Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 01-09-2019

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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4 AT HOME JANUARY 9-15, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER LIVING EDITION er? Or two shades of orange that clash?" "Yes, something like that." "That's…you used the word inap- propriate…that's inappropriate? I thought inappropriate was like punching someone in the face for no reason. Wearing stripes and polka dots is inappropriate?" "Well, I mean, the other kids might laugh at them." "Okay, so here's my very impor- tant question: I seriously doubt that kids this age have a developed fash- ion sense, but that aside, so what if some other kid or kids did laugh?" (Long pause) "Well, I don't want my daughters to be made fun of." At this point, I had to suppress the almost irrepressible urge to tell this mother that I hadn't been born yes- terday; that I knew the real reason she picked out her daughters' clothes every evening. The real reason is that with rare exception, today's moms personalize everything – and I do mean everything – that happens to their children or that their children do. So, if a 5-year-old managed, some- how, to get by her "Designated Micromanager" and wore to school an outfit consisting of stripes and polka dots (I'm having memories of when I was a hippie), her DM, when she found out, would be concerned, convinced even, that people might have been talking about and laugh- ing at her by proxy. Furthermore, even if the child in question came home and did not complain of being mocked, mom would still be certain that someone out there is thinking that she's one of the Bad Mommies you hear about. Choosing and laying out a 7-year- old child's clothes – something my mother must've stopped doing for me before my third birthday because I have no memory of it – is emblem- atic of the current state of mother- hood in America. It's why I often say to audiences hither and yon, "Raising children has become threatening to the mental health of American women." I mean, they worry about every- thing, and I do mean everything! Every detail is important, which means, essentially, that in their minds there are no details. Everything and anything that goes wrong is poten- tially apocalyptic; therefore, every- thing must be managed. Everything even slightly off the beam is cause for reading yet another book. (Did I actually just say that?) The mother in question came to me because she was having lots of conflicts with her daughters. Good for them, I told her. They refuse to let you tell them what foot to lead with when they begin walking. We made a list of what was really, truly important parenting stuff to which she absolutely had to attend. It was fairly short, actually. I heard from her three months later. She's no longer in near-constant conflict with her daughters; she's having a much, much happier moth- erhood; and she's gone back to col- lege. Yay! I mean, Yay! You go, girl! That's the way to do it! Family psychologist John Rosemond: johnrosemond.com, parentguru.com. PARENTING From Page One Please let our advertisers know that you read about their products or services in The Valley Breeze Newspapers.

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