Home » Ask Dr. Mike »Columns » Currently Reading:

Ask Dr. Mike – August

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Ask Dr. Mike, Columns 3 Comments
Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike,

My husband and I were at the movies the other day with our 8-year-old son. There were two teenage boys in front of us who were holding hands, which was uncomfortable for my husband to see. He was uncomfortable with having our son witness other boys display romantic affection in public in that way. My husband became so upset that we had to change seats, which upset both my son and me since we ended last minute with horrible seats. This wasn’t the first time we had to leave some place because of my husband’s disdain for homosexuality. My husband is vehemently against homosexuality, and so is his entire family. As Christians neither of us endorse homosexuality as a lifestyle, but his strong views concern me since I DO NOT want to raise a homophobic child. Your thoughts on this delicate topic are appreciated. – I. in Loudoun County

I., I think you need to have a very serious conversation on this topic with your husband as soon as possible. Based on what you have written, it appears your husband’s beliefs on homosexuality are likely rooted in the way he was raised and have been with him for a long time. Convincing him to believe in things differently at this point would probably be met with strong resistance. Rather than focusing on homosexuality as the main issue, I think you should instead discuss the importance of your role in raising your son so that he will be happy and successful in life and not angry, judgmental or close-minded.

Perhaps discussing how homosexuality is viewed in today’s society may be a good start to the conversation. While your husband does not accept homosexuality as a lifestyle, our society as a whole has. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder and the American Psychological Association followed suit in 1975. The World Health Organization finally recognized homosexuality as a normal variation of human sexuality in 1990. As you know, many states now recognize gay marriage, which has had changing implications for employee benefits and insurance. And same-sex couples are also now adopting in larger numbers than ever. The point for your husband to get is that his son is growing up in a world that has become increasingly accepting of homosexuality and other alternative lifestyles.

Your son is going to be exposed to all sorts of people across his development and life, and he is not always going to be able to simply change seats or remove himself from individuals or groups he does not approve of. In your conversation, I think you should get behind your husband with what you both agree on. Perhaps, as Christians, neither of you endorse homosexuality, and you both certainly have every right to raise your son with the values, morals and faith-based lessons you feel are most appropriate. At the same time, I would point out to your husband that his overt, negative disapproval and disdain for homosexuality will likely only cause your 8-year-old son emotional conflict over the coming years. At 8, your son is beginning to identify more with his father, but again, the world in general is not as negative or disdainful of homosexuality as your husband seems to be. Your son should enter preadolescence and adolescence with limited conflict as his own sexuality and beliefs are forming.

The take home lesson for your husband is that he has a right to raise his son with the values and morals he espouses and holds true for himself, but he also has a right and responsibility to teach his son to be tolerant, non-judgmental and accepting of others.

Dr. Mike,

We are launching our third and final child into the world at the end of summer. She is 18 and will be heading off to college. I have been very unhappy in my marriage for many years but have stayed because I wanted all of my children to be raised in an intact home. Well, I accomplished my goal, but it is now my time to move on and to give to myself. I am not angry or sad at this point, rather I am very happy and am excited about the next chapter of my life. I haven’t communicated my unhappiness to my husband at all, so I’m sure the news will come as a shock to him. Any advice on how I might have “the talk” with him would be appreciated. – A. in Loudoun County

A., I recommend seeking the assistance of a well-seasoned couple’s therapist and to introduce your thoughts and feelings in the context of the marital work. Your next steps as a wife and mother will be very important ones with the main goal of preserving your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your children and husband.

I understand that you are done with your marriage and have been for some time, but, as you noted, this will likely come as “a shock to him” since you have not openly communicated your problems over many years of unhappiness. A good couple’s therapist should be able to help you both dismantle your marriage respectfully or mend what needs to be mended. I have had many couples show up at my office intent on getting divorced and then with hard work, changes and time, the marriage is saved.

On the other hand, I have had many couples show up at my office with stated smaller issues, and with work, we discover that the marriage is over. Regardless of your outcome, you have your children to think about in addition to yourselves in the decisions you and your husband make. Remember, being parents to your children does not stop at 18, and you will be co-parenting your children for the rest of your lives. You will be at the same graduations and the same weddings, and you should work to resolve your issues as a couple now (together or divorced) so as not to place any undo conflicts or problems on your children later.

Dr. Mike,

I just learned from my husband that he cheated on me when he spent a year abroad as a college student one year into our relationship. He told me that the affair he had has caused him great stress and guilt and that he couldn’t keep the secret any longer. I understand that we were 20 at the time and that was 14 years ago and before our marriage, our children, our house, etc. I’m still very hurt and angry about what happened and we haven’t spoken for days. I’m sure our kids are picking up on the terrible energy and tension in our home. I also feel stupid for making such a big deal out of this because we have such a beautiful marriage and life together and a lot of time and effort went into to creating all the good that we have. He has always respected and trusted me, and I have always respected and trusted him…or at least I thought there was always mutually shared respect and trust. Not sure what to do. – C. in Loudoun County

C., The hurt that comes from being betrayed by a loved one does not have a statute of limitations. While the affair happened 14 years ago, it was after you made a commitment to one another, and he broke that commitment by cheating on you. You have every right to feel what you are feeling, and your husband should give you time to digest the hard news. Some things to keep in mind while you are processing things. First, you were both 20 at the time and 20 year olds do stupid and impulsive things sometimes. Second, you were not married. Third, since you have been married you note that you have both worked hard to co-create a wonderful life, which now includes children. Fourth, your husband did not need to say a word about his dishonest behavior from 14 years ago, but it seems he did out of his respect and love for you. In time, this wound should heal. If it does not, I recommend you seek the assistance of a couple’s therapist to help the two of you work through this news.

Dr. Mike,

It seems as though my 12-year-old son has developed a fear or phobia due to the Aurora, Colo., shootings. We were going to see the film as a family the other day, but he pulled me aside to tell me that he was scared something might happen. My husband and I then did everything we could to reassure him that nothing would happen but to no avail. We didn’t end up going to see the movie. My son is very sensitive, so we aren’t really surprised by his response. Any thoughts on how to help my little guy get through this? – F. in Loudoun County

F., The Colorado shootings were naturally very upsetting to many parents and children, and as the director of a private mental health practice and a psychologist, I have been inundated with numerous questions from many of my patients’ parents this past week on the matter. Children develop fears and phobias when they are unable to manage the feelings they are experiencing in response to a stressor or trauma. You write that your son is a sensitive boy, and it may be the case that his temperament or personality style has left him emotionally vulnerable to adequately deal with the horrific news. I recommend a few things to consider to get your son back on track.

First, your son is watching how you act or react to the news as parents, so you need to remain calm and reassuring. Be the strong pillars he can lean on to get through this, by focusing on clarification and support when discussing the shootings or the Batman movie. Second, you may want to gradually expose your son to the stressor in order to overcome his fears. Perhaps you could suggest a going to a different movie; just being in a movie theater would be a good first step for him. You could perhaps also recommend watching Batman movies on DVD and in the comfort of your home.

By mastering his anxiety by gaining closer proximity to the stressor, your son’s fears should lessen over time. Watch your son’s emotional and behavioral functioning closely over the next few weeks. If he becomes more clingy and dependent or acts younger, if he becomes increasingly avoidant, if he continues to discuss the movie or what happened, if he demonstrates increased anxiety with separation, or if he just seems to be worried or preoccupied in general, I recommend taking him to a child psychologist for a consultation.

Michael Oberschneider “Dr. Mike” is the Founder and Director of Ashburn Psychological Services (APS), a private mental health clinic comprised of 12 MD and PhD level mental health clinician. He and his team are here to serve our Loudoun children, teens and adults. To learn more about Dr. Mike and the APS team, visit: www.ashburnpsych.com or call (703) 723-2999.

3 comments

  1. David says:

    Re: the first letter, Dr. Mike is very gentle. This poor father will end up an embarrassment to his family if he is unable to adapt his views to reality. It’s not as if reality is going to transform or conceal itself for his comfort. I really feel sorry for guys like this. Folks need to lose the nonsensical “lifestyle” language, though.

  2. Barbara Fishback says:

    As the mom of two gay sons, I would love to sit down with the parents in the first letter and tell them our family’s story. Each of my sons realized their same-sex attraction when they were just ten-years-old, in the fifth grade of elementary school. They each suffered alone for years, afraid of their own humanity. When they learned of each other’s secret, they cried to know the pain their brother had endured. Being homosexual is like having green eyes or being left-handed. It is just another way of being and part of the enormous diversity of life. There is no homosexual “lifestyle” – – just a life worthy of respect and dignity like all lives. I am so proud of each of my sons. They have grown into wise, compassionate, hard-working adults. I, myself, have grown enormously as their mom, learning to set aside preconceived notions about others and appreciate each individual on his or her own merits. I only hope this family can adhere to the Golden Rule and treat people the way they would want to be treated, rather then hating people they don’t even know and teaching their child to mindlessly hate people he doesn’t know or understand.

  3. David says:

    Here’s a heartbreaking example of how a parent “vehemently opposed to homosexuality” can end up. It’s inconceivable to most of us, and I pray that this family is never subjected to behavior this extreme: http://on.fb.me/MuOqcR

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

A Look Into What Is Learned in High School English

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde English is the arguably the most important subject for a student in high school to learn. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common — being able to communicate effectively. This is …

Remembering Nancy Reagan

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel The passing of Nancy Reagan, a former First Lady who completely transformed the role and helped catapult her husband to greatness, marked the end of an era. Her death also happened to coincide with a turning point …

How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

Smith0035

With the recent changes to Social Security rules, filing and suspending will soon be phased out, but there’s still time to take advantage of the strategy. Here’s a quick guide to maneuvering this rule while it still lasts, but as …

Concerned Parent

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We are concerned about some habits our nine year old son demonstrates and would love some advice from you.  We are unsure whether it’s anxiety, nervousness, or just nervous/an excess of energy.  A few …

Temple Hall Farm

timjon

I only met the late AV (Val) Symington once; it was a Sunday evening in my first year or two at Wage Radio (this would be the late ‘90’s) and I was putting things in order for the next morning’s …

Am I an Enabler?

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My husband thinks that I’m harming our son for life because of the way I parent. Our son is 12 years old and he was diagnosed with ADHD in the 1st grade. My husband calls me “the enabler” …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Campaign of Untruths

jimmerson

Elected officials have done some pretty despicable things while serving in office. They range from bribery, beating a spouse, cheating on a spouse, obstruction of justice, and various forms of …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

(Be the first to comment)

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

(Be the first to comment)

Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

May 2016
M T W T F S S
25 26 27

Hamilton Town Hall

28 29

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

30

Lobster Day with Chef Seb at North Gate Vineyard

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

1

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Spring Wine Glass Painting with Penny

2

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

3

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

4

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

5

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

6

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

TGIF @ North Gate Vineyard!

7

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

The Sprouted Spoon Food Truck at North Gate Vineyard

Nathaniel Davis Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

8

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Celebrate Mother's Day at North Gate Vineyard!

Mother's Day Brunch at Breaux

9

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

10

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

11

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

12

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

13

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

14

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Dog Day at Breaux Vineyards

15

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

16

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

17

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

18

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

19

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

20

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

21

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

22

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

23

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

24

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

25

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

26

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

27

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

28

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

29

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

30

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

31

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

1 2 3 4

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

PAUL REISLER TRIO WITH LEA MORRIS AND MARSHALL KEYS

5
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Lifestyle

YMCA of Loudoun County to Hold Job Fair

30 Apr 2016

blueridge2

The YMCA is hiring summer camp Site Supervisors, Sr. Camp Counselors, Camp Counselors, and Jr. Camp Counselors who will work with children ages 5-12 in Loudoun County in our summer day camp programs. Site Supervisors will be responsible for supervising a summer camp program with 30-70 children and for planning, coordinating, and implementing all summer camp activities under the guidelines …

(Be the first to comment)

5K and 10K “Ringing in Hope” Race Slated for Memorial Day

27 Apr 2016

run

The third annual “Ringing in Hope” 5K and 10K race will be held on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) at One Loudoun. A 1K fun run/walk will also be held. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m., the 10K at 8:10 a.m. and the 1K at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds will benefit Boulder Crest Retreat, a retreat for America’s seriously wounded warriors …

(Be the first to comment)

Bluegrass Performers Reno and Harrell To Appear at Lucketts on April 23

15 Apr 2016

music note

The Lucketts Bluegrass Concert Series continues its 42nd season of weekly concerts at the Lucketts Community Center on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. with a show featuring Reno and Harrell. Tickets are $15 at the door, and the doors open at 6:00 p.m. Hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, snacks and drinks will be available at the kitchen.

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Update: Remains Located in Shenandoah National Park; Search Efforts Suspended

VSP Photo - 4-21-16 Whiteoak Canyon Trail Entrance VSP

Update: Body preliminarily identified as Nicole K. Mittendorff, 31, of Woodbridge. The physical and digital evidence collected during the course of this investigation includes a note recovered from the car leads investigators to believe there was no foul play involved in her death. ——————– Search efforts in the Shenandoah National …

(Be the first to comment)

Virginia Trooper Shot and Killed at Richmond Bus Terminal

Tpr Dermyer Patrol Car in front of VSP SPHQ

A Virginia State Police trooper has died as a result of his injuries after being shot on March 31 at the Greyhound Bus station in the 2900 block of North Boulevard in Richmond. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Virginia State Police Trooper Chad P. Dermyer approached a male subject just inside …

(Be the first to comment)

Governor McAuliffe Announces Designation of Four New Virginia Main Street Communities

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the designation of four communities in the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The newly-designated communities include the town of Wytheville, the cities of Danville and Lexington and Gloucester Courthouse in Gloucester County. The communities …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

(Be the first to comment)

ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009