By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist
Edition: September 9, 2007 | Topic: Questions from readers
QuestionMy son is planning on joining the Armed Forces after he graduates from high school. He has been on Ritalin for many years, and I just read where this may prevent him from entering the military. Is this correct?
AnswerDepartment of Defense regulations place restrictions on potential recruits who have been on Ritalin and similar medications during the past 12 months. Some branches of the Armed Forces interpret this as a stringent requirement, while others are more flexible. Your son should contact his local recruiter and explain his medical and academic history. This certainly has been a significant problem for students who have been treated for Attention Deficit and other disorders.
QuestionWe recently had a baby six months ago, and I am concerned about my wife. I can understand her total commitment to our baby, but she never wants to go out with me anymore. I think it's important for our relationship that we continue to have a life independent of our child. Anything I say seems to make the situation even more difficult.
How can I convince her that spending time with her husband is just as important as caring for our baby?
AnswerYou can't convince her of something that isn't true—the baby's needs do come before yours!
The birth of your first child is a time of many changes, not only for each of you as new parents but also for your relationship. This is a time of excitement, but also a time of stress. It takes a while to work out the balance between caring for your child while continuing to nurture your relationship.
Here are a couple strategies that other families have found successful. First, go on short outings taking the baby with you. This could be something as simple as going for a walk, giving you and your spouse time to spend with each other. Second, rather than going out for an entire evening, identify a babysitter—perhaps a family member—and make your initial outing somewhat short, perhaps only an hour.
Pressuring your wife won't work. In fact, it might be more helpful for you to offer to spend time caring for the baby alone and give your wife some time to herself. The key is to talk about these matters without either side pressuring the other.
QuestionI am in the process of getting a divorce, and my husband is seeking regular contact with our children. The odd thing is he had virtually no contact with our two boys when we were married, so I can't even begin to understand why he thinks he can be a responsible father after our divorce. I feel like the court system is against me, and that the boys will end up having visits with their dad even though I know he will not responsibly fulfill this obligation.
AnswerDrop the attitude and give your husband a chance to be a father to his two boys.
The research is clear that children from divorced families do best when they have regular contact with both parents. There also is a very interesting phenomenon that some researchers have called "divorce-activated dads." This is a situation in which a parent who previously had little involvement with their children becomes very involved in caring and being a responsible parent.
Change your attitude and don't inadvertently or purposefully do or say things that will hurt the relationship between the boys and their dad. Love your children more than you dislike their dad, and act accordingly.
Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit www.childrensdayton.org/ramey and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drgregramey
©2010 The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. Columns may be reproduced with the permission of Dayton Children's.
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