Deborah Rouse-Raines from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read her application below!
I'm uniquely qualified to be GMA's advice guru because of the varied positions that I have in my life. The foundation is my medical experience as a board certified OB/GYN, but just as important are my roles as a mother of 4 children, wife of 17 years, sister to 6 siblings, host of a morning advice segment, writer of a health blog, community advocate and school volunteer. As a gynecologist I treat physical ailments, as well as the emotional and psychological aspects of healing that are only shared in that intimate setting. Nothing can compare to the pain of losing a child and counseling a family through that complicated and delicate journey that goes beyond simple post op instructions. A teen who comes in with an STD needs to be counseled about why they were involved in destructive sexual behavior and how to respect their bodies. As a mother of 4 grade school aged children, twin sons and 2 daughters, everyday is a new challenge and I am often called upon to give insight. When my children are little, it's small details like how to get kids to sleep. As the children get bigger, so do the challenges. Today's teens face the most difficulties with the pervasiveness of technology. I've become an expert in how to navigate it with them. ...I am more than a list of titles and roles. Most importantly people see me as a friend that they can trust to give straight, honest answers on almost any topic. I am already an advice guru in my community and am ready to be GMA's next advice guru.
What's the best advice you have ever given? What was the result?
The best advice that I have given is no matter how bad things seem right now, it will change and you are not defined by this moment. I've given this advice many times but most importantly with a Marine returning home from the first wave of the invasion of Iraq after 911. He was depressed to the point of wanting to commit suicide from a potent cocktail of PTSD, getting over a lost love, and facing the dating world of Manhattan (which he described as worse than combat.) I helped him to see life is not perfect and one should appreciate the moment they are living in now. Everyone has their own private battle and their actions may have nothing to do with you, so quit the self-blame. I encouraged therapy, medication and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and he is now married, leading a successful life in Manhattan.
Deborah Rouse-Raines is Finalist in GMA Advice Guru Contest
What would you tell this person: "Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?
One of the greatest predictors of success for a couple is the feeling that they are on the same team working together. When he does not stick up for you in front of his mother, you naturally feel abandoned. Have a conversation with your husband when things are calm, explaining that you are hurt when he does not defend you. This may be difficult for him if he has never stood up to his mother. Any situation that may involve conflict with your mother-in-law should be discussed ahead of time, if possible, so you both agree on a strategy. In some situations, you can ask to be removed from the conflict and have him be the main communicator representing you as a couple. She may feel that she has lost her son to you and he can better fight for what you both believe.
What would you tell this person: "While cleaning my son's room, I accidentally saw on his Facebook page threatening remarks from his friends. I fear he's being bullied. What should I do?"
Cyberbullying has become a national epidemic with upwards of 40% of children reporting they have been victims. Children that are bullied are more likely to have low self esteem, depression and suicidal thoughts. Sadly, the majority of children bullied will not tell anyone so approach your child with love and understanding. First say, "I was cleaning your room and saw some things open on Facebook that I am concerned about. I am sorry that your friends are not being nice so let's talk about this and we can work together to make it right." Save all the documentation of bullying but do not reply so the situation does not escalate. Block the bully's phone and email and report the abuse to Facebook. Build a team to help by contacting the school and a therapist or police if the messages are threatening. Parents must step in to stop this cyberbullying epidemic.
What would you tell this person: "My boss keeps taking credit for my ideas. What should I do?"
If you feel that your boss is taking your ideas, the first question that you should ask is, "Does it matter?" Part of your job is to make the boss look good and if you are promoted in position and pay then it doesn't really matter. If you are not progressing, then document all that you have done. This can be accomplished through positive, open communication by sending out regular e-mails to your team explaining your goals and how you plan to accomplish them. It is a great opportunity to thank the people who are helping you along the way so that it is clear to everyone what you are working on. At the midyear review, bring organized documentation to your boss and discuss in a positive way, how you have contributed to your annual objectives. Your boss will then have no choice but to recognize your accomplishments.
Submissions have been edited for length, style and clarity.