Intimate Partner Violence Part II (Chris & Rihanna)

It has been three years since this incident happened. Brown was 19 and Rihanna was 20 years old. He was mandated for treatment, given five years’ probation and court-ordered to stay away.

Unfortunately for them, not only do they have to deal with the personal ramifications of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, they also have to deal with the constant attention from the media – Twitter, Facebook, news reports, etc. Rihanna is faced with people judging her for the choices she makes and right now, people are calling her stupid for working with Brown on an album.

Brown is being ripped apart in the media for something he did three years ago. Every time he takes a step forward in healing and working on himself (focusing on his music), he is taken ten steps back with tweets, facebook messages and signs throwing his past actions in his face. I am in no way excusing his behavior – indeed – he received consequences for his actions – by having a criminal record, probation as well as lost endorsements and reduced radio play. But, I’ve also noted that he has for the most part, kept out of the spotlight until recently.

Given how easily news travels and how accessible it is for everyday people, it is no wonder that Chris & Rihanna are receiving such a backlash.

So I ask you, think about the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life. The absolute worst thing you have EVER done? Do you have that in mind? Think about how horrible you felt after realizing that what you did was wrong. Now think about how you’d feel if you saw signs attacking you every time you hit a milestone in your life. During a job promotion, graduation, celebration or family event – how would you feel if you couldn’t watch television because you were being constantly insulted? How could you work on rehabilitating yourself and growing from the experience with people constantly telling you that you don’t deserve forgiveness, redemption or good things in life because of ONE action in your life?

Everyone loved Chris Brown before this happened. People praised his talent, ability and music. Then he did something very stupid and hurtful. He fell from grace, was held accountable for his actions, accepted the consequences and is now trying to make better decisions. Yes, he will screw up – he’s very young. But, then again we all do.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Intimate Partner Violence, Part I

Ever since the Grammy awards aired, I’ve seen several instances in the media where Chris Brown is bashed. It has happened via tweets, news reports and at concerts. While everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, I think this has gone very far.

Even now, as Rihanna & Chris have released new music together – with Brown being called various names and Rihanna being called “stupid” for even considering this – I’m compelled to share my perspective on this subject.

I’m a therapist by profession and working in this field has taught me a great deal about domestic or intimate partner violence.

Some stats to reflect on (regarding teen violence):

(Unless otherwise noted, the following data in this section are from a Liz Claiborne, Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, March 2006)

  • Half of teens (50%) reported they’ve been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they’ve been in a serious relationship.
  • 1 in 3 teenagers in a serious relationship reported that they’ve been concerned about being hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One out of five of these teens say they have actually been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

These are probably numbers that have been mentioned in the past. One thing that has not been talked about is how to heal every person affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The people targeted for assistance are the victims and the children from those relationships. One person often left out of this is the abuser.

Society has taught us that violence on any level is wrong and that the person committing those acts are “bad people.” We have also been taught that there is no redemption for these people. And that if a victim returns to his/her abusive partner, the victim is “stupid.” Society then “reabuses” the victim for that choice. And the abuser gets a backlash from family and/or friends and may lose relationships because of the abuse.

Would you be willing to get help if you knew someone would call you stupid because of your choices? How would you be able to focus on your healing if you are constantly barraged with negativity?

As a professional trained in the social services field, healing can only come if all people affected by IPV are helped – not just the victim and/or children, but also the abuser. There are people that want to change; those that want to continue the relationship; those that are willing to do the work to change patterns of behavior. Even abusers.

In NYC, where I live, there is only one program aimed at helping men working to be non-abusers. Seeing as many families are affected by intimate partner violence, more services need to be in place to help every person in the family, especially if the parents want to stay together. *Please note intimate partner affects people of all races, ages, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation*

I am aware that change is very hard, indeed, I know it is given my professional field of choice. And intimate partner violence happens very often. What I also know is that all people who are willing and open to seek help should get it. And they should be given unconditional love and support simply because change is so hard.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence in NYC.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence nationwide.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Whitney Houston: A Tragic Loss

One of the rarest, most memorable voices of all time has been silenced. Whitney Houston has always been a favorite of mine ever since her song “The Greatest Love of All” was released. I sang along with “I wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know” even though I couldn’t hit her notes. Not many people could.

And that’s what is special about her. Her voice was a gift and it was fleeting. I’ve read about her lows the last several years of her life – drugs, erratic behavior and her rocky relationship with her now ex-husband, Bobby Brown. For me though, all of that pain heightened her gift. Her voice is one of the most, if not THE most, distinctive ever. Anyone hearing her music would know it was her. Because of her difficult last years, her triumphant early years became more so for me.

Her music was amazing. By far, my favorite song is her version of the national anthem and no one will be as recognized for that song than Whitney. So here, I won’t talk about her problems – we all have them. I want to share my love for her talent, her gift; the gift of her voice.

To Whitney, may you sing now with the highest of angels in heaven for you were one of their members graciously lent to us here.

Rest in peace, Whitney. (1963 – 2012)

Update: Celebrity Parents Going too Far?

Normally, the birth of a child would be something special to treasure. As a parent, I gush over other people’s kids and welcome the newest members of the parenting community. I’d give my congratulations to all parents both known and unknown.

This morning though, I didn’t want to. 1010 WINS reported that Beyonce and Jay-Z had their little bundle of joy. As I was thinking, “How great for them!”, the reporter announced that they paid $1 million dollars to shut down the entire maternity ward at Lenox Hill Hospital. Workers had to turn in their cell phones to avoid pictures getting out of their newborn. While I get that they are protecting their child (after all I’m a parent, too), I did not feel it was fair for them or the hospital administrators to impose that on other parents.

According to the report, parents of a set of premature twins were not allowed to see their newborns in the NICU. I was floored and livid on behalf of these parents. And for the parents and families of other people who had babies at the same time.

How is this fair to us “regular” people? How is that fair to parents who want to see their children or families who wanted to celebrate new additions to their broods? Especially when early bonding is so important. What if something happened to those premature twins and the parents weren’t there? What then? The birth of a child is the right of any person on the planet, celebrity or not.

I feel that if celebrities want that kind of security and privacy, they should pay to provide it. That being said, Beyonce and Jay-Z could have spent that $1 million dollars on creating a maternity ward on their property rather than in a public hospital used by everyone. Everyone deserves to have that special time with their babies as well as with family and friends. Shame on the administrators of Lenox Hill Hospital for allowing this kind of infringement on the rights of the everyday people who keep them running. A hospital should not allow this to happen simply because of money. Other celebrities have taken it upon themselves to get private rooms to give birth and I commend them for it.

Yes, protect your child. Yes, keep them safe. But, don’t do it at the expense of other families who want the same for their children. There are 7 billion people on this planet and fairness is something everyone deserves regardless of wealth, background, etc.

Update: After buzz from this original post, I received links further discussing these events. Please check them out.

Hospital Press Release

1010 WINS

NYC Potluck 2011

On November 20, 2011,  Mommyslinks and City Harvest are teaming up to bring NYC families together to share a special meal and to help New York’s neediest families by collecting food for Thanksgiving. Every family has suffered, but we also have much to be grateful for. And we can show that by sharing what we can with other families. Check out all the details below. Bring friends and family to share the fun. Be sure to sign up at Mommyslinks and rsvp today! See you there!

Mommy’s Links Thanksgiving Potluck & Food Drive

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

1:00  pm

Loft On Fifth

144 5th Avenue

New York, NY

Near N, R, Q, F, V, 4, 5, 6, and L trains

Mommy’s Links Food Drive For:

City Harvest

   The most needed foods are:

canned fruit

canned vegetables

peanut butter (plastic jars)

mac and cheese (packaged)

hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)

No glass, please, with the exception of baby food!

Mommy’s Links Potluck Dinner:

Please rsvp with the meal you would like to bring to potluck**


**Please remember we are relying on your dish to be on site**

There will be crafts, fun for the kids and much more!

Event Sponsored By:

North American Refinery

1:00 pm to 3:00pm

Need money for the Holidays? Bring your GOLD, Leave with CASH!

Once Upon A Cupcake NY

Will Sponsor All Desserts


Well, Halloween’s finally over and I’m here to report that I’m glad about it. It wasn’t just that my birthday was two days before Halloween (and I’ve never dressed up in costume for my birthday). For me, Halloween just isn’t fun anymore and hasn’t been for years.

Here in NYC, I haven’t seen many trick or treaters at all. With a rise in gang activity (initiations taking the form of women being slashed in the face), it’s no wonder that parents are choosing not to let their kids out on Halloween. I was so glad to be off that day from work, not to take kiddo out early, but because I wouldn’t have to deal with my office closing early due to the fear of gang-related activity.

When I was a kid, Halloween was about getting dressed up in a silly costume and asking people for candy. No one had to worry about contaminated candy or getting slashed back then. The only thing I worried about was filling up my bag with lots of candy that my mom would eventually throw out. I stopped dressing up for Halloween after elementary school. By the time I went to high school, I began worrying about getting bombed with eggs and waited until 5pm (or until the area cleared of egg-toting boys – whichever came first) so that I could go home without getting hurt.

Fast-forward 15 years later and I’ve my own child to think about. I was relieved that he DIDN’T want to go trick or treating. Something about pimples (my son’s 10 and got his first pimple this week). But, I was also disappointed. No kid should have to give up Halloween because of other’s people’s issues. Sadly, this is our reality. What I wonder is, when will it get good again, if it ever will.


Originally posted on Heiddi’s Blog. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Heiddi unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Heiddi’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

6 Parenting Tips from Mommy Irene

Everyone knows that parenting is a tough job and that there are rules to follow. Below you will find Mommy Irene’s parenting rules. She decided to come to New York City (and the Eastern Seaboard) to let us know how parenting works with her. There is no need for her to yell or carry-on. With her simple rules, Mommy Irene quickly lets the kids know who is boss. Below are Mommy Irene’s tips. For more information, you can also check out safety tips as issued by the Mayor’s office and OEM.

1. No you cannot play with your toys! – The MTA shut down all regular service (buses/trains) as of noon today.  Ferries, Access-a–Ride and Amtrak trains have been shut down as well. Also, all NYC parks, public libraries and Broadway shows have been closed for the weekend.

2. Go to your room. The city has been split up into various zones and Nyers have been advised to stay put if they can or evacuate immediately if residing in a danger zone (Zone A and the Rockaways).

3. Somebody’s on time-out.  Mommy Irene has spoken and there are specific time-out spots (shelters/schools) for NYers in danger zones with no alternative shelter. If you don’t have family and friends within a safe zone, there are shelters that are open. (Note: pets are welcome!)

4. You can’t go out today. All major airports have been shut-down as of noon today to inbound & outbound flights. (Contact your specific airline to find out about flight information.)

5. No, your friends can’t come over. All highways have been shutdown to Southbound traffic. Northbound traffice (heading away from NYC) only. And only for emergency vehicles.

6. No Video games for you. Power will be shutdown in lower Manhattan as a precaution to avoid problems when the hurricane arrives.

I hope that these parenting tips will help you get through the storm. Please stay safe people. Check in here if you can and let me know how you’re doing.

Weiner Resigns

Weiner resigns and I’m resigned. So here we are days after Weiner announced he’s leaving. Yes, what he did was an embarrassing thing especially for his newly pregnant wife. I get that and I also get the distraction that the incident has brought.
But, I still say he shouldn’t have had to resign. It is impossible to expect perfection by anyone, but to take a personal situation and judge a person for it is very hard for me to understand. I still hold to the premise that there are far worse in politics today who use their power, prestige and public funds for personal gain. Why aren’t they asked to resign? Where is the pressure on those people who’ve abused the very principles that they got themselves elected with?
It is very different to put personal stuff out there by mistake (a huge one) than to take advantage of the people who elected someone to serve. Yes – SERVE. Weiner did not do this to hurt anyone but himself (and his wife by default).

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry by Heiddi Zalamar.

And the Bad Mother Award goes to…….

Raising a liar? The Chicago Tribune reported that the story of the Botox Mom was a hoax and that she did it for cash! What does that say about her as a parent – lying about something to collect money?

According to the article, she was paid $200 to read a script of incident by The Sun. This modest fee led to another for $10,000 for licensing rights of pictures to Good Morning America.

Regardless of how horrible the idea of injecting a child with Botox, even worse is the fact that she is a prime example of a poor role model for her daughter. Lie and get money is the lesson here. Do whatever you have to do NOT to be yourself, don’t be open with people and you’ll get paid for it. Sure, you may feel bad for not telling the truth and then getting caught in a lie, but you’ll make money off of it.

Do I feel this woman should lose custody of her daughter now? Well, she was caught lying and not actually injecting her daughter with Botox. The former is not as physically harmful as the latter so I’d say no she shouldn’t lose custody. However, she SHOULD be mandated to take a parenting class and forced to pay back the money she obtained.

Hopefully, the bad press that this woman receives over the hoax will be enough of a motivator to get her to show her daughter what it means to be honest and decent rather than untrustworthy and dishonest.