Parenting Q & A- Private parenting matters, staying at home vs. career, sports obsession

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By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist

Edition: May 30, 2010 | Topic: Questions from readers

My teenage son read my Instant Messages on the computer between me and a special friend. I told my son that this was a private matter, but I also asked him not to say anything to his dad as I am still married. Iíll get divorced at some point, but not until my kids are older.

Now my son seems to be pushing the limits more often. After he was recently grounded, he said something about telling his dad about the Instant Messages. I feel like Iím being blackmailed by my own son. How do I deal with this?

The problem is not your sonís threats, but your marital infidelity. Youíve created this dilemma by your deceitful behavior.

End the relationship with your ďspecial friend,Ē get a divorce, or seek marital therapy. To be married to one person while carrying on an internet affair with another is dishonest and a terrible example for your son about love, commitment, and marriage.

Before we got married I promised my husband that I would stay home with our children until they were of school age. While I love my two children very much, I find myself counting the days when I can return to work, which is still three long years away.
Would it be wrong to go back on my promise and resume my career?

Itís possible to maintain a professional career and be a wonderful mom, but this requires a great deal of communication, cooperation and support from your husband.

Itís hard to maintain commitment to a promise when you really didnít have any idea how your life changes with children. Now that you know what itís really like raising children, itís reasonable to speak to your husband and discuss the importance of your career in your life. Raising children is the responsibility of both of you. I would think he would want you to be a fulfilled person in addition to a great mom.

My 7-year-old has an absolute passion for baseball. He plays it throughout the spring and summer and seems to know everything about the professional teams. He talks about it constantly with me and his dad. I worry that this interest may be turning into an obsession. Is it possible to be too passionate about a hobby?

If he is doing well in other aspects of his life - school, friendships, relationships with his family - there is no reason to dampen his enthusiasm. However, continue to expose him to other activities, such as other sports, music and the arts. Show as much interest in those activities as you do in baseball.

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Dr. Ramey 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 and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at

©2010 The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. Columns may be reproduced with the permission of Dayton Children's.


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