“Project X”

I just read an article on Good Morning America’s website about a teenager in Houston who was shot and killed at a party that was inspired by the movie, “Project X”.  I watched the trailer of the movie and did a little research on the plot.  The plot is pretty clear:  A teenage nerd throws a party that gets totally out of control.  There’s plenty of partying, smoking weed, drinking, and sex.

What many of you don’t know about me is that in addition to being a psychotherapist and expert on television, I’m also a school counselor.  I’ve been one for 17 years and I know every inside/out detail of teenagers today.  I’m right in the middle of it.

This movie, “Project X”, has inspired many similar parties across America and I am bothered by this.  Why?  Because today’s teenagers are completely out of control.  It’s nowhere near what it was like when I was a kid.  Here are the two major flaws that I see nowadays.

  1. Parents (not all of them, just more of them) have no idea what their kids are doing everyday. Do you know how many teenagers I’ve seen in my office who smoke weed every single day and their parents have “no idea”.  More parents have become clueless and desensitized to the realities and dangers of our world.  How else can you explain 500-1000 teenagers showing up to party, drinking, smoking and having sex?  It’s because their parents either don’t know or don’t care.  Not good!!!
  2. Teenagers are followers: Bottom line-kids do what other kids do.  Very few are leaders and carve their own path in the woods.  We can thank media for its glorification of weed, alcohol and sex among teens.  It makes it “ok” in their young, innocent minds.

So what can we do with this problem?

  1. Parents – start becoming part of you your teenager’s life.  He/she is not an adult no matter what television or other media tries to tell you.  Your kid needs you to be a parent.  Take control for crying out loud!!  And no, it’s not ok if your 17-year-old has a couple of beers as long as he’s not driving.  You shouldn’t permit him to drink, period.
  2. Teens – Ask yourself this question:  Do you want to be ordinary just like everyone else or do you want to be more than that? Then start making better decisions and stop listening to your friends all time.  They know nothing; a positive adult in your life does.

Just had to get this off my chest……..

Raising Self-Sufficient Kids

I had a meeting yesterday with some colleagues about things we’re all involved in with television, media, books etc.  I got into a discussion with one of them, who is a pediatrician and is writing a book on parenting.  Both of us have children around the same age, we both work with families in our professions and we both agree on limiting the amount of technology our kids use.  We also agreed on teaching the importance of independence and self-sufficiency.  Our conversations led to a discussion about an incident I had with my almost nine-year-old son yesterday.

My son asked me to get him breakfast.  He has a bowl of Cherrios every morning with Silk Soy Milk.  I told him that he had to get his own breakfast.  He replied by telling me that he didn’t know how to make his own bowl of Cherrios, which is nonsense.  I would not give in to him, to which he became very upset.  After about 10 minutes of pouting he got up off the couch, got a bowl out, took out the Cheerios and Silk Soy Milk, and made his own breakfast.

This morning I was driving to work and got stuck behind a school bus in my town.  The bus stopped 3 different times and each time I watched high school kids get out of their parents car and onto the bus.  Each of these streets is a dead-end and no more that an eighth of a mile long and these kids were being driven to the bus stop.  It’s not like it was 20 degrees and snowing; it was a beautiful morning.  My mind flashed back to my high school days when I had to walk almost a mile to and from the bus stop every day, no matter what the weather was like.  Getting stuck behind that bus got me thinking even more on how important it is to raise motivated, self-sufficient kids and not get caught-up in doing everything for our kids.

If you are a parent and you want your child to grow to be a healthy, self-sufficient adult do the following:

1. Let your child walk to the bus stop.

2. Let you child make his own breakfast.

3. Let your child earn the things you buy him

4. Let your child fail

5. Give you child lots of hugs


This summer I read a fantastic book called “Clubhouse Confidential”, written by Luis Castillo, a former New York Yankee bat boy.  Luis’ tenure ran from 1998 to 2005 and in the book he talks about working with the modern day Yankee greats like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie William, Joe Torre and Roger Clemens.  The book offers a wonderful behind the scene glimpse of these iconic players.  What I respected about the book was that it did not “slam” any of the players, except for one—Alex Rodriquez.

I’ve always been a Rodriguez fan and take everything that the media writes about him with a grain of salt, until I read Clubhouse Confidential.   Rodriguez is the only player that Castillo does slam, but in a very diplomatic way.  I was quite disappointed to hear about how real A-Rods “ego mania” disease is.  Yes A-Rod is one of the greatest players of all time and has more money than any of us will ever dream of but the man has no friends.  His own teammates can’t stand him and most of society can’t stand him because he is so full of himself.

The question I ask is how did the Governor of New Jersey  slip through the cracks?  I happen to live in New Jersey but I’m not going to share with you my thoughts about Chris Christie because my political views are my business.  But I can tell you that just about everyone I meet in New Jersey loves the guy.

Check out this video and make your own assumption.  The Governor has a reputation of being a “tough guy” because he talks down to people and demeans them a lot.  In the video he calls a former Navy Seal an “IDIOT”, that’s right — a former NAVY SEAL, as in John Rambo.  Am I hallucinating?  I wouldn’t dare talk to a Navy Seal like that, but then again I don’t have an entourage of armed secret service agents to protect me.  Would Christie call a Navy Seal an “idiot” if he didn’t have armed guards protecting him?  Is “tough guy” an accurate description of him?  You be the judge.

One word of advice to all of you:  treat people with respect and you’ll have many friends.  Disrespect people and you’ll live a very lonely life.


Christie’s FOURTH divorce

Christie Brinkley is going through her fourth divorce; yes that’s what I said—her FOURTH.  And this is what she had to say:

“I can now say unequivocally I would never get married again. There’s absolutely no reason to. I learnt in my divorce that marriage is ridiculous,” she told the newspaper when asked about her past marriages. “You take a vow but you don’t get brownie points when you honor your vow and the other person doesn’t.”

I think never getting married again is a good idea Christie.  It’s not your forte.  But Christie, can your marital woe’s really be your husband’s fault—all four of them?  Christie, is there something you could have done differently in your four marriages?

This is an issue I run into all the time with couples who are having problems; they don’t know how to take responsibility for their own actions.  It’s just easier to point the finger.  If you’re going through a divorce ask yourself this question:  What could I have done differently?  Make sure you answer this question unequivocally or you’ll probably find the same fate the next time around, and the next, and the next.  Just ask Christie.


Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver getting marriage counseling


The rumor is out that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are going to marriage counseling to help work through their issues.  Arnold is lucky that Maria is a devout Catholic who does not believe in divorce.  According to sources, Arnold is doing everything in his power to get her back.  He claims to be a “changed” man, but Maria’s friends don’t want want to hear it?  They say he will never change.

I’ll give you my take.  Most likely they will not work-out their differences because of their high profile nature and because of their career demands.  However, being a therapist who has worked with countless couples, it is possible.  There is a lot of pain and mistrust that Maria will have to deal with and believe it or not so will Arnold, unless he’s a complete narcissist.  It’s going to take a long time to restore trust.  For this relationship to work, Arnold will need to completely change his priorities, which will mean stepping out of the limelight and stepping back into his marriage.  It depends what is more important to Arnold-his career or his wife.  Can he do it?  What are your thoughts?