Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 12-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 AT HOME / ENTERTAINMENT DECEMBER 12-18, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER LIVING EDITION The effects of post-natal marital amnesia Just about every marriage has its share of bad times; then again, some marriages simply go bad. The reasons for the latter include abuse, adultery, alcoholism (and other forms of chemical self- indulgence, aka addiction), and emotional and/or physi- cal abandonment. Not to say that any one of those can't be overcome, but they are four of the top five reasons why some marriages arrive at a point where there's no going back. I can't think of (or find) an A-word for the fifth rea- son; therefore, I've invented a new disorder (it's what psychologists do, after all): post-natal marital amnesia, or PNMA. A recent column of mine on the need for the marriage to "rule," in every sense, prompted a flood of emails, letters, and even a few phone calls testifying to the contemporary ubiquity of PNMA. Take, for example, the fellow who was essentially abandoned by his wife when their live-in young adult daughter gave birth out of wedlock. Wife flipped into full grandmother mode and that was that. Or the step- mom who, when her hus- band's teenage daughter vis- its for a weekend, takes her pre-teen daughter (likewise, from a first marriage) and herself to a hotel so as not to experience her stepdaugh- ter's disrespect and depraved behavior (said child enjoys telling her younger stepsister about her sexual exploits) that dad, by his own admis- sion, pretty much ignores for fear of upsetting her. On and on went these tales of woe. One failed or fail- ing marriage after another brought about by misplaced priorities; to wit, otherwise clear-thinking adults who'd rather have a wonderful relationship with a child than with their spouses. Some of these otherwise clear-thinking adults might say their marriages were on the rocks, slowly coming undone, before the child-idol in question arrived on the scene. Sorry, but that's no excuse. Take it from some- one who's been married for 50 years (to the same woman as opposed to some cumula- tive figure), when bad stuff happens in a marriage, the responsible thing to do is focus on fixing it. Avoiding marital problems by taking refuge in relationship with a child or children is cowardly, dishonest, and immature. People my age often talk with one another about the problems we see today's young parents creating for themselves. We talk amongst ourselves because most of us have learned, the hard way, that relatively rare is the young parent who will listen to us much less take our advice concerning child-rearing matters. One thing most of us observe is parents making idols of children. This idol-making takes numerous forms, one of which is posting daily photos of a child on some social media platform, accompa- nied by the day's report of the child's latest accomplish- ments ("Tiffany went down the slide at the park for the first time today!"), which no one should be deprived of knowing (and which all point to nascent genius of one sort or another). Two such idol-makers can make a go of it (until their last idol leaves home at which point all bets are off), but when one parent has made an idol of a child and the other understands and practices the difference between love and idolatry, well, uh-oh. I call it the child- centered divorce. In a way, the divorce simply makes official what has been the case for some time: to wit, PNMA. As children, people my age or thereabouts were not fussed over, bragged about, or made idols of. It was obvious, furthermore, that our parents had much, much more of a relationship with one another than they had with us. We understand, therefore, that the benefit to a child of being merely loved and disciplined well, as opposed to idolized, is ines- timable. I certainly didn't know it when I was a young parent, but I know it now: The past is the greatest of all teachers, and the greatest teachers, furthermore, always possess great respect for the past. Family psychologist John Rosemond:, Traditional Parenting JOHN ROSEMOND Holiday fairs and bazaars Weekend of Dec. 14-16 Christmas in the Country Bazaar at Laurel Grange, 351 Snake Hill Road, North Scituate, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission. Vendors, hand- made crafts and more. Santa's Chimney Christmas Bazaar at the Village at Waterman Lake, 715 Putnam Pike, Smithfield, Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission. Raffles, home- made crafts and vendors, raffle and more. The Stadium Theatre will pres- ent "Home for Christmas" with GREG BONIN in the Marquee Room, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket, on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The event will feature such holiday standards as "Oh Holy Night," "Silver bells" and "White Christmas." Bonin will also sing modern Christmas favorites like "The Christmas Shoes." Tickets are $26. www.stadiumthe- . 'Home for Christmas' at the Stadium

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