So there I was, 49 years old, after a first failed marriage, with no children, and sure that parenting was a closed book for me. And then-- "Guess what you are getting for your 50th birthday"-- said the love of my life. "By the look in your eyes, it is something really special," I replied. "Yes, you are going to be a father." I was thrilled by the idea. But being an only child myself, what did I know about babies? During the next nine months I learned a lot.
Whether you're the type of person who likes to learn a little about a subject or someone who goes whole hog, try massage. Now seen by some as a true holistic alternative medicine, the types and purposes of massage are varied enough to appeal to most anyone. An upstate New York teacher says her husband goes every week for an hour and a half.
Upon the birth of my youngest child, my older daughter told me, "She is lucky to be born in this period of your life". There is a 17-year difference between my two daughters. I have often thought about this, and, over the years, have come to the conclusion that each one of our children is mothered according to where we are in our growth process when we give birth to that child.
"I'd like to be more involved with my kids." "I'm afraid of holding the baby and that bothers me. You know, I wouldn't even mind changing his diaper once in a while!" "I want my kids to feel closer to me than I felt towards my father." Well, as psychologists involved in child development, all we can say is - Great! Both mothers and fathers can provide rich experiences for their children and each can use his or her unique personality and style to enhance each child's development. Psychologists are still debating whether women and men have different biological instincts. One study found that in our society and culture most girls, from an early age, have many more experiences of "parenting" than boys.
If anything in our society has truly become equal opportunity in the '90's, it has to be parenthood. We are slowly being introduced to a new family order where our functions as parents are not dictated by maternal or paternal inclinations but rather by a sharing of all duties. The jobs and responsibilities of child rearing in the 90's are no longer delineated by gender but by availability and proximity. Diaper changes are decided by the "Who smelled it first" dictum, and not by the "My father never did this so why should I?" defense of years gone by. Even the laws of nature are being challenged and changed.
Mona and Phil are both in their late 30's. They have three children. Phil is an advertising executive and Mona works part time as an atrium landscape artist. This drama depicts a classic marriage: while at home with the family, Phil underfunctions, while Mona overfunctions.
Ron, 45, a systems analyst and Andrea, 42, an emergency room nurse, are the parents of two teenage boys. Kenny, 16, the oldest, is having trouble in school. Andrea and Ron strongly disagree on how to deal with Kenny. The result is conflict between the couple and most likely, confusion for Kenny.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I need information concerning my mother. She has been living with my husband and my two-year-old and me for almost a year. This is not the first time either. When my husband and I just married she moved in the first time. We wished then that she would have gotten her life together. My mother is divorced from a man, my father, who I am not close too. He was an abusive alcoholic. My mom and I have had a rough life together, between being homeless and physically and mentally abused.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I are both dealing with grief issues. I lost my dad one year ago, and my husband recently lost his father. I was hoping this would be a process we could go through together, however, he is in complete retreat mode. He sleeps and works and has not been communicating with me at all. When others ask how he is doing, he says "fine." I know he is hurting, but he won't allow me to help him! In addition, he has not been there to support me! He is a "macho" type policeman, who has buried lots of junk, and I think he is afraid to feel his emotions.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I've not seen this concern addressed anywhere and am hoping you can help me to understand it. Ever since our daughter was born four years ago, I've felt my husband places our role as partners second to our role as parents. I'm proud of his love and care for our daughter, but I feel "jilted" in a way because his relationship with her is such a strong focus. It's hard to talk about because it seems childish, and, in fact, when I first brought it up in my daughter's first months, he told me he thought it was immature to want more of his individual attention.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, How do I get my husband to understand that I don't have any free time to myself? I have a three-year-old daughter who demands all my time. I work full-time and my daughter goes to preschool. By the time I get home from work I am tired and have to make dinner, clean up the dishes and get my daughter ready for bed. I don't even have time for myself except on the weekends, if that. He tells me I don't love him like I did before I had my daughter because I spend more time taking care of her then spending quality time with him. He never helps me with her at all. I have told him if he helps me more often with her and things around the house I would have more time for him but he just keeps complaining I don't love him and don't want to spend time with him.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My fiancé and I have been together for two and a half years and are getting married in two weeks. We have an 18-month-old son together and have lived together for two years. I just found out that nine months ago he had a one night stand with his ex-girlfriend and she just had a baby. She is not sure if it is his or not but for now we are assuming that it is. We have decided to work things out. I am very hurt and scared of how I will feel if the baby is his and we start seeing it and everyone will know that he cheated on me. I love him very much and am willing to forgive him this time but have made it very clear that there cannot be a second time.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I just stumbled across your site as I was looking for some kind of help for my problem...I hope that you can offer some advice. I hope that I am doing this right but I don't know...if not I am sorry... I am 30 years old, the mother of three children: a son who is 12, a daughter who is 10 (both from my first marriage) and an adopted son who is three (from my current marriage). This is my problem: My husband and I (we have been married for almost seven years) do not get along...he does not get along with my older children. My husband has really bad anger problems. He yells, cusses, screams, threatens and on occasion hits the kids.
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Listen to others Think it only happens to you? Families in conflict reveal their innermost struggles to communicate.
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