Book Review: Everything, Everything

Title:               Everything, Everything

Author:           Nicola Yoon

Publisher:      Alloy Entertainment

Published:     2015

Genre(s):        Young Adult

Pages:              369

Read Time:    8 Days (Recreational Reading Pace)

 

.::Publisher Summary::.

            My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

.::Personal Summary::.

            Madeline (Maddy) Whittier has SCID, which is a medical disorder that literally makes her allergic to everything. In order to live her life, she reads books over and over again to experience it from different perspectives as she grows up. Even though her interpretations change, her situation does not. She is still living inside of her white walls while her doctor mother and full-time nurse, Carla, care for her each and every day.

Maddy’s entire life is begins changing when a family moves in next-door and their son, Olly, captures Madeline’s attention. She studies the entire family’s schedule and forms a friendship with Olly through the Internet. As the attraction becomes more apparent, Carla takes a chance on Olly and lets him into Maddy’s life.

Once she meets Olly in person, Maddy refuses to accept the life she has been living. Everything is changing and she learns so much about herself, love, the world – and what her diagnosis really means.

 

AVERAGE RATING

*3 out of 5*

 

3-stars

 

The review of this book is based on 4 pre-determined categories (Technical, Creative, Recommendation, and Personal). These areas, unless otherwise specified, are reviewed as objectively as possible for the benefit of readers. This is the average rating between those categories. Below the line are the detailed explanations for the ratings of each category:

 

  • Technical (4/5)
  • Creative (2/5)
  • Recommendation (3/5)
  • Personal, Biased (3/5)

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Everything, Everything”

Book Review: The Song of Achilles

Title:               Song of Achilles

Author:           Madeline Miller

Publisher:      P.S. (T.M.) of HarperCollins Publishers

Published:     2012

Genre(s):        Historical Fiction, Young Adult, LGBT+ Fiction (YA)

Pages:                        369

Read Time:    13 Days (Casual Reading Pace)

 

.::Publisher Summary::.

            Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary kind Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful-irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur, Chiron, in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and tor between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

 

.::Personal Summary::.

            Achilles, a leisurely prince, becomes the fascination of exiled ex-prince, Patroclus. The pair becomes inseparable as they grow from young boys to proper men. The trials that will forge Achilles into “the best of all the Greeks” inevitably make Patroclus an intricate part of the events leading up to the fall of Troy. This romantically mythological retelling will see Achilles and Patroclus make difficult choices that remind us that where there are Greeks there is tragedy.

 

AVERAGE RATING

*4 out of 5*

 

4-stars

The review of this book is based on 4 pre-determined categories (Technical, Creative, Recommendation, and Personal). These areas, unless otherwise specified, are reviewed as objectively as possible for the benefit of readers. This is the average rating between those categories. Below the line are the detailed explanations for the ratings of each category:

  • Technical (4/5)
  • Creative (5/5)
  • Recommendation (4/5)
  • Personal, Biased (3/5)

 

Continue reading “Book Review: The Song of Achilles”

My (Brief) Opinion On: American Prisons

Click this link to watch the video related to this mini-rant. I highly recommend watching it in full prior to reading any further.

Disclaimer: I do have a finance background and a legal education. I am very aware that there’s more to the issue of prisons, federal budgeting, and politics. This is a mini-rant about what I feel would be a positive change for our nation and the communities in which we live.


 

Unfortunately, having known a great deal of people who have been to prison, I do find great issue with the way criminals are living in America. Many of the crimes committed by individuals are due to nurtured behaviors, or behavioral issues such as addiction and untreated mental health. Even violent crimes can be attested to the way an individual was raised – especially in slums all over America.

Where most people find fault with the luxuries some inmates receive – I find the foundation for greatness. Unless someone is truly a sociopath with no chance to recovery – something a variety of unbiased mental health professionals should have to swear to in court prior to this judgment – then these imprisoned individuals should be rehabilitated.

“Oi, but my taxes pay for their sitting ’round on their arses! I don’t want to pay for that!” Your taxes also pay for repeat offenders to keep going back to jail instead of making a living outside of a prison cell. Unfortunately, this partially because it is sometimes easier than working in the free community. It would be cheaper for our government in invest in the necessary resources to prepare individuals imprisoned to re-enter the work force and free community prepared for the tasks ahead – rather than just HOPING they don’t relapse.

It’s one of those situations, you know? Do it right or don’t do it all. Don’t put these people in prison and then fail to help them make their lives better wholly without guidance. Do parents leave their children to fend for themselves after they can walk and talk? No, partially because that’s illegal – but primarily because children need guidance. We are all children to someone – and we all need guidance until the day we die. Prisoners, while seemingly less human because of the crimes they committed, are no less deserving of that courtesy. (Side note, I do not find these people to be less human, this is just the common belief I have run into socially. As a parent, it is hard not to feel that way about child related crimes, but I do my best to remember that criminals are not born. Criminals are products of their environments).

Now, I will say that (personally) there are crimes that I feel should more thoroughly be examined than others. It is my belief that these offenses should be punished with life sentences and no parole opportunities. For me those crimes are: murder, rape, and child molestation – perhaps even treason, though highly circumstantial. Those are the most serious crimes that can be committed. The majority of individuals are in jail for significantly less than that … possessing marijuana (for example) – a LEGAL drug in various states!

America needs to seriously reconsider the quality of life associated with imprisonment of criminals. The money we save on repeat offenders spending their lives behind bars can be funneled elsewhere. Perhaps free college education? Perhaps a more helpful universal healthcare system?

People will whine that they don’t want their money to go to helping prisoners get their lives together – saying they don’t deserve the help – but they’d just as quickly turn down free college education too. Who is worthy of your tax money then?

Is anyone worthy?
Before you answer – consider this…

These criminals you don’t wish to rehabilitate – they live in the same communities you live in…

These impoverished people you call lazy and don’t feel deserve universal healthcare – they go to school with your children, they work with you, they live with your coworkers, and they share the same air you breathe…

And these students you feel have done nothing to deserve free college education – they are the doctors, nurses, lawyers, scientists, politicians, and teachers of the generation that will care for you and the future generations of your family.

Consider that and let me ask you again…

IS ANYONE WORTHY OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS?

My Opinion On: George Takei & New Interpretations of Old Characters

Something that made big news this weekend was George Tekei’s comments regarding Star Trek’s character, Helsman Hiraku Sulu, being homosexual in the next film. As a fangirl, I am very quick to rally behind same-sex couples. I wish they occupied more leading roles and held an appropriate amount of existence in these fictional universes to which we so tightly cling. I was intrigued when I saw a slew of headlines on Facebook demonizing George Tekei’s lackluster support of the decision to take a character whose sexuality was not clearly stated in no uncertain terms at any point in time.

The article from that appears to have originally published these statements made by Tekei can be found here. The episode referenced in this article, Mirror Mirror (1967), supposedly portrays the exact opposite of the characters seen in the Star Trek series. A synopsis of the episode can be found on Wikipedia here. This doesn’t reference Sulu directly as far as the “aggressively heterosexual pass” he makes at Uhura during the episode but does establish that this is an alternative reality.

Here comes my first comment – which is that an alternate reality doesn’t necessary mean every tiny detail is in exact opposition of the reality from which is differs. “Aggressively Heterosexual” is one of a few interpretations. His aggressive pass at Uhura could be an opposite simply in his demeanor. After all, he is intensely passive. It could have nothing to do with his personality, per se, because “intense” can also mean “aggressive.” Perhaps it was only a statement on his sexuality. After all, many people proclaim that Star Trek is the most inclusive fandom from it’s era. George Takei, and even Simon Pegg (here), both agree that Star Trek has always been kind and welcoming towards the LGBT+ community. Regardless, this presentation is fairly ambiguous. It suggests a couple of strong things but doesn’t clearly state beyond that what Sulu’s sexuality is … perhaps suggestion that this “aggressive heterosexual” statement in Mirror Mirror was a statement of Sulu’s absence of aggressive sexuality? I think this is potentially a strong contender in the possibilities in this debate. However, there’s more to consider too.

I like to look at Wikias for different fandoms as a way to quickly reference key points about a character. I decided to look up Hiraku Sulu’s ‘profile’ to learn more about him in depth. In the panel mid-right of the screen it usually lists relationships and family members. Here is where I found out that Hiraku Sulu has a daughter, Demora Sulu. Since there was so much text I just did a quick search, but after reading the entire section about Demora – much is not truly known about her – it would seem that in the very least that Hiraku Sulu did have a relationship with a woman at some point in time. To my knowledge there is no “test tube baby” process in Star Trek – though I’m not nearly as well-versed in this particular fandom as the thousands of fans that would actual fight Star Wars fans. Regardless, it appears that sexual and asexual reproduction are the primary birthing processes in this universe – cloning also being utilized (though this is not exactly a birth).

Only interview excepts are used as reference, each of which reference George Takei and his knowledge about the character he portrayed. It would seem that there’s a confirmed wife with an unknown past and fate beyond the birth of Demora Sulu. At some point it was clear that Hiraku Sulu was at least sexually involved with women meaning that three sexualities existed for him: heterosexual, bisexual, and pansexual. People argue whether or not video games qualify as cannon, and sometimes the information is considered “fanfiction” in essence. That being said, there is a published book (The Captain’s Daughter) states that Demora was the result of a brief sexual encounter with a woman Hiraku barely knew – and hadn’t even known he was a father initially. Either way, regardless of the question of canonical relevance, it would seem that Sulu was sexually attracted to women.

As inclusive and welcoming as everyone says the Star Trek fandom is – I can’t help but ask why there was such evasiveness about such a cherished character. Simon Pegg – in the article I referenced earlier – states that Sulu was chosen because there would be less judgment towards an existing and beloved character (versus creating a brand new character to be judged solely on his sexuality). It is with this in mind that we must carry on with this conversation…

It is known that even still today there are hate crimes committed against homosexual people. This is evidenced in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. If it is this bad in 2016, an era that is supposed to represent another age of progression. Unfortunately, that is not totally true. For me, it is ridiculous for introducing homosexual to “progressive,” “dramatic,” or “scandalous.” The number of non-heterosexual individuals in the world is unimaginably vast compared to the representation that they receive in the entertainment business. Generally speaking, we don’t see many lead characters that are homosexual and that is a huge problem for me. So, I think that Hiraku Sulu being homosexual is kind of a small win. He’s certainly more at the forefront than most homosexual characters but still is not a main character. JJ Abrahms is leading a new era of Star Wars material and has very actively and promoted the inclusivity of homosexual characters to be revealed/introduced in the next installment of the new Star Wars trilogy. You can read more about it here. While many consider there fandoms to be enemies of one another, I see so much in common between them – and I adore each of them for the differences they hold in opposite of the other. Between these two though, I feel that Star Wars is upping their game. Let me explain that, though.

Firstly, the most common theory is that Star Wars‘ main male leads, Poe and Finn, will be the homosexual couple that Abrahms has been discussing with the media. Even the actors have toyed and added fuel to the fire. You can read about the confirmation here and the teasing here (Oscar Isaac) and here (John Boyega). Of course, there are other articles that shoot down this possibility of the Finn-Poe relationship entirely – like this one (which is not nearly as reliable as other sources, and also dated prior to John Boyega’s most recent unofficial affirms that it is still a possibility). Regardless, this is a much bigger statement that Star Trek is making with Sulu’s newfound status a homosexual character.

You might be wondering why I even brought up Star Wars. Of all the comparisons to make, why this one? Why even compare them – I am basically asking for an all out war in the comment section! See, the thing is that it’s totally relevant.

I have a lot of strong opinions about this new era of Star Wars, mostly boiling down to that this new era made the publications under George Lucas essentially fanfiction. To me, having been immersed in those extended universe stories with and through my husband, Abrahms version of the Star Wars is fanfiction. All of the characters taking the forefront are original characters, productions of his own mind (with his team, of course). As such, making any of his characters – lead or not – means that there’s no canon dictating the sexuality of these characters. Something that was referenced by Takei – this article elaborates more on what he was hoping for instead of changing Sulu’s sexuality from what he understood was pretty clear as heterosexual.

Now, here’s my second comment on the matter…

I understand what Takei was suggesting, what he was asking of them, because for me this is important. My husband and I both found it a wee bit insulting to homosexual characters to just pick characters that exist – characters that were oftentimes portrayed as heterosexual in many instances – and suddenly tell the world that they are homosexual. A) Any heterosexual encounter automatically denunciates any status as a homosexual, thereby making the character BISEXUAL instead; B) It is essentially saying that the inclusion of homosexual individuals is an afterthought not important enough to justify the creation and incorporation of an original homosexual character; and C) Negates the existence of any other sexualities beyond hetero and homo. With that being said, I have decided that an even half of me totally agrees with Takei. It is disappointing that a brand new character wasn’t introduced – especially with Zachary Quinto saying that this is a brand new universe that differs from Raddenybury’s original creation. To me, that just affirms what Takei was asking of the products and writers. They intended to honor Takei but then completely ignored his wishes for such a character’s existence within the universe.

HOWEVER – HOWEVER – HOWEVER!!!

I do not disagree with the decision to make a character that already exists within the fandom homosexual. Now, as I just said, Sulu would technically be bisexual since the original cannon has more heterosexual evidence than homosexual evidence. That could be a sign of the times during which it was created, though. Still, the cannon is the word – and really not arguable. I am a writer of fanfiction, though, and I see the value in reading subtext. In fact, I live for reading subtext and making brand new stories about the details that mean so much to me – the ones that stand out and define how I read the subtext from every second that exists after it.

I rally behind the idea of characters who are presumed heterosexual, even portrayed as extremely heterosexual, and revealing that their sexuality is more complex or entirely different. Allow me to list just a few of them for your: Sherlock Holmes (BBC Sherlock), John Watson (BBC Sherlock), Arthur Pendragon (BBC Merlin), Merlin (BBC Merlin), Dean Winchester (CW Supernatural), Castiel (CW Supernatural), Riley Matthews (Disney Girl Meets World), Maya Hart (Disney  Girl Meets World), Marceline (Cartoon Network Adventure Time), Princess Bubblegum (Cartoon Network Adventure Time), The Doctor (BBC Doctor Who), and Clara Oswald (BBC Doctor Who). These are just to name a few. There are plenty of other characters that I feel would be greater with the depth of a complex sexuality, but these are the ones that I most frequently speak about within the respective fandoms. By no means am I wholly opposed to “changing” the sexuality of a character because sexuality is genuinely fluid. That is why the other half of me – as Simon Pegg put it – “respectfully disagree” – with George Takei on this matter.

George Takei is a huge influence in the LGBT+ community, something of which he is very aware. I do not believe he meant to speak ill about LGBT+ characters – and most certainly had no intentions of insulting anyone. As someone who works in the business and knows the intricate process of creating a piece of work from scratch, of course he’s going to see things from a different angle than some people. There are writers out there whom would never want to read the fanfiction written about there work because it isn’t the way they envisioned it – some that have actually deemed it illegal to even write fanfiction! George Takei knows Raddenbury on a personal level, more so than the majority of the cast and crew presently working on the new Star Trek movies. As such, I am at least glad to see everyone respecting him rather than belittling and attacking him for his opinion. It is a fair opinion to have, after all, and reflective of his experience with the creation and lifelong involvement with the existence of Star Trek.

What I want everyone to take from this is that the representation of homosexual characters is no laughing matter – nor a matter of choice. Homosexual people deserve to be on the screen. For as ignored as bisexuals are in the world today – often being lumped into the sexuality most fitting of their present relationship – there are so many characters that are technically being made canonically bisexual, even if they are not titled as such. I would like to see a mix of old characters given layers to their sexualities as well as new characters for us to love.

To me – it’s as simple as that – and one day (soon I hope) I won’t have to wrap my mind around the fact that to many others it is not.

My Opinion On: An Opinion of OITNB

In case you didn’t know, OITNB stands for “Orange Is The New Black.”

To be perfectly honest, I don’t even watch this show. Many of the people I am connected with online watch it. Everyone says I’ll love it and that I should invest my time in watching it as well, yet I don’t feel compelled in the slightest to invest my time. I guess it’s that “mom” part of me that wants to share T.V. with my kid. That being said, I did still click on the article – as I generally do when OITNB makes headlines in any way – and I was moved to speak on the matter. I just couldn’t not say something after reading it.

The article can be found here so that you can read it too.

Now, as an American I guess I feel entitled to have an opinion on someone else’s opinion. I hear a good many people say that it’s a disease we have from the liberties we are so given by residing here. (That’s not true, there’s an imbalance of power and privilege that exists, but that’s a different opinion blurb for another day). As I said previously, I generally click on articles pertaining to OITNB simply because so many people I know watch it. This helps me listen with some basis of understanding when they’re gushing about their favorite parts.

The title of the article is what truly grabbed my attention: “Pennsatucky’s Sympathy For Her Rapist in ‘Orange is the New Black’ Was an Uncomfortable Reminder of my own Rape.’ The thing is – I think all women are sexually assaulted and/or raped in their lives. The sad truth is that many women don’t realize it. For me personally, I was sexually assaulted in one way or another starting at seven years old until I was twenty-one years old by friends, boyfriends, and strangers. As so many young ladies do not see “boys being boys” (an excuse created by misogynists that should promptly be removed from our culture entirely) as the assault it truly was unto them. I never realized what was happening to me qualified as rape. Until a few years ago the idea that “the absence of ‘no’ is still rape” was a foreign concept. I was never taught that and consequently never categorized the unwanted interactions as assault or rape.

Even though there has been question lately about whether or not is legitimately racially conscious comes into question – but it appears to me the show is doing brilliantly to show that rape isn’t what you see in the movies all the time. It can be subtle, and they can trick you into thinking it’s not rape. They may not even actively be trying, but it is rape. Believe it or not, the crime may come as shock to both you and your assailant.

And there is sympathy to be felt as a victim – strange as it may sound. People you love and trust can do these things to you. It is natural that you want to love them, forgive them, and move on. Spouses raped by spouses don’t want to end a marriage over what they truly believe is a confusion of consent. Advances are made daily in science but so much more slowly in social awareness. Archaic beliefs that marriages must have sex almost daily to successfully prevail are still very much alive. In addition to those unacceptable expectations, sex-drive media exposure makes us too often forget that we owe our bodies to no one.

Feelings aside, sexual assault and rape are crimes. I don’t want anyone growing up feeling as though they are less because of what has happened to them the way that I always felt less for not being able to prevent what happened to me. There are no tiers defining the levels sexual assault and rape. It is all bad and your status as victim is not a badge to be worn with ranks of severity. Psychological trauma shapes you and will continue to define you are for the rest of your life. Please always seek assistance when you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped.

 

My Opinion On: Chicken Factories?

As I was scrolling through Facebook I saw this headline…

IMG_4573.jpg

Then I read through it and went to the article referenced…

And the first section looked like this…

IMG_4574.jpg

I shared this on Facebook initially but pulled it before anyone could read it because it felt more like a mini-rant-reminder-opinion blurb that I could utilize on my blog instead. There were four big companies listed:

TYSON
PERDUE
PILGRIM’S
SANDERSON FARMS

Reading this made me glad that I research the meat I buy from the store before I bring it home. We aren’t a super “all organic” family – but we avoid foods (whenever possible) that have preservatives and go for foods that are as fresh and natural as possible.

There aren’t many regulations in the food market regarding the use of the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ – so you still have to do the reading. That’s not to say that ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ labels are false, but the restrictions in using those words aren’t as strong as you might except – especially with nonfood items. Last time I had researched the chicken we do buy – it was one of the safest brands you can purchase on the market.

My husband was prompted to do this research after taking a class in college which forced him to immerse himself into a culture or lifestyle he never would adopt. He chose vegetarian/vegan because I did not actively eat meat or most animal byproducts. (This was not necessary an active lifestyle choice so much as I prefer raw fruits and vegetable to meats). After watching a couple of documentaries about the ways in which chickens are slaughtered, he immediately sought out organic and animal-friendly (or as friendly as they can be considering the chicken ultimately dies for consumption) brands. That is how we found the brand of chicken we purchase now. Most of our other meats come from small local farmers.

People on welfare, though, do not have these same luxuries. People using public assistance are generally forced to purchase from these four corporations. Tyson in particular, as they make a ton of microwaveable chicken foods marketed specifically towards kids. Aside from this, I would wager that a good many schools who cannot import fresh meats from delis, farmers, and butchers turn to brands like Perdue and Tyson. It saddens me greatly to even think that people must purchase items from a brand that cannot be trusted to allow workers to engage in a normal and necessary bodily function.

We need to force these corporations to see people as people – otherwise we are insulting the entire working class and the entire impoverished community. Both of which are funding their ridiculous food industry empire! The imbalance in power is unjustified, and certainly being abused by those who have it.

Some people may argue that this piece is slanted (generally documentary works generally as slanted but that is the nature of persuasion) – but the idea alone that this could be happening at only some locations is appalling. It should not happen anywhere for any reason. It is absolutely disgusting and the more attention it receives, the less profit these companies generate; and the more the general population forces these food industry giants to change.

#RESPECTYOURWORKERS #GIVETHEMABREAK

My Opinion On: Bad Parenting… Apparently

*Disclaimer: This is an opinion article. If you do not share the same opinion I kindly ask that you remain respectable in the comments. My style of writing is sarcastic in nature, involves swearing, and is generally highly critical. If you find that style and those traits to be unappealing then kindly hit the back page to save yourself the stress. Your respect and maturity are appreciated. All reference points are clickable links and will direct you to a new page.

Recently there was an incident at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, USA. An endangered gorilla, a Silverback Gorilla, named Harambe was shot and killed for the protection of a child that had gotten into the exhibit. Instead of resounding support for the executive decision that was made to to save the life of a three-year-old little boy, criticisms flew at the parents for their failure to monitor the child involved.

Firstly, articles across the board keep referring to the young boy as having parents & family – you can see it here on CNN and here at Reuters just for a couple references – but I am not seeing any mention of a father. I see mention of multiple children but nothing of a father, or even a second mother! There is absolutely no mention of an actual second parent  (regardless of gender) being there which makes me ponder how parents are perceived.

Your criticisms are of a dual parent setting when it appears it may actually be a single parent situation. Even if isn’t a single parent – maybe only a single parent was present. Would you honestly tell a parent they he/she/ze shouldn’t be allowed to venture into a public setting simply because they have no second guardian to assist? To those of you that would support such an idea – I say ‘fuck off’ because you are no better than Hitler for suggesting such a concept. I’m willing to bet your very own parents ventured out solo with you on their hip or your hand in their grip. Please kindly get over your superiority complex.

Secondly, almost every article I find on this matter talk about how the mother should be charged criminally for the events that transpired. This woman is an employee of the state government as a part of the child welfare services. She is responsible for hundreds of young children’s lives anually who are actually in the hands of incapable parents – and yet she is being accused of just as much for doing what a good many parents can’t be bothered to do with their own children. Nobody is going to praise this woman for actively trying to enrich her children’s lives by taking them to the zoo to enjoy a day out together. Making memories with her family is now little more than an act against animals due to her inability, apparently, to keep track of her children.

I saw an article that is an opinion piece on Huffington Post which suggests that inaction is the act of allowing a terrible thing to happen. Those who did not help the mother are equally to blame for not trying to save the life of the child and the gorilla. Another Huffington Post article argues the opposite – stating that the endangered gorilla holds more value than a single child that is easily replaced in the population. Both articles have their points, I can’t lie, but it is hard as a parent to think that watching hundreds of people watch my child potentially die at the hands of an animal in a zoo would be acceptable.

Maybe that is truly the elitist human in me speaking, maybe it’s my mother heart spewing selfish words, and maybe I’m just a dick for thinking as much. Logically, I can see the reasoning behind everyone’s disappointment and frustration. Logically and theoretically, I can see why people would say the endangered gorilla should not have been killed. Emotionally, though, I think of a mother and her children dealing with the loss of a child and a sibling. Humans don’t want their loved ones to die anymore than animals do – we all experience grief once losing someone close to us. Why would you wish as much upon another person whose story you do not even know?

For those of my readers that would wish death upon another person’s child – shame on you. What if people you knew wished as much upon you as a child? What if people you thought cared about you pranced up to you and said that they had wished you dead as a child because it would have been better for someone else, or for the betterment of an animal. That would make you feel bad. If he didn’t – then I pity you. I hope that you seek the medical attention that you need because you are suffering greatly to the point where you’ve allowed such callousness to become your norm.

Lastly, I came across a different article that actually exhibits bad parenting. It made me wonder if the internet just assumes all terrible incidents involving children constitutes bad parenting. This incident at the Cincinnati zoo is clearly an accident. There’s no child negligence on the mother’s part from the information that can be found in any of the published articles. This other story involving a 7-year-old boy intentionally left in a forest as punishment is astoundingly horrifying in a way the Cincinnati Zoo incident could never be in a million years. I first found the article on Mashable here – but you can read variations of the story on CNN and on The Guardian.

There aren’t nearly as many comments about the badgering of the parents, although it is certainly present. The articles surrounding the gorilla incident badger this mother for her mistake. Internet users attack her ability to parent and suggest that she deserved to lose her child as punishment for tending to all of her children. Yet in these articles about the 7-year-old boy being intentionally left in the forest/woods/mountains as punishment – a story in which the FATHER is the central point of a confirmed dual-parent scenario – people are sympathetic to the young boy and merely slapping the father on the hand.

Is this a sign of patriarchy at work? A father is stern with his child, his son no less, and people are actually concerned for the child. There are talks of bears but I don’t hear people calling that the boy once abandoned (intentionally!) because prey for the animals in their natural habitat. Nobody is damning these parents (two are confirmed to be present, mind you) the way they damned the mother whom was seemingly caring for her children at the zoo alone. It is disgusting to see how the stories differ in literally every way imaginable except for one – a child in danger.

For me, the Cincinnati Zoo doesn’t require an in depth investigation. If you’ve ever been to zoo you know that the gorilla exhibits aren’t protected in a big way. They’re not behind glass walls but rather behind ropes and slopes with motes – they are protected by an intuitionally tumultuous landscape rather than a solidified barrier. It seems a miracle that this isn’t a constant issue in the zoos across the world. Schools go on field trips all the time – assigning on adult to groups of four and five children at a time. I’ve chaperoned trips to zoos where two adults had only four kids – and even that was difficult to keep track of because while you’re dusting the dirt off of a fallen child the second is wandering away to check out another exhibit. All of the energy in the world cannot make you capable of being in two places at once. I’m sorry, but we’re not The Flash, or Zoom. We are simply never going to be speedsters.

Unless Science has created a definitive process to make that a real thing – then I would gladly sign the fuck up for that because – why the hell wouldn’t you want to sign up for that? Do you know how easily that 3-year-old could have been saved with a speedster around? This wouldn’t even be an article because nobody/nothing would be dead.

The article that should have parents charged criminally are these heathens purposely leaving their son in the middle of the mother fucking woods as punishment for throwing stones. When your child is throwing stones at people and cars – you can take other actions. I personally would handcuff my child or tie hands behind his back. Tell them that such activity as an adult gets them arrested – assure them what it will feel like when they’ve throw their freedoms away with the stones. If you don’t like a forward approach like that – take shit away from your kid. Not every child is the same and not every child responds to the same punishment but no child should be abandoned in the woods. This causes permanent psychological damage or worse. In this instance, the child has been missing for four whole days. There’s a decent chance this child is dead – possibly mauled by a fucking bear – and it’s because these parents were pissed off that they child was throwing rocks and not listening to their commands to stop.

To me it is perfectly clear which set of parents were actually horrible. Here’s a hint – it’s the one’s that lied about their child missing for fear of domestic violence charges against their seven-year-old son.

THE FRIEND ZONE: A disgusting debate that is still relevant because society is still a mess.

Disclaimer: As it has been some time, I need to remind you that this is an opinion article. Yes, I do have resources and references in My Opinion Madness articles – but that (unfortunately) doesn’t change the fact that this really is just an opinion article. You are welcome to comment, I would certainly enjoy comments, but I also ask that any comments be mature – thoughtful – and above all else: respectful. Adult or not, we will respect one another when discussing anything because we would expect as much to be extended to ourselves.

 


 

Long time, no post – am I right? I haven’t posted an opinion article for months. Life gets busy that way. I wish desperately I had the time to commit to the schedule I had previously. Since that is not possible – opinion articles will sporadic. All of that being said: I do have an opinion article for you today – and it will stray from the style of my previous articles – it won’t be just in style either, but in the toe of the article, too. I had to change these things for this topic because of the way I’m presenting it – it is more personal that other articles. Change is good! Change can mean improvement! Or it can just mean deviation from the norm – but either way, it can be good!

Several weeks ago I saw a post on the Internet – on social media – and I particularly liked it. For all the good and bad feminism can do in the hands of educated and uneducated people, it will always bring out certain truths. It spolights issues which women have often been too afraid to share aloud to anyone but their most trusted female companions. Some women, too afraid to do even that much! This particular post I speak of looked like this (here’s the source):

Friendzone_a6ec7f_5476471.jpg

If you’re familiar with the Internet at all, you’ll know that this is from Tumblr. This user has it pretty spot on, though. I’ve experienced it time-and-time again growing up. One thing that is true about me is that I’m unintentionally flirty, which can get me into trouble – but it should be far from the punishment it’s always seemed to be for me. I just want people to feel happy and so I say anything nice I can think of about them – they’re not false statements in any way. I say these things with enthusiasm. However, when I compliment individuals of the opposite gender, as often as only two months ago – it gets mistaken as a “sign” of my romantic interest.

It makes being nice to the opposite gender difficult when you’re a woman. I’m not saying that this doesn’t also happen to men, because surely it does. It would be idiotic to think that men don’t experience this problem as well. The thing is, feminism isn’t ignoring that men have these problems too. Feminism is far more than just equal rights for women. It’s also the idea that problems that are traditionally feminine when experienced by men are not something of an insult. It’s treating all problems, whether experienced by men or women, in exactly the same fashion and with exactly the same attention to detail.

So, anyways, I see this post. I see it and I wonder to myself – how in the actual hell is this still a debate? To me, the “friend zone” is as imaginary as Narnia and Middle Earth. The “friend zone” is only as real as we want it to be; only as real as we are willing to allow. I hate the term, and I have since I was very young. When I shared my opinions about it online – I noticed many people were unwilling to converse with me about it. Mostly, it got ignored (which definitely isn’t stopping me from posting this article at all, by the way).

When I am fired up about something, I talk about it with my husband. Now, while I love him, we both know that he’s not nearly as educated on socio-political issues. He is self-proclaimed to be less informed than myself, which makes it difficult to debate with him. Usually he comes off as being closed-minded and prejudice in many ways. Regardless of his many flaws, I love him, and I assure you now that he’s not a terrible man. We all have to undergo a change when we see the messy reality of life, and he’s just getting to his change a little later than the other socially aware caterpillars.

In spite of my awareness that this conversation might not go as well as I would hope… I pursue this conversation about the “the friend zone” anyway. I don’t know what I was actually expecting but whatever it was – that’s not what I got at all. So I’m going to present the debate in as close of a replication of what we discussed (I took notes while we conversed because I’m that wife) in the form of a conversation.

Here goes nothing! Or everything? I never liked that phrase. Below is the conversation we had – and yes, I did define several things along the way. It was a lengthy conversation – and a heated one at that – but I believe it is a conversation everyone needs to read. Without further adieu…




 

Wife: Don’t you understand why it frustrates me, though? The “friend zone” was created by some man at some point in time to bully a woman for not being romantically interested in him. Maybe it was not initially his intention to use this as a tool to make her feel bad, but this man – incapable of accepting he was not desirable to his chosen mate – created the idea that women put men into a “friend zone” so that they don’t lose their best guy friends but don’t have to commit to more either.

 

Maybe that sounds innocent on the surface, but there is distinct manipulation here. The psychological torture of using such a term is absolutely disgusting. Nobody should feel bad about who they prefer romantically and, or sexually.


Information (Necessary) To Consider:

(1) Friend v. Lover

A friend, as defined here, is a person that you’re fond of for one reason or another. Sure, the fondness you have towards a friend can be love. However, there is a very distinct difference between loving a friend and being in love with that friend. A lover, as defined here, using concise language to determine that a lover is anyone with whom you are romantically or sexually involved with in your life. There are clear distinctions between a friend and a lover. I am a friend of my best friend’s spouse – but I’m not jumping his bones anytime soon because my attachment to him is platonic. You know, how all friendships typically are platonic.

(2) Platonically v. Romantically

In order to differentiate whether or not your friendship is just that, or possibly more like a lover, you must also understand the difference between a platonic relationship and a romantic one. As an adjective, platonically being interested in someone is where sexual desire is completely removed and exists only on a spiritual level (Dictionary.com). Compare that to romantically – which is the expression of strong affection and love (Dictionary.com). There is a distinct difference between the two words, meaning the relationships described by each signify the nature of those bonds.

(3) The Lack of Humanity in the word ‘Zone’

Defined as a noun here, a ‘zone’ is simply an area with a specific designation particular to the existence within which it was created. The most notable definitions is as follows:

(a) “Any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.”

With that information, please understand that a zone is created very intentionally with specificity. Using the word ‘zone’ in any context is a way of declaring that the existence is purposeful.

Defined as a verb here (again, it is the same link, just scroll a bit), ‘zoning’ is simply the intentional division from something larger with a specific purpose. Of the definitions, there was one that was particularly intriguing – and therefore especially relevant to the conversation:

(a) “to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc…, as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.”

I hope it hasn’t gone without notice that there’s no human element to the word ‘zone.’ It is an action, or a noun, for non-human things and actions. When creating a zone there’s a succinct thought behind it based on what is presumably careful evaluation. Zones have purpose and, therefore, are created and maintained to serve that purpose. A zone is more a business, mathematical, or scientific term than it is a psychological or sociological one. Not that it doesn’t have purpose in those fields, as evidenced by this article’s mere existence…


 

Husband: I don’t know that I agree with that concept. As a man, I feel as though a man more likely created the “friend zone” as a coping mechanism than an abusive one. Men are held to high standards – we cannot fail in any way without harsh criticism. Not being able to woo someone we see as a suitable mate is failure in its simplest, and harshest, form. Instead of admitting that he was unappealing to a woman, some man created this concept as a way to hide the fact that he was imperfect. There probably was nothing malicious about the term originally.

 

Wife: How can you say that knowing that a friend can literally be anyone you are close to but do not romantically affiliate with – while also knowing that a zone is a place that exists for a sole purpose! Linguistically – psychologically – sociologically – the concept of the “friend zone” is nothing more than a form of manipulation to draw out a desired reaction. There is nothing benevolent or harmless about the term. I don’t see how any halfway-educated person can see it as anything but abusive.


 

 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(4) Linguistics

We all know about “language arts” but it is doubtful that we know what “linguistics” actually means. It pertains to language, but it is a very specific study – not too unlike psychology or sociology. It can actually be an integral part of both because language is hardwired in everyone – written or spoken. It is the common ground across all people.

The plain definition of the word, here, ‘linguistics’ is that is the scientific study of all aspects of language (e.g.: phonetics, syntax, historical meaning, etc…).. A lot can be learned about the language any person chooses to use. I found a more encompassing definition of the word here, because I felt that a detailed explanation makes it easier to understand the deeper value of linguistics in my debate.

That’s right – clicking the ‘here’ for the larger explanation of linguistics takes you to a college website. You can get a degree in linguistics. That is because the way in which someone speaks, the words that they use and the placement of those words in the sentences, they are indicators of untold circumstances – unspoken thoughts – hidden agendas, and more.

(5) Psychological Manipulation & Connotation

Psychology is the study of (primarily) human (and animals, officially) emotions and behaviors, right? Just in case that feels insufficient, you can see it defined here again. It’s more than that, of course, but generally speaking that is the bulk of the work done in the field of psychology. So what does ‘psychological’ mean when used as an adjective?

Psychological: “of, pertaining to, dealing with, or affection the mind, especially as a function of awareness, feeling, or motivation.” This is a word-for-word definition from here (yes, I do use this site for all my definitions, unless it is necessary to do otherwise). In short, if something is done psychologically, then it is done with the intention to draw out a specific reaction. Everything about a psychological action is deliberate to some degree – but the degrees really are minimal. There’s really only conscious, subconscious, and unconscious – and none of those options are good when used in this context. That is, however, a conversation for a different bullet point.

Manipulation! We all know what that is, but just in the event that we’ve forgotten…

Let us review!

Manipulation, as defined here, is just management. Of course, it has a generally negative connotation to it, doesn’t it?

More along the lines of linguistics, here, the connotation of a word is an underlying meaning of a word. Dictionary.com explains that ‘connotation’ elicits a specific associated meaning when used. The example used on the page is: “Religion has always had a negative connotation for me.” The same can be said about ‘manipulation’ basically universally.

(6) Conscious v. Subconscious (And Unconscious)

For this, I think it’s best to really just copy-and-paste definitions because that’s the best way to make it clear how these three relate and different. After I can tell you why linguistically – the “friend zone” has absolutely no viable defense.

Consciousness: A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment. (APA Glossary).

Subconscious: relating to thoughts and feelings that exist in the mind and influence your behavior although you are not aware of them. (Cambridge University Press Dictionary).

Unconscious: The domain of the psyche that stores repressed urges and primitive impulses. (APA Glossary).

When arguing whether or not something is deliberate in a negative way – you do have to consider is conscious, subconscious, or unconscious. Unconscious is something that is natural, sometimes nurtured from a very young age. Subconscious, this is when we have been nurtured to believe something but never in a very explicit way even though it is relevant and evident in everything we do or say. And then there’s conscious, which is an awareness and understanding of what we are doing and what caused us to want to do it.

Since we have been determining the “friend zone” being coined with a psychologically manipulative intention – no matter if it was conscious, subconscious, or unconscious of the man to do have created this word… in one way or another he is horribly misguided. If he uses the term consciously – aware that it could be manipulative – then he’s a terrible person who aims to be in control over his female counterparts and companions. If he uses the term subconsciously – unlikely aware of the damage he is causing intrinsically – then he is at the very least unobservant. That makes his manipulation no less hurtful, but perhaps correctable. Of course, what happens when you tell him that the use of the word “friend zone” is offensive and he gets defensive? It takes any understanding out of the equation entirely.

And then there’s the use of the term unconsciously – which implies that this is a behavior and term that is used frequently by this person. It’s not even worth a second thought because it’s always been there and always been used and never been a problem before… And that’s scary, because that sort of thinking can ascend from the unconscious, to the subconsciously, and then to conscious. It takes a nurtured and understood behavior and turns it into an intentional one. And these are the things that are difficult to change in us, and in in those that we know. Something so primal as thinking the “friend zone” is an acceptable term to use when close female friends turn down guys… It’s something we teach the young and, therefore, something they grow up with – never once questioning it!

(7) Nature v. Nurture – There is a Difference!

So – all of these sources I’m using for the “Info” sections are lengthy, but it is because I want to only choose reliable sources. Sources that I would use for a college paper or a professional work; and that’s why this is a LONG article discussing nature versus nurture in great length. This is the link you’ll need, but I’ll give you the shorter version because it is vital to know the different between the two:

(a) Nature is essentially biological. It is something that is typically inherited through genetics. An example of something that is “nature” to someone could be athleticism. OR… it could be something like Attention Deficit Disorder, or any manner of mental illnesses. We are biologically and physiologically predisposed to those sorts of things. They are a part of us that can’t be changed – although, that’s not to say it can’t be controlled to a degree but it won’t be gone. It’s in our nature.

(b) Nurture is more or less a form of teaching. It’s developed traits or mannerisms that are due to the environment. For example, a child who drinks after all of his food is gone does this because his parents do… Or a child who listens to rock music because her siblings like it. These are things that we adopt because of how we grow up and live. Another example of nurture – when a child decides she doesn’t want to smoke because she grew up with a family of smokers and it made it hard to breathe. A lot of choices are made because of our circumstances – and that is nurture.


 

Wife (Cont’d): And furthermore, by suggesting that the “friend zone” is a coping method for men who see themselves as failures… You have unintentionally suggested that it is okay to demonize others for simply having preferences. A woman who is not interested in a man she sees only as a friend should not be told she has created a “friend zone” for this man. A friend is anyone she is friends with in her life! Literally every person – man, woman, transgender, genderfluid, or nonbinary – is a friend if she deems it so! If you want to get right down to it “ friend zone” should literally be a place for all your friends. That’s not what it means, though, does it? Please tell me what the “friend zone” actually means for a man. Tell me what it means today as a man.

 

Husband: What you just explained is completely irrelevant. A woman’s friends aren’t dealing with the same thing a man who has been put in the “friend zone.” A man is suffering from unrequited affection whereas her other friends aren’t pining after her. Calling this man and what he’s experiencing merely a friend seems unfair because that’s not how it feels to him. A man in the “friend zone” isn’t attempting to demonize anyone, either. He’s just making it clear how he felt compared to how she felt, and that is not – in any way – an attempt to make the woman seem like a monster.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) The Modern Definition of the “Friend Zone”

(a) Urban Dictionary defines it as: “What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another.

Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.

“I spent all that money on a date, just to find out she put me in the Friend Zone(said with eerie echo).”

“You know that hot girl I’ve been talking to? She just Friend-ed me.””

(b) When you Google “What is the friend zone?” – Google presents this definition: “a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.

“I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys””

(c) Wikipedia users and moderators have allowed this definition for the “friend zone” to remain published: “The friend zone, in popular culture, refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. [1][2][3] It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded [4] situation by the lovelorn person. [5] If a desired party does not return or respond affirmatively to the advances or affection of the desiring party, but continues to participate in the friendship in a platonic way, it is sometimes described as friend-zoning.”

(d) And this Psychology Today article that actually attempts to explain how to avoid this “friend zone” defines it as: “Therefore, when someone gets stuck in the friend zone, they have entered into an exchange that is not fair or equal. The other person is getting everything he/she wants…but the person stuck in the friend zone is not fully satisfied. In a nutshell, the friend zone person sold himself or herself short. They gave their “friend” everything, without making sure they got everything they wanted in return.”

*Side note, this abysmal crap actually makes me regret ever using Psychology Today as a resource at all, but I review all the content I reference before using it. At least not all of their stuff is as pathetic as this nonsense.

All in all, we know what the “friend zone” is socially. There is no mistaking what it means or that, generally speaking, it is a place that men end up. Without question, this is a problem that “affects” men fair more than it “affects” women.


 

Wife: I think you’re failing to understand the fact that when a man uses the words “friend zone” he is designating that the women intentionally and maliciously placed him in a special category. He thinks that she has purposefully been nice to him and created a loving relationship between them that means more so that she can benefit from the emotional connection without giving herself – keeping herself open to other possibilities. Calling himself a ‘friend’ purposefully, and manipulatively, so that he can assure everyone that he remains close to her – and then designating it as a ‘zone’ where specific qualifications have been met. Surely he hits many of this woman’s desires in a man, but for whatever reason doesn’t want to be with him. The “friend zone” is almost like a “friend with benefits” concept for men – minus the benefits.

 

So yes, maybe this man was trying to coddle his own ego – but he psychologically manipulates those around him to feel bad for him as a part of the process. The only person zoning anything is him! He zones his peers into a specific frame of mind, which in turn causes them to question why this woman hasn’t found any level of attraction to him. His language is chosen precisely so that it doesn’t sound at all as though he is an aggressor but rather a victim. The man who created the “friend zone” has painted himself a victim. Meanwhile, the woman is left feeling bad for showing any kindness to him because her personal preferences romantically and, or sexually are being ignored because of this man’s pity party. Using his own zoning tactics to criminalize a woman for simply having feelings that do not reciprocate his own.

 

Husband: You’re speaking as though this was some sort of war or competition. How can you really believe that a man would create the phrase “friend zone” as a way to trick a woman into feeling bad for him and giving him a chance? You make it sound no better than rape – except on an emotional level. And the “friend zone” is simply not that bad. It sucks, but it’s not bad enough to drive a man into the mental state it would require to create something that deceitful.

 

Wife: Excuse me, but have you heard of politics? Deceit is literally a race for power. And that’s exactly what rape is! It’s an act of power over another person. The power to say ‘”no” doesn’t mean “no.”’ If you think that’s a stretch, consider political zoning. We’ve just watched it on “Adam Ruins Everything.” Politicians gain control and redistrict so that they can maximize the chances of their party winning the next vote – keeping their ideals, laws, and values in place. Note that it is very clear that the zoning is done as a form of – dun dun dun – manipulation! That’s all zoning really is at the end of the day. Zoning is manipulation! Zoning is management of an area with specificity. Manipulation is management tactfully. They are one in the same; it’s just that one comes with a neutral connotation while the other elicits negative emotions almost instantaneously.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) Political Redistricting – FYI it is Definitely Real

I personally took advanced placement government in high school, but I presume that everyone who graduated high school took a government course that discussed political redistricting. Whether you’ve remembered it – who knows? I do, but only because my education is Paralegal Studies and Business. This is something that we discussed frequently. I have (1), (2), (3) resources that will explain further detail what redistricting is and how it works. I’ll be taking the key points and explaining them here, though.

Political incumbents (fancy word for representative) redistrict within the states and voting districts every 10 years. Redistricting helps determine who represents the state in the Electoral College (the men and women who actually vote for the President, by the way) – which means the population of the state or district has to be taken into account. It helps determine the number of Electoral College votes that exist for that state or district. When these “incumbents” redistrict, the limits within which they operate are relatively small. Politicians use this as an opportunity to secure the majority vote in the state or district in which they represent.

If you haven’t pieced it together yet, “redistricting” is synonymous with “zoning.” It can be called either ‘political redistricting’ or ‘political zoning.’ Both phrases mean the same thing and have the same end result.


 

Wife (Cont’d): Let me explain it to you plainly. John Doe has 10 female friends and 10 male friends. They are zoned as ‘male’ and ‘female.’ John Doe and Jane Smith are great friends and have been for several years. John Doe feels that there is a romantic relationship developing with Jane Smith. He moves her into a new zone: romantic interest. When he tells Jane Smith how he feels – she does not reciprocate those feelings. He redistricts his group of friends again – putting Jane Smith in her own category titled “friend zone” because they have chemistry but she does not wish to pursue that relationship. The population of her district is one.

 

Notice that throughout this story I only used neutral language while incorporating terms that describe an act that requires deep intellectual thought. There is a certain likeness between political zoning and “friend zoning” that cannot go ignored! We already don’t riot enough about the way political redistricting can be unfair to the people and unrepresentative of their political views – we cannot allow men and society to perpetuate the thought that “friend zoning” is not an intentional form of abuse. The only difference in political zoning and “friend zoning” is that the man doesn’t designate to others that he’s put a woman into a specific zone in his mind, but rather tricks others into believe that she put him there instead. An act, which is already sewn with manipulative intent, is made even worse by more deceitfulness.

 

Husband: I can see that this clearly makes you upset. I do see where you are coming from, and I am receptive to the thought of it as a form of abuse. However, having been in the “friend zone” with many of my female friends – [interrupted]

 

Wife: And that’s the problem! You – in my actual presence – are saying you’ve been in the “friend zone,” and are nearly incapable of seeing it for the cruel mechanism it truly is to women. This means at some point you were upset by a woman’s personal preferences simply because they did not include you. The concept of the “friend zone” literally ignores a woman’s right to be interested in anything specific. Guys can prefer blondes, brunettes, skinny, curvy, Latina, dominatrix, and so on – but the instant a woman says she prefers a man with, say, facial hair – lo’and’behold! She suddenly is high-maintenance or shallow when she turns down any man interested in her who doesn’t have facial hair.

 

I once challenged a man to consider dating woman outside of his usual scope of physical appearance (skinny, brunette, small breasts – all of which were his specifications). He told me that I was “stepping out of bounds” by suggesting this because he has the right to be physically attracted to any woman he considered as a girlfriend. However, it was not “stepping out of bounds” when he plainly stated that I purposefully changed my sexuality to shame my husband for his own.

 

If this were an isolated incident I wouldn’t have been enraged, but it wasn’t the first time I had a conversation alike this one. This particular gentleman and I had been friends since I was thirteen, but we were much closer when I was fifteen. He was one of the few people who provided me emotional support through an abusive relationship. He also asked me out on a few occasions, each time being turned down. I told him I was not physically attracted to him in spite of our emotional connection. Even though he accepted my answer, he said that he could no longer be my friend knowing this information – it would be difficult.

 

When we reconnected a year or so afterwards, he was telling me that a girl kept pursuing him even though he turned her down repeatedly. When I asked why he was unwilling to give her a chance he used my exact words: “I simply am not physically attracted to her, and our relationship could never thrive if I didn’t want to be with her in that way knowing she wanted that sort of intimacy.” I was dumbfounded and told him as much. It goes without saying we are not friends.

 

I’m not the only person in the world to experience this double standard. Men are faced with double standards too. That’s all irrelevant to this conversation, however, as are my personal experiences. They serve as examples, but only in a supplemental way. All I want you to understand is that women have preferences. When they turn men down who do not meet their preferences in a romantic partner – they find themselves victimized by this “friend zone” men utilize to classify their situation. The thing is, though, that it’s not a situation at all. They are in exactly the same place they were before, but they’ve convinced themselves that this woman saw more in him when she was just being his friend.

 

The “friend zone” is plainly an insulting, generally patriarchal, and manipulative form of abuse that men primarily use against women after being rejected. Once society stops coddling these men who are too often held to no standards whatsoever, then we can start maturely addressing the real issues. Feminism has always existed, but feel free to quote me here…

 

“The Friend Zone” that still exists because humanity is still a mess in its gender inequality, and racism, and prejudice… it breathes life to Feminism because clearly we still need a social movement capable of turning this misguided species around so that we can live in a better society.

 

Husband: If it’s such a problem, give me a solution. If this is a legitimate problem that can be solved and change the world as we know – then give me a solution. Until you can give me a good solution, or even a viable starting point, then why bother fixing something as petty as a slang term that people try to morph into a psychological game when there are actual crimes against women that need prosecuting?




 

 

 

The conversation ended at this point. I was so angry by the time I began my lengthy monologue that I couldn’t help but shout most everything that came out of my mouth. Our child actually left the room, muttering that we were arguing yet again. Of course, he doesn’t realize that there’s a difference between debating and arguing. He is young and someday I hope like hell he sees the value in the things that my husband and I do discuss.

Why? What parent wants their child to see them in a heated debate with their spouse? What parent would allow their child to sit in on a conversation as mature as this one? Why would any self-respecting parent do that?

The answer to that question is the same answer that I presented to my husband in response to his question. Why would we worry about the “friend zone” when there are real issues to be attended to in the world. The better question is – why doesn’t anyone treat the existence of the “friend zone” as a real issue?

It is our little behaviors that add up to a whole. Little behaviors create cultures and differentiate some from others. These differences make us human and make us unique. They can create societies within societies; they can create wonderful settings and niches. However, these little things can also poison us. It takes the whispers of one person to start a following. Hitler did it once and started a World War. ISIS is doing it presently, probably with the same intentions.

So I couldn’t care less when my son is present during debates such as this one, because it makes him aware. It educates him on the social issues that are present. It prepares him for the world – the way he will most likely experience it in the future.

Today I want to challenge my readers to think about the little things we can change to bring equality across all races, religions, genders, sexualities, classes, and countries. Assess your mannerisms and why you have them. Speak your mind on the issues that exist in the world around you. If you have a guy friend telling you about how he was “friend zoned” – challenge him to think about what it is that made him unappealing to her. Challenge him to consider how his language could affect her. But don’t stop at sexist behaviors – question racist ones too. Question when someone is shutting down another religion.

Question everything. Don’t lose your trust, but always consider the reasoning behind things. Don’t jump to conclusions because negative comments are often made out of ignorance. We can solve a lot of these social issues with awareness and education. So above all other things, I want you to take out this article – educate yourself. Information is easily accessible in many parts of the world.

Also, I want you to remember that the “friend zone” is verbally abusive and is utter bullshit. If you hear someone say they’re in the “friend zone,” consider why. Ask someone why. Understand the situation from all points of view.

Because chances are – that person is 1) a willful ass hat, or 2) an unintentionally uneducated human being waiting for enlightenment.

A List of Charities for Everyday Santa Clauses!

Disclaimer:     I am not a paid advocate for any of these charities/foundations found on this list. The charities listed are either: a) endorsed by celebrities I am familiar with or b) highly regarded by their respective markets. Each section is something that I am passionate about and feel should get more attention in the media. As always, this is an opinion article and should be noted as such.

 

I have decided that this week for “My Opinion Monday” to make a list of things I personally regard as important matters. My focus is on charities for five distinct causes. Be aware that these aren’t the most important causes in the entire world, and they aren’t the most important causes even to me. However, they are important causes to me and things that I believe get overlooked too often in the media today in favor of bigger name charities. If you are the giving type, a tried and true everyday Santa Claus, then please consider donating to any of the following charities:


Autism.

Why it is important to me: Once upon a time, my own child underwent extensive therapy to determine the cause of his severe developmental and social delays. Things went so far as us going to a renowned children’s hospital to see if our child was Autistic. Even though we were able to pinpoint a series of medical issues that were causing the symptoms, not everyone can chalk up the differences in their child to a collective of other issues. I want those families with individuals diagnosed with Autism to have the support that they need and reliable foundations to best help them give their loved ones a quality life.

Why it should be important to you: ONE IN EVERY SIXTY-EIGHT CHILDREN ARE DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM. Not only does that mean that the chances are incredibly high that you’ve met someone with Autism, but that means if you have children in school – there could be as many as a dozen students in the system that are autistic. No differently than your children or relatives, these children deserve a quality education. Their families also deserve to be extended resources the best ensure their ability to care for their children.

Also, children who are special needs or disabled inevitably are treated differently than their “normal” counterparts. Below I have listed almost verbatim form this website some ways in which disabled and special needs children are treated differently. You should want to prevent that by supporting organizations that will bring awareness and better the experiences of individuals afflicted with a variety of diagnoses, such as Autism.

1) Students with disabilities (or special needs) are more likely to be bullied.

2) Bullying hinders one’s ability to focus and learn.

3) Bullying based upon an individual’s disabilities (or special needs) is harassment.

4) Disability Rights qualifies as a Civil Rights matter as dictated by federal law.

5) On a state law level as well, there is legal recourse for bullying of disabled (and special needs) students.

6) Adult intervention is extremely vital.

7) Students with disabilities (and special needs) are extended resources that are designed specifically to assist him or her academically.

8) More than half of all bullying ceases when a peer intervenes.

9) Speaking up for yourself is important.

10) Bullying happens, and disabled (or special needs) victims are not alone in the matter.

Charities for Autism: Here are three charities for Autism that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and or company vision for that particular charity. You will notice that Autism Speaks is not listed, and that is because I’ve been contacted personally about Autism Speaks being under fire for less-than-ethical practices. As a result, I have decided to include it at this time.

(1) RT Autism Awareness Foundation.

“The RT (Reece Trahan) Autism Awareness Foundation is an organization dedicated to making people aware of Autism and the effects it has on individuals and their families.

The diagnosis of Autism is an emotional one for families, and the RT Autism Awareness Foundation wants individuals and families to recognize that they are not without help.”

(2) Grant A Gift Foundation.

“Grant a Gift Autism Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization helping children, youth and their families fight Autism by providing diagnostic and treatment funding, support services, vocational training, transition planning, and education.

Our goal is to provide family centered care through one or more of our programs and services, and help prepare individuals with autism to live as independent adults with functioning roles in our community.

We act as a community safety net by filling in treatment and funding gaps not covered by state and federal resources or insurance. Our organization achieves this by collaborating with other organizations, state agencies, or providers to give children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, growing up in Nevada, a better quality of life and future as they transition into adults.”

(3) Northwest Autism Foundation.

 

“Our mission at the Northwest Autism Foundation is to improve the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders through the mobilization of resources and by championing innovative solutions.

The original goal of NWAF was to “provide education, resources and information to parents, family, friends, caregivers and professionals treating children on the autism spectrum on a donation only basis.” Shortly after its inception, NWAF expanded its goals to include facilitating early diagnosis and effective treatment for individuals with ASD.

Most recently, we have adopted a Lifespan Framework to help conceptualize and direct our ongoing efforts.”


LGBT / LGBTQUIA

Why it is important to me: My first exposure to someone who was not heterosexual was when I was ten. My (late) cousin typed onto her computer screen that she liked girls and boys. I accidentally read it aloud not thinking about it being ‘wrong,’ but there was a look of horror on her face as she told me to stop joking around… I guess I never realized that liking someone of the same gender could get someone intro trouble. After that she would tell me in secret about a girlfriend she had at school and how everyone made fun of her and told her she was a sinner for liking girls. It became so bad that her girlfriend told everyone that it was a disgusting joke that my cousin was playing to get attention. Very few people knew about the emotional struggle she had over the last two years of her life, keeping her sexuality and the bullying a secret from nearly everyone in her life.

After that, I found that a friend from elementary school was gay. He kept it a secret from all but two or three people. He tried dating another friend of mine to convince people he was straight simply because his parents were religious and he feared the image it bring upon them. When I was fourteen, one of my closest friends revealed that she identified as bisexual and secretly maintained a relationship with another girl in the seventh grade for a few months before they decided it was a fleeting interest.

Having always been exposed to people who identified as bisexual or homosexual really allowed me to see without the tunnel vision of my predecessors that these people are just the same as everyone else. Knowing that still in 2015 people are treated differently because of the genders they choose to have sex with, or because of the sex identity of themselves… Why?

Why it should be important to you: People that you love, people that you know, and people that you work with could still be in the closet about his/her/ce sexuality and/or gender identity. There is a deep psychological damage that develops when someone believes that he/she/ce cannot express him/her/ceself. Someone else’s inability to function at healthy levels can bleed into your life and affect you, especially if you are very close to that person.

Furthermore, these people can make a difference in the world no differently than you or I can as heterosexual individuals. There is not a single job in the world in which your sexuality interferes with your ability to do that job. Your gender identity does not determine your ability to complete a task in the workplace. As such, we should do all we can for the people that need support to become effective members of society. Individuals may deserve equal and quality living, but not everyone has the same resources available to him/her/ce. You should want to change that because if the tables were turned – you would want the same courtesy.

Charities for LGBT / LGBTQUIA:   Here are three charities for LGBT/LGBTQUIA that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Endorsements come from Miley Cyrus, Laverne Cox, and TIME magazine, but there’s no harm in bringing more attention to these organizations.

(1) Happy Hippie Foundation (founded by Miley Cyrus).

“Our mission is to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

People who say WE can’t change the world ARE wrong. We will make some noise and cause a scene! We will challenge each other and the world & will stop pointless judgment. We know that the people sleeping on the sidewalk could have been us or our closest friends if our lives were just a little bit different. And the people we see sleeping on the sidewalk COULD be our friends if we gave them the chance.

It’s time for us to speak up for the people in our streets, our cities, our world. It’s time for us to grow our passion, shine bright and change the future.
John Lennon said it best: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.” It is essential to our lives to do good for others! The only way we can truly be happy is if we are making others happy!

That is this Hippie’s goal!

#HAPPYHIPPIE”

(2) Powered with Pride.

“Each year, Powered With Pride donates to a non-profit charity partner whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of people in Louisville and beyond!  Our 2015 charity beneficiary is YMCA Safe Place Services.  YMCA Safe Place Services is committed to making our community stronger by providing help, hope and healing to teens and families in crisis.  Their mission is to accept, affirm and advocate for youth by empowering them to reach their full potential in spirit, mind and body.”

(3) Trevor Project.

“Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.”


Ladies in Crises / Feminism

Why it is important to me: I am a lady and that is justification enough. More deeply, though, I have faced sexual abuse and harassment since the age of seven. Although I have been able to save myself, there are not many people who have the same resources that I had to do the same. In addition to this, I know so many women who discredit themselves as the result of their situations. Never should a woman believe that because she is a woman that she is less. The effects of this corrupt thinking can be seen everywhere, in every crevice of the planet, and I dare to hope that it is eradicated swiftly.

Why it should be important to you: If you are living and reading this it is because a woman birthed you. Life cannot continue without women to contribute to reproduction. However, the treatment of women can contribute to one’s desire and/or ability to reproduce. As a women, why would you want to devalue your peers and make her feel as if she is worth less and that her decisions are without substance? As a man, why would you want to devalue your peers and make her feel as if she is worth less and that her decisions are without substance? See what I did there – I made the same statement twice because women are equal to men no matter what. And yet, today there are still inequalities present as the result of sex identification, and thereby gender identification as well. This standard could be a roadblock in your life that you cannot control, and it could be affecting women that you love dearly.

As the result of rape culture, woman are over sexualized and blamed for the sexual abuse that she may experience. This being present in society detracts any first world status we [America] has simply by allowing women to not only be paid less, but to be judged as inferior and worth little more than a temporary sexual pleasantry. Women are disrespected and judged for something a natural as menstruation. All of these realities are disgusting and as unnatural as rape. There is a woman in your life doing something for you and you owe it to her to do what you can to ensure she has resources that she needs in order to be respected, and to have recourse for the inadequacies she faces in life.

Charities for Ladies in Crises & Feminism: Here are three charities for ladies in crises & feminism that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Understand that while each organization is targeted at a specific group of people you should not overlook it, as the services provided are priceless.

(1) To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA).

“To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

(2) He For She (endorsed by Emma Watson).

“UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.”

(3) INCITE!

 

“INCITE! Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans people of Color* Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.

INCITE! is made up of grassroots chapters and affiliates across the U.S. working on particular political projects such as police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice; a national collective that works to leverage this grassroots organizing on a national and transnational platform; an advisory collective that helps increase the capacity of national organizing; and thousands of members and supporters.”


Food & Hunger

Why it is important to me: I love food, I think I actually qualify as a “foodie” in my newfound obsession. That aside, as important as international issues are, there are plenty here [in America] that matter too. There are struggles we [Americans] face that we should not as a first world country. Food is not only vital to our survival in terms of nutrition, but it is in large part the livelihood of many people. Grocery stores, farmers, and restaurants – almost every facet of the free world is in some way related to food. We know it is important but do we really realize just how important it is?

Why it should be important to you: Well I imagine that you like food, and I imagine you like when people work to bring food to you. Can you imagine a life without a server to bring food to your table in a restaurant, or a life without a chef to prepare it? Can you imagine a world with grocery stores? Can you imagine a world without farmers? Do you want to go back the most rudimentary form of hunting and gathering?

Nah, I don’t really think you could. Food is important to you because without it your body will quit. Also, it is a huge convenience to have business that make obtaining food easier. And more still, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point your life or the life of your loved ones that income was earned from a food service job. Your life would be radically different without the food industry and, you know, food.

Aside from that, you should want to help your fellow men and women who struggle for food. As you know, you can’t live without it. There are people here [in America] that don’t know when they are going to eat again, many of those being children. That could be your loved one, or someone a loved one cares about, and if that person passes away as the result of malnutrition or starvation… the impact that can have cannot be measured. Think about that.

Charities for Food & Hunger: Here are three charities for food & hunger that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Big names endorse these organizations, such as: Food Network, Marcus Samuelsson, and (queen bee) Beyoncé Knowles.

(1) No Kid Hungry.

“NO CHILD SHOULD GROW UP HUNGRY IN AMERICA. But 1 in 5 children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. You can help surround kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play.”

(2) C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program)

 

“Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a national non-profit, works with public schools to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. C-CAP offers:

  • job training and internships
  • teacher training
  • curriculum enrichment
  • college advising
  • life-time career support and
  • culinary scholarship

Since its inception in 1990 C-CAP has awarded over $43 million in scholarships, and classrooms have received $3.8 million worth of supplies and equipment. Many C-CAP students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.”

(3) The Lunchbox Fund.

“Fostering education via nutrition, The Lunchbox Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a daily meal for orphaned and vulnerable school children in township and rural areas of South Africa, a country where 65% of all children live in poverty. Receiving food encourages these children to stay in school and obtain their education. When a child stays in school, his or her risk of HIV infection, abuse and unwanted pregnancies is greatly reduced.

It’s quite simple. Regular lunch programs increase enrollment at schools and reduce truancy rates. Students participating in a school feeding program attend school more frequently than those who do not. Academic performance also improves with test scores increasing in students who have access to a daily meal through a school feeding program.

Today, 19.6% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. Unemployment is a severe problem where we work, resulting in many of the students at our partner schools not having access to adequate nutrition or basic health care.

The simple act of providing each child with protein-rich peanut butter sandwiches and a piece of fruit, or hearty soups, stews with vegetables or enriched porridge, makes a substantial difference as it nurtures and encourages each child’s attendance and performance at school. Not only is it often their only guaranteed meal of a day, but children are more likely to attend and stay in school to obtain this basic sustenance.”


Grab Bag

…because this list would never end if I tried to make sections for every single thing I get passionate about… 

Why I care so much about everything: My education is in law (as a Paralegal) and in business. Originally, I had every intention of getting into psychology, and as such have acquired a significant amount of self-taught understanding on the subject. Humanities are something that I’ve always been interested in and passionate about because in my heart of hearts, I’m a writer. To be a writer I have to understand people and what motivates them and what defines them. I have to be able to think in thousands of different ways to create diversely believable and relatable characters for my readers. As I educate myself, I find the flaws in humanity, and I want to change that in spite of my love for all things fictional.

Everyone faces adversity in some way, even if they are CIS white privileged people. As such, it is our responsibility to do more and be more – for ourselves and those around us. This cannot be done if we don’t make ourselves aware and if we sit idly by doing nothing to change the world. If you can’t donate money or time, you can donate awareness. Bring up the name of a foundation you care about in conversation, use social media to generate buzz around something that you care about, think about charities you care about when doing school projects as a way to get the younger population motivated for change; there are tons of ways to help without going broke. Not to mention, you can volunteer your time for charity related events.

Every single person can do something!

Why you should also care this much about everything: As a human you should care about humans. There seems little other reasoning required, but just in case that isn’t enough…

People you know and love and interact with face struggles that sometimes you cannot see. Sometimes they carry burdens that you have never bore. Even though you may not understand, or cannot understand, you would want the best for those people. That’s what everyone wants in life – the best for themselves and for the people they love. Unfortunately, in our selfless selfishness (oxy moron, but accurate) we forget the needs of humanity as a whole.

As we become increasingly inhumane towards the quality of life others experience we will inherently taint our own. Filling a world with racism, sexism, prejudice, and strife will only bring about the extinction of humankind. I don’t know about you, but being alive is pretty darn amazing. There is value in life and too many don’t see that, so you should want to help these people enjoy their time amongst the living.

Charities for the Grab Bag: Here are three charities for the Grab Bag section that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. At some point in my life I have heard about or been exposed to these organizations and have been moved by the stories and premises of each.

(1) Alex’s Lemonade Stand (Endorsed by Alex Guarneschelli).

 

“Curing childhood cancer, one cup at a time.

Our mission is to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily for research into new treatments and cures, and to encourage and empower others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer.”

(2) World Animal Protection (Endorsed by Ricky Gervais).

 

“Our vision is a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended – together we can move the world for animals.

We are World Animal Protection

We end the needless suffering of animals

We influence decision makers to put animals on the global agenda

We help the world see how important animals are to all of us

We inspire people to change animals’ lives for the better

We move the world to protect animals.”

(3) Reading is Fundamental (RIF).

“To motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8.”


I know that this article was less informative than past MOMs, but I feared the read would be dry if I just threw statistics and psychological reasoning out to you. One thing that I have always believed is that everyone is responsible for becoming informed. You, as a reader, have taken the first step by reading my blog today, and I encourage you to check into these charities further as you are interested.

Maybe you can’t make regular donations, but maybe you can buy a t-shirt that you wear to an event at work or at school. It can grab someone’s attention that could donate regularly, or make a large donation. Sharing posts and articles about your favorite charities and organizations can spread the word, maybe getting someone else to buy merchandise and share posts. The impact may feel small, but thousands of “small impacts” make a difference.

One of the most important lessons in life is that every voice matters. Your voice can make a difference. You are capable of much more than you think, and by using your strengths you will make a difference. Maybe it’s in one life, maybe it’s in thousands, but it is still a difference.

And isn’t making a difference basically the meaning of life?


*For this particular post I have chosen not to utilize a References of Redirect References due to the number of resources used in the writing of this article. You are welcome to leave a comment with any questions or concerns below and I will respond to you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding in advance.

You are invalidating your children… and pretty much everyone else too…

Disclaimer:     The only things that you need to know about this article this week are that 1) I am a parent; 2) I am still young enough to be a considered “child” to to most parents; 3) I’ve had a decent amount of academic exposure to sociology and psychology; and 4) I’m hyperaware of social issues. These particular issues have been gaining a lot of momentum – especially online – and are things I feel need addressed more straightforwardly. As always, be reminded that this is an opinion article. Although, if you ask me, I will tell everyone to take these things into consideration when, you know, being a human. Also be aware that there is course language in a few paragraphs of this article.

* terrible parent voice*      You made yourself mad…

This is a post that set me off about a month ago. I replied (on my own blog without any tags) with a slew of swear words and insults. As a parent, it’s hard for me to watch younger children talk poorly about their parents without considering what actually makes a good or a bad parent. As you can see… this post had no context. If you’re a parent you know that sometimes – yeah – your kids piss themselves off and that’s just the reality of the situation! I was having bad anxiety that week and I wish I wouldn’t have said anything because afterwards I got a message from the original poster telling me I was a shitty parent and that I was an asshole for replying to his or her post.

Furthermore, his or her friends started messaging me to kill myself. They don’t know me, but I’ve had a long struggle with self-harm and depression on top of my severe anxiety. This experience just heightened the slew of attacks I’d already been having at the time. I spent hours evaluating why I was so upset, evaluating if I was in the wrong, if I was a bad parent, and if having a blog was even worth it anymore because this one incident would ruin my reputation as an open-minded person – something you can rarely come back from on the internet.

But that’s when I realized – no. I wasn’t wrong because everything I posted in the reply was right. This person wasn’t a parent. This person didn’t explain why he or she felt that this was a terrible parent thing to say to a child. This person didn’t think before they posted. The last realization is what hit me hardest, though, because neither had I! It made me wonder more about how people discredit each other all time. I had easily done it to this person who eventually revealed that he or she had a terribly manipulative parent and reacted in the same way his or her parent would to any kind of criticism.

I never replied to the message from the original poster because I realized that with my anxiety I was bound to follow in the footsteps of my mother. I would reply until I was red in the face with a tear stained cheeks. Just as she has severe anxiety, so do I, and recognizing the pattern in her has saved me a world of trouble. Being at odds with her through my childhood has shown me how easily an argument with someone can turn dark and hateful, even when it’s not even sincere. Once it happens it cannot be undone so I just kept my curiosity self-contained. Until now.

All of this has inspired me to write this article. Parenting is something that the Internet has a fascination with – are you doing it right; are you doing it wrong? So, today I want to talk about some things parents do that discredit their children – and consequently, other people too.

(1)      It’s just a phase; you’ll grow out it someday. You might change your mind when you’re older. There will come a time when you don’t want/ won’t like that anymore. You’ll regret that someday. Everyone goes through it. This is normal but it won’t last forever.

            I’ll admit that I’m guilty of telling my 7-year-old that he might change his mind about things. As parents we don’t think of the implications that this imposes on our children, though. The reality is that this is a form of invalidation. When you tell your child that he or she is just going through a phase and that he or she will regret something in the future – you are basically telling them that their opinions and feelings don’t matter right now. Remember that saying? “Kids are sponges,” yeah – that is real. Kids remember everything. Truth be told, it is harder for them to remember things if the child hasn’t developed language, but that’s a completely different matter.

Sounds made up, right? Invalidation – that cannot possibly be an actual thing, right? Unfortunately, there is psychological relevance to invalidation. It’s not called “invalidation,” but it is based upon the premise of devaluing your child. There is a quote from this article that I simply cannot summarize, so allow me to copy it word-for-word for you right here:

“Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person said. It is a process in which individuals communicate to another that the opinions and emotions of the target are invalid, selfish, uncaring, stupid, most likely insane, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Invalidators let it be known directly or indirectly that their target’s views and feelings do not count for anything to anybody at any time or in any way.”

(Allen)

Is it really fair to play games in front of your sister when you know she isn’t old enough yet? You don’t know what you’re talking about, sweetheart. Can you share your cookies with your cousin, please, since he doesn’t have his own? That’s too hard for you; why don’t you try something you already know how to do. You can’t do that unless you do it the way I showed you.

            None of these things sound very bad. We want our children to be generous and compassionate, and we want them to be fair. We want them to be happy and to listen to directions. What we don’t consider is that we do this so often while our children are growing up that it transitions into somewhat harsher actions of invalidation – because certainly they should know better by now, right?

You can’t do that because I said so. I’m the adult in this house and I make the rules. You don’t have a choice. That’s not your decision. You’ll have to get over it. It doesn’t matter. One day you’ll realize that I was right. I carried you for nine months; we take care of you. I did what I thought was best for you.

These are things we usually say to our children when we’re mad at them, or we don’t like something they’ve said, done, or chosen. Really, though, when we say these things we are manipulating them to think that they were wrong. We are choosing our language so that when they hear it they will believe that because of our “superior” role in the household that we were automatically correct. By creating this relationship we can teach our children that when they want something that they are automatically incorrect – exactly the opposite of ourselves as the parents. How awful is it to grow up thinking that everything you think and feel is wrong?

Disqualification is the result of invalidation, you see. By developing a psychology that disqualifies, oneself is imposing the idea that his or her internal desires are invalid (Allen). We’ve all heard of the “self-fulfilling prophecy,” the idea that we can avoid something so fervently that we blindly walk down the very path that leads us to that same thing we are trying to avoid. Too often we are told that we are exactly like our parents, or that our children are exactly like us. The truth is, if you say this enough even when it’s false – eventually it will become true. The reasoning is rooted in invalidation and disqualification. When someone develops the psyche of a disqualifier, essentially he or she begins behaving in a way that invites or provokes others to invalidate their decisions (Allen).

Someone who has always been told that they are too reckless, too radical, or too outspoken then they are more likely to be reckless, radical, and outspoken. If you spend eighteen years telling your daughter that she needs to keep her opinions to herself – she is more likely to share her opinions because she doesn’t know how to function without being told in some variation that basically her opinions don’t always matter. Tell a young man that he needs to stop putting himself in life threatening situations, then he’s more likely to do something dangerous because he’s used to hearing that he’s done something crazy and out-of-control. Disqualification is not unlike addiction in that respect. The individual becomes dependent on the idea of hearing the same thing, and as such they do things to continue the pattern.

To summarize and wrap up this particular problem, I want to list some language that we use when we are disqualifying our children. Next to it is my proposed alternative language.

Disqualifying language Supportive/Inclusive language
Be happy / Cheer up / Don’t be sad / Don’t look so serious / Don’t look so cocky / You’re bringing everyone down

 

This encourages a child to believe that their emotions are not appropriate or are unwanted – this teaches them to fake their emotions or better hide them so that they are not commanded to feel differently. This is especially true for teenagers who suffer from self-esteem issues frequently during puberty.

What can I do to help you right now? Can I do anything to take your mind off of what’s bothering you? Do you need a moment to yourself?

 

Instead of suggesting your child should feel differently, this acknowledges your child’s current emotions and that there is actually a spectrum of emotions to be felt. By offering your support and/or assistance this will create a strong bond of trust between you and your child. He or she will not be discouraged to discuss things with you in the future (during those teenager years, for example).

Get over it / Stop whining / You don’t understand / I tried to help you / There’s no reason to be upset or angry / You should be thankful that something else didn’t happen

 

This suggests to your child that it is undesirable to feel anything other than happy and calm. It also can lead your child to believe making mistakes is unacceptable. However, feeling defeated and complaining are facets of life that cannot be avoided. Making a mistake or messing something up is unavoidable. Causing a child to feel this way can lead him or her down a path of lying or deceiving so that you will not judge them or invalidate something that they have done.

You did your best and you learned something / There will be more opportunities for you / It’s okay to feel that way because it means you have passion and drive / That might not have be the best experience but that is okay

 

This allows you to encourage your child when he or she may not be thrilled about the outcome of something. So maybe he or she didn’t listen to your advice and they lost the big game or they got a bad score. Instead of invalidating those emotions teach your child to choose a more positive outlook without compromising the way that they feel right now. Turning your emotions into fuel, not matter how “bad” those emotions are, can really lead your child to a life of fulfillment because they will not become discouraged by something difficult.

Don’t take it personally / I was just kidding / That’s not what I meant and you know it / Forget about it / You should be embarrassed or ashamed / I didn’t hurt you or your feelings / Are you on your period / Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed / This is getting pathetic / It’s all about you

 

By saying any of these things to your child you are basically teaching them that you can say whatever you want to them. In addition to that, you are suggesting that something that is out of his or her control is the reason that their personality and emotions are undesirable. If a child is offended by something and it hurts their feelings you can’t discredit it because it teaches the child to believe that their reactions are not valuable to anyone. A child raised with this type of language will get taken advantage of by others frequently and only perpetuate feelings of distress.

I apologize for hurting your feelings / I should have chose my words better / What I did or said was wrong and I am working on it / Let’s talk about this and try to recover / You are feeling this way a lot – do you think we need to talk about it more or see a professional for more help / You are focused on yourself lately – is there something going on / Do you feel like you’re getting healthy attention from us and/or your peers

 

Firstly, always be willing to admit when you have done something wrong in front of or to your children. This will show them that not only that it is it okay to make mistakes but that they should acknowledge and fix them too. Opening the communication with your child also allows them to define themselves and the severity of any issues that they are experiencing. If you’re child is suffering from a serious issue the first step is in admitting that there is a problem. Foster your child’s growth, and recovery if necessary.

(EQI – source for disqualifying language)

(2)      You’re a little boy – you can’t play with dolls! You’re a little girl – you can’t wear that shirt! Girls don’t roughhouse. Boys don’t play dress-up. Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. That’s for girls. That’s for boys. Marriage is for only a man and a woman. Homosexuality is a sin. Same-sex couples shouldn’t have children. You should find a boyfriend/girlfriend. When are you going to settle down with a good man/woman?

            For so many years in the lifespan of humankind there have been “girl” things and “boy” things. Where does this come from even? Oh yes – our fucking genitals. I know that is harsh language – but I won’t apologize for it. Gender identity is assumed for children long before they are ever born! As soon as you find out if your child has a penis of a vagina you are buying all pink or all blue. You buy cars or dollies. That child’s identity is chosen for them based on their sex.

Unfortunately, nobody teaches in any mandatory classes (yeah, I’m looking at you American health class curriculum) that GENDER and SEX are two different things. Gender is how a person chooses to identify him or herself. There’s even the possibility that someone wants to identify as neither gender, or changes their gender day-to-day based on how they feel when they wake up.

Gender is a very fluid thing for a good many people. A harsh reality on the matter is – children can know as young as two to four years old whether or not he or she has the wrong gender identity (Psychology Today – GID). In fact, it’s more common than people really credit for someone to feel as if he or she is the wrong gender. One in every thirty thousand men and one in every one hundred thousand women, actually, feel as if they were born the wrong gender (Psychology Today – GID). Just to be clear, it’s more likely for someone to have some form of gender dysphoria than it is someone will die from a shark attack (which if you Google it, you’ll find that the odds are 1 in 3,748,733 – it’s also more likely than dying by a fireworks accident). One psychologist says that most parents seek out professional treatment once their child is school age because it is a “phase that hasn’t passed” (NPR).

It’s important to pay attention to your child’s behaviors and ‘leave the window open’ (although, I disagree with one of the NPR psychologists in this respect) so that your child can show you if he or she agrees with the gender identity that you have chosen for them (by their genitals of all things). When your child tells you plainly that he or she thinks that he or she is the wrong gender – take it seriously. During the interview it is stated that Dr. Zucker has never had a child conclude on his or her transgender identity and later change their mind. That means – yes – if your child tells you at two, three, or four years old that he or she is the wrong gender – it is highly probable that he or she is secure in those thoughts. Older children expressing these types of feelings should be taken even more seriously because of the amount of time that it has taken to reach a point of comfort to discuss those feelings.

Building on this even more – do not ever judge different sexualities in your children – or ever really. This is especially hard for people within the religious community. Many religions believe homosexuality to be a sin and therefore submit their child to constant invalidation, verbal abuse, and even therapy designed to make him or her heterosexual. Honestly, this is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard of happening outside of actual murdering and physical violence against people for being of a different sexuality (or gender identity, by the way). Of course, religious wars are a real thing – but that’s one of those touchy subjects I’ll save for a rainier day.

I don’t agree with everything perfectly being said – but I think if you’re religious and you are struggling with a child whose sexuality is outside the realm of the church’s acceptance – you should really read this letter by a Catholic pastor. Now, I know that this pastor is suggesting that you seek therapy after a child comes out as homosexual, bisexual, or otherwise. Understand that this is meant to deal with the feelings of distress you have as a devout member of your church and for the benefit of your child. It is not to reconfigure your child to be heterosexual. Having parents in the religious community means that your child is likely suffering from a mental disorder as a result of all the suppressed feelings and hidden identity. The therapy is to help you cope as a parent and to help your child deal with lasting impressions which have oppressed them. It is becoming more and more common for churches to accept and incorporate all types of different gender identities and sexualities into their following because – oh goodness is this possible – the only person that can judge them is God (or gods depending on your religion). That means you shouldn’t open you mouth about whether or not God (or gods) will accapet your child, and definitely not using your religion as a way to devalue the child as a person.

Your child loves differently than you do. Your child did not murder someone.

Unless, of course, your child did murder someone – in which case the homosexuality is definitely the least of your worries. Get immediately psychological help and contact the authorities. Anyway… enough of that… back on track!

Another good read for parents and families facing sexuality questions and concerns is this pamphlet prepared for educational purposes by the American Psychology Association. This walks you through all of the questions that most parents and people have initially about their child’s sexuality. My favorite section is “What is the psychological impact of prejudice and discrimination,” which addresses things same-sex couples have been unable to enjoy as freely as heterosexual couples. Until recently, marriage was a part of that list. America, along with many other countries, is has legalized same-sex marriage since the publication of that article. Further in the reading, it also discusses the importance that homosexuality (and otherwise) is not a mental disorder, and that support is crucial when facing a “coming out” transition.

Really, just don’t invalidate your child’s identity or sexuality. There is nothing wrong with him or her. Listen to your children when they ask you to use certain pronouns. Take your children seriously when they are trying to share something with you like a same-sex partner or a desire to not identify with any gender. Just accept them and love them as a person not as a gender identity or sexuality.

(3)      Oh – you should try that – I never had that kind of opportunity. This wasn’t available when I was your age. You’ll thank me for this experience when you’re older. This will be good for you. You need to do this because it will look good in the future on your resume or job application. My parents made me do this when I was a kid and it was amazing. It’s a tradition so you have to do it too.

            Isn’t it hard to not want things for our children? We want them to be cultured. We want them to be experienced. That’s the problem with us – we want so much for them. As it stands, though, our children really aren’t miniature versions of us. Every person is unique in some respect or another. There are similarities, of course, that we share with our parents and our children with us. This truth does not give us permission to make decisions for our child unless it is in regard to their safety. That is literally the only time that you should be making a choice for your child ever. You can’t make a child join a sport just because you like it, and you can’t forbid your child from playing a sport you don’t like either. Allow your children to decide for themselves what they want to do and you’ll be surprised to find out that they will honestly figure out who they are on their own just fine.

So, I don’t think parents actively decide to “live vicariously through” their children. To be honest, we [my husband and myself] struggle with this very line a lot. My husband bowled and played soccer when he was younger but stopped in high school. As it turns out, our son now loves soccer and bowling. We find ourselves pushing him to be better – and unfortunately, it’s not always in a way that is healthy. That’s right, folks, even I – the writer of this article – find myself committing some of these terrible, awful, no good things. Children can adopt the interests of their parents, its’ common, but it’s not right to treat your child the way you would treat yourself if you had a second chance to achieve these same successes. You will push them twice as hard because you already gave up or failed once, and that will make it hard for your child to see you as a parent so much as a coach (or a dictator)…

This scenario can play out two ways. Your child likes your ideas – your child likes what you like – and so your child takes your advice and achieves all of the success that you hoped for when you were their age doing the same things. Unfortunately, while your child reaps the benefits of your dreams – you’ll become depressed (Psychology Today). This theory is “the savior” outcome. You see yourself as “the savior” for your child because you had to sacrifice your aspirations to ensure that they did not have to do the same (Psychology Today). I don’t think parents realize exactly how often that they do this verbally and nonverbally, as well as aggressively and passively. It’s so easy to congratulate your child by saying: “All the miles I put into this for you have finally paid off! Look at this trophy!”

I’ll be honest, I said exactly that to my son when he won not one but two soccer championship games in the same day. I was so proud of him because he was seven and he played with the six-seven tournament and the eight-nine tournament. He played seven soccer games that day – one of which went into overtime! And he was so excited that we turned around and went bowling. Immediately afterwards. He bowled a 100 and a 75 during those two games. He was on a roll that day. But I passively applied my “savior” complex to the situation by making it about what I gave to him rather than what he earned himself. We all do this and it’s important that we try to avoid it.

Now, for every good outcome there’s a bad one, right? That’s like – what physics? For every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction! The second outcome is that called “the avenger;” this relates back to disqualification. Your child sees his or her parent focusing on his or her negative behaviors which hinder success and therefore continually behave in a way that perpetuates the same (Psychology Today). What ultimately causes this is when a parent is himself or herself taught not to express frustrations or behave in a way that could compromise an opportunity thought to be good for them in childhood. As a parent you then perpetuate those ideals even though you disagreed with them growing up. This leads you to later defending your child’s feelings of resentment and outbursts of otherwise inappropriate behaviors.

My mom may or may not read this, but she is very much like this. When any of her children are in the wrong – she will scold us with hellacious vigor [sorry mom]. However, if anyone else tells her that her children are bad or wrong in anyway then she jumps to our defense. Many people believe that this is what you should do as a parent – you are obligated always protect your children. Unfortunately, protecting your children can sometimes mean telling them that they are wrong and that they are making really bad decisions. Let me reiterate, though, that homosexuality is not a bad decision. A bad decision is committing a crime or risking one’s safety or that of another person [like murder or suicide, for extreme examples].

In the end, everything comes full circle when the “avenger” role is occupied. Invalidation, disqualification, and manipulative language eventually just breaks down whatever quality relationship exists between you and your child. Even with the “savior” outcome doesn’t end well. You will eventually resent your child, which will result in the exact same thing: invalidation, disqualification, and emotional manipulation.

(4)      Why can’t you sit still like your brother? Why can’t you be quieter like your sister? Are you going to go to college like your cousin? What if you did something like you brother? I think you’d like to follow in your friend’s footsteps. Maybe you should try what your friends are doing. Maybe you should study more like this other person. You’re the smart one and your sister is the creative one.

            In my husband’s family – he was the “quiet” middle child. His brother was the “baby” and his older sister really didn’t have a label given to her. In my family, I was the “emotional” middle child. My younger brother was the “socialite” and my older brother was the “trouble maker.” My cousins were often labeled: daredevil, wild child, and oddball. My nieces and nephews are usually labeled “quiet,” “athletic,” and “awkward.” Even the grandchildren in the family are labeled: “energetic,” “behaved,” “aggressive,” “silly,” and “shy.” Labels are pretty shit at school but they even more shit when plastered on by your parents.

So it is okay to use these words to describe your children. It is not so okay when you use this to identify them. This is you picking their identity for them. When you start calling them something as an identifier – “he’s my athletic child” – you basically are creating the perception for and of them. Growing up for as long as I remember I was also called the “smart” child. It still happens today. Now, I’m a cocky person at times, and I won’t deny being a smart person ever – but when I became a mom in high school the amount of pressure that label bore into me was excruciating. Every grade I earned was no longer just a good grade or a bad grade. It was a consequence. My grades were consequences and reflections of my life decisions. That is quite a lot for a sixteen year old girl not accounting for the fact that the school’s been trying to pressure me into picking a college and major since first grade! I’m not the only person that feels this way, though, because the same troubles weigh heavy on the minds of athletes and students in other extracurricular activities. Any labels assigned to a child prevent them from fully expressing themselves. They need to explore the word the way it was meant to be explored – trial and error (so long as safety is not compromised, as I keep reminding you).

In addition to labeling children, what about those first statements, how those come into play here? Honestly, there is so much wrong with comparing your child to other children – especially within your own family. Firstly, your child is different from other children. Remember that everyone is unique thing – yeah, that does apply to your child. All the time, too, just in case you only wanted it to apply when they are successful. It means your child’s best and worst traits are unique and should be acknowledged and respected equally. Don’t believe me – that’s okay… I’m confident that you will.

Doctor Sylvia Rimm has a website dedicated to the effects of sibling comparison. You can read the full text here, but I’ll summarize what it discusses for you quickly. The implications of labels for your children, some of which I’ve stated my opinion on based on previous points in this article. However, Dr. Rimm also goes on to elaborate how the psychology of labels can cause children to consciously and subconsciously competes with one another, or even with outside parties, to prove themselves to their parents. They may refocus on only the thing that you believe them to be, willing to give up in areas that they believe that they could never surpass their siblings in otherwise (Rimm). A perfect example of this is in regard to my and my siblings.

My eldest brother struggled with severe ADHD and never excelled in school. My mother then was excessively interested in my being smart and academically versed. By the time my younger brother popped up she was balanced. She believed in encouraging him for do his best and pushing him to just improve in whatever ways he could manage. Our academic careers accurately reflect our parenting, but also the labels assigned – since I was called the “smart” one (interchangeably with the “emotional” one).

My brother really only tried to make sure he was passing class, getting extra help only if he needed it. He was a “B” and “C” student, which isn’t bad. I know it’s hard to forget this in America where only “A” and “B” students can get into college and be success stories, but “C” is average. Being average means that you are where you should be practically. Scoring something that is considered average is actually where, based on evaluated standards, you are expected to be usually. The problem is – I was already the “smart” kid. Nobody will ever admit it out loud but this was discouraging to him. Dr. Rimm is right – it creates an unspoken competition because he went on to pursue things in which I had failed – such as the prestigious show choir and sports. It’s unintentional, in most cases, but it is damaging no matter how absent-mindedly labels are placed and statements are made by parents.

The best advise for avoiding this type of behavior comes right down to how you speak, and how you encourage your children. Firstly, don’t label children in anyway (Rimm). Labeling, as explained, causes so many issues. Just don’t do it ever, and if you do it try to apologize and explain why it’s not okay so that your children don’t do it to other children or their children in the future. Also, make sure you put education first (Rimm). It is illegal to not have your child in school or participating in a school curriculum. Focus on making sure that your children are doing well in school no matter what their preferences for after high school are – encourage them to take classes that will better help them in their decisions. Focus on making sure that everyone’s academics are the priority because all work habits start with how a child works at school. Lastly, be sure to always regard both parents and/or parent figures as intelligent (Rimm). Children need to have a high regard for both parents – and children who associate themselves as more like one parent will adopt their personality traits and mannerisms. It wouldn’t be wise for your child to affiliate with his or her mother and constantly hear that their father is the “smart” one.

See how that works – labels suck. I’m not even going to try talking about favoritism between children because this article is already length enough. But if you happen to be worried that you might be playing favorites – you should probably read this article to better prevent yourself from – you know – doing that.

(5)      There are children starving in the world – eat your dinner! Don’t be wasteful because not everyone has the same privileges that you have. There are people in the world who have less than we do so you should be grateful. It could be worse. That’s not a big deal. That isn’t even a real problem.

            I am super excited to see that mental illness is becoming more prevalent in the media these days. There’s so much stigma about common disorders like anxiety and depression, people disregarding them as honest afflictions. I’ve talked about the severity of anxiety and depression in my previous articles. They are serious and should never be disregarded simply due to the staggering number of people affected and diagnoses with these diseases. If you think I’m just excusing people – let me remind you that Ebola wasn’t even a pandemic and people were all talking about how severe it was and how it was a risk. You have a bigger chance of someone committing suicide than you do of someone contracting Ebola in the United States.

For obvious reasons, displayed in these two articles by Huffington Post in relation specifically to anxiety and depression, you should never say these types of things to someone with a mental disorder. Firstly, they have a medical predisposition due to their illness to take what you’re saying extremely personally. If you told someone struggling with depression because of his or her gender identity and sexuality which is being oppressed by his or her parents that their problems aren’t even real problems because he or she isn’t dying or dead – well, you could wake up the next day to find out he or she committed suicide. Convincing someone that their problem is not a real problem is almost as bad as holding a gun to someone’s head when that person has a mental illness. You are being abusive and you need therapy too (probably for the same reason your child would need therapy, honestly – I’ll explain that later).

For less obvious reasons (although, I can’t say I understand why they are less obvious), this is equally as detrimental to children who don’t have mental illness. You could actually cause your child to develop a mental illness as the result of saying things like this to him or her. Everything ties back into disqualification and invalidating your children. Even though it’s a fallacy (a philosophical theory that essentially means that something is false or conceived without any logical basis – I’m getting kind of counterproductive here but you should know what that means if you didn’t already) invalidation of children is a slippery slope. Now, not all parents who have disqualifying language when addressing their children raise children with problems. In fact, parents that do all of these things don’t always raise children with problems either. There is some “luck of the draw” aspect to it as well.

I give a lot of credit to my mother. She struggles day-in-and-day-out and she still makes improvements, no matter how small that they are, daily. When I was a kid she was deeply prejudice even though I don’t think she actively did it. In fact, a good many of our behaviors are ingrained (DeName). We adapt and incorporate the behaviors that we are familiar with from our own childhoods (DeName). They define us as adults and become the examples we set for our own children.

Now that’s what I call a full circle! All of these bad things that we do as parents we learned from their parents, and their parents from their parents before that! How does anyone ever function on a healthy level with information like that rattling around in their heads? I think the better question is how does anyone actually function healthily in any situation, but that’s almost too philosophical for this piece.

This wouldn’t be a good article if I didn’t offer up some advice, especially since I definitely believe that this is a problem. Being a parent is one of those damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t life things. There is no single way to be a good parent because it all depends on family dynamics and personalities. Some parents need to be more restrictive with their children than others, for example. It’s all up in the air. All of the above points I’ve discussed are matters that are crucial in your child’s life. Doing any of these things can have detrimental consequences right down to your child killing himself or herself – something that you will forever regret watching happen as a parent.

As I said, I struggle with a some of these mannerisms too. I’ve shared the kind of background I come from, and it’s certainly not perfect. I’m certainly not perfect. Nobody can ever be a perfect parent, and that’s the cold reality of it. We can, however, be better parents and we can be better people. If you find yourself doing any of these things why don’t you try treating it like a bad habit? Take the opportunity to promote change within yourself and your relationship with your child?

Growing up I always heard that if I was exposed to information at least seven times in two or three different ways that I would inevitably remember the information. This is what my teachers told me when I asked why we had to see the same information so many times and spend so much time on chapters that the class has clearly mastered. Later in life teachers started talking about breaking and developing habits that will help us succeed in the future. At that point we were told twenty-one days, or approximately a month, is the time it would take of doing something every single day in order to break or create a habit. Breaking a habit is, after all, just developing a new habit of not doing something or doing something else.

But of course it takes much longer than twenty-one days… go figure!

Studies actually show that it could take as long as 66 days for the average person to break or develop their habits (Clear). Remember that word “average” is only for the majority of people – that’s where people generally conclusively had a “habit.” Some people may take more or less time depending on a variety of different factors (Clear).

Changing how you raise your children to ensure the healthiest life he or she can enjoy, it’s not easy. As stated, it takes time. It will be hard. There will be mistakes along the way. More importantly than the struggles is the outcome. You will become a better person. You will have a better relationship with your kids. You could work on a better relationship with your parents.

And when that’s all done – you just might realize that you are doing better with other people too.

References

Allen, David M., M.D. “Invalidation in Families: What Are The Hidden Aspects?”          Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

Allen, David M., M.D. “Living Vicariously through Children with a Twist.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

Clear, James. “How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by       Science).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 June 2014. Web.       17 Aug. 2015.

DeName, Kristi A. “Repetition Compulsion: Why Do We Repeat the Past?” World of Psychology. Ed. John M. Grohol. PsychCentral, 6 Aug. 2015. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

P., Steve. “Invalidation.” Invalidation. EQI, n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

“Psychology Today.” Gender Identity Disorder. N.p., 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Aug.        2015.

Rimm, Sylvia B. “The Effects of Sibling Competition Dr. Sylvia Rimm.” The Effects of Sibling Competition Dr. Sylvia Rimm. Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm Ph.D, n.d. Web. 17   Aug. 2015.

Zucker, Dr. Ken, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft, and Alex Spiegel. “Q&A: Therapists on Gender Identity Issues in Kids.” NPR. NPR, 7     May 2007. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

Hyperlinked Sources

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201103/adolescence-and-parental-favoritism

http://www.sylviarimm.com/article_sibcomp.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/what-not-to-say-to-someon_n_4675854.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/17/things-not-to-say-to-some_n_4781182.html