Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ask Cat: Extreme Time-out, Grouchy Hubbies, and Gossipers!

Due to popular demand, I will be doing "Ask Cat" every once in a while... maybe once a week. I really enjoyed doing it last time, and had such a good response, I've decided to keep it up and see how it all works out. Remember, most of these people are fictional, but the problems are real. For first time readers see this post.

Note: I am not a therapist or a physiologist, I am just a woman with some experience, common sense, and lots of opinions. So, basically, if you follow my advice and it ruins your life, it's your fault, not mine.
Dear Cat,
My friend is one of the sweetest people I know. She's amazing. However, last time I was at her house, I noticed her oldest son was missing. I asked where he was and she informed me he was sitting on his bed. I'd already been there for some time and I thought "Good heavens, for how long!?" It's her kid so I didn't say anything. But when I mentioned this to another friend she told me that this is very common. And that little boy (who isn't even 8 yet) will have to sit on his bed all day. I was shocked. I have never really seen my friend raise her voice and she always manages her kids so well. Should I say something to her about how damaging this could be to her son or should I continue to mind my own business -and not lose a friend in the process?
-Looking out for Kids

Dear Looking,
This is a tough one. Good thing we have the Internet at our fingertips... literally! So I did a little research about child abuse and this is what I found. Concerning emotional abuse, the Child Welfare Information Gateway site states: "Isolating (e.g., confining the child, placing unreasonable limitations on the child's freedom of movement, restricting the child from social interactions)" is indeed a form of child abuse. I don't know your friend's situation completely, and I may be way off base here, but most of the websites state NOT to confront the parent or caregiver of your concerns -- people get really upset when given "friendly advice" about disciplining. There is a toll-free number you can call anonymously and ask further questions. For most states, if family services is called in, they WILL NOT immediately take the child from the home (unless under serious conditions), but their goal is to educate parents who may not understand what they are doing, so things will change in their home for the better. The number is: 1-800-4-A-CHILD For more information see: Sometimes, no matter how much we like the parents, we have to act for the children.

Dear Cat,
I want to know what you women are doing to keep the husband out of the house so much, cause I have been married 6 yrs and my husband's schedule is about to change so he will be home more which means he will be around more to complain about everything--and I mean everything!!! So short of kicking him out (I do want to be able to celebrate our 10th anniversary) I would like to know your advice on how to how to get my husband to stop complaining and being so grouchy.
-Tired of the Complaining

Dear Tired,
Sounds to me like your hubby needs a hobby. Either that or a list of chores he can do to help you out. When my husband gets the grouchies, I suggest he go for a bike ride or go tinker around on the car, things he likes to do that will get him out of the house. For me, I like to go to the gym when I have had enough. But all in all, what puts my husband in the best mood is "us" time. After the kids are put in bed, we break out the board games, put on a movie, or sometimes jump in the shower together... or you can always go to bed early *wink wink*. Let him know you love him, do kind things for him (my hubby loves it when I leave him little love notes around) and trust me, when people are being nice and loving to me, it's hard to stay grumpy!

Dear Cat,
I live in an apartment complex with my husband and 3 young children. A couple days a week I have been taking my children to the nearby park, where all the local moms take their kids. When we first moved here, I introduced myself to them and we became "park" friends. It didn't take long for me to realize that even though they were nice to me, they were the biggest gossips ever, always saying mean things about the other moms that weren't there. I am afraid to speak up and tell them how I feel about it, because I know they will be mad at me. What should I do?
-Victim of Backbiting

Dear Victim,
Chances are they are gossiping about you as well, when you aren't around. To me, this sounds like a nasty bunch I wouldn't hang out with. But if you feel their friendships are worth saving, here is my advice. Be an example of love and goodness. For every nasty comment they share about someone, counter it with something positive that you like. Say kind things about people, trust me, it rubs off. When people are confronted with positive feelings verses negative feelings, they usually wise up. People who say mean things about others, are clearly not happy with themselves. In my experience, they feel that ripping others down, makes them feel bigger. However, the truth is, if you want to be a bigger person, drag others UP with you. Compliment them, encourage them. Everyone needs to feel special, even the gossipers. Another method I have used is to change the subject. When they start harping on a certain person, ask about where they got their fabulous shoes, or that amazingly awesome purse. Ask them about their kids, anything to get them talking about something else.... at least until you leave. If none of this works, I suggest going to a different park.

Until next week, Ask Cat is signing off! Mama Nut back tomorrow...


Mama Kat said...

What a fun idea! Who needs a degree when you have common sense and the internet on your team!?! Love this.

Jill said...

I love Ask Cat. I doubt I'll call child services on my friend though. She is such a great mom. I just don't understand the long time outs. Thanks for your advice though. I have some others. I'll have to e-mail you though.

kiddiescorner said...

Very cool idea. I look forward to reading your "column" :O)

Mama Nut said...

Jill -- I'm not saying you have to "report them", you can always call that toll-free number and ask for advice on how to procede, they can give better tips then I can. Maybe on how to talk to her about in a tactful way -- You know how much tact I have! LOL.

Our Family said...

Ask Cat is a great idea! I'll look forward to it every week. I really like your advice about backbiting.

Shannon said...

Good job Cat. Maybe you'll get recognized worldwide or something & then you'll get like a million readers. Oh imagine that......

Jodie said...

You give really great advice! I know where I am going to go the next time I have a problem! :-)

Rocksee said...

This is a good one!!

meagan said...

You know, I actually had a friend that made the kids stand in the corner for extremely long times, she babysat my son and he would be in the corner for long times too, which would drive me crazy, but unfortunately my son is such a "difficult" child that she was literally my last option and she obeyed her so I figured she was doing something right, but I would question her tactics when I saw her do this, but never flat told her what the experts say concerning time out times--because I didn't want to be the one telling her how to raise her kids cause hers were way better than mine.

Anyhow she doesn't watch my son anymore because I don't work and she won't let me watch her kids (cause she doesn't think I am the best mom out there, but its ok cause her kids are brats to me) but a few months ago she came up to me and gave excitedly told me she was reading this book on how to properly disipline children (I think her mom gave it to her) and in it she read you are only suppose to put them in time out for a minute for every yr they are--she had no idea she was leaving the kids in for too long and when I told her I knew that she wondered why I never shared--either way maybe you can find a book that says it and give it to your friend, maybe tell her you were reading it and want to know her opinion of the advice offered in the book--definately don't say "thought you coudl learn from this" but more, "do you think this guy knows what he is talking about" she really might not know that what she is doign is wrong--just my 5 cents

oh and cat thanks for the advice, but really I think I am just going to have to let him sit and veg in front of the TV, cause I have given him lists of things to do--he ignores it, I ask him to help, he ignores me, I suggest him do a hobby, he refuses, I tell him to go for a walk or a drive, he refuses, and unfortunately I am stuck in the house--he is just in his mode and every time I suggest something we just end up in a huge fight--right now he is using his free time to get another job, but don't get me started on that subject. thanks though.