhood programming. Our beliefs about how to respond to arguments and disagreements begin as children. For example, what did you see and witness as child and what did you conclude about how women should be treated? Chris Brown saw his father abuse his mother, and he innately copied his father. This does not in any way justify Brown’s actions but it illustrates the point that children learn by modeling their parents and by listening to their language and thus, adopting their belief systems. This is what I call “emotional hereditary disease.”
Thus, it is up to parents via their own relationship to be the role models to their children as well as to teach their boys that it is not OK to hit a woman and teach their girls not to accept being hit. If you are a mother and you have someone in your life who is abusing you, please be aware that you are preparing your daughter to be abused when she grows up and/or you are preparing your son to have explosive anger via feeling helpless because he cannot stop it or equally bad, you are preparing him to accept that women expect and accept being hit during disagreements.
The mother and father must each show respect for themselves and to each other in order to teach the same to their children. Telling your children one thing while doing another does not work: children will first copy a parent’s behavior before heeding his or her verbal advice.
This leads me to my next point. Last week, auditions for Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model” turned ugly when a stampede broke out amongst a crowd of 10,000 people in New York, injuring six people, with two rushed to hospital. The point: girls are seeking idols instead of role models.
It seems that for many young women, the priority and emphasis has now become stardom, fame, fortune and false adoration. Society has created idols in the form of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie –women that are placed on pedestals not only for doing and contributing nothing positive but for living the lavish, princess fairytale lifestyle. My humble advice and suggestion is for parents to encourage their daughters to seek role models rather than idols.
I know that our instant reaction is to blame the media, and yes, it definitely plays a huge role in influencing teens perceptions and perspectives but, study after study reveals that parents are the primary determining factor in their children’s belief systems, values and morals. Teach your children to consider role models such as Princes Diana who prize and value giving and helping others over celebrities who favor consumerism, materialism, fake attention and glamour. Of course, the bad example begins with parents, particularly those adults who are focused on still being an adolescent in all of its forms – vanity, hedonism, self-indulgence, irresponsibility and the desire for eternal youth.
This leads to the third point for both boys and girls: shift the emphasis away from instant gratification to hard work and rewards; away from greed to fairness and integrity; away from selfishness to helping and contributing to others.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.