lou walsh, lcpc

30 n. michigan avenue

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chicago, illinois 60602

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Stop Getting Dumped

It was embarrassing to walk into Borders to ask the information desk where I could find Stop Getting Dumped  by Lisa Daily while wearing a wedding ring.  To be frank, I would have had an easier time marching into Walgreen’s to buy adult diapers.  But I did it for you, dear readers, so that you could make an informed literary decision this season. 

That’s right, it’s summertime again.  For those of us in the balmy Midwest, time to grab your parka and mittens and head to the beach, pick a spot near the guys with the flaming trashcan, and settle in with your selections.  Or, if it’s your day to attend Little League practice, time to prudently position yourself behind the chain-link fence before beginning the page-turning tome of your choice.  We don’t want any bookworms getting bonked on the head.

Before we Stop Getting Dumped together, however, are you a boy currently, or were you a boy at one time?  Do you know any boys?  If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, do I have the book or you!  Real Boys by Michael Pollack is an amazing commentary on boys and the challenges they face.  In his masterwork, Baby and Child Care, even Benjamin Spock neglected to address the myriad issues faced by “tween” boys (roughly ages 6-12).  Pollack attends to this group with care.

Accurately or not, our pop culture conveniently provides tween girls with societal acclimatization through roughly two million Olsen twin videos.  In comparison, a tween boy is cut adrift, in something akin to a leaky camp canoe, with no clear-cut role models of his own.  Real Boys is a comprehensive de-mystifier to the information gap about tween boys, as well as a guide to the pressures encountered up to age eighteen.  It describes the Boy Code, enforced from an early age, which decrees that boys adhere to strict standards of non-communication.  This results in either a frustration for parents, or an effective smoke screen to convince them that nothing is wrong.

After finding myself referring to it often, I highly recommend Real Boys for men or women of any age.  And remember, I only see adults in my practice.  For them, the book helps them to reflect on how they were raised and how they might develop strategies for improving on the previous generations’ methods of parenting.

Just as we might find ourselves parenting in different ways from our own fathers and mothers, we also cherish memories of the times we individuated - broke off and expressed ourselves as individuals - for the first time.  Before such milestones as going away to college, getting our first apartment or our first job, however, we experienced that difficult interval of attempting individuation while under the same roof.  Get Out of My Life But First Take Cheryl and Me to the Mall by Anthony Wolf will take you back to that period, and hopefully help you to not only relate better with your kids but also help you to make meaning out of what exactly it was that you yourself were attempting through your own declarations of independence.

For instance, for some of us, the central theme of teenage life was the desire to be left totally and completely alone by our parents, with no rules to live by, coupled with an unlimited supply of money and rides.  At the same time, we faced pressure from those from whose loins we sprang, to fulfill their one heart’s desire - to emerge from our cocoons, a graven image of themselves, their interests, their concerns, only more successful.  According to them, we were placed on this earth to live out their fantasies of perfection and accomplishment, and needless to say, this tug-of-war was not always resolved amicably.

Now turn this nightmare matrix around, and you’ve got yourself in a few years!  Enjoy.  (You grandparents who are reading this, please keep the gloating to a minimum - I can hardly hear myself think.)  In addition to its other uses, this book will give parents something to do for those times you are sent to your room when Junior has his friends over and doesn’t want to be embarrassed by you.  If you are feeling smug about your own relationships with your kids right now, congratulations!  You must not have any teenagers.

This brings us, at last, to Stop Getting Dumped.  The title, while self-explanatory, does not also describe the tips for building self-esteem that are included - a must for every young girl with a fragile ego (and doesn’t that basically describe every one of them?)  Parents can refer to this brief paperback when girls need a few excellent ideas for getting over a break-up.  If they don’t want to talk about the event, just leave the book lying around the house.  Since they do a lot of that, too, they’ll probably find it.

If the weather is still too crummy to enjoy reading outdoors or playing with your prairie dogs in the backyard this summer, do yourself a favor and don’t rent “About Schmidt” - no need to start getting depressed about the next twenty years.