Here are the questions received from our community members and the answers to the questions made public. The following answers are the opinions of the staff of Sacred Woman and do not in any way reflect a definite course of action for the readers. This column is a communication service and should be used as a means to open the lines of discussion for our readers. If you have a question for heart2heart please send them to: email@example.com
Q. My husband and I have an 8 -year old and a 13- year old. They both walk home from the bus stop...at different times during the day. I want them to have cell phones to stay in contact with me, their father and family in case they find themselves in difficulty on their walk home. Our oldest already has a smart phone, which he uses in class with the required curriculum. Now our 8 year old daughter insists she needs a smart phone since she will need one within the next few years. I don’t see the harm. Many of her friends have smart phones. This has caused arguments between my husband and I. We need another opinion and will weigh yours on the side of whatever is best. Our phone plan won’t be affected.
A: I hope your arguments aren’t within earshot of your children. I’m sure you’re aware that children will play the side of the parent who will benefit their cause best. I support the need for children to have cell phones for the reasons you stated, but I don’t feel an 8 year old needs a smartphone. Too often with a smartphone it is tempting to communicate through the internet, social media platforms and distract a young mind in ways that could be damaging to their self-esteem or maturity levels. It can be explained that having a cell phone is a privilege. Not only is a smart phone an expensive investment it means that the user be careful in more ways than an 8 year old could imagine. Being swayed because all of her friends have them is never a good reason to give in to children’s wishes, even if it were true. Once you and your husband decide what course of action to take, present a united front so your child isn’t aware of any conflict in your position on the matter.
Q. Several years ago I lost a brother in a tragic accident. Just when I feel like I can move on, I awake in tears once again reliving the moment when I got the “call” that informed me of his death. It throws me back to the deep despair I felt at that moment and I become depressed for days. How can I let the tragedy go and finally be happy again?
A. Sometimes we get into a loop of grieving, especially in a sudden tragedy and we identify with the details of how a loved one left this world rather than the many other aspects of their life with us, especially memories that make us laugh or give us joy. It might be beneficial to “reboot“ your memory of your brother by looking at photos of him and yourself together, talking about him, your fun memories of the two of you, etc. to family members. Instead of remembering the date of his death celebrate his life on the day he entered this realm. If you feel that you have unfinished business due to the suddenness of his departure, you could write him letters or poems.Once you have exhausted this means of communication, burn them in a ceremony of your own making, to create the closure you need on your own terms. If this does not resolve the issue you might need to seek professional grief counseling.
Q. I have a little girl that loves to play dress up. When she was little more than a toddler it was fun to make up her face with lipstick and blush for Halloween or play princess. As she has gotten older, she is now 6, she has expressed that she wants to be in a beauty pageant. She watches some for little girls and thinks that is the ideal way to grow up. She now gets into my makeup and applies it herself...as you can imagine it makes her look clownish, and wants to go to dinner with the family like this. How can I emphasize the difference between a grown woman wearing makeup and the need for her to wait until she is older to start wearing makeup? What age is appropriate and how do I discourage her from wanting to enter beauty pageants? I think we went wrong when we told her how pretty she looked when she played grownup and has become attached to much to this superficial measure of beauty.
A. It isn’t uncommon for little girls to want to emulate their mothers in wearing or wanting to wear makeup. Just like most little boys like to watch their fathers shave and “play” that they are shaving too. I think what is important here is to let your daughter know that she is even more beautiful without makeup. Show her pictures or point out women that wear little makeup. I remember, “back in the day”, loving the smell of makeup which made it even more irresistible, when perfumes or mild fragrance was added to powders and lipstick. Try to limit her from watching beauty pageants of young or grown women. The emphasis on the outward image can become deeply engrained in a child’s mind. Look at how you might be expressing this same imagery message without realizing it, to her or when she is within earshot. Include your husband in the redirection of her focus on what she looks like gently, so she can evaluate herself in other ways. Like playing outside, learning new skills, and playing games that are more about her developing brain and physical power. Praise her for those achievements and less about how “pretty” she looks. It may take a little time but even when she is dressed in a new outfit you can say things that are more about how the clothes look than on her persona. Our culture is so distorted in the way we exemplify youth, superficial beauty and the value it places on putting on faces that it will be a good exercise for you to develop awareness as well.
Note: The following answers are the opinions of the staff of Sacred Woman and do not in any way reflect a definite course of action for the readers. This column is a communication service and should be used as a means to open the lines of discussion for our readers. If you have a question for heart2heart please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org