Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas

Last year there was a big debate between people saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. The United States has people from various ethnic backgrounds and religions living in our Country. There are also many people who have no religious beliefs. Our Country is suppose to be the “great melting pot.” Therefore, we are suppose to all live together peacefully and respectfully together.

Unfortunately, it does not appear we are living up to the goal of being the “great melting pot.” We have people who are singling out certain nationalities and trying to prevent them from immigrating to the United States. We have also seen a 57% increase in crimes against people of Jewish decent. It was just a couple of weeks ago that the largest amount of Jewish people in the United States where killed as they were worshiping in their Temple. Freedom of religion is one of the core beliefs of the United States. However, it does appear that core belief is eroding and possibly disappearing.

In addition to increase discrimination towards ethnicities and religions, there is an increase in the discrimination towards people who are homosexual or identify as anything other than heterosexual. The United States Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are the beliefs that our Country is based on and what our Country represents. It states “all men” not just Caucasian people, not just Christian people and not just people who are heterosexual.

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution assume that we may have differences in our cultures or religious beliefs, but that we can all live together peacefully and respect one another. Unfortunately, when we see a 57% rise in hate crimes towards people who are Jewish, we are not living together peacefully or respectfully.

This brings me to the debate between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I am a proud Italian, Catholic, American, however, my family taught me to respect people regardless of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Therefore, I always wish people Happy Holidays. In the United States during this time of year we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa (I am sure there are some religious celebrations I missed) and New Years. If I am going to be respectful, Happy Holidays is the most appropriate saying not Merry Christmas. Some one may not be Christian and they may have no religious beliefs at all. However, most likely they celebrate Thanksgiving and New Years. Happy Holidays covers this without imposing my beliefs on someone else. Everyone who is Christian think about this point, what if you were not allowed to say Merry Christmas or if the entire Country acted like Christmas did not exist? How would that make you feel? You probably would not like it.

Therefore, I think we need to return to our roots: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is a very powerful statement and in order to honor it we must respect all cultures, religions and sexual orientations. This statement is what makes the United States so different from every other country in the world. If we are going to honor our Country then Happy Holidays is the appropriate greeting during this time of year not Merry Christmas. If you are Christian it is appropriate to say in your home and at your Church not at work or out in public.

We also need to look at the amount of violence that is occurring in our Country. Besides fire drills at schools, now children are having to do mass shooting drills. Schools are actually practicing and teaching first and second graders what they need to do if there is a mass shooting at their school. Many children are frightened by these drills. They do not know if they are practice or real and they are afraid that they will be killed at school. There are a number of reasons why we have these mass killings, but the lack of respect we show to each other cannot be helping the situation. Therefore, out of respect for everyone when you are in public try using Happy Holidays. When you are at home or among family and friends use the greeting that works for your family.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Advertisements

A Study About Teenagers and Sexting

A Study About Teenagers and Sexting

Many parents are worried about how much time their teenager spend texting. Many parents are also concerned that their teenager’s Texting has crossed the line to sexting.

Sexting is a text which refers to sexual behavior between the people Texting. A research study in JAMA Pediatrics which was just released indicates that sexting is more common than many parents expect. This study looks at numerous other studies investigating sexting and draws conclusion about teenage sexting.

Tara Haelle reviewed this research study and Forbes published her article. This review contains many important facts about teenagers and sexting. Facts many parents should be aware of and issues that parents need to discuss with their teenagers. I hear teens talking about sexting often and they are not aware of many of the issues in Tara Haelle’s article. These facts are issues that teenagers and parents need to be aware of. Therefore, I am providing parents with the link to the article so they can read it and discuss it with their teenagers, https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2018/02/27/that-teen-sexting-study-what-else-you-need-to-know-before-freaking-out/.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating teenagers. He has over 20 years experience working with teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or visit his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Teenagers Need to Earn Respect

Teenagers Need to Earn Respect

This article is slightly different from my other articles. This article is written for teenagers. Parents it would still be beneficial for you to read it, but gave your teenager read it or discuss it with them.

In my office, I hear daily from teenagers how they feel disrespected by their parents. This is common problem between teens and their parents. Teenagers feel disrespected by their parents and that their parents treat them like children. Sometimes this may be true, but overall teens are expecting too much from their parents.

Yes it is true that as teenagers you are becoming young adults and that you should be able to handle more responsibility. The big word in that last sentence is SHOULD. Just because you turn 13 or 16 doesn’t mean you are in charge of your life. You are a YOUNG adult. Noticed I capitalized the word young. There are still a number of life experiences for you to learn and until you do, your parents are responsible for you.

A number of you have heard your parents say when you are 18 you can do as you like and that is the truth. Prior to you turning 18, any trouble you get into, your parents are responsible for it. If you damage property, your parents are legally responsible. If you get arrested and put in Juvenile Hall, your parents receive a bill from the County for the length a time you were in Juvenile Hall.

You may think that you do not need your parents, but you need their permission to drive and basically for anything you want to do. Even if they give you permission to drive and you get your license, they have the ability to have your driver’s license suspended at any time they want while you are under the age of 18. Also if your parents are divorced, both parents must sign the consent for your driver’s license. You cannot play your parents against each other to get your driver’s license.

As I started off, now that you are a teenager you SHOULD be able to handle more responsibility. This responsibility is not an automatic gift you receive when you turn 13. This respect you so desperately want is something you have to earn. How do you earn it? You earn it by respecting the rules that your parents have set and by taking care of your responsibilities – for a teen, your primary responsibility is school. This means going to school on a regular basis, doing your homework and turning it in, earning decent grades and not making poor choices such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, marijuana or vaporizing. You may say this is unfair, well welcome to the adult world.

Ask your parents how many times they have to do something at work they feel is unfair, but if they want their job they have to do it. Ask your parents how many days they get up tired or not feeling well and they would prefer to stay home from work, but they still go to work. They go to work because the have a family to support and bills to pay. Your parents want you to succeed in life. If you feel they really are not giving you enough freedom, then ask your parents if you can discuss this issue with them. However, ask in a mature, respectful manner do not demand a conversation. When you discuss the issue with your parents have some things you have been doing, e.g., your homework, respecting curfew, that demonstrate you can handle more responsibility. Do not just demand it because your friends have it.

Remember the respect and maturity that you want, you must earn. You earn it by respecting your parents, other adults and recognizing that you have responsibilities. You do not get it because you turned 13 or because your friends have it. This can be a difficult time of life, but it can be a time when you learn a lot about the world and yourself. If you remember you need to earn your parents trust and you actively try to do so, your parents will work with you and start to trust you. The choice is yours, you can make your teen years difficult or make them easier by working with your parents – you decide.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating teenagers. He has over 20 years experience working with teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work with teenagers or his private practice visit his website http://www.rcs-ca.com.

Being Your Teen’s Friend is not a Good Idea

Being Your Teen’s Friend is not a Good Idea

Many parents worry because their teenager talks more to their friends than to them. Often many parents feel like a failure because their teenager is spending more time with friends than them. This subject is one I hear daily in my office. Parents are concerned that if their teen is spending too much time with friends, then if their teen is involved with drugs or other issues, they will find out too late. Unfortunately, many parents tell me they have decided that, “”I am going to be my teenager’s best friend” as a way prevent these problems.

Wrong!! You do not want to be your teen’s friend. You need to be your teen’s parent. Your teen has enough friends. Your teen doesn’t need another friend, they need a parent. They need someone to educate them about life and how to make decisions.

Remember, as a parent it is your responsibility to help guide your teen to be successful as an adult and in life as a productive member of society. This means at times you will have to set firm boundaries, educate them about life and sometimes tell your teen no. It is important to remember being a parent is not a popularity contest. You must set appropriate limits for your teen which means at times they will be mad at you. It is okay if they are mad at you. This is part of the process a teenager experiences as they are maturing into an adult.

Despite what they say, most teens want and like boundaries. At times they can be very helpful to your teen. They may be faced with a great deal of peer pressure to do something that they do not want to do and they can use you as the excuse why they cannot do it. Some may say this is immature because the teen is using their parent as an excuse, but we put our teens in a very, very difficult world so I think they are allowed some extra help now and then.

Another reason why should you not be your teen’s friend because your word and rules will mean nothing to your teen, if you are their friend. A friend is defined as a close associate. In other words, teenagers see their friends as equals. Now think about what this implies, if you are equals, you are on the same level as your teen. Therefore, they think they know as much as you do and since you are equals they can choose to follow your rules or ignore them as they see fit.

I run into this problem daily in my office. A parent will say “we have always been best friends, I talk to my teen and their friends about everything and we have good times together hanging out. I don’t understand why they disregard my authority as their parent.”

The answer is simple: you eliminated your authority as the parent and made yourself an equal as a friend. If you want your teen to respect your authority as the parent, you must remain the parent and not be the friend.

Consider the decisions these teens have to make every day. They are faced with issues regarding alcohol, drugs, sex, gangs and decisions about careers in their future. Teens live in a very difficult and complex world today. They need parents to help set appropriate boundaries and guide them so they make the best choices for themselves and avoid a great deal of trouble. You can only do this as a parent. Remember, as a parent you are not in a popularity contest. You have a responsibility to help guide your teen. If you want to help them survive high school then be the parent and make the tough, unpopular decisions that are in your child’s best interest. This will help your teen to respect you and the rules you made earlier you can enforce. If you set yourself as friend and equal, your teen loses respect for you, your advice and your rules. You find yourself powerless and you leave your teen on their own to decide what is appropriate behavior.

This is a difficult time for you and your teenager, but if you maintain your role as parent and your teen maintains their role as child you both will survive high school easier. Of course there will be difficult moments, but nowhere near as difficult if you blur the relationship boundaries.

Dr Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience working with teenagers and their parents. He is well respected in the community. To learn more about his work or private practice, visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com. You can also email him from this website, if you have questions.

A Lesson in Kindness

A Lesson in Kindness

Here is an 8 year old boy who demonstrates the meaning of the Holidays. We need more adults who are as kind and caring as this little boy. Imagine how the world would be if we all had his attitude.

Many people are focused on what they will get for the Holidays not on being grateful for what they have in their lives. Children can often teach us more than we expect.

We do need more acts of kindness in our society. Please watch this video and watch the happiness on this boy’s face and the people who he interacts with and surprises. Also try to follow his example.

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6348523291031986176

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who treats children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com.

Enjoying the Holidays without going into Debt

Enjoying the Holidays without going into Debt

Many people assume that in order to enjoy the Holidays that you must go into debt. However, it is not necessary to go into debt if you want to enjoy the Holidays. How much money you spend does not equal how much you care about someone. In my opinion, the Holidays are about spending time with people in your life that you care about and are important to your life. It is a time to acknowledge these people and to thank them for being in your life.

Therefore, one thing you can do is to take advantage of the Holiday activities happening in your cities. Most of these activities are free and offer a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Most cities websites post the Holiday activities planed for that city. You can also check your local patch.com for Holiday activities occurring in your area.

Another place to check is your church if you belong to one. Many churches offer free Holiday activities to their members and to those who do not belong to their church. For example, during Hanukkah in Broadway Plaza in downtown Walnut Creek, each night they have singing, games for the children and food. This is all free and can be a very festive and fun time even if you are not Jewish.

Another thing to do is not place so much emphasis on gifts. Maybe set a limit on what people can spend or draw names out of a hat and you only buy for one person. You can also make gifts or give someone a card telling them what they mean to you and how they add to your life. This does not cost a great deal of money.

Finally, another thing you can do is to volunteer at the food bank or St. Anthony’s kitchen. This cost nothing and you can give back to your community. This is what the Holidays are about and can be a very positive experience for you and your family. It can be a very special way to spend the Holidays.

These are just a few suggestions for how you can celebrate the Holidays without going into debt. These are also some ways of celebrating the Holidays in a more meaningful manner than spending a great deal of money and creating a great of stress for yourself and your family.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website at http://www.RubinoCounseling.com.

The Holidays are not Happy for Everyone

The Holidays are not Happy for Everyone

The holidays are here again. As I have stated before, many people assume it is a happy time for everyone. We have signs of the Holidays and being happy everywhere. The decorations are everywhere, in stores and in homes. The music seems to be on every station. The parties are happening. The secrets and the giggles. Gets you feeling good just thinking about it, no? I read an article by a psychotherapist, Bea Armstrong, who indicates, like I have, that the Holidays are not a happy time for everyone and why. I have included her thoughts below.

No. Not for everyone.

The holiday season can be joyful AND painful. Holidays can hurt.

And they often hurt because of past experiences. Holidays can remind us of the year that some trauma occurred. And then we can never celebrate the current holiday without awakening memories of Decembers when Mom or Dad or a spouse died. Or a friend passed — way too soon. Or a child had a horrible accident.

Sometimes, we remember alone. Other times those memories are shared with a sibling or a partner or a friend. And that can make them easier. But the sting is still there.

Childhood can also be the source of hurtful holiday memories. Not every child experiences a Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade Christmas or Hanukkah. And if our childhoods were replete with scary adults who were abusive verbally or emotionally, or who abandoned us, we might decide that “I don’t do holidays.” And I’ll just “get through” and “be happy when it’s over.”

Sometimes the adults in our childhood weren’t scary….just clueless. They bought us presents that could have gone to anyone, despite how obvious we were about our preferences. Or the color came in a hated pink; or a size that we stopped wearing a year or more ago. When that happens, we don’t feel seen accurately by those who are supposed to care about us. We believe that we don’t matter enough to those people to get it right. To get us right.

This particular holiday might be difficult because our lives are in chaos now. Maybe a divorce is about to happen. Or we’ve lost a job. And we can be struggling to make the holidays joyous for others, for the kids. But we sure don’t feel it. The carols bring on tears of pain more than gratitude as we watch dreams unravel.

Or we’re seniors and find ourselves more and more often alone at the holidays, and unsure what to do about that.

If you are hurting this year, realize that you aren’t alone in that experience. Jealousy doesn’t help, and it’s rarely accurate. Even people who seem to have the best holiday season in tow can be covering up some deep wounds. Naming those wounds and normalizing that helps us feel more connected – to ourselves and to others.

If, on the other hand, you hear someone asking what’s going on for you, then share some of what you are going through. You don’t have to do an exhaustive history, but don’t slough it off either by saying something like, “It’s not that bad. I’m OK.” You’re not. And that is your truth.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience and specializes in treating children and teenagers. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or on http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.