Hey, what's up, good folks, this is Dr. John Villone with the Dr. John Villone Show. Redundant, right? Today we are talking mom guilt with special needs kids. We're talking about immature partners and co parenting. And we're talking about a couple getting on the same page with how they spend their money. Stay tuned.
Hey, what is up? I'm John and welcome to the Dr. John Villone show. This is a color driven show where we talk about your relationships, your life, your weird neighborhood, your HLA conspiracy theories, your mental health, anything and everything, your marriage, parenting, all of it. The world has lost its mind, man.
People are struggling with their mental health. Divorce rates are up. People are out of work, divided. Things are just generally a mess and good folks, I am here to help. I want to walk alongside you and provide you with wisdom, wisdom from emerging science and research and ancient wisdom and truths and insights that we have forgotten because we've gotten so big and so fast and so arrogant and so impressed and satisfied with ourselves, we can all feel that we've entered into this new vortex like the world is somehow different and we don't fully have our heads around it yet, but there's no going back.
Right. And so I'm here to walk alongside you. Give me a call at one eight four four six nine three thirty to ninety one. That's one eight four four six nine three three to nine one. This show is about you. Real people, real callers, real advice from real experiences and real research. Let's do this. If you want to call, email me it. Ask John at Ramsey Solutions dot com and I will do my best to answer your email on the air.
So here's the deal.
Why in the world if you are a thinking person, you are asking yourself, why in the world do we need another podcast? Every actor, every grimmel, every fortnight nerd down in his basement. Everybody's got a podcast, right? Why do we need another one? By the way, who even are you? Dulaney your name rhymes with a lunchmeat for crying out loud. You got no books out. You co-host the Dave Ramsey Show every once in a while and you think you're all fancy.
You need a podcast. So what are you doing? What are we doing here? Here's the thing. For the past two decades, right. Almost twenty years. That sounds a long time. Right? I've walked alongside countless people during some of their most exciting and some of their most dark moments. Right. Some of the hardest moments of their lives lost loved ones, funerals, weddings, new jobs, getting fired, getting married, getting separated, all of it.
And along the way, I've wrestled with my own mental health issues, my own marriage and relationship demons. I've earned two PhDs, one in higher education and one in counseling. And I've spoken and studied with folks across the country, from Harvard to K-12 programs, all of it. Right. And I've partnered with families, parents, business leaders, from executives down to hourly employees. Everyone deserves to live lives of dignity, joy and purpose. And here's the thing.
Despite how crazy it is out there, how angry everybody is, how fired up and charged everything is, I'm an eternal optimist and I've seen it over and over again that there is happiness, meaning relationships and laughter on the other side of disconnection, mental illness and hurt. And so that's why I'm committed to this show. I'm committed to talking to you, taking your your emails, your Instagram things on the tubes, your phone calls. I want to get out there and talk to real people with real struggles and help folks turn that corner to the next right best thing and go find hope, connection and joy.
So let's go straight to the phones. Let's go to Sherry in Pensacola, Florida. Sherry, how are you? I'm doing great. John, how are you? I am doing outstanding. How can I help this morning? So I have a two and a half year old daughter who has some special needs, and I worry that I am failing her as a mother and that I'm not doing a good enough job. That is a lot. So tell me about your baby girl.
He was diagnosed with hearing loss at two months, OK? And she she had developmental delays all around, so she was two. She doesn't talk yet. We don't have any other official diagnosis. But sometimes I just worry that maybe I'm not a good enough mom. And that's why she's behind.
Hmm. So where does this idea of I'm not good enough mom come from? Do you have some guilt over the some of the physical challenges and the developmental challenges? Yeah, I think I have a lot to go over. Mostly the developmental delays. Like, I was prepared for the speech because she's got the hearing loss. But then the other things started to follow that we don't know where they're coming from. I think that's where the big built in the where are you starting to come from?
Tell me what your support network is like. Well, I just moved to Pensacola two weeks ago, my husband just got out of Navy boot camp and we joined us a little bit later in life, but I have great support now. Before, when my husband was in the camp, it was just me and her while I was working from home all day. So it was hard to try to do my job 40 hours a week, take care of her, make sure I was doing enough with her.
And she's also going to have a little sister in December.
Oh, my gosh. You are in it. In it. Sheri So you just moved your husband's finishing boot camp. Luckily, there's nothing going on globally that, you know, would be freakout out a spouse who loves her husband. Right. You've got a child with special needs and you've got another one on the way. So you are in the middle of it, right? Yeah, definitely.
So here's a couple of things I want to pass along to you. I don't talk about this much. In fact, I don't think I've ever talked about this publicly, even on the Dave Ramsey Show or in any of the social media stuff that I've I've done since joining this team. I actually have spent some significant time with disability rights associations, working with students, with special needs, working with their families over the last 15, 17, 18 years.
My best friend on planet Earth, my oldest friend on planet Earth, was in a tragic car wreck after he graduated college and has been a paraplegic ever since. And that started me down a road of caring for folks who just are less able bodied or have different abilities and have different forms of access and support than traditionally able bodied people. And so I want to give you a couple of things that I've learned in my experiences of working alongside parents and then give you some things to think about globally.
Is that cool? Yes.
So, number one, this idea, this feeling that you are failing your kid is not exclusive to a mom of a special needs kid. Every mom and every dad on planet Earth with their first two year old looks in the mirror and says, I'm doing this miserably and my kids should have had other parents. I'm no good at this. What am I doing? Right. And if you're a parent and you haven't had those thoughts, then you I'm going to challenge you to love your kid harder.
Right. So I went to Norm that feeling for you.
Number two, OK, do you love your baby? Yes. How much? More I would do anything for her. Is there anything in the world? I can hear that through this one five minute phone call, I can hear it from you. OK, I trust that you love your baby. I know that you love your baby.
And if you will let that be first and center, if you will hold that kid, you will look her in the eyes. You will hold her hands and her feet and you will read to her and you will go get in the dirt outside with her. You will get her the support care that she needs as her needs develop. Hearing loss, by the way, Ken, is such a a bearing for young kids. And so it wouldn't surprise me as you guys get a handle on hearing loss over time, the developmental delays may catch up.
Right. So if there's not other comorbidities, if there's no other diagnosis that goes along with this, a kid that can't hear or is hearing challenged early on, it just takes a minute for things to catch up. Right. And so I wouldn't cash in all your chips at this point.
Here's the third thing. You got to get a community of people around you that's going to walk alongside you and let you be frustrated and let you be upset and let you be angry and let you feel guilty. All those feelings are normal and they're good and they're nothing to beat yourself up over. But you'd need other folks in your life that will lift you up when you have those hard days in those hard moments. When you move to a new town especially and you join the military community, they have a really great way of wrapping their arms around you really fast.
But sometimes those can be transient and shallow relationships. And so don't be afraid to dig into a group of moms in Pensacola who are special needs moms or hearing loss moms.
There are communities everywhere, whether they're virtual or they're in real life. And of course, I always default to real life relationships, but you can plug into directly and get connected with. And then here's the final thing. You've got another kid on the way. Love and cherish the new kid that's coming the same as you love and cherish the baby that you have and just let whatever chaos comes is going to come. But you're going to love those babies as much as you can.
Right. How much how much fear do you have that this is going to happen again or that there's somehow your fault and you're worried about baby number two? Yeah, I feel like there's definitely some fear there as we get closer to her due date, right.
So what I want you to do is best as you can. And I know this sounds so ridiculous because I've never carried a baby. I don't have any idea what that emotional weight and the psychological and spiritual weight of carrying a baby is. So I'm just telling you, second hand, just being an old a dad, enjoy every second that you possibly can. OK, OK. You are a great mom, you're going to love your baby, your kid's going to have challenges.
And if let's just say, heaven forbid, she ends up being hearing challenge completely and she's never able to hear the sound of your sweet voice ever, ever, ever. She will be able to see you. She will be able to feel you. She'll be able to communicate with you and she will continue to love you. I don't think that's going to be the case. My hope is that there's going to be some solutions, some technological solutions, some some medical solutions to the hearing loss.
And the developmental delays will catch up. And I'm going to continue to be optimistic and positive about that. But at the end of the day, that's secondary to you, Mom, not letting your guilt override the fact that me and my husband created a baby with hearing challenges or developmental delays, that I'm not a good enough mom. I'm not plugged in enough. I've heard I hear that from regular moms. I also hear that from moms and dads and special needs kids.
We don't know what to do. We feel paralyzed. We had this plan that is going to be A, B, C and D, and now the plan is F, G, elemental p, q, r s. Write whatever letters get together in a row here.
My promise is if you love that baby and you are not hesitant to reach out for help and support and you wrap your arm, you wrap yourself around a community and let a community suffer on you, me and that baby is going to have an awesome, awesome time with you as her mom I'm excited for. I've dealt with a lot of kids with special learning needs and had special mobility needs and had special mental health challenges. And their parents didn't care.
Their parents didn't give two craps about them or they were just annoyed by them or frustrated by them and didn't want to deal with it, didn't want to acknowledge the reality of it. And I could tell on the phone, that's not you. So I am I am excited for this baby that she got you as a mom. And I'm excited that your husband's got you as a partner willing to pack up and move across the country while he goes to support the military.
And I'm grateful for you, for your service. Spouses don't often get the shout out that they deserve, but call me back after your new baby is born.
I can't wait to hear how he or she is doing. And I would love to hear back from you when we get some some more diagnosis down the road on learning on developmental delays and how the hearing loss is going. All that. But you are off on the right on the right track. You're a good mom. Oh, what a blessing. What a blessing. All right, let's go back to the phones. Let's go to Lauren in Columbus, Ohio.
Lauren, how are you?
Hi, Dr. John. I'm doing well. Thank you. Outstanding. How are you this morning?
Well, I'm OK. I just have a quick concern. I'm recently divorced and my ex and I have a two year old son. I'm struggling with the example that my ex set for him. And I. I don't do well with keeping my opinions to myself. I still have that spousal.
I don't I don't either.
That's why we started a radio show, because I can't keep my opinions to myself, so I just need help with that.
So you've got a two year old is a two year old splitting time between the two of you? Yeah, equally. Equally. So what are some behaviors you're concerned with or what are some examples you're concerned with? There are two main ones, my, my, he will not my ex won't let me even step into his house when we do the switch over just feels very protective of his space, I guess. And my son can see that. And then secondly, if if my ex is dating someone once or twice, it doesn't matter how many times or how many people he will introduce our son to that new person.
And that really bothers me.
So does it bother you for your son or does it bother you that he's dating again? And that does not that doesn't matter to me that he's dating someone. I just don't want my son to be thinking that that's OK to. You know, I don't want him to gain a relationship with somebody and they're not going to be sticking around, perhaps.
Yeah, that's definitely challenging. Have you sat down with your ex and had that kind of conversation? Yes, and he says it's none of my business, so I would strongly I'm smiling here, not out of funny, but smiling out of food that gets me gets my blood boiling a little bit. So 100 percent is your business because that's your kid. It's a thousand percent your business because that's your child. It isn't your business. He's right on who he's dating.
That's fair. It's not your business on who he chooses to remarry or any of that kind of stuff. He's accurate there. But who is your child in the presence of does matter. It is your business. And that's nonsensical to say it's not now when it comes to what you can actually do about it. Not a lot. Not a lot. And so you mentioned it. Whenever you go to drop off your two year old and you make the pass there, your husband doesn't want you coming inside and the kid can feel that tension there.
My recommendation would be to not let that be a tense moment for your son, because right now he's going to pick on pick up the awkwardness between the two of you. If you don't feel awkward about not going inside, there's not going to be awkwardness there. He won't he won't get that tension, does it seem silly, probably. Does it seem like two people can't act like grown ups that are co parenting? Right. That just seems weird. Right.
But the kids are going to pick up on the weirdness, not on the social cues, because the kids doesn't know that it's not impolite for people not to come inside and drop off car seats and blankets and all that kind of stuff. And so it is less awkward as you make it, the better.
A couple of rules that I like to just thumbs. I don't see it rule, but a couple of pieces of advice I'd give anybody co parenting after a divorce, especially if the other person is a knucklehead or is just acting like a child is never forget that this is his dad and as best as you possibly can. Always speak positively about his dad, as neutral as possible, about dad, don't ever put a child in a position to have to choose between one or the other.
Even if he talks about about you in the future, hopefully he won't do that. And I would also never quit trying to have some sort of friendship or co parenting relationship with your ex-husband. And that may be, hey, can we have a monthly check in to see how our kids doing? Can we have an every couple of months? Can we go get lunch and just talk about this is not a relationship thing. This is just to deal with our kid, make sure we're on the same page with doctors and schools and things like that.
I've got several friends who co parent that way and it's extraordinary. And then I know folks who just want to, you know, clap, you know, wipe their hands off each other and pretend the other person never happened. That's the tragedy that as it did happen, you've got to be together. You guys have 16 more years of co parenting together. The best you can do to get on the same page early, the better. How long have you been divorced?
Just since March. Just since.
OK, so this is relatively new. When did he move out? It was. February, February. OK, so here's the thing, my guess is the wounds are still pretty raw here and there's still some asserting of independence. And I don't have to do what you say. And I'm this and I'm that some of that may be happening right now. And so maybe let some of that smoke die down. It's August, so maybe October or November, revisit it or shoot an email and says, hey, can we circle up?
It's been six months. Can we have a meeting for the kid just to make sure we're on the same page? And maybe he'll be open to that. Maybe he won't. But I would recommend doing the best you can to to continue to try to be a good adult. Right. And I said earlier said try to be friends. That might be pie in the sky for now. Hopefully down the road y'all can become friends again and just figure this thing out and be good parents.
All for your two year old child.
Yeah, that just gets so hard in guys and men and women, if you get divorced and you have kids. Please, for the sake of your children, put down the pettiness, put down the is my house, my rules, put all that nonsense down, just don't. That immaturity, that lack of wisdom, that lack of not caring about the person that your kid or kids are going to become is so dumb. I wish there was some other fancy word.
It's just stupid. It's dumb. It's acting like a kid, acting like a child. Be a grown up. If you're going to get divorced and you have kids, you will have to be in contact with that other person. You will you're going to have to. So go to breakfast once a month, email each other kindly, whatever you need to do to communicate, but be on the same page about how you're raising your kid. Go to the same doctor, go to the same schools, have somewhat the same values if possible.
And I know you're going to give me all your cards and and YouTube comments or whatever about and we wouldn't got divorced. We could communicate that. Well, you're probably right. You're probably right. But now that you're not, you got to communicate that well. Right. These are these are your kids. They're just more important than your petty little nonsensical. I want my way.
I don't care about your way. Care about your kids. Care about your kids. All right, Lauren, God bless you, man. I know that sucks and that's hard.
And I am hoping that your husband or your ex-husband will just think, you know what, maybe I shouldn't be an idiot.
Maybe I should care about my kid.
And I want my kid to grow up to be a functioning adult in society, which means me and my ex-wife are going to have to do this together.
All right. Let's go back to the phones. Let's go to Mary in Washington. Mary, how are you? I'm doing OK, thank you for taking my call. You bet. Thanks for calling in. How can I help? Well, OK, so my husband and I are at a disagreement about paying for college for our youngest child. OK, we finally got past the Ramsey steps. So baby step to paying off a mountain of debt. And now we've got baby step three and four done so saving for retirement.
Right. Way to go, Mary.
It's been a long, long haul. OK, so our youngest daughter is in college and my husband is pretty resistant to helping her with college tuition. And I am fully on board with helping her now. He says he doesn't like seeing the money gets spent. I don't want her getting trapped in debt like we have then. OK, we weren't able to help our first two kids as much because we were trapped in debt.
The my daughter just beginning her junior year studying mechanical engineering. She has pretty decent portion paid by it academic scholarship, and she's also holding down a job. She maintains a three point five GPA or above. She's in the honors college honors program on the Dean's List and such. She does do some typical college stuff. So her dad listens to her stories about college life as if he's the cool dad and then says to me he doesn't want to fund that kind of college life.
So, yeah, I disagree with his tactics and viewpoint.
Right. I'm I'm angry at him. And I don't know how to resolve this problem because he's you know, we have this giant mountain of debt, finally have some money that we get to spend. And that's what I want to spend money on. And the mountain of debt. OK, so I've let go of the anger and resentment that was going on with where the debt came from and how it was accumulated and stuff that was going to be.
My question is, is the debt him related? Yeah, I mean, he was he didn't do it on purpose, but he got kind of caught up. It was business did OK, and he got sucked into the hole that a lot of people are like, well, you out everything. And I've found out about it because I was working my own job and raising kids and stuff. And then I, you know, looked over his stuff and said, what is what is happening here?
And. So I got him on track, but it took seven years to pay off that much debt. Wow. OK, so debt for a long time and now we have no debt and we get to keep our income and move ahead. But I want to help this kid with college. I didn't get to help the other two with college. Well, our second kid, we helped a little bit because we were getting closer to the end of the debt, but.
He's resistant to this, and I should tell you also, he's from a family, that higher education is not important to them. Sure. I mean, when he was graduating from high school, he still had the cap and gown on and his parents were like, give him back the keys or we have the locks changed.
Right, right, right. So he's not from a family that really values higher education. I mean, they admire it, but they don't help their kids.
Sure. So let me jump in here. The question about paying for college is a symptom of a deeper rooted issue here. Issue number one is. You haven't let go, you being you, Mary. You haven't let go of that seven year journey took. There are still a part of you that has resentment, has hurt, has frustration, has anger, has whatever word you want to put there, has a rage. That you spent seven years digging out of a hole that you didn't that you didn't dig.
And until you let that go. And until my guess is your husband either has some sort of. Guilt that he carries around, that he dug a hole like that, whether it was on purpose or stupid or he's annoyed that you're frustrated, whatever that is. Right. But here's here's here's why you've got to put that stuff down, because you two can't fully dream together on what tomorrow is going to look like.
If you're still carrying bricks from the past and what you're telling me about your daughter, there's going to be guilt from your husband that he didn't help the first two or didn't help the first one and only help the second a little bit. And so we to help a third one or the third one gets to go out and party and drink beer. And that means by default, I'm not funding that kind of life because I've got to work hard. And, you know, I get that that attitude.
I hear I hear that often as well. So there's both you're going to have guilt that you didn't help. So now you got a chance to and we could be helping both those of the guilt, both of these. Should we or shouldn't? Is that simply a values question? And you can't have values conversations if you're still hanging on to the past. And so my deepest, deepest recommendation for you. Is to spend some time with yourself, spend some time with a pastor or a counselor, or you may have already done this or you may have already done this hard work, but.
Go spend some time with your husband and you'll go get breakfast somewhere, my friend Anthony O'Neal, he always says go to a nice dinner. I like doing a nice breakfast because everybody's fresher and a little bit smarter in the morning and a little bit more bright eyed. And coffee helps a little bit, but go have a breakfast offsite, go somewhere where you can get out. And if you're in Washington, Washington still may be closed down. So go hiking together.
Go somewhere. And I want you to write him a letter. That goes through, what, the last seven years with the ten years we're paying for this debt and you apologize for holding this on for so long. And I want you to look him in the eye and say, I'm letting this go. I forgive you. I forgive us. I'm proud of the journey here. We are moving forward. And then number two is I want you to say.
I want to have a values conversation about what the back half of our life is going to be or the last twenty five percent of our life is going to be how are we going to actually spend this money? Because for your husband, it may feel so good that he finally has some of the account and any of it even hurts because he just doesn't want to go back to that place. And for you finally having something that count, God Almighty, do we just want to help out people?
We're going to and we want to help by going to start helping, by looking at our own daughter and helping her out.
She's doing great. She's kicking, but she's going to be a successful member of a family, of a community. She's making us proud. And I want to support that. That starts with the values conversation. My friend Chris Hogan calls it planning in HD. I like to see a planet with a picture. I want you to draw a picture of what Thanksgiving is going to look like in five years and work back, draw a picture about Christmas morning in five years.
Who's around the tree? What gifts are you handing to people? And work backwards from that. When you what's a picture of your daughter crossing the graduation stage, does she have a diploma in one hand and student loan debt and the other? Does she have a diploma in one hand and she is waving to you guys up in the stands? Hopefully, we're not still doing virtual graduations then, but she's waving to you with a debt free hand. What does that picture look like?
And when you paint in pictures with partners, it's just so much easier to see it and you feel it. It's not this abstract thing that this I don't want my kid. It becomes look on. I want my daughter to walk across that stage free. I want her to be free of this nonsense. And right now we can help. But that comes first with you letting go, too. So, Mary, thank you so, so much for that call.
Anybody who's struggling to get on the same page with your partner, you've got to first look in the mirror about anything, what kind of car we should have. So we get on the Dave Ramsey financial plan. Should we have another kid? Should we help pay for college? Should our kids be wearing those clothes out in the community? My kid's got a crazy mohawk right now, and my wife was like, do we have to let him go out into the neighborhood looking like that?
Right. Those are all values conversations. And you can't have values conversations when you're frustrated. You can't have them when you're angry and you especially can't have values conversations when you're hanging on to things that have happened in the past. So do the hard work. If you can do it by yourself, great. If you can do it in community grade, if you need professional grade to set down your bricks, set down the crap, you're caring about other people.
Get off site, get out of the emotion, get out of the crazy and then have values, conversations that are looking to the future, not to the past. And those often start those off and start with an apology, right? I'm sorry for what I've held on to. All right.
Thank you so much for the call, Mary. And as we wrap this show up, I want to offer the lyrics of the day from one of the greatest bands who have ever lived and one of the greatest songs ever written of the billions of songs written throughout history. This is one of the top two or three or five or ten thousand, whatever the song is by Depeche Mode. And it is the policy of truth goes something like this.
Things could be so different now. It used to be so civilized. You will always wonder how it could have been if you'd only lied. It's too late to change events. It's time to face the consequence for delivering the proof and the policy of truth. Never again is what you swore the time before. Never again is what you swore the time before. Never again. My friend and mentor Dave Ramsey is always talking about never again moments. He used to be so civilized, never again, never again, I'm not going to carry bricks of nonsense, never again am I going to carry guilt.
I'm going to feel it. I'm going to put it down, and then I'm going to go be about making a better tomorrow for me, the people I love in my neighborhood. This is a Dr. John Delonas show.