Opinions and Being Informed About the War

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Opinions – Does Mine Count?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I read your responses to questions about the war in Iraq and thought I’d ask my question. It could apply to the war or politics or pretty much any topic where people have differing opinions.

I was raised to “please people” and I feel unsettled by other people’s anger, although I have worked hard to lessen the impact of this upbringing on my current life. In the past I have hesitated to take a stand or have an opinion because of this fear of disagreement.

When I listen to the discussion about the war in Iraq and the different opinions it is clear there are people who hate Americans and Pres. Bush and who will always see the actions of our country and President in a negative light. I don’t think there is anything that can be done to change their minds.

I guess I am wanting to feel comfortable having my own opinion. In the case of this war I feel proud of our president’s courage and leadership and I am impressed with our military. However, when I hear other people voicing their disapproval and characterizing the war differently from how I see it I doubt myself.

People (and, for that matter, governments) see the same things and have strongly opposite opinions. How do we handle this?

A: One reason why people often experience doubt is when excessive fear creeps in. Not only does this negative emotion sometimes cloud and distort good judgment, but it can also inhibit people from expressing or taking a position on what they truly believe. Once this culprit is identified, a next step could be to have the courage to stand up and be counted.

”Keeping Informed – What About Family Time?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My husband spends all his free time watching the news about the Iraq war. I love that he likes to be informed, but since the war began, he spends no time with our children (7 and 9 years), unless they are watching TV also, which I only allow in limited amounts. Should I talk to my husband about this, or respect his need to be informed?

A: I can appreciate your husband’s preoccupation with world events, but family time is critical and parents must make every effort to ensure that it occurs. In this respect, I wanted to share with you an excerpt from my article, “How to Teach a Child Positive Behavior,” published in the February/March 2003 issue of Hawaii Parent, The Magazine For Families, pp. 82-87.

“Family Time. Parents must prioritize showing interest in their child and teaching positive social habits. Otherwise the child runs the risk of developing into an adult who has difficulty conforming to rules and social standards. One way for parents to show interest is via quality family time. This means undistracted sharing. Specifically, during family interactions no one watches television, listens to the radio or reads, unless the family is sharing these activities together (e.g., reading a bedtime story). Quality time bonds familial relationships. Time spent before work in the morning or after work until bedtime also offers opportunities for socialization.”

Good luck with raising your children.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’ https://www.DrGelbSays.com