Suze Orman provides a lot of great resources for women and money, including her book by that name, just out in paperback, which I recommend. Even though Suze does not have kids herself, she is usually right on target when it comes to the psychology of women, money, and parenting.
Last Saturday’s show, January 23 2010, has one of the most striking examples I’ve ever seen of what happens to helicopter parents and their overindulged kids in the long run. I dare say it makes the case for both of my books, Courageous Parenting and Mojo Mom, in stark terms.
The Suze Orman Show is now available as a free, full-episode podcast, so you can check it our for yourself. Here’s a link to the show’s podcast list, and it is also available free through the iTunes podcast directory.
Suze’s first segment on her show with the theme, “People First, Then Money, Then Things,” clarifies that when Suze says “People First,” she means taking care of yourself first, not taking care of everybody else, as some people misinterpret it. Suze’s first guest is a woman named Donna, who is 43 years old and in conflict with her 24-year-old son. Her son is taking complete advantage of her, and as the details come out, the story just keeps getting worse. Her son is living in Donna’s home, rent-free. He got into credit card debt, and made a “settlement” with the credit card company, but guess who paid off the settlement? Mom and Dad. And now her son has stopped paying Donna back, and is telling HER that “he doesn’t like her attitude” when she ask him to pay her.
And there’s more… Donna earns $1600 a month. Her son makes $3500 a month. He’s just asked his girlfriend to marry him. He bought her a $5000 engagement ring…paying with a credit card.
Suze tells Donna that she has to kick her disrespectful son out of house to make it on his own. Donna has given her whole life away to her son, she’s subsidizing her high-earning yet irresponsible adult son to the point where has no savings and no retirement account for herself. Suze believes that the rest of Donna’s life cannot turn around until Donna stands up for herself and gains back some power, self-respect, and respect from others.
Donna admits that she’s spoiled her three kids rotten all their lives. She stayed home with her kids and she’s struggling to learn how to “take care of Mama now.” I intuit that she is not sure who she is anymore without her mothering role. She seems unable to make the switch between a mother’s role to care for her child, to an adult-adult relationship, holding her adult son accountable for himself, and holding herself accountable for her own well-being.
Suze says, “It’s not about saying yes. It’s not about giving always. It’s about taking care of yourself first….You, like every woman out there, you really think the definition of a good mother is to make sure that the kids have everything…even if that means it renders you powerless. They’re not bad kids. You weren’t a bad mother. You just didn’t think you mattered.”
That’s a powerful statement. Let’s remember that we matter, and build the structure of our lives around that fact. I had already been thinking a lot about the fact that self-care is not indulgence, it looks a lot more like discipline. If taking a candle-lit bubble bath once in a while would solve our problems, they would have been solved a long time ago. I’ll be writing more about this in my next blog post so stay tuned.
Kidpower founder Irene van der Zande shared ideas of how kids can respond safely to verbal put-downs, standing up for themselves while de-escalating the situation. Another great segment on The View from the Bay.
Irene is a chapter contributor for my forthcoming anthology, Courageous Parenting. You can sign up on MojoMom.com to receive a free electronic download of the new book when it comes out.
After I left Berkeley last week and headed down to Santa Cruz for the rest of my trip to California, I had very poor internet access, so I am sorry I was not able to blog sooner about what happened backstage at The View from the Bay.
If you remember, Jamie Woolf and I were there to talk about our upcoming anthology Courageous Parenting, but behind the scenes we were also trying to meet pop-culture icon Florence Henderson, Carol Brady herself, who was also on the show that day.
Jamie succeeded! Don’t they both look great?Florence was being whisked by while I was in the chair getting my makeup put on, and I just couldn’t jump up to go meet her. But I could see her and Jamie in the mirror. Jamie was nice and bold and gave Florence a copy of her book Mom-in-Chief, which Ms. Henderson accepted with enthusiasm. She really seemed nice and embraced her lifelong role as Gen X’s Mom.
But even though I missed out on that, not only am I proud of Jamie for getting right out there, but we also had the treat of running into Caroline Grant backstage. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the wonderful Literary Mama website, and she was on the show to talk about a reading list of recommended books for kids ages 3-12. There was some drama about a mistake in the schedule and whether she’d get on, which she wrote about with good humor in her blog. But we had a nice chat backstage and I have to say Caroline took it all in stride, and she did get on and was very poised in her segment.So there we are, three writers in our own right. I felt like I was in an alternate universe, since I used to live in the Bay Area, and here Jamie and Caroline were talking about writing groups and other cool events, and I thought that if I still lived there I would love to spend more time hanging out with them.
All in all it was a really fun day, and I hope you’ll check out the video of our Courageous Parenting segment.
I just have time to post the video of Jamie Woolf and myself talking about Courageous Parenting and “Four Easy Steps to Stop Over-Parenting” on The View from the Bay.
It was great to come to San Francisco and get to be on the show with Jamie, and talk to hosts Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang.
More details to come….
And, Mojo Mom blog reader Lori, whom I got to know through Free-Range Kids, is on the show! Lori made the news when her ten year old son was picked up by police while walking to soccer practice on his own. I hope she’ll write in and tell us more about her experience with Dr. Phil.
Here’s the show blurb. Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch it live because I’ll be headed to the airport for a trip to California…more on that shortly!
Tuesday – January 5, 2010 Dr. Phil Show
New Parenting Styles
Are you a parent who is over- or under-involved in your child’s life? Dr. Phil talks with a self-proclaimed overprotective mother, a Free-Range mother and two experts to help you find a happy balance while raising your kids. First up, you won’t believe what happened to Lori when she let her 10-year-old son walk to soccer practice by himself. Next, meet two moms with opposite parenting approaches: Kristen lets her kids walk to friends’ houses on their own and make their own mistakes, while Beckie says she can’t imagine letting her kids walk around the neighborhood or even to the school playground unattended. Find out what Dr. Phil has to say about these parenting styles. Then, Linda Murray, editor-in-chief of BabyCenter.com and Dr. Michele Borba, a parenting educator and author, weigh in with the pros and cons of different parenting styles. And, Dr. Phil checks in with Teresa, who became known as America’s Most Over-Protective Mom. Find out if she and her daughter, Ashlee, who’s now 18, are getting along better.