Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Dance Moms: Over the Top Relationship Dysfunction

posted by Linda Mintle

The title of the TV show, Dance Moms, intrigued me because I am a dance mom. So I decided to watch a few episodes back to back the other night.

I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was like watching people in desperate need of group therapy.

The owner of the dance studio acted like she was untreated for bipolar disorder. One minute she would tell the dancers they were doing great, and the next she was screaming at them. The dancers were young girls in elementary school and at an impressionable age. The negative comments the owner/teacher made about parents, competition and even other children were terrible. She shamed people, impulsively yelled, and threatened to yank girls out of numbers. She pitted one girl against another and allowed their moms to weigh in with their opinions. The girls looked depressed!

Then there were the moms – a take off of The Housewives of….you name which one. They were brutal, screaming at the owner when their daughters didn’t get solos, threatening to pull them out of dances they didn’t like and regularly left the studio angry, while dragging their crying children. Most of the show is listening to the moms be caddy about each other and the owner. The moms give new meaning to the term helicopter parents–they hover over their children like vultures ready to swoop down at any moment their children have been unfairly treated (in their opinion). I was embarrassed watching them. Clearly, their identities are wrapped up in the success of their daughters.

The ones who suffer all this psycho “entertainment” are the dancers. They regularly witness a lack of conflict management and civility.  And this is very sad because the girls are pushed to perfection and have to please the erratic adults around them. If those girls don’t develop some major issues in a few years, I will be surprised.

My daughter danced for nationally known teacher Denise Wall (Yes, Travis Wall is her son and that is her in the picture) and Denise always treated her with respect. When my daughter would leave the dance studio, she felt empowered and confident that she could continue to improve and be who she was intended to be. Denise has a way of bringing out the inner person and connecting her to movement. And while Denise has churned out many national champions and dancers who have made it on Broadway and in LA, Denise doesn’t allow moms to run her studio. In fact, there are no viewing rooms for moms. We do not watch their every move and comment. We trust that Denise is the professional and we are not.  And while families bring drama to the studio at times, Denise is kindhearted and loves her dancers. My daughter adores her, not from some sick twisted need to please her, but out of a genuine love for a teacher who knows the dance world and helps her students become the best they can be.

So first, thank you Denise Wall for being such a phenomenal teacher and human being. Thanks for being professional and teaching the kids the business without shaming them and driving them to develop eating disorders. Most of all, thanks for empowering them to be all they can be and not allowing parents to distract you from your job!

In my opinion, Dance Moms, gives dance a big black eye!

Dr. Linda Speaks to Teen Videos “Am I pretty?”

posted by Linda Mintle

I sat down with CBN news to discuss this latest trend –young girls looking on-line for self-esteem. In this 4 minute interview, I give tips on how parents can help given the damage this type of social media exposure can have on a person’s self-esteem. Parents, spend a few minutes and learn what you can do to prevent low self-esteem in your tweener or teen. For more help, I highly recommend my small booklet, Breaking Free from Negative Self-Image.

 

Dr. Linda’s news interview: Click here.

How To Respond to Unfair Accusations

posted by Linda Mintle

My devotional reading this morning was quite challenging. It talked about responding to someone who accuses you. When a false accusation comes your way, the natural response is to lash out, come back with a real zinger, and put that person in his or her place. But is that Christian?

The writer says NO. Even though our flesh screams to retaliate and the culture encourages this, we can’t go there as Christ followers. We are to give the Holy Spirit space before we answer someone. That “space” gives God a moment to work in us and prevent us from reacting in a hasty way.

Answering with a harsh response is living as if God is not in us. The writer goes so far to say that it is like we are an atheist.

God is in us and wants to be a part of all of our moments. So when that harsh moment comes, press pause, allow God to work in you and transform your response. Don’t return accusation with accusation.

In order to respond in a Christlike manner, it helps to remember that when someone is negative and accusatory, this is not the voice of God. God assures us of His love, brings peace to our spirit and frees us from shame. So when accusatory words are spoken, try to remember that those words don’t represent God.

Every time we react to someone who accuses us unfairly, we represent God to others. And while we all fall short of perfect representation, we must be mindful of what it means to  follow Christ in all we do.

 

For more help, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness by Dr. Linda Mintle. Click on the book on the right.

My Co-Worker is Making Me Fat!

posted by Linda Mintle

No one but you puts food in your mouth, so the idea that someone else can make you fat is a bit far fetched. But  co-workers can tempt you and influence your eating.

When treats abound at the workplace and tempting goodies are placed by coffee pots and shared spaces, the resolve to say NO becomes more difficult, especially when the decline signals a lack of participation or appreciation for the co-worker. The push back can produce hurt feelings or annoy the treat suppliers.

A recent survey of dieters by Survey Sampling International for Medi-Weightloss Clinics (Tampa-based franchise of physician-supervised weight loss clinics) found that 29% of dieters felt pressured by colleagues to eat food not on their plan. They reported being made fun of for dieting, having colleagues order food at restaurants they preferred not to eat, and were  pressured to eat more than they wanted to eat.

So should we simply shrug off the unkind comment of a co-worker who belittles us for our mini portions? Perhaps, but a study published in Obesity found that the attributes and behaviors of our peers are tied to weight loss success. Bottom line is that our co-workers have influence. They can encourage  or discourage a weight loss plan. The constant asking why you won’t eat something, telling you that it is no big deal to sample the cake or eat a few cookies, does not bode well for the determined dieter. And what if the food pusher is a client? Then it is even more difficult to politely refuse.

So what do you do? Here are 5 suggestions:

1. Keep your resolve. While it would be nice to have the support of co-workers, you may not. You can try taking them aside and asking them to help you. If that doesn’t work, be polite on your decline of food and tell them you appreciate the offer and that the treats are surely delicious. But you have health concerns that are important to you and your family right now.

2. If someone becomes annoyed. Say, “I was hoping you would understand how hard it is to lose weight. I am really trying to stick with a healthy eating plan.” If the co-worker stays annoyed, ignore. But first try to elicit his or her support.

3. Drink water and eat a healthy snack. If the coffee area has tempting foods. Hunger can lead to a downfall. Prevent hunger and you can resist better.

4. Don’t succumb to the pressure to be like everyone else. At the end of the day, you live with your choices and your body.

5. Pick at the food on your plate. Move it around and pretend you are eating if someone orders you something you don’t want to eat. This is an old eating disorder trick to make it appear as if the food on the plate has been eaten.

All in all, you decide if the food is going in to your mouth. And while the pressure of co-workers influences you, it doesn’t have to determine your behavior!

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