Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Readers: Today is Memorial Day. Please take a moment to remember and appreciate the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served their country. In their honor, we would like to reprint one of our favorite poems on the subject, by John T. Bird of Birmingham, Ala.:
Last Monday in May
We pause to remember those who died
with so much courage
so much pride.
They’ll never come back
but memories endure
to remind us of freedom: fragile, pure.
We’re worthy of their sacrifice
if we pause each day
not just on the last Monday in May.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have four grown children. I was pretty strict — no dating until 16, no staying out after midnight, no smoking or drinking. The children were disciplined, but never spanked. They had chores, but could spend the money they earned any way they liked. I thought they turned out pretty well.
After they left home, my wife and I divorced after 26 years of marriage. Slowly things began to change, and now my two daughters won’t speak to me and the boys think I was too hard on them growing up.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out what has happened and why they remember their childhood so much differently than I do. Can you tell me what is going on and why? — Stumped
Dear Stumped: Children often remember their childhoods differently than their parents and even their siblings, because the memories are filtered through their young, self-absorbed interpretations. In your case, there could also be many negative associations triggered by the divorce (and it’s also possible Mom or other relatives could be contributing somewhat on that score).
If your children bring up an event that you recall differently, say so without implying that their memories are faulty. Instead, in a neutral tone, tell them how you remember it, and say you did the best you could and that you love them dearly and are proud of them. Then occasionally remind them of happier times that they presumably enjoyed.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Frustrated Parents of a Former High Achiever,” whose 20-year-old son was kicked out of college for marijuana use. He most likely is addicted to marijuana. At 20, this is more serious than an adolescent attitude he will grow out of. Marijuana, like cigarettes, alcohol and other addictive substances, raises dopamine levels in the brain. The developing brain, especially in adolescence and young adulthood, is vulnerable to such artificial stimulation, leading to lifetimes plagued by addiction and its consequences.
I am a physician certified in addiction medicine by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and am committed to getting the word out about the consequences of substance abuse in our adolescents and young adults. Most addictions start in those years. Marijuana addiction, although it may be considered socially less harmful compared to other substances, can be as debilitating in the long term.
Please advise the parents to seek help through groups such as Families Anonymous or Nar-Anon. Some young addicts do eventually correct themselves and change, but unfortunately, many do not. Even though they cannot force their adult son to attend rehab, the parents can educate themselves, face their own denial and deal with their son on a more realistic basis. — Emily Rayes-Prince, M.D., DABAM, Kentucky
Dear Dr. Rayes-Prince: Thank you for your professional take on the subject. Interested readers can contact Families Anonymous (familiesanonymous.org) at 1-800-736-9805 or Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org) at 1-800-477-6291.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.31.10