Just because a teen isn't experiencing or using physical violence, that doesn't mean their relationship isn't a problem. Put-downs and other tactics that one person in a relationship uses to hurt the other are also abusive. Most often, emotionally abusive tactics are used to make the victim feel bad about herself, convincing her that no one else will want her. Once the abuser feels certain that she won't leave him, physical abuse often follows. Even if there is never physical abuse, emotional abuse should be taken seriously, because everyone deserves to feel valued and respected in a relationship. If you fear that your teen is experiencing or perpetrating emotional abuse, don't overlook it. It can be stopped and our kids deserve better.
For those of you who missed the column, (and don't want to follow the link), the basic story is that the mother of a 19-year-old girl wrote in asking for advice regarding her daughter's boyfriend, who although devoid of icky habits like smoking and partying, never misses the chance to put her down, dismiss her accomplishments or mock her. Dr. Rosemond's suggestion to the mother was to overlook this one "annoying habit" and do everything she can to keep him around. After all, he states, " The likelihood of her finding another boy her age who has a coherent plan for the future ... is slim."
So in a nutshell, parents, let's not worry about how our children's boyfriends or girlfriends TREAT them, as long as they don't smoke, plan on getting a job and haven't ever been in prison. Is this for real? Is he actually excusing this young man for being a jerk because he aspires to be something other than a Wilco groupie? I think America's young people might want to set the bar a tad higher.
The disturbing part of this whole thing is that Rosemond is supposed to be an informed professional. He's a psychologist as well as a father himself and has been writing books, giving lectures and fielding inquiries for many years. Yet, he failed to take this opportunity to help this mother and this girl (as well as his readers) to realize this is a case of emotional abuse.
Monday, March 21, 2011
What We're Willing to Overlook
John Rosemond is a parenting advice columnist for the Columbia Tribune. A few weeks ago, he responded to a mother concerned that her daughter's boyfriend constantly puts her down. His advice was so off the mark that even one of his colleagues at the Tribune called him out.