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  • My Former Academic Whiz is in Danger of Failing Sixth Grade

    I have a 12-year-old daughter who was on the honor roll for the first semester of her sixth-grade school year, but is now in danger of failing sixth grade. There have been no major changes in our home, no deaths, no loss of jobs and no sudden moves. She is seeing a therapist every other week for diagnosed depression/anxiety. I have offered to help her with her schoolwork and to get her a tutor. She even stays after school to get extra help from her teachers. But none of this seems to help her improve her grades or study habits.…

     

  • Troubled Father-Son Relationship

    I am struggling with how to help my husband and our 15-year-old son have a more positive relationship. Our son is very immature and has difficulty fitting in and making friends. He struggles in school, not because he can't learn, but because he lacks motivation. I am a high school teacher, so I understand setting expectations and consequences. But I also feel that it’s my duty as a parent to support and encourage our son. My husband does not see it this way. To him, the situation is very "black and white": As long as our son does not live…

     

  • Our 5-Year-Old Terror

    This morning I woke up to my little girl giving me kisses and wishing me a good morning. We lay in bed together for a few minutes reading books and I thought, “Yay! Today is the day that will go smoothly.” Then I got out of bed and discovered she had trashed her room. Books were strewn everywhere. The walls were covered with streaks of permanent marker. Food wrappers and half-full cups of juice were all over the place. These behaviors are new for our daughter, and as they get worse, I get more worried. At one point, she even…

     

  • Missing Daddy While He’s Away in the Military

    We have a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old. My husband has decided to join the National Guard to help protect his home and loved ones. Although I support his decision fully, I am worried that when he is away for training or during a deployment, he will miss so many firsts for our youngest, like her first words and her first steps. This scares me. I don’t know what to do to make his being away easier for him or our children.

     

  • My Disrespectful 6-Year-Old

    I have a 6-year-old son who is very disrespectful. What can I do to help him change his behavior?

     

  • 15-Year-Old with Anger Issues

    My 15-year-old son has had anger issues all his life. How can I get him the help he needs?

     

  • Being On the Same Page, at Home and Away

    We love our 7-year-old grandson, but when he comes to our home to stay with us for the weekend, he doesn’t listen to us and does whatever he wants. We know his parents have set rules for him to follow at home, and that they do a good job of teaching him to follow them. It just seems that when he stays with us, he thinks he should get a free pass because he’s with grandpa and grandma. How can we change our grandson’s bad behavior when he’s at our house?

     

  • Stepping Back, Stepping Up

    As grandparents, should we express our opinion when we don’t agree with our daughter’s and son-in-law’s parenting decisions? We don’t want to start a big fight, but sometimes we think they are too hard on their kids and go overboard when punishing bad behavior.

     

  • How to Handle Child's Lies About Homework

    My tween lied to my husband and me about completing his homework every night this week. His grades are falling and I don’t know how to help him.

     

  • My 3-Year-Old Takes Her Clothes Off in Front of Others

    My 3- year-old daughter started playing “doctor” at pre-school and has gotten in trouble for taking her clothes off with another boy. She does this only at school and not at home. What can we do to teach her that this is inappropriate behavior?  

     

  • How to Help a Teenager Change His Negative Attitude

    My 14-year-old son has recently developed a very troublesome attitude, which is new for him. For example, he recently called a female student bad names at school and refuses to follow instructions at home. How do I address this behavior and discipline him in a positive way?  

     

  • What to Do When a First-Grader Chooses Bad Friends

    My 6- year-old son started first grade recently and is making bad choices when it comes to his friends. He’s started cursing because his new “friends” curse. How can we help him make good choices?

     

  • Helping Older Children Learn to Sleep Alone

    Our 9-year-old daughter is dealing with the fear of being alone in her own room. She refuses to sleep in her own bed and will often join us in our bed when she wakes up during the night. We’ve been taking her to a therapist for six months, but he’s been no help. What can we do to get her to stay in her own bed?  

     

  • Why Won’t My Daughter Listen to Me?

    My 12-year-old daughter has become very defiant. She refuses to do her homework or help out around the house and often screams at me. How can I get my daughter to listen to me and stop fighting with me?  

     

  • Establishing a Routine at Home

    I have three children, two boys ages 11 and 9, and a girl who is 6. The two boys fight regularly and it is a challenge to get them to do their chores. It is difficult to be patient with them. What can I do to establish a routine for them?  

     

  • My 6-Year-Old Daughter Has Threatened to Kill Herself

    My 6-year-old daughter is impossible to control. We’ve done all we can to try to manage her behaviors but nothing seems to work. She uses very bad language and states that she wants to kill herself. How can we get her under control?  

     

  • Why Won’t My Granddaughter Use the Bathroom?

    My 7-year-old granddaughter refuses to use the bathroom. If my son or I ask her to go use the bathroom, she refuses and regularly messes herself. What can we do to help her?

     

  • How to Help a Teenager Develop Healthy Relationships

    My 17-year-old daughter is not making friends at school. She does fine academically but she doesn’t hang around with her old friends because they’re doing drugs. How can I help my daughter develop new healthy relationships so she has a social outlet without seeming like I’m trying to control the issue?  

     

  • How to Help a Defiant Child at School and Home

    My 5-year-old niece is struggling in school. She's defiant, pitches fits and has been told by her teachers that she will need to wait another year before starting kindergarten. She acts up at home as well. How can my sister improve her daughter's behavior?  

     

  • Understanding Puberty

    Two of my children are ages 11 and 12, which I believe is the stage for puberty. What emotional, social and mental changes should I expect for both boys and girls? 

     

  • How to Make Chores Fun

    What are some age-appropriate chores for a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old?

     

  • Slamming the Door on the Gateway Drug - Marijuana

    I found marijuana in my 14-year-old son’s room. I don't know how to respond or what to say to him. He is entering high school and I am worried that the problem is going to get bigger.  

     

  • My Son’s Ears Work, So Why Won’t He Listen?

    I have a difficult time getting my 5-year-old son’s attention. He has a lot of energy and sometimes it seems like he can't hear me. But I've had his ears checked, so I know he can. How can I get him to listen to me?   

     

  • Attacking Separation Anxiety in Young Children

    My 4-year-old daughter doesn’t want to go to preschool. When I take her to preschool in the morning, she insists that I sit with her in class, which is impossible. I have tried leaving the classroom for 30 minutes at a time, but then she clings more. I don't know what to do.  

     

  • Is My High School Grad Ready for College?

    After graduating from high school, my 18-year-old son suddenly seems depressed, antisocial and angry. He won't accept suggestions about things to do, including working to keep him busy. He refuses to talk to a counselor or professional about his issues. What should I do before sending him off to a college out of state? Is he ready for college?  

     

  • Dealing with a Daddy’s Girl

    My 4-year-old daughter is very attached to her father. Every morning, she throws a crying fit, pleading with him not to go to work. She does not behave like that when I leave for work or when I drop her off at school. What can we do?  

     

  • Helping Youth Learn How to Make Friends

    My 9-year-old son is smart but he is not good at making friends. How can I help him get more social interaction with other children his age?

     

  • How to Respond When Your Child Wants to Drop Out of High School

    My 15-year-old daughter refuses to attend school. I’ve taken her to a psychologist but she is uncooperative. She was always a good student, liked by her teachers and active in sports. That all changed when she started high school. I know changing schools can be challenging, especially for shy children, but I am at a loss as to how to help my daughter.  

     

  • How to Help a Tween Manage His Temper

    My 12-year-old son recently started seventh grade and is struggling to follow his teachers’ rules at school. He loses his temper regularly, says he hates himself and shouts back at his teachers. He may have ADHD and I know he’s hurting, but I don’t know how to help. Can you recommend a therapist or counselor for me?   

     

  • Parents concerned about son’s drastic personality change

    Our 12-year-old son has undergone a drastic change in his personality. He used to earn straight As and was in the gifted and talented program at school. He had plenty of good friends and was responsible. Now he does not care about school, which is reflected in his falling grades. He is openly defiant and challenges authority in a rebellious, disrespectful manner. He still has his old friends, but he is also hanging out with a group of kids that we have deemed to be a bad influence. Now he is stealing from us.   We have tried every conceivable…

     

  • Teen son having trouble focusing

    My 15-year-old son has difficulty focusing, and this deficit is affecting both his schooling and his life outside of school. For instance, he just failed his driver’s test this morning. I have talked to him about focusing on one step at a time to prevent him from getting overwhelmed with the “big picture.” But when he becomes flustered or when something gets out of kilter, he disassociates from the situation as a coping mechanism.  I know that I need to spend more time with him. I can relate to his issues, but I need some ideas on how I can…

     

  • Parents’ work schedules leave little time spent with kids

    My husband and I have three children, ages 17, 12 and 11. I’ve inherited my father’s business, which is located four hours away from our home. For almost a year now, I have been required to be away from home for several days at a time. My husband also works hard, often six 10-hour days a week.   Our children do nothing around the house, and as a result, it looks like a pigsty. There are clothes, dirty dishes and garbage, etc., on the floor. The kids admit to being lazy but don’t seem to care. We’ve tried rewards, punishments,…

     

  • Dad having difficulty connecting with his daughter

    My husband and I have two daughters who are 22 months apart. They are very different from each other. My husband gets along well with the oldest, but is at odds with the youngest. The peace I make between them is always short-lived. I feel like he is not handling this with maturity. I think he needs to recognize that although they are sisters, they are not the same person and shouldn’t be treated as such.  

     

  • Juggling school and family

    After a three-year break, I am finally able to return to college this year. I work full-time, have a 2-year-old child and my wife is expecting this fall. I am wondering how to balance it all. Am I neglecting my newborn or setting myself up for failure in school? Am I jeopardizing my health in the process?  

     

  • Nine-year-old taking money from her mom’s purse

    My 9-year-old has been taking money from my purse. Despite my punishing her, she just did it again.

     

  • Holding teen accountable for shoplifting

    I am a single mother with a 16-year-old son who is much bigger than me. Up until today I would say that we have had a good relationship. But today he skipped school, went to the mall and shoplifted. I received a call from mall security while I was at work to pick him up. I picked him up, paid the fine (for which he will reimburse me) and went back to work.   When I came home in the evening, he attempted to go out. I grounded him and told him why. He told me that if he couldn’t…

     

  • Mom Seeks Parenting Skills

    I have been a divorced, single mother for three years, and I am concerned that I lack the necessary skills to effectively parent my two girls, ages 11 and 6. I was adopted and raised by my mother and brother. My mom was unavailable to me; she worked and kept her distance emotionally. My older brother was my adult figure, and I was exposed to adult situations when I was far too young. I essentially raised myself and spent a good deal of time with my peers.   Up until now, I thought I was doing an adequate job of…

     

  • Six-year-old violent with her mom

    Lately, my 6-year-old daughter has been physically violent. She is hitting, scratching and kicking me when I give her an instruction that she does not like.  She actually punched me in the chest when I took a book away from her because it was bedtime. I was so shocked that I just left her in her room crying, but not until I lost my cool and raised my voice.   When she calmed down, I spoke with her about her behavior. She apologized and seemed genuinely confused about why she acted that way. She wants to stop, and I want…

     

  • Child leaves house after grounding

    What do you do when your child leaves the house while he is grounded?  

     

  • Preschooler throwing tantrums

    My ex-husband’s mother is my daughter’s day care provider. My former mother-in-law does not treat my daughter like the rest of the kids she cares for. She favors her, giving her everything that she wants. This concerns me, especially since she is becoming a certified preschool teacher so she can teach my daughter. I would rather my daughter be in a preschool with other children so she can learn independence. I don’t know how to approach the subject with my ex-husband without starting a fight. My daughter has also been throwing major temper tantrums, sometimes to the point where I…

     

  • Possible Post-Traumatic Stress After Teen’s Auto Accident

    My 15-year-old granddaughter was in a severe auto accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. She recovered physically; she looks the same but does not act the same. After finishing rehab, she was able to go back to school, but she now does not want to go back. She missed much of her course work and is now a very angry young woman. Is there online schooling available? I cannot afford to pay tuition. What can I do for my granddaughter?  

     

  • Six-year-old is lying

    My granddaughter is 6 years old and she lies. Is this just a phase or a preview of things to come? Is she just seeking attention?

     

  • Coming to an agreement on different parenting styles

    I have married a man who was raised in a very emotionally and physically abusive home. I have two children who are not his biologically, and I feel I have to constantly run interference between his verbal belittling and unnecessary physical discipline. How do I lovingly confront him about his parenting style? I do not want him to feel attacked.  

     

  • Three-year-old throws temper tantrums

    Our 3-year-old daughter throws items when we try to take them away from her.  She then gets very angry. Is this normal, and how do we stop it?

     

  • Building a stronger, healthier father-son relationship

    My husband and I have been married for seven years. My daughter was 3 and my son was 4 when we were married and my husband adopted my children. My daughter and husband are very close, but over the years, my husband and son have grown to hate each other. My husband snaps at my son for every little thing: what he says, how he walks, when he acts goofy, etc.  It breaks my heart to witness this tension. I love my husband, but I want to protect my son and thus, I feel torn. The constant fighting and cutting…

     

  • Young child is stealing

    The 7-year-old daughter of a friend is living with my family. She has stolen both money and toys from us. Her father does not think it is a problem, but her mother is upset. How do I address this behavior with the little girl?  

     

  • Teaching sportsmanship to young children

    How do I teach my 4-year-old son that he can’t win all the time?

     

  • Violent, Unpredictable Behavior in 17-Year-Old

    My 17-year-old son is an angry young man who experiences dramatic mood swings. He has become so angry in the past that he has punched and kicked holes in a wall. He calls me names, is disobedient and flips me off on a daily basis. He refuses to participate in family holiday gatherings — including his own birthday — and he is earning either failing or very low grades in school.   We recently moved in with my sister. She lives 10 miles away from his close group of friends, whom he still sees about three times a week. His father has drug and…

     

  • Self-Mutilating 11-Year-Old

    My 11-year-old daughter started cutting her arms in response to children making fun of her at school. Though she said she would not do it again because she didn’t like it, I am concerned that she will repeat the behavior. I am addressing the unkindness of her classmates with the school’s staff.  

     

  • Longtime girlfriend feeling unappreciated by boyfriend and his son

    I am 27 and I have been dating my older boyfriend for four years. He has a 15- year-old son from a previous marriage. His mother lives in another state.  My problem is that I feel like I am being taken advantage of by both my boyfriend and his son. His son is rude to me and does not have any responsibilities around the house. All he wants to do is play video games in his room.   Understandably, my boyfriend wants me to have a healthy relationship with his son, but his son only converses with me when he…

     

  • Eighteen-Year-Old ‘Checking Out’ of Life

    My 18-year-old daughter has “checked out” of life. She quit school in the tenth grade and is continuing her schooling via online courses. She does not have friends and shows no interest in making any. She sleeps most of the day and stays up late reading Internet blogs.   Her father and I were divorced 10 years ago, and she blames most everything on the divorce. I am remarried and have a second child who is 5 years old. My older daughter will have nothing to do with her half-sister and is rude to her.   I have suggested counseling,…

     

  • Thirteen-Year-Old Boy Accused of Abusing Younger Girl

    My 13-year-old nephew is being accused of inappropriately touching a little girl. How do I approach the subject with him, and what do I do if he denies it? If he didn’t do it, what should I do?  

     

  • Mature daughter having trouble making friends with classmates

    Our daughter is 12 and is in the fifth grade. She is much more mature than her classmates and is thus, having difficulty making friends.

     

  • Preschooler crying in middle of the night

    My 3-year-old daughter wakes up at least four nights a week and cries for hours despite my efforts to comfort her. Her pediatrician says to ignore the behavior, but that isn’t working either.

     

  • Teenage Son Wants to Live with His dad

    I am divorced and remarried. My son, who is 15, is living with my husband and me and his children. My son is not happy living with me, his stepdad and his stepbrothers. He is failing school and wants to live with his father, with whom he has a good relationship.   However, I am concerned that he only wants to live with his father because he hopes to enjoy more freedom in his father’s house and more attention since he will be the only child there. My ex-husband has not contributed financially toward our son’s upbringing for the last…

     

  • Daughter having difficulty accepting mother’s boyfriend and their baby

    I have been with my boyfriend for four years. I am pregnant with his child, and we are moving in together. My 13-year-old daughter is terribly upset by this and is acting out and portraying negative behavior. She is rude to both my boyfriend and me, and she has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the baby.  

     

  • Helping daughter solve her own problems

    My boyfriend’s 11-year-old daughter called him because an antihistamine that she had taken was making her shaky. He talked about it with her for a while, and he told her that its effects would fade when she went to sleep.   She called a few hours later, saying that she couldn’t sleep and was afraid to go to her mother, who locks her door and does not like to be disturbed. So my boyfriend drove 20 miles to see his daughter and help her out. There must be a better way to handle this situation.  

     

  • Curbing disrespect and fostering compliance in children

    Our two children, ages 7 and 9, are very defiant. They bicker all the time and refuse to listen to my wife and me. Consequently, I feel like we are fighting with them daily. We do everything for our children and feel like they are ungrateful.  How can we instill respect in them?   When we discipline them it is usually in the form of removing a privilege, such as taking away their cell phones or video games.  My daughter (age 7) even took money out of my wife’s purse. I calmly but sternly told her why this is wrong,…

     

  • Helping Preschooler Adjust to New Baby in the Family

    My 3-year-old son is having difficulty adjusting to the birth of his baby sister, who is 3 weeks old. He is very physical and is having frequent tantrums. His preschool teachers say he is more aggressive at school and is engaging in attention-seeking behavior. What can we do as parents to help him?  

     

  • Son wants to drop out of high school

    My son is nearly 17 years old. He thinks his girlfriend is pregnant, though he is not certain that the baby is his. He wants to drop out of high school, get his GED and join the Army or National Guard. He thinks this will allow him to support his girlfriend and child while avoiding the stigma and teasing that will come with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.   I want him to finish his senior year, and he needs parental permission to drop out.  If I don’t grant it, he will fail out of school on purpose. If I allow him…

     

  • Helping preschooler overcome irrational fears

    My son recently refused to take part in a cowboy day at his preschool. He was reluctant to dress in his Halloween cowboy costume (he was reluctant on Halloween as well). He became so agitated at school that his teachers had to call me to pick him up. This is unusual for him. He would not return to the classroom, but instead cried and covered his eyes because of all of the cowboy costumes in his classroom.   Every time he goes to school now, he happily announces that there will not be any cowboys there today. We had him…

     

  • Teenager not getting enough sleep

    My 15-year-old son is having difficulty getting enough sleep at night. He wants to stay up late into the night, but then has difficulty waking up in the morning to go to school. He has been late for school several mornings over the past few weeks. Please help!

     

  • 5-Year-Old Won't Stay in Timeout

    I have been trying to use timeout with my 5-year-old daughter, but she won’t stay. I require her to sit for one minute for every year of age, or five minutes. She will sometimes stay for a few minutes, but at other times, she refuses to sit at all. I am spending a lot of time chasing her around the house. Please, how do I get her to stay in timeout?  

     

  • Handling temper tantrums

    My 4-year-old recently threw a temper tantrum complete with yelling, crying and dropping to the floor when I did not allow her to push the cash register buttons while checking out at a store. I offered her stickers if she would get up and walk out of the store quietly. She did not. So my boyfriend, her father, picked her up and took her to the car screaming. Once at the car, I again offered her stickers if she would get into her car seat quietly. (She does not like to ride in her car seat.) She complied and thus…

     

  • Thirteen-year-old a chronic liar

    My family is experiencing numerous problems, but today I need help with my stepdaughter. She lies often, and it is becoming increasingly problematic at home and school. Her school counselors say that it has escalated to the point where they cannot help her anymore. She lies about things that don’t really matter, such as what she had for lunch. She is losing friends, and even her family members do not trust her anymore. What kind of help does she need? What are the differences among a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a counselor and a therapist? I am worried that if she…

     

  • Parents’ Divorce Affecting 18-Year-Old Son’s Grades

    I have recently gone through a divorce, and it is greatly affecting my 18-year-old son. He is a senior in high school, but he may not graduate due to poor grades. I am tired of well-meaning advice on how to “shape him up,” but I don’t know what to do myself.  

     

  • One-year-old fussy at day care pick up

    My 1-year-old son is very emotional with me when I pick him up at the end of the day. At first he is happy, but the tears quickly come once we are in the car. I talk to him and tickle his feet, but it doesn’t help. I think he is upset because we don’t spend much time together during the week. Our evenings are too short due to bedtime. He is even more emotional when he is tired. How can I reassure him that I love him? When he is crying, how should I respond?  

     

  • Nine-year-old son seems immune to punishment

    My 9-year-old son is very bright and is doing well academically in school. But his behavior is poor. He started out as the class clown, but now his behavior has progressed into lying and cheating. I have tried taking things away, assigning manual labor tasks, sitting him in the corner, talking to him and offering choices and consequences. Nothing seems to work. He doesn’t seem to care. The only thing I have not done is remove him from his sports teams. I prefer not to do that.  

     

  • Mom Afraid That Rebellious Teenager Will Run Away

    My husband and I got divorced last year. Our daughter lived with him at first, but gave him such a difficult time that she now lives with me. Now she is behaving poorly with me. I have taken her phone away, but she is still rebellious. Her grandmother recently passed away, and I know that she deeply feels the loss. But her bad behavior is beginning to affect her sisters. I am afraid that she will run away and I don’t know what to do. Is there somewhere I can take her to receive discipline help?  

     

  • Teenage daughter and step-dad fighting

    There is a growing distance between my 16-year-old daughter and my husband, who is her step-dad. They are fighting more often and they are trying to put me in the middle of their troubles. While it is not physical with them, it is affecting me physically. What can I do?  

     

  • Angry 13-Year-Old Will Not Talk to Her Dad

    I have a 13-year-old daughter who lives an hour-and-a-half away from me.  Despite the distance, we have been very close – until recently. I asked her to remove a post from Facebook, and she was still upset with me when the conversation ended. I then sent her a text regarding our disagreement, which she misunderstood as me saying goodbye. What I actually meant was that I would wait for her to call. Weeks went by before we talked, and when we finally connected she said that things felt different between us. Now she does not answer my phone calls or…

     

  • Young daughter will not call her father “daddy”

    My partner is upset that our 3-year-old daughter does not call him “daddy.” She refers to him as “you” or “him.” He wants to always be called “daddy.”

     

  • Siblings mean to each other

    I have four children: three boys ages 20, 13 and 11; and one girl, age 16. My two youngest sons fight and call each other names. They are mean to each other. I have unsuccessfully tried to stop this. Do you have any suggestions?  

     

  • Underweight son resists eating

    My 4-year-old son weighs 36 pounds. His doctor says that he needs to gain weight, but he is a picky eater. He will only eat chicken nuggets, French fries and sweet potato chips. How can I get him to eat a greater variety of healthy foods?  

     

  • Daughter Not Accepting Mom’s New Boyfriend

    I have been divorced for three years and have recently met someone. My 10- year-old daughter does not accept this. She is angry that I would be with anyone but her father. How do I introduce this new person into my children’s lives?  

     

  • Should child be told that her father is going to jail?

    I have had custody of my granddaughter for the past three years because my daughter is deceased and her biological father is an addict. Her father has committed robbery in the past, which my granddaughter knows about and is appalled at, but she has forgiven him. He committed another robbery and will now go to prison for at least five years.   We have ensured that she has had a close relationship with her father. She is unaware of his illegal actions. We’ve kept this from her because her father is trying to overcome his addiction. But now that he…

     

  • Eleven-year-old hits friend

    My 11-year-old daughter hit her friend in the face over something as ridiculous as a card game. This is the first time this has happened, but I am very upset. I don’t believe in physical violence. Rarely have I spanked her. I never have in the last three years.  

     

  • Mom takes on most of parenting responsibilities

    My husband and I have a teenager. I am a high-functioning parent; my husband is much less so. I am the one who takes care of all doctor, orthodontist, etc., appointments; supports her interests in music and sports by attending functions and providing transportation to practices; ensures she is safe by checking in with her friends’ parents; welcomes her friends into our home for dinner and sleep-overs; and connects with her teachers regarding her school performance. I do everything that I can to create a stable, healthy and happy home.   Despite all that I do, she becomes angry with…

     

  • College-age child fails class

    Our 19-year-old daughter failed a college course and is truly devastated. We’ve emphasized good grades, stressing their importance to her future success. We are upset as well, but we don’t want to add to her shame. What can we do?  

     

  • Grandmother Concerned About Mother’s Abuse of Grandchildren

    I am a grandmother of two children ages 5 and 3. I think their mother is emotionally and mentally abusing them. She threatens them by telling them that they will never see their family again. She tells the 5-year-old that he is not “right in the head” and that she is sending him off to military school. She locks both of them in a room with no windows or inside doorknob and tells them that they can’t come out until they stop crying. They are scared. She has moved nearly a day’s drive away from me. My son is away…

     

  • Internet on Child’s Phone

    What are some of the pros and cons of Internet access on a child’s phone? My 11-year-old wants to have this access on her phone.

     

  • Nine-Year-Old Violently Acting Out

    My husband and I have five children. The oldest two are from his previous marriage; the younger two are from my previous marriage; and the youngest is from our marriage. He has been divorced for six years; I have been divorced for three years. We have been married for almost two years.   We are stationed overseas, and the oldest children don’t get to see their mother very often. She does not seem to care. She only calls every three to four months.  Just recently, our 9-year-old has begun acting up at school. She throws temper tantrums when she does…

     

  • Spider-Man-obsessed 6-year-old

    Our 6-year-old son is obsessed with Spider-Man to the point that he thinks he is Spider-Man and only wants to play Spider-Man. This is affecting his friendships and his time at school. When he raises his hand, he wants his teacher to ask him if his question is Spiderman-related. Nine times out of 10 it is. Our son is not as happy as he once was. How do we tame his interest in Spider-Man to include other hobbies without breaking his heart by confiscating all of his Spider-Man toys?  

     

  • Eight-year-old wants to be perfect

    My 8-year-old daughter wants to be the best at what she does. If she doesn’t do something perfectly related to school or sports, she does not want to continue to try and often ends up crying. Even after achieving straight As in school, she has dramatic breakdowns over homework and worries that she will fail.  

     

  • Do parents let their children quit activities that they have started?

    My 7-year-old daughter has asked to play organized baseball for two years. I finally signed her up, but think she will not want to continue once practice begins. Do I let her quit, or will this reinforce that it is OK to give up when things get difficult? I don’t want to send this message. But I also want her to try new things, and am afraid that she won’t if I make her stick with an activity once we sign up.  

     

  • Disruptive 13-year-old at school

    Three teachers have emailed me saying that my 13-year-old son is disruptive at school. He engages in attention-seeking behavior and is talking excessively. He is serving detentions at school. What can I do at home to reinforce that this behavior is unacceptable?  

     

  • Seven-year-old will not sleep in own bed

    Our 7-year-old daughter had colic as a newborn and cried for the first nine months of her life. We excessively catered to her just to get some peace, but now we think we spoiled her. She suffered from social and separation anxiety as a toddler and preschooler. Though these anxieties have diminished, she still has boundary and privacy issues. She will not sleep in her own bed despite the fact that it is decorated to her choosing. I have tried many behavior modification techniques, but she still ends up next to me in my bed.  

     

  • Five-year-old unable to separate imaginary play from real life

    My 5-year-old son and I have a very close relationship. He thinks I am the most knowledgeable person on earth. When I ask what he would like to be when he grows up, he says “A father.” When he pretend plays, he invariably imitates me. He becomes a father of two kids, “drives” a car, talks to “clients” on his toy cell phone and “works” on a toy laptop.   What concerns me is that he has difficulty separating this imaginary play from real life. He acts as though he is an adult rather than a child. When I ask…

     

  • Daughter should sleep in own bed

    My sister’s daughter is 11-years-old. Whenever my sister is out of town, her daughter sleeps with her father. I think this is inappropriate, but my sister does not. She says there is plenty of room in their king-sized bed.   

     

  • Teenage daughter lying

    I recently caught my 18-year-old daughter in a lie. She took something out of my room without permission and was going to let her younger siblings take the blame. When it became clear to me that she was the one who took the item, I confronted her. She lied straight to my face; she had hidden the item in her book bag. What punishment should she receive for willfully lying and allowing someone else to take the blame? This is not the first time I have caught her lying to me.  

     

  • Effective ways to discipline a 6-year-old

    I don’t think I am effectively disciplining my 6-year-old son. He has been getting into trouble at school daily for talking too much. To reinforce that this is unacceptable behavior, I have taken away privileges such as watching TV and playing video games from a few hours to a few days. When this occurs, he just sits quietly in his room and I am concerned that this is not healthy for him. I have also tried sending him to bed early, but this too does not deter the behavior. He seems immune to punishment. What do I do?  

     

  • Son Prefers Online Materials to Textbooks

    My son is addicted to online educational sites. He will not touch his textbooks because he says everything is available online. How can I convince him that textbook reading is also important?

     

  • How to handle stealing

    How do you handle a child stealing? And is there a good way to make behavior charts and contracts?

     

  • Ten-year-old stealing and being dishonest at school

    My 10-year-old daughter is a good student and is well-behaved at home. But over the last six months, she has been acting up at school. She is lying, cheating and taking classmates’ possessions. Do we handle this change in behavior ourselves or does our daughter need professional help?  

     

  • Sixth-grade son displaying negative behaviors at school

    My 12-year-old son has always been a good student up until this year. Now he is in sixth grade and will not finish his homework. He has received Ds and Fs on his last two report cards, and he is acting out in class. He has even been suspended for picking a fight with another boy, and he is disrespectful of his teachers. He has friends and does not seem to dislike school, however. We have taken away privileges such as video games and other electronic devices. What else can we do?  

     

  • Aggressive 2-Year-Old

    My 2-year-old daughter has become very aggressive. Most often her aggressive behavior is evident when she is overstimulated. But there have been numerous other times when she has hit someone for no apparent reason. I am concerned that this is not a stage she will outgrow.  

     

  • Filtering Pornography from the Internet

    What is the best filter for the Internet to prevent access to porn? Are any of them free?

     

  • Creating strong bonds with your child

    How can I strengthen my bond with my 8-year-old child?

     

  • Fourteen-Year-Old Daughter Wants to Have Sex with Boyfriend

    My 14-year-old daughter announced that she intends to have sex with her boyfriend and that there is nothing I can do to stop her. I do not want her to do this, but she won’t listen to me. I am a single mother and feel like I am losing control of my daughter. I have tried talking with her, and I have grounded her. She has seen a few counselors, but she has made up her mind about having sex with her boyfriend. I keep a close eye on her and limit her opportunities to follow through on her intentions,…

     

  • Young children want their mom to help, not dad

    My 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter only want my wife to help them with their morning and evening routines. I would like to help them brush their teeth, read a book, etc., but they refuse. Both my wife and I are becoming frustrated.  

     

  • When to have the “sex talk”

    My 8-year-old son is in third grade, and he recently heard a classmate reference sex. He has since casually mentioned the word “sex.” Should my husband and I take this opportunity to have “the talk” with him, or is he too young? Also, should we do this together, or should my husband talk to him alone?  

     

  • Ten-year-old reluctant to do schoolwork

    My 10-year-old daughter does not do her schoolwork. How can I change this behavior so that she will learn her coursework and succeed in school?

     

  • Fifteen-Year-Old Son and Gang Involvement

    For the past two years, my 15-year-old son’s behavior has deteriorated. His teachers are concerned about his academic performance. He has great difficulty remaining focused and on-task. I learned last month that he is part of a criminal gang. His aggressive behavior is difficult to control. What can I do?  

     

  • Six-Year-Old Son Acting Out

    My 6-year-old son has recently been exhibiting negative behaviors such as throwing things, being mean to his sisters and ignoring my instructions. I have tried behavior modification techniques that have been successful in my work as a mental health specialist with other children, but they are ineffective with my own son. He only sees his father once a week, and I am wondering if this may be at the root of these behavioral concerns. What can I do to help him?  

     

  • Son Threatened by Mom’s Relationship with Boyfriend

    My husband and I got divorced when our son was 3. He is now 11. Up until recently, his father, who lives in another state, has not played a significant role in his life. For seven years, it was just my son and me. But a little over a year ago, I started dating a wonderful man. He loves my son, and my son returns his affection. We all do things together, and my boyfriend and my son also do things together just the two of them. We make a concerted effort to include everyone and to make sure that…

     

  • Fourteen-Year-Old Daughter Angry at Mom After Divorce

    My husband and I have had a difficult year struggling with dysfunction and domestic violence. After our separation, I started dating someone, and my daughter found out from a message on my cell phone.  Even though the relationship has been over for seven months and I am supporting my four girls by myself, my 14-year-old daughter is extremely angry with me. She blames me for the divorce and for “ruining her life.” She is verbally abusive and has even pushed me. She will not eat dinner with the family or attend church or participate in family activities. Her disposition is…

     

  • Sixteen-Year-Old Son in Unhealthy Relationship

    My 16-year-old son is involved with a girl in an unhealthy way. He likes her very much, but she says she likes him as only a friend. She has problems, however, that result in her leaning on my son too much. She does not have many friends, and other young men keep their distance because she leads them on when she needs a crutch. This is what is happening with my son. She says she is going to inflict pain on herself, such as cutting herself, so my son feels needed and thinks he has a chance with her as…

     

  • Six-year-old grabbing things

    My 6-year-old son grabs things from his classmates on a consistent basis. I have received numerous notifications from his school regarding this behavior. How can I help him change?

     

  • Bedroom sharing between half-siblings

    Is it appropriate for a 14-year-old boy to share a bedroom with his 7-year-old half-sister and 10-year-old half-brother?  

     

  • Teen son in band; parents concerned about lyrics

    My 16-year-old son is in a band, and I like his other band members. My son listens to Christian hard rock, of which we approve because the lyrics are not objectionable. But now that he is in this band, I am concerned about the songs’ lyrics. We want to attend his next gig, but he does not want us to attend. Though I am not certain, I think it is because our presence would be uncomfortable for him. How should we respond?  

     

  • Sixth-grader disruptive at home and school

    My son is in the sixth grade. Though he is capable of A and B work, he is failing most of his classes. When he does finish his homework, he often turns it in late.  He is tardy between classes and says that he doesn’t care about school.  His home life is not any better. He is demanding and disruptive, so much so that his college-aged siblings don’t want to come home when he is here.   His father and I are divorced and share custody. One week he is with me, and one week he is with his father.…

     

  • Four-year-old wets herself during father’s absence

    I have a friend who has a 4-year-old daughter whose dad is frequently away for his job. During her father’s absence, the little girl consistently wets herself. Once her father is home again, she goes back to using the toilet. My friend has warned her daughter that she will have to go back to wearing diapers, but this does not seem to concern the little girl. What can my friend do?  

     

  • Angry and disobedient 17-year-old

    My sister is having difficulties with her 17-year-old son. He is an angry young man who resists people who tell him what to do. He does not take on responsibilities around the home, and he comes and goes as he pleases without parental permission.   His behavior changed about three months ago when my sister prevented him from leaving their home by blocking the door. My nephew physically pushed his mother aside and left the home without her permission. My sister works nights, and often comes home to find her house full of my nephew’s friends. What can I do…

     

  • Seven-year-old does not follow instructions

    My 7-year-old daughter does not recognize my authority as her mother. She argues constantly, does not obey and makes demands rather than asking permission. It starts with teeth-brushing first thing in the morning and goes until bedtime. I have to repeat my requests often. I need help disciplining her.  

     

  • Potty training troubles with 4-year-old

    I am having difficulty getting my 4-year-old son to use the bathroom for his bowel movements. He knows when he has to go. He urinates in the toilet and is perfectly able to do the same with bowel movements, but he simple won’t do it.  

     

  • Two-year-old in “mine” stage

    My 2 ½-year-old daughter continually claims that everything is hers. If we are at the store, she will point to items on the shelf and say they are hers. If an object actually is hers, such as food or a toy, she demands that I agree with her. She won’t even eat or drink until I acknowledge this. When I try to ignore her behavior, she screams. How can I stop this?  

     

  • Eight-Year-Old and iPod Use

    My 8-year-old daughter accrued charges of almost $300 while playing a game on her iPod. I didn’t know that she knew how to do this, and I am angry with my own ignorance. But I am also angry with her, and feel I cannot trust her.   

     

  • Two-Year-Old Daughter Shuns Father

    My 2-year-old daughter does not want anything to do with her father. She screams whenever he talks to her, and she refuses to show him any affection — even a hug. My husband is in the Air Force, and he was deployed around our daughter’s first birthday. He is back now, and I have tried to suggest that he just give her time and space. His response is that as her father, she should do what he says. I am at my wits’ end. Last night my husband actually yelled and cussed at her when she would not let him help her…

     

  • Ten-year-old stealing from family and friends

    I have a 10-year-old who steals money from family and friends. It can be as little as a few dollars up to $100. She knows it is wrong and that she will get into trouble, yet she continues.  

     

  • Capable 7-year-old does not follow instructions

    Our 7-year-old son is attentive in school and earns good grades. But he does not listen to us at home. When he does finally comply with an instruction, he is easily distracted. We have sent him to his room as a punishment, but then he kicks his walls and throws things. We have taken away privileges such as playing video games. He plays a team sport, and is also inattentive during practice and games. He does not listen to his coach or the referee.  

     

  • Seven-Year-Old Having Trouble Making Friends

    My 7-year-old daughter comes home almost daily from school crying that her classmates do not play with her at recess or sit with her at lunch. I think she needs to learn people skills. She has been looking for attention, but I don’t know if she is going about it in the right way. I want to teach her self-confidence, but I also want her to know that not everyone is going to like her.  

     

  • Seventeen-Year-Old Son Dating 13-Year-Old

    Should we forbid our 17-year-old son from dating a 13-year-old girl?

     

  • Grandparents Wonder if Grandson Should Be at Boys Town

    My 13-year-old grandson lives with his grandfather and myself. He is completely out of control. He will not shower or maintain basic good hygiene. He refuses to do simple chores around the house. He has a foul mouth and calls us names I can’t even write down. We are in our 80s and are unable to physically control him. Is Boys Town willing to take him in?  

     

  • 4-Year-Old Son Not Getting Along with Live-In Boyfriend

    My ex-husband and I have been divorced for two years, and we maintain a healthy relationship with one another. We have a 4-year-old son who spends time with both of us.  My ex-husband has a fiancé, and I have a boyfriend. We have been living together for 10 months. My son will not warm up to my boyfriend. He cries constantly and follows me around whenever my boyfriend is home. My boyfriend has done everything he can to establish a relationship with my son. He has done nothing to warrant my son’s reaction. I have tried talking, bargaining and disciplining,…

     

  • Teaching Non-Aggressive Ways to Deal with Frustration

    My son is hitting and pushing at school. His teacher administers time-outs at school. At home I have used reward charts and have given him time-outs.  Nothing seems to work.

     

  • Parents openly critical of daughter’s parenting

    Two years ago, my husband left my daughter and myself. We moved in with my parents four months ago because of our financial situation. My parents both have counseling degrees, which they think gives them the right to tell me that I am parenting my daughter incorrectly. It is undermining my authority with my daughter. She does not listen to me, but instead turns to my parents when she gets in trouble.  I have tried talking to my parents, but they will not change. They believe that they know better. I am at my breaking point and feel trapped because…

     

  • Are 4-year-old boys ready for soccer?

    I have signed my 4-year-old twin boys up for soccer, and the season is not going well. One son pushes his teammates and does not listen to his coach. When my other son decides that he has had enough, he sits on the sidelines and goofs off. I think they might be too young for organized sports, but it is too late now. Do you have any suggestions for getting through the rest of the season?  

     

  • Negative attention-seeking

    I have a 10-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old baby. My older child has recently started displaying attention-seeking behaviors.  She is always adding to conversations whether what she says is relevant or not. She sprayed my perfume all over the bathroom when she was supposed to be brushing her teeth. She ignores my directions to do things. I have to get angry to be heard. When I reprimand her, she stares at me vacantly and mechanically says she is sorry even though she does not truly feel remorse.   I have explained to her that caring for a baby is a…

     

  • Daughter being bullied

    My daughter is being bullied and refuses to tell the dean at her school out of fear of it getting worse. She is convinced that changing schools is the answer.  This, however, is not an option. What do I do?  

     

  • Girlfriend concerned about boyfriend’s parenting of his daughter

    I am living with my boyfriend of two years and I am concerned about how he parents his 6-year-old daughter, who lives with us part-time. He basically allows her to dictate the rules, such as what she eats. When she does not get her way, she throws a tantrum.   She also will not do basic life skills on her own. For instance, my boyfriend brushes her teeth and wipes her after she uses the bathroom. My boyfriend has difficulty following through with discipline, and often ends up apologizing to her.   When I have expressed my concerns and have…

     

  • Young Girl Expresses Herself Through Aggressive Actions

    My 11-month-old daughter seems to be overly aggressive. She loves to take a swing at everything. When she doesn’t want any more food or drink, she swings her hand. She tosses her toys and hits people in the face when they pick her up.  She pulls her own hair and even hits herself in the head, especially when she is frustrated. I have disciplined her for hitting others, but what do I do about her other volatile behaviors? Is this normal behavior for her age?  

     

  • 15-Year-Old Son Failing School and Becoming Aggressive with Mother

    My 15-year-old son is failing many of his classes and does not care. When his teachers offer to help him make up missed work after school, he doesn’t show up.  I have been in consistent contact with the school’s staff, and I have taken away privileges like his phone, TV, gaming system, etc. Nothing seems to work.   He is disrespectful, leaving the house without permission and calling me names.  And now he is becoming physically aggressive. I even had to call the police when he attacked me one time. I am a single mom without family support. We do…

     

  • Young daughter pulling out hair

    My 14-month-old daughter is pulling out her hair. I will find clumps of hair in her crib when she wakes up in the morning or after nap time. She is unconcerned, sometimes even eating it, and she doesn’t seem hurt by it. But bald spots are visible after only one week.  

     

  • Preventing bullying

    I am a young mother with two boys, and I have some questions about bullying.  First, as a parent, how do I know if my children are being bullied? Second, how can I prevent this and feel confident that the school is protecting my children?  Third, what advice do you offer to parents about protecting their children from bullying?  

     

  • 2-year-old unresponsive to school setting

    My 2-year-old started going to a Montessori school and adjusted very well at first.  But with time, she has not shown the development that her classmates have demonstrated. In fact, it seems that she has regressed. She can sing her assigned poems at home, but in school she just cries and clings to me. I want to be a better mother and teacher at home. How can I help her be more social and responsive at school?  

     

  • Is extremely off-putting behavior a sign of mental illness?

    I am afraid that my nearly 9-year-old daughter might have a mental health problem. I’ve noticed the following behaviors for a few years, but they are getting more pronounced as she gets older.  She is overly sensitive and cries quite a bit. She is extremely self-centered. She wants to decide what game to play, and when her friends voice a different opinion she quits and sulks. She engages in attention-seeking behavior, such as demanding that everyone watch her dance. She talks incessantly and makes untrue statements. She is overly affectionate, often hugging her friends while they pull away.  Her behavior…

     

  • 4-year-old afraid of the dark

    I need help addressing my 4-year-old’s fear of the dark at bedtime.

     

  • Defiant 10-Year-Old

    My 10-year-old is very defiant. I have tried rewards and taking away privileges, but neither seems to work. He does not care if he loses privileges. He is becoming physically aggressive. I have tried counseling, but it has been ineffective. What else can I do?  

     

  • Telling children their father is going to jail

    How do I tell my children that their father is going to jail for a DUI conviction? We are recently divorced, and our children are ages 15, 11 and 9.   

     

  • Aggressive Behavior in 6-Year-Old

    Our 6-year-old son becomes physical – hitting, pinching and kicking – his classmates when he believes they are not following the rules in a game or they are bothering him. We have taught him strategies to deal with his frustration such as walking away, squeezing a ball or talking to the teacher. Although he can verbalize these practices, he cannot employ them in the heat of the moment.   We have tried punishment (no TV) and a reward for a full week without incident, but neither seems to be working. In fact, it is getting worse. Now he is lying…

     

  • Nine-year-old grandson’s homework resistance

    My 9-year-old grandson lives with me part-time. Both of his parents have Bipolar disorder. He has frequent meltdowns regarding completing his homework.  Last year he struggled in school. He had a teacher who, from my point of view, made it clear that she did not like him. His teacher had very high expectations, and my grandson had difficulty meeting them. He often had to stay in from recess to complete work, and he was repeatedly sent to the assistant principal’s office. He frequently had three hours of homework at night.   This year he has a nurturing teacher. He is…

     

  • Parent and teacher must work together to help struggling first-grader

    I have a 6-year-old son who started first grade a month ago. His teacher tells me that he is having difficulty staying focused. He gets distracted easily – more often than his classmates.  This seems to be a pattern similar to the beginning of kindergarten. He would sometimes become physical with other children, but gradually his behavior improved. His teacher says he behaves, but there are instances when he refuses to do what she tells him. I am upset that his teacher has told me that my son is very immature and acts like a 2- or 3-year-old. Thus, I…

     

  • Road trip with a 2-year-old

    My son recently turned 2. His grandparents want to take him on a road trip from Vancouver, British Columbia to New Mexico. They will be gone 10 days. Is this practical? Is it a bad idea to keep a young child in a car seat for so many consecutive hours?  

     

  • 18-Year-Old Who Lacks Male Role Model Making Poor Choices

    I have an 18-year-old son who is committing illegal acts such as smoking marijuana and hanging out with minors. I have tried to instill solid morals and values in him despite the negative male role models he has had in his life.  His father and I are divorced. The marriage ended as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. His father is not part of his life at the present time. I also ended a relationship with another male father figure for the same reason.   If my son gets into trouble, I cannot afford to get him out of…

     

  • Second-grader cries frequently in class

    I have a 7-year-old son who easily cries when he is teased or when he is made an example of. For instance, his teacher recently corrected him and when his classmates looked at him, he burst into tears. Little things like that will set him off.  I am concerned that he will be the brunt of bullying since his peers know they can make him cry.  

     

  • Parent and school staff disagree on mode of discipline

    My 7-year-old son is beginning to hate school. He is impulsive and as a result, often has to sit apart from his classmates. This consequence only intensifies his behavior. I have provided suggestions on how to handle his impulsiveness, but the school’s staff will only administer the school’s policy of separation. He is not trying to be defiant, and he is now feeling like he is being punished for who he is, not for what he is doing. He feels singled out. What are my options?  

     

  • Grandparents Working to Counteract Mother’s Instability in Preschooler’s Life

    Our adult daughter and her 3-year-old son are living with my husband and me.  We are concerned about her parenting and its adverse effects on our grandson.   Our daughter is very independent and does not welcome advice from us. She works varied hours, comes home tired and is irritable with her son. She is always telling him “no” and even pushes him away. When I call her attention to this, she snaps at me.  She is not willing to go to parenting classes to improve her skills. She has even left her son in our care so she could…

     

  • Kindergarten Son Hitting and Acting Out at School

    My son is in kindergarten. When he gets frustrated, he acts out in a physical manner. He is repeating preschool behaviors in grade school, such as running from the teacher and hitting. The principal called today to say she had to restrain him in the hall to calm him down. We have tried timeouts, natural consequences like cleaning up the mess he has made and taking away privileges. They only seem to work for the short term. He is smart and excited about school. I don’t want his behavior to continue.

     

  • Out-of-Control 3-Year-Old Boy

    I am a stay-at-home mom with an out-of-control 3-year-old boy. He is destructive. He throws toys, breaks things, screams, hits and torments the dog. When I try to discipline him, he yells, hits me and strikes himself on his head. I have tried timeouts and talking to him at his level. He just pulls away and screams at me. I am worried about his ability to learn because he cannot remain seated even to color.

     

  • 14-Year-Old Girl Making Unhealthy Choices with Boyfriend

    My 14-year-old daughter has developed an unhealthy relationship with a boy from her school who is the same age. She has snuck out of the house to see him, has invited him into our home when we are at work and has been suspended from school after the two of them were caught together in the boy’s locker room. I have found letters from him asking her not to talk to certain boys at school. I have moved her out of state to live with her father. He has enrolled her in school there. She says she is very sorry…

     

  • 4-Year-Old Not Listening, Refusing to Give Up Sippy Cup and Wetting Bed at Night

    I need help in three areas with my 4-year-old son. First, we need a better way to communicate. My son will not listen to me and treats me like I am his slave. I have turned into a yeller, and I don’t even want to be around him when he isn’t listening to me and is testing me. Second, he will not give up his sippy cup despite my changing cups and reminding him of the rules. He wants his milk all the time. Third, he is still wetting the bed at night and has to wear a pull-up. I…

     

  • Young Teen Is Stealing

    My son is almost 13 years old. From an early age, his grandmother taught him how to steal. We have moved away from her, but he continues to steal from family, friends, neighbors, etc. He recently stole $100 from my wallet. He denied this, but I found the money in his room. I don’t want him to have a life of stealing, drugs and jail. Is there a program I can enroll him in that will teach him there is an alternative to stealing?

     

  • Four-Year-Old Will Not Stay in Bed

    My 4-year-old son goes to bed just fine, but he cannot stay in his bed all night. He ends up in our room several times a night. If we close his door, he is terrified. We have tried leaving a light on all night, laying with him until he falls asleep and letting him sleep with us. We have set his alarm so that he wakes up to music, signaling that this is the only time he can get out of his room. Nothing seems to work.

     

  • 16-Year-Old Son Having Suicidal Thoughts

    My 16-year-old son is in an emotionally precarious state. He is having difficulty in school, is dealing with the suicide of his friend and has recently prevented a girl from choking herself while on a church trip. Now he is thinking about suicide himself. I have taken him to counselors and pastors, but I don’t feel he is being helped. He wants to date the girl he kept from committing suicide, but I am forbidding it due to their emotional states and tendencies toward suicide.

     

  • Helping Son Regulate Temper

    My 9-year-old can be the sweetest child one minute and then a raging devil the next. How do I help him control his temper and moods? I don’t want to resort to medication, but I will if I must. His older siblings do not act like this. I want to resolve this before he gets any older.

     

  • Angry 13-Year-Old Feels Alienated in Family

    Our 13-year-old son is very angry and won’t talk to anyone in the house. He feels he is picked on by his father, grandmother and older sister. I try to talk to him and resolve the issues, but I feel like nothing I do is good enough. My husband and mother-in-law disagree with the way I discipline. They think I let my children walk all over me. I don’t know how to help my son, and I am at my wits’ end.

     

  • Teenage Daughter Spreading Untrue Rumors

    Our 15-year-old daughter started a rumor about a friend. She said her friend was grounded because she had had intercourse with a 16-year-old boy. This is untrue. How best do we handle this situation? We want our daughter to understand that her actions have consequences. She has adversely affected her friend’s reputation.

     

  • Building Social Skills in ADHD Son

    My 10-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He is constantly crying and stealing things from school. He does not take responsibility for his actions when he is in the wrong. Is this a symptom of ADHD? We have been to counselors and have changed his medication, but nothing seems to help.

     

  • Daughter Being Bullied

    My children and I just moved back to my hometown after being away for 14 years. My ex-husband, who was emotionally abusive to me and cheated on me with his current wife, has lived here since I moved away. He and his wife have twins who are the same age as my daughter. Our children attend the same school, but I have made certain that they will not be in the same classroom since my ex-husband’s wife has encouraged her twins to pick on my daughter.   After only six days of school, my daughter has come home daily with…

     

  • Divorcing Parents Still Share Home

    My wife and I have filed for divorce. We have two boys, ages 8 and 6, and all of us live in the same house together. She has started dating someone whom she has introduced to the boys. While I am away at work, he sometimes stays over (up to three nights a week). I have objected to this, but she has ignored my concerns. We are still married and are living in the same house. I don’t mind her dating. I just don’t want our sons exposed to it. Are my worries justified? Is there something I can read…

     

  • Belligerent 3-Year-Old Giving Mom the Silent Treatment

    My fiancé has a 3-year-old stepson who, until now, was splitting his time between our home and his mother’s home. I was around when he learned how to talk, and he has called me “mommy” without any prompting from us. He tells us he has two mommies. We respond by telling him that he is lucky to have so many people who love him. He is now staying with us full time, and he sees his mother only on occasional weekends and holidays. The problem we are having with him has slowly been building. The difference now is that I…

     

  • Unkind Behavior Toward Sibling

    My 4 ½-year-old son is unkind to his 3-year-old brother. He says that he doesn’t like him, does not include him when he is playing and is generally quite nasty. He does not treat his 5-year-old and 1-year-old sisters this way. Is this normal behavior?  Am I needlessly worrying, or should I step in to remedy the situation? And if so, what do I do?

     

  • Single Mom Wants Sons to Respect Her Authority

    I am a recent single mom with two boys ages 5 and 3. How can I instill respect for my position as head of the house in my sons without the advantage of an authoritative voice or male presence?

     

  • Son Unable to Make Friends at New School

    My 9-year-old son and I moved to a new town during the previous school year.  He has not made friends at his new school, and he now cries at the thought of going back to school this fall because he has to play by himself at recess.He tried to make friends last year, but one boy influenced his classmates not to include my son. When he asked to join a game, the other boys told him that they already had too many players – maybe next time. There was never a next time. My son ended up walking around the…

     

  • Uncommunicative Teenager

    Many days I feel like I am talking to a brick wall when communicating with my teen. And those are the good days when I actually get the chance to talk with her.  How do I break down this barrier?

     

  • Custody Problems

    I have a 5-year-old daughter. Her mother and I have a split-custody order at the present time, but her mother just served me with papers to take my daughter all but 28 days a year. Social Services came a day after the papers were served. I want help and resources to handle this issue as delicately as possible, as my daughter is bright and observant. I don’t want her to be harmed emotionally or developmentally by the situation.

     

  • 6-Year-Old Cries When Mom Leaves for Work

    I have a 6-year-old boy who cries when he does not get his way. He cries when I leave for work, even after I have explained to him why I must work. I don’t want to raise my voice to him.

     

  • 6-Year-Old Reacts Violently to Discipline

    My 6-year-old granddaughter lives with me. For the past two years, her mother has had visitation rights. My granddaughter has become increasingly violent. She kicks and hits when I put her in time-out. I do not want to hit her back, but I don’t know what to do. I am bruised and battered, as she is very strong.

     

  • Son Wants to Quit Soccer

    My older son has played soccer for three different seasons, and he has given up because he seems to be afraid of the game as well as his father’s criticism. He feels that he is not very athletic and would rather focus on academics. We feel that if we let him quit, it will adversely affect him in the future. Should we let him quit, or should we push him to play another sport?

     

  • 7-Year-Old Traumatized by Storms

    My daughter is a bright 7-year-old, but she has a strange habit of barricading the doors and crying uncontrollably when it is raining and thundering outside and is dark. My mother says she was probably scared as a baby. Should I bring my daughter to a psychiatrist?

     

  • Ten-Year-Old Son Still Shares Father’s Bed

    I am a single father, and I have been raising my 10-year-old son for most of his life. He has learning disabilities and speech disorders. He also has ADHD as well as a gene deficiency. I feel, however, that we have addressed these issues pretty successfully. One thing that does bother me is the fact that he likes to sleep in my bed with me. He has his own bed and he sleeps there occasionally, but when he asks to sleep with me I allow it. Am I doing him a disservice as others have suggested?

     

  • 16-Year-Old Son Smoking Marijuana

    What is an appropriate consequence for catching my 16-year-old son smoking marijuana with his friend? We are an upper-middle class blended family, and he is our youngest child. I think he has smoked marijuana occasionally over the past several months, despite our telling the family not to do it.

     

  • 11-Year-Old Girl Ignores Mother’s Instructions

    I am a single mom of a good 11-year-old girl who is spreading her wings lately by pulling away from family influences and turning more to her friends. Here is a specific example of what I mean: I suffered from several severe sunburns while growing up. My siblings, my parents and I have all had skin cancer. So my daughters know the importance of wearing sunscreen. They have always worn SPF 50, and they have never had sunburns.  Today my daughter went to the pool with her friends. She put on sunscreen before leaving the house except for the area…

     

  • 16-Year-Old Daughter’s Dangerous Choices

    My 16-year-old daughter has been making poor — dangerous even — choices. She is dating a 19-year-old boy who has been caught with marijuana. My husband and I are understandably upset, and we have told her and her boyfriend that they cannot continue seeing one another. My daughter says her boyfriend wants to change and will never do drugs again. She has also confessed to me in an e-mail that she has had sex twice with a boy who is not her boyfriend.   I have yet to talk with her about this, and I am extremely upset. She said she would talk to me…

     

  • 10-Year-Old Girl Clashing with Dad’s Live-in Girlfriend

    My boyfriend and I live together with his three children. I thought this situation was going well until his oldest daughter (age 10) started acting out against me.  When I sat her down to discuss this, she told me that she hates me. How should I respond to this? Should I curtail my time at the house?

     

  • Rebellious Son Disregards Mom’s Authority

    I am a single mother and I am having problems with my 16-year-old son. He constantly runs away from home because he does not like to follow the household’s rules. I have five other children to consider when I am out at all hours of the night looking for him. When I ask why he behaves this way, he does not have any answers.  He knows that I am legally responsible for him until he is 18. He uses this fact to manipulate me. He has had multiple run-ins with the police, but they were all minor enough for him…

     

  • Handling Tantrums in a Non-Physical Way

    My 8-year-old son was recently throwing a tantrum and was kicking me. When he would not stop, I held his legs. This created more of a power struggle. I held tighter; he cried more and became scared. I should have simply walked away.  Now I am worried that I have violated his trust.

     

  • Modeling Adult Behavior During a Divorce

    I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. My wife and I are divorced, and we are consulting a mediator regarding child visitation rights. We have not arrived at a decision yet. I don’t know how to tell my daughter the reason for my inability to see her outside her mother’s home. She keeps asking me to take her places, but until we reach an agreement I cannot do this. Should I tell her the truth, that we are waiting for a decision from the court?

     

  • Teaching Listening Skills

    I am a 32-year-old mother of four boys. I discipline by yelling and arguing, and I want to change this pattern. I just get frustrated when my children don’t listen and refuse to do their chores. How can I get my children to listen without resorting to yelling?

     

  • Aggressive Teenage Son

    I am very concerned for my sister and her two boys, ages 15 and 11. Her older son has become very aggressive toward his mother and younger brother. He is drinking alcohol and is threatening his family and himself. We don’t know where to turn for help.

     

  • Rebellious 15-Year-Old Daughter

    I am a single mom of a 15-year-old girl. I am a police officer and I work nights. I am not with her most nights, but one of my older nieces stays with us so she can be with her. I have raised my daughter to have morals. We have always been active in our church, and she has attended a Christian school from kindergarten until the present.  I have a problem with her wearing inappropriate clothing, wanting facial piercings and gouging her ears. Though I tell her that I do not approve of these things, she goes behind my…

     

  • 17-Year-Old Stepson Engaging in Illegal Activities

    I am the stepmother of a 17-year-old boy who has been living with my husband and I for two years. Prior to this, he lived with his mother and then his grandmother. Both women were unable to handle him, so he came to live with us. He is not doing well in school. He often skips school and earns failing grades. He is an 11th-grader with the credits of a ninth-grader. I smell marijuana in his room, but he denies smoking it. I also find cigarette butts in his room, which he admits to smoking.  He says he is old…

     

  • Building Listening Skills in Young Children

    I am a 51-year-old parent with a 9-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. My children have no focus. My wife and I often resort to yelling in order for our children to follow our instructions. We hate doing this. Though our children are spoiled, they do not get everything they want. But there is no urgency to do what we ask of them. What can we do?

     

  • Reinforcing Social Consciousness and Responsibility in Children

    My 10-year-old son found $80 in the bushes in a parking lot. Should we have allowed him to keep the total sum? With strong urging, I convinced him to purchase $25 worth of goods for the local food pantry. Should he share some of the money with his sisters? What lessons can be effectively taught to a 10-year-old? How do I best respond to this situation?

     

  • Teaching a 4-Year-Old Self-Control

    I am seeing destructive behavior in my 4-year-old, and I am having trouble understanding why this is. I have been unsuccessful at teaching him self-control.

     

  • 18-Month-Old Screams at Night

    My son is 18 months old, and I am concerned that he is still not sleeping through the night. He goes to bed between 8 and 10 p.m., but he will wake up at around 2 a.m. and scream at the top of his lungs until he is picked up. He’ll then either pass out or he’ll scream off and on for hours. I have no idea what to do. Nothing seems to work –not rocking him, feeding him or allowing him to watch TV. It is wearing on me, and I am exhausted. What do I do?

     

  • Daughter’s Reckless Use of Facebook

    I am a single parent. My 12-year-old daughter does not have any boundaries at my ex-wife’s house. She is permitted to stay home by herself with no one checking on her. Additionally, she is home alone in the evenings when I pick her up since her mom doesn’t come home.Because there is little accountability at her mother’s house, she likes to challenge my rules and boundaries. This is especially true when it comes to the use of technology and social media sites like Facebook.My fiancé and I have observed very reckless behavior when it comes to my daughter’s Facebook usage…

     

  • Disciplining Preschoolers

    I have twin girls and an almost 4-year-old boy. I am having discipline problems that are getting worse. I am getting frustrated and need some advice.

     

  • Disrespectful 16-Year-Old Son

    I have a 16-year-old son who has become very mouthy and disrespectful. My husband and I have not been as consistent as we have needed to be these past few years. I don’t want to see our son head down the wrong path, but I don’t know what to do.

     

  • Helping a 10-Year-Old Follow Instructions

    How do you get a 10-year-old to mind you? My son will not do chores, go to bed or do what he is told in general. He just responds, “No.”

     

  • How to Start Homeschooling

    How do I begin to homeschool my 14-year-old and 7-year-old?

     

  • Helping a Son Who Cuts Himself

    About a week ago, we found out that our 17-year-old son is cutting himself. My son doesn’t want to talk about it. He was originally hiding the cuts, but now he is hurting himself openly. How can I help him if he doesn’t want to get professional help or even acknowledge his problem?

     

  • What to Do About a Daughter Whose Only Friends are Online Gamers

    My 12-year-old daughter has struggled with making friends her whole life. I've put her in camps, activities, sports and clubs. She just goes through the motions, but never bothers to try to make friends. She has finally made some friendships on her own, but unfortunately they’re with online gamers who live in other states. Safety is not an issue, however, I don't feel like she is getting the same level of companionship that she would if she had "real-life" friends. Should I support these online friendships, or cut them off and force her to make other friends?

     

  • Parenting a Child Who Ignores You

    I am having an ongoing problem with my daughter that is driving me to the end of my rope. I have to ask her over and over again to do everything from shutting off the TV to picking up a book. She doesn’t ignore her teachers, only me. How do I get my daughter to respect me?

     

  • Dressing a Picky 3-Year-Old

    My 3-year-old granddaughter refuses to wear socks that are not pink or purple. Her mother gives in to this demand. Shouldn’t she demand that her daughter wear all of the socks in her drawer and not just the pink and purple ones?

     

  • Bright Teen is Underachieving

    My 19-year-old son is very bright, but after two years of college with C and D grades, he seems unmotivated to study or work. All he wants to do is hang out with his girlfriend and play video games. He says he can't find work during the summer, yet I don't see any real attempts to even look. I am a single mother with a 13-year-old son as well. The tension is terrible in the house. I recently told him that if he can't step up, then maybe he'll have to move out. I want him to succeed, but I…

     

  • You Disagree With Your Child’s Parenting Style

    My daughter will ask her 5-year-old son to do something, and then if he doesn't do it she'll ask him again followed by, "If you won't listen to me, I am going to take away your favorite toy for a day." I agree with her taking something away from him for not minding her, but a whole day seems harsh for a 5-year-old. Am I wrong? I feel so sad for him.

     

  • Bright Boy From Religious Home Rebels at School

    My 10-year-old son is overactive at school. His teachers tell us that he won’t sit still, argues often with other children and is disruptive in class. This is despite the fact that he is smart. We have tried our best to talk to him, but I feel helpless about how to guide him. I am feeling very disappointed in myself, as our family is religious but our values don’t seem to be sticking with our son.

     

  • Toddler Has Trouble Sleeping in New Home

    We moved into a new house a week ago. Our 2-year-old son has adjusted well except for nap/nighttime. He won’t go to sleep without us being in his room or in the hallway just outside his door. How do we help him fall asleep on his own for naps and nighttime?

     

  • Four-Year-Old Competes with Mom for Daddy’s Attention

    My only child, a daughter, is 4 years old. Recently she has been acting like she wants nothing to do with me and is very nasty to me. I work full-time and go to school full-time. She has a wonderful relationship with my husband.  I asked her doctor about this, and she said to make sure that my husband and I are on the same page. I am stricter than my husband, and I enforce more rules. However, my husband has been doing a lot better with this since we talked after the doctor’s appointment.  I called my daughter on…

     

  • When Does Play Fighting Go Too Far?

    I caught my son and his good friend fighting together recently. They were choking each other and calling one another names. Should I tell them not to fight like that anymore?

     

  • Nine-Year-Old Acts Drunk

    My husband and I have custody of our four grandchildren, a 16-year-old girl with special needs, a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, a 9- year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. We have had them in our custody for four years. Lately, our 9-year-old has been pretending to drink beer and acts drunk. He told me last week that he can't wait until he grows up so he can "drink beer and get drunk." His mother lost custody of the kids because of drinking and using drugs. I don't want to overreact, but I also don't want to ignore a potential…

     

  • Gifted Son Fears Failure

    My 12-year-old son is in our school district’s gifted program. He is polite and courteous to others. He has a very strong personality trait that I can’t figure out. He is athletic, but refuses to try new things out of a fear of failure. We went skating, and he became upset and gave up because he fell down one time. I don’t want to push him to be something he is not, but on the other hand, I don’t want him to never try.

     

  • Young Son is a Follower

    I am concerned about my 7-year-old boy. He is a follower. I have witnessed him sucking up to the popular boys in his class. He goes out of his way to impress them. I want to help him stand on his own two feet. He needs to learn that following other people around does not mean they are your friends. How do I help him establish independence?

     

  • 14-Month-Old Will Not Eat

    My 14-month-old baby will not eat food. At meal time, she is not herself. She can’t seem to concentrate on eating. I have sought the advice of a dietician, but it is not working.

     

  • Ex-Husband Unsupportive of Mother’s Visitation Rights

    I am recently divorced and regret my decision to allow my sons, ages 13 and 16, to live with their father. We have joint custody. I thought I was making the correct decision at the time, thinking the boys would benefit from living with their father. I try to be an active part of their lives, but my ex-husband is making this difficult. My sons are angry with me. I try to explain the situation to them, but they don’t want to hear it. My ex-husband does not abide to my visitation rights. He lets our sons decide when they want…

     

  • Handling Inappropriate Anger Outbursts in 6-Year-Old

    My son is 6 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD last year. When he gets angry, he will scream statements like “I hate you,” “I want to be killed” and “I want to be dead.” I have told him that these are not nice things to say. I think he has picked these words up from watching cartoons. How do I handle this situation?

     

  • 7-Year-Old Boy Chokes Younger Brother When Angry

    My oldest son, who is 7, has tried to choke me and his younger brother. What can I do to keep him from acting out in this way? What steps should I take to improve his anger-control problems?

     

  • 16-Year-Old Son Stealing and Staying Out All Night

    I am having serious problems with my 16-year-old son. He is lazy, sleeping all day and staying out with his friends until all hours of the night. He disregards the rules I set for the household. The most worrisome is that he has been caught stealing from family and friends and even a store on several occasions. Most recently, he and his friend (age 18) were accused of stealing cash from a neighborhood girl’s purse. She and her father brought this to my attention that evening. At the same time, my daughter (age 13) discovered that cash was missing from her…

     

  • “Hard-of-Hearing” 7-Year-Old

    My 7-year-old acts like she cannot hear. The only time she does hear is when I yell. Her doctor conducted a hearing test and says her hearing is fine. What else can it be?

     

  • Young Sons Clinging to New Nanny

    I am a single father with two boys, ages 4 and 5, who live with me full-time. My ex-wife and I have a great relationship, however, she lives two hours away and is in the military. Consequently, she is frequently gone and the boys do not see her much. I have recently hired a live-in nanny. This is new to us. Not a week after the nanny started working, I am finding that the boys – especially my younger son – are clingy and attached to her. This is upsetting for me because I don’t want them to think the…

     

  • Curbing Temper in the Face of Child’s Misbehavior

    I have two creative and energetic boys, ages 3 and 6. I know that boys are more rambunctious than girls, but sometimes I lose my temper when I try to settle them down. Occasionally, I will remain calm and successfully quell the situation. I feel badly when I lose my temper. Both my wife and I work, so we feel our evenings should be dedicated to the boys. I would like some tips to help me settle down before I get angry. 

     

  • Self-Harming Daughter

    My stepdaughter began cutting herself and taking large amounts of Benadryl about six to eight months ago. My wife and I were unaware of this until she was a few months into this practice. We rushed her to the hospital, and she started psychiatric treatment.When it became clear that she was continuing to harm herself, we took her to a clinic that handles this type of disorder. She stayed there for eight weeks. During her stay, she was placed on suicide watch three times. My wife was very nervous about bringing her home, but she had to begin the new…

     

  • Older Sister Angry and Violent to Younger Sister

    My 12-year-old daughter has become angry and violent toward her younger sister. She tells her that she hates her, calls her names, hits her and recently said that she wants to kill her. I just made an appointment with her pediatrician because I am terrified. She does get angry with me, but she only acts this severely toward her younger sister. Any suggestions would greatly help at this point.

     

  • Determining potty-training readiness

    I have a 2-year-old who will be 3 at the end of October. He is my third child. I am having a very difficult time potty-training him. He shows no interest in it, and he throws a fit when I put him on the toilet. Though initially difficult, my first child was trained by 3 to 3 ½ years of age. My second child was very easy. I don’t know what specific steps to take with my youngest. I am concerned because he cannot attend preschool or any fun classes until he is fully trained.  He also is still attached…

     

  • Soothing a crying newborn

    I have a baby girl who cries for no apparent reason. Her doctor says she is fine, but I don’t think she is. What should I do?

     

  • Mall safety

    My 13-year-old daughter wants to hang out with her friends at the mall on a summer weekday evening. She has a cell phone and is a good student. But I feel that dropping a child off at a huge mall without parental supervision seems irresponsible and dangerous. Am I off base here?

     

  • Breaking bad parenting patterns

    I was raised in an abusive home, suffering both verbal and physical abuse. As a result, I have tried hard to not hit or yell at my children. But when I try to discipline them without resorting to yelling, they ignore me. So I end up screaming. I think that my frustration results in yelling because I did not have proper parenting growing up.  I need to know how to change my behavior before my children start to hate me like I hate my mother. I love my children very much, but I don’t know how to show them. I…

     

  • Curfew for 18-year-old daughter

    What is the time limitation for an 18-year-old girl living with her parents to return home after a party?

     

  • Older Sibling Picking on Younger One

    I am a divorced father with a 5-year-old child from my first marriage. I am now remarried and have three stepdaughters. My second wife and I have just had a child of our own. I treat all five of my children the same, and I have told them numerous times that I love them all the same.  We are now having problems with my 5-year-old. She is lying and hitting her 3-year-old stepsister. We have tried talking with her, asking her if she is upset and what is wrong. She either does not respond to our questions or says, “I…

     

  • Preparing son for kindergarten

    My 5-year-old son, whose birthday is in November, will be starting kindergarten this fall. He is very excited about it. He attended daycare for a time, and while there he was taught some numbers and letters. He did not attend preschool, and now I am concerned that he will be behind his classmates academically.  He is a bright boy with a working vocabulary of an older child and a keen interest in and knowledge of science. However, he has no interest in his ABCs, and he does not care about reading or writing. While he can name 30 dinosaurs and…

     

  • Son unable, unwilling to complete tasks

    My son does not see the importance of performing a task properly the first time. I have tried demonstrating how a particular task should be carried out, but he does not seem to listen and/or care. When his execution fails to meet my expectations, he responds with “Oh yeah, I forgot,” or “Oh, Mom.”  I follow up by first pointing out the things he has done well or correctly. After I have complimented him, I then indicate what he needs to improve on, and then I once again request that he complete the task. When I check up on his…

     

  • Teenage son’s summer activities

    It is summer vacation. How many nights a week is it reasonable for my 17- year-old son to go out? Is two nights a week appropriate or too strict? He works part-time and completes all of his chores he is asked to do each day.

     

  • Family labeling: What should children call their parents’ boyfriends and girlfriends?

    I have explained to my 3- and 5-year-old children that their father’s girlfriend, her daughter and her extended family are not related to them. My daughter tells me that her father’s girlfriend insists that my daughter call her family members “uncle,” “aunt,” etc. I feel that my daughters should not do this since they are not related. How do I handle this situation?

     

  • Bedroom sharing and sleep problems

    My girls are ages 3 and 4 and they share a bedroom. They have not been settling down at naptime and they are not going to sleep well at night. Consequently, they are not getting enough sleep. What can I do to teach them that bedtime is not playtime?

     

  • How Self-Harm Affects an Entire Family

    How does self-harm affect family members?

     

  • Dealing With Separation Anxiety as a Mom

    My husband and I are leaving in a week to celebrate our anniversary in Jamaica with another couple. I was voted three to one against bringing our children. I have a difficult time leaving our son. It seems as though we both have separation anxiety when we’re apart. When I think of the fact that I'm leaving for a week without him, I feel physically ill. How do I explain this to my son, and how do I actually enjoy myself while on our trip?

     

  • When to Stop Giving Time-Outs

    How old is too old for time-outs?

     

  • Child Skips School; Might Be Using Drugs

    My son has repeatedly skipped school this year. Twice this week we did not know where he was. We grounded him. As I write this, he still hasn’t come home today. We think he is using marijuana. We don't know what to do.

     

  • How to Get My Teenager to Help Out at Home

    How can I get my teenager to listen to me? How can I make him clean his room, pick up after himself and help out around the house?

     

  • Teenage Daughter Struggles in School

    My 13-year-old daughter has a terrible attitude about school. She shows a lack of interest, motivation and desire to be a part of the classroom. Her teachers complain that she plays with her hair more than she pays attention in class. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, so it has been difficult trying to set rules and expectations. I don't think she thinks I am serious. I need some direction on what to do. It is difficult as a working parent to know what to do. Her father agrees, but he doesn’t help because he doesn't want her to hate…

     

  • Sexually Active 12-Year-Old is Out of Control

    My 12-year-old daughter is totally out of control! She is openly defiant, and she is putting herself in very scary situations. I just discovered that she is sexually active. She disappears for hours, sometimes even days at a time. She has even started making up extensive lies. Please help!

     

  • I’m Afraid My Teenage Son May Hurt My Baby

    My 15-year-old son acts inappropriately. He says he will do what we want him to do, but then he does what he wants all the time. He lies, telling us he has done what we’ve asked when we can clearly see that he hasn’t. Many of his actions are endangering the well-being of his infant sibling. How can I help him change his behavior?

     

  • Dealing with a Disrespectful Teenager

    I am having a very hard time with my 13-year-old son. Ever since I had his 6-year-old sister, he has changed. I have always given him everything he has ever wanted. I never follow through with his punishments. We battle every morning over getting ready for school. His father has been married five times, and he is not a full-time parent. When I ask him to help, he just says “beat his butt.” I don’t want my son to feel that I love his sister more than him, but she is the total opposite. I never have to punish her,…

     

  • Helping My Depressed Daughter Fit In

    My daughter has been having a difficult time fitting in this year. She says that she initiates conversations, and she is either ignored, told to shut up or just looked at like she’s from another planet. I don’t know what I can do to help her. I have spoken with the school counselor, but nothing has changed. Each passing day it gets worse, and my daughter is becoming severely depressed. She doesn’t want to go to school in the mornings, and she locks herself in her room at night and on the weekends. She is a kind-hearted little girl who…

     

  • Handling a Violent 4-Year-Old

    My divorced friend's 4-year-old son regularly punches her in the face when he does not get what he wants. He doesn’t seem angry, but he punches hard enough for it to hurt. After punching, he is given a time-out to think about it, and he destroys the room. After an hour, he returns to the sweet little boy that he is most of the time. How can we correct this behavior?

     

  • Parent of Violent Toddler Needs Help

    My three year-old son has been violent since he was two weeks old. He is wild, hits others, uses bad words and does not listen. I am confused about how to help him. When he acts out, I get angry and hit him. Please help me.

     

  • Nine Year-Old Shows Homicidal Tendencies

    My nine year-old stepson has been saying he wants to know what it is like to kill someone. He recently shot a bee-bee gun at a dog. Also awhile back his cousin and stepsister were playing and tied him up. He went inside, got a pair of scissors and said he was going to stab them. I believe the boy is a mental case but my husband said it is only for attention and would never harm anyone. He has become defiant. What do I do?

     

  • Dealing with a Shy Three Year-Old

    I'm a single mom with a very smart and extremely shy three year-old daughter. She is very well-behaved but constantly plays alone at daycare and the park. She is a chatterbox when it’s just the two of us, but when other adults or children come around she instantly clams up. What can I do to get her more comfortable with other people?

     

  • Stepson Steals and Starts Fires

    My 12 year-old stepson has always stolen and destroyed things. He’s started fires and flunked three grades in school. Recently he popped the stones out of one of my rings and threw the ring away. He said he found it outside in the grass. I told him he needed to tell the truth and he said he took it from my jewelry box. I asked him why and he gave me the same answer he does for everything: "I don't know." His dad and I have tried everything including taking him to doctors but he can’t take medicine because of…

     

  • Out of Control, Bipolar Pre-Teen

    My 12 year-old son has bipolar disorder, is defiant, doesn’t follow rules or directions, gets angry easily and overall has numerous behavioral issues. I have tried rewards and consequences for good and bad behavior. He sees a psychiatrist and counselor regularly but he only seems to bet getting more out of control every day. How can I help him?

     

  • Seven Year-Old Socialite

    My seven year-old son does very well with homework because we sit with him and do it together, but when he is at school his teacher says he’s too social and doesn’t finish his work. How can I help him excel at school?

     

  • Five Year-Old is Afraid to Sleep

    My five year-old daughter is calm, generous, fun, caring and sensitive. We’ve always had a good bedtime routine and she has always slept in her own bed without any problems. After reading, I bring her to bed and spend 10-15 minutes with her, but over the last few months she is increasingly unhappy sleeping by herself and only wants to sleep in her younger sister’s bedroom. She says she’s afraid of tigers and fire. I think she’s very content and happy and secure in general but wonder if she has some underlying insecurities. Once she's asleep she sleeps all night…

     

  • Two Year-Old Has Trouble Sleeping at Friend’s House

    My two year-old daughter is normally very compliant and even-tempered but when it comes to bed time at my cousin’s house, my daughter freaks out. After an hour of screaming I start to get upset with her. I don’t want to act out of anger but I also don’t know how to help her sleep at my cousin’s house without a fight.

     

  • My Daughter’s Throwing Away her Future for a New Boyfriend

    Our daughter was forced to leave college due to alcohol-related problems. She has been attending a temporary college while completing her requirements. She has worked so hard and was so excited about returning. She has a new boyfriend and wants to stay at this mediocre college and then transfer somewhere. I believe she should have to follow through with her original plan, but my husband doesn’t agree. I feel let down and not supported.

     

  • Old Friends Split Apart by Stealing

    My daughter’s friend of 10 years appears to have stolen an old cell phone of ours. After weeks of trying to get it back, my daughter’s friend finally returned it. I tried to teach both girls a lesson about responsibility by not allowing the friend to come to my daughter’s birthday party. I confronted the mother about this and asked if we could sit down with the girls and talk about it. I was told yes but it never happened. It's been three months since it happened and my daughter hasn’t seen her friend. My daughter is still very upset,…

     

  • Help Me Teach My Four Year-Old to Stop Hitting

    My four year-old son hits others. When I tell him to stop he yells at me saying that he doesn’t have to do what I tell him to do. Sometimes, he will run away from me into his uncle’s room. How can I help him change his behavior?

     

  • Teenager Steals Dad’s Prescription Drugs

    My husband and I recently discovered that our 15 year-old daughter has smoked pot a few times and appears to be exploring drugs. She was sent home from school yesterday for taking one of her Dad’s Zanex pills. My husband wants to take away every privilege, which I feel is too harsh. I’ve scheduled an appointment with a Christian counselor but am worried. How can we help her?

     

  • Teenage Daughter Struggles to Fit in During First Year of High School

    My 15-year-old daughter is having problems adjusting to her first year of high school. It’s a fight just to get her to go to school; she does not have many friends there. She thinks she is ugly, and I want to know what I can do to help her improve her self-esteem and make friends.

     

  • Teenage Granddaughter Running with the Wrong Crowd

    I am a grandparent with much concern for my granddaughter. Her mother tries hard, but my granddaughter has been hanging around with the wrong crowd. She was caught smoking pot, got suspended and again today she has apparently been kicked out of the school she attends. We just don't know where to go for help or what to do.

     

  • Out-of-Control 4-Year-Old

    My four year-old has slapped his teacher, kicked her, doesn't listen when she instructs him to pick up his toys, and has even called her stupid. He is a sweet little boy half of the time, but the other half of the time you never know what you are going to get. I have tried tactics for positive and negative behavior. I feel completely lost with him. What can I do to change his behavior?

     

  • Frustrated Parent Seeks Help Communicating with Kids

    How do I communicate better with my children without being a frustrated parent?

     

  • 8-Year-Old Acts Inappropriately Toward His Sister

    I'm not sure how to handle my 8-year-old son’s recent behavior. He’s been acting inappropriately towards his 5-year-old sister by daring other children to kiss her, which upsets her greatly. When I confront him about it, he lies. We’re a new military family at our first duty station, and my husband just left. My son starts to cry and throw a temper tantrum when the other kids "don’t want to play with him" because he’s being too bossy. I am a young mother of three and very concerned about this.

     

  • My 2-Year-Old Isn’t Talking Yet

    Is it normal for my 2-year-old daughter to not be talking yet? I see other 2-year-olds talking, and it concerns me she doesn’t.

     

  • Sensitive Son Needs Help Dealing with Bullies

    We have a sensitive 7-year-old boy who has been claiming to be sick, but we are 99 percent sure that is not the case. He just "got sick" before church and when we questioned him he said he "didn't want to be bullied at Sunday school." This is unlikely, but there has been an anti-bullying campaign at school and being overly sensitive, he may have internalized it. He has accused his friends of bullying him when they roughhouse on the playground. We asked his teacher about it, and she said she has not seen any bullying behavior. I am not…

     

  • Single Mom Dealing With a Demanding Daughter

    I am a single mom with a 5-year-old daughter who is not happy unless my full attention is always focused on her. I have tried explaining to her that mommy is not always able to play with her. I've also tried to play for a little while then leave her to play on her own. Usually when I do this, she immediately stops and insists I join her again. Can you suggest some parenting tips that would enable her to be more comfortable playing on her own, which will give me the ability to focus some attention on the other…

     

  • Soon-to-be 18-Year-Old Son Wants to Date a Younger Girl

    My 17-year-old son wants to date a 15-year-old girl.  He will be 18 in a few months. We’ve argued about it, and he even left home for three weeks. We are no longer on speaking terms, and I refuse to take him to meet her. I have tried unsuccessfully contacting her parents. I’m in poor health and may have to move to be nearer a hospital and family. My son says he'll stay and be with the girl. Am I wrong in thinking he’s too old for her?

     

  • Dealing with a 10-Year-Old Who Swears

    My 10-year-old daughter is very jealous of any positive attention I give her older sister. The other day we were joking, and she swore at me. I’m very involved in my church and make sure no one says bad words in my house. Despite this I’m so disappointed that my daughter used this very bad word. Please help me and offer some advice.

     

  • 10-Year-Old Trouble at School

    My 10-year-old son refuses to follow any rules whether they’re given by me or someone else. He is constantly in trouble at school. As of right now, he’s been put on a modified school schedule due to his behavior. He has an “I don't care” attitude,” and I don’t know how to handle him anymore.

     

  • Aggressive 1-Year-Old

    My 1-year-old boy is getting very aggressive. He hits, bites, head-butts, throws things and pulls hair. He also throws food to the dog when eating. He yells a lot when he talks. He gets in to everything even after you tell him not to touch something. I try diverting him with a toy, but he’s right back messing with what he shouldn’t be. He also throws himself on the floor when he can’t do what he wants. I’ve tried timeouts, distracting, showing how it should be and ignoring him in certain situations. I really need some advice.

     

  • When Are My Kids Old Enough to Stay Home Alone?

    At what age should I allow my kids to walk home from school and be home alone for a couple hours?

     

  • Day Care versus Home Care; What’s Better?

    Is it better for grade school children to stay in an aftercare program from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. or go to a stable home with adult supervision?

     

  • My Toddler is Touching Herself Inappropriately at Bath Time

    My 3-year-old daughter is touching herself and while I think this is normal to an extent, tonight I had to tell her to stop touching while she was in the bathtub. And it looked like she was actually penetrating herself with her finger. I don’t think that part is normal. I don’t know if she’s seen something she shouldn’t have or what is going on.

     

  • Teenage Son is Skipping School, Smoking

    My 15-year-old son is in ninth grade and really struggling. He skips school, doesn’t do his homework, brings his friends over to smoke cigarettes and drink while we’re gone and has become very lazy. I’ve taken away everything I can think of, but it's not helping. His friends have stolen from us, and our son doesn’t seem to care.

     

  • My Toddler Won’t Eat

    I have two 3-year-old boys who won’t eat anything. One is very thin and his stool is pale. I have been told not to force them to eat and that they will eat when they are hungry, but I am concerned.

     

  • How to Change Bad Behavior When Everything You’ve Tried Fails

    I am having a very hard time with my 6-year-old son. He is very defiant, throws huge tantrums and can get very physical over simple things. One of my biggest struggles is trying to get him to go to school. It is such a battle, and it exhausts me. He yells, screams, cries, refuses to get dressed, refuses to leave the house and has refused to get out of the car. He is doing very well in his class and gets along with everyone. I have tried grounding, spanking, timeouts, taking things away, threats, you name it. I have given…

     

  • How to Discipline a Daughter for Bullying

    My daughter who is 12 received detention for the second time for being involved in group bullying. She had also had a contract with the school not to do this anymore. I spoke with her last night, and she admits to participating in verbal bullying that offended her friend. Her birthday is coming up, and I was going to let her have a couple of friends stay over. But I don't know if I’m going to allow that now. Would this be the right punishment, or am I being too harsh?

     

  • Dealing with ADHD and ODD

    My 12-year-old stepson, who lives with his father and me and has no contact with his biological mother, was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD a few months ago. At home, we mostly experience back talk and argumentative behaviors. School is a nightmare. Teachers call us or email daily that he argues and is angry with the other children, isn't organized and blames others for his actions. Even with all this he has mostly A's. Their biggest concern is his lack of social skills. I want to help him have some positive social interactions and have put him in sports. He…

     

  • How Can I Train my Toddler Not to Throw Tantrums at Bedtime?

    My 2-year-old daughter makes bedtime very difficult. She is stubborn, throws fits and will not calm down, no matter what we try. We have introduced a good-behavior calendar. If she goes to sleep without acting up, she gets a new book to read with us at bedtime. We try to make this as much fun as possible by reading books and telling stories. It never fails that once the fun time is over, she doesn’t want to go to sleep and gets upset. Our 4-year-old son never had a problem at bedtime; I just don’t know what to do.

     

  • How to deal With Teenage Shoplifting

    When my 16-year-old was caught shoplifting, he didn't even try to conceal what he was doing. He will be punished in court with a fine and community service. However, I have also grounded him from electronics, except for using the computer for school. He is trying to make me out to be the bad guy, so I made an appointment for him to see a psychologist. How long should I enforce the grounding? Am I dealing with this situation the right way?

     

  • How to Handle Toddler Tantrums

    My 3-year-old son has suddenly started throwing fits and having a bad attitude. I am 20 weeks pregnant and not sure if maybe this has something to do with it. I know that this is normal to an extent for a toddler, but he is generally a pretty good kid. Also, his daddy has been working long hours for a few months now and only gets to see him for maybe 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. I have tried spanking and timeouts, but spanking only makes him even madder, and it breaks my heart to have to do…

     

  • Adopted Daughter Wants Answers About Her Birth Family

    My 12-year-old daughter was placed in foster care when she was 4. Her siblings were adopted out to different families four years later based on court recommendations. She is starting to ask questions about why she was taken away from her biological parents. It was for multiple reasons, and we don't know all the details ourselves. We know there was abuse between the parents, drugs in the house, unsafe friends, potentially abuse to her older brother, malnourishment, living from apartment to car and to apartment again. We give her generic answers, but how much do we tell her if we…

     

  • How to Help Your Child When Her School Won’t

    My daughter is an 18-year-old senior who is small and quiet. This year she has experienced more than one instance of physical abuse from a girl at school. The school has not done anything, despite one incident being caught on security tape. What can I do to help my daughter?

     

  • What is an Appropriate Punishment for Cursing?

    My 11-year-old son started cursing about a week ago. When we confronted him, he admitted to it and said it started out of anger. He is a straight-A student and involved in many activities, but I worry that his cursing could be the start of his heading down a bad path. He has came to us on two other occasions in the last couple of years where he slipped while playing video games and said a curse word. He was grounded from the video games for a week as a punishment. He gets angry easily at home and with neighborhood…

     

  • Teenager Lacks Interest in School

    I have a 17-year-old son that we have probably spoiled. In his younger school years, he easily got good grades. Now, he doesn't think school is important and is letting his grades slip. I gave him some rules. To continue to drive our car to school, he must maintain a B average and receive no grades lower than a “C.” He received an “F,” so I took back our car and took away his cell phone. He is extremely angry with us and always in a bad mood. How can we help him see school is important and that he…

     

  • How Can I Help my Son Stand Up for Himself at School?

    My son is 11 years old and is having problems in school. He says all his classmates hate him. He comes home every day complaining that the kids make fun of him and call him names. What can I tell him to comfort him?

     

  • Dyslexic Son Acts Out at New School

    My 10-year-old son recently started attending a new school and is having problems. His teachers say he is being disrespectful, and he tells me that his teachers are being mean to him. He is dyslexic, and while the school is helping him academically, I can’t afford to send him anywhere else. How can I help him excel where he is?

     

  • Only Child Needs Help Relating to Peers

    Our 4-year-old son is an only child who behaves well at home and perfectly when out in public but constantly acts up at school. While he is impulsive, he is also smart and is academically far above his peers. He pokes his friends or grabs their toys instead of using his words, which he has plenty of. He also dumbs himself down at school telling the teacher he doesn't know something, when he knows it very well. He would prefer to deal with adults than children, which is great, but not while he’s in school. We need help. Please.

     

  • Considering Military School for Unruly Daughters

    I am having issues with my six- and eight-year-old daughters. We have tried every punishment in the book and always stick with it, but they just don't care. We don’t take them out in public because we are embarrassed by their behavior. We don’t give them everything because we cannot afford to. We try to reward good behavior, but that only lasts for a few hours. I am thinking about military school.

     

  • Frustrated Pre-teen Lashes Out at His Sisters

    My 11-year-old son shows little emotion except frustration and anger toward his three younger sisters. He has been this way for a very long time. He also shows little compassion for others. We try to instill positive values but he just doesn't seem to have nice feelings for others. How do we get him to show compassion? We are afraid he’ll grow up to be an angry, selfish adult. It's breaking our hearts and although he's has seen a counselor and we've read many books, we are still seeking help.

     

  • How to Talk About Death With a Child

    My seven-year-old child has a best friend in the final stages of a long battle with cancer. How do we tell her and her 10 year-old brother that the friend is dying and won't be with us much longer? They know he is sick but are unaware how little time remains. Any advice would greatly be welcomed.

     

  • What to do When a Baby Doesn’t Want to Eat

    I have a 19-month-old son who is not interested in eating and doesn’t say simple words like “mama.” His doctor wants him to gain more weight, but he is growing in height not weight. My husband and I were both skinny as babies, so I think it could be genetic. Should I be worried?

     

  • How Do I Help My Fourth-Grader Cope With Teasing About His ADHD?

    My son suffers from ADHD and mild depression. He has trouble with social skills at school and has very few friends. One boy in particular is always bothering him and when my son retaliates, he usually gets into trouble. He is very close to getting suspended. Can you suggest any words or actions that my son can take so that he does not end up getting in a fight and getting suspended?

     

  • Sixteen-Year-Old Loves Books, Hates People

    My daughter is 16 and doesn't have any friends. She spends all of her time in her room, reading. She doesn't want a phone and almost never uses the computer. She doesn't spend time with her siblings and has never invited anyone over to the house. She's very smart -- uses words I can't even pronounce. She tells me that the people she does know are “veneers of humanity housing a certain quantity of volatility,”' but I don’t know what that means. I don't want her to go through life with NERD tattooed on her forehead, but I think she…

     

  • When is it Time for a Child to Sleep in His Own Bed?

    My girlfriend has been adamant that her five-year-old son have his own room in my house. The room is now up, but he never sleeps in it. Yet I don't believe he has spent one entire night in there since the room's inception. Though I have made the point very clear that he is old enough to sleep in his own room, she insists that he sleep in the bed with her until "he's ready to sleep by himself." My girlfriend won’t sleep without the TV on and constantly argues with her son about watching it instead of sleeping. How…

     

  • Teenage Daughter Fears She’s a Compulsive Liar

    My 13-year-old daughter fears that she is a compulsive liar. She has told her mother and me that she lies to her friends at school about things such as where she was born. She wants to see a counselor about the problem, and her mother and I have agreed to take her, but should we be concerned? We have caught her in a few lies around the house on rare occasions, never about anything of a serious nature. What should I do to help her with this?

     

  • My-Six-Year Old Talks Too Much at School

    My son’s kindergarten class uses a smiley face (good), straight face (somewhat misbehaved) and sad face (misbehaved greatly) system for marking behavior. While he started off the year well, for the past three and half weeks, he has brought home only straight and sad faces. His misbehavior is expressed as excessive talking at inappropriate times, running or something tied to his energy level. We have tried lowering the sugar in his diet, taking away his favorite things, issuing timeouts, explaining why it’s important to pay attention at school and creating a reward system if he brings home smiley faces. How…

     

  • Teenage Daughter Struggles to Find Friends in High School

    My 15-year-old daughter is struggling to make friends in her first year of high school. She does not want to go to school and only has one friend there. Her grades are not suffering, but it hurts my heart to see her crying because she just spent the past eight hours alone. She also thinks she is ugly. What can I do to help her self-esteem and to make friends at school?  

     

  • Is Our Son Borrowing or Stealing?

    Our six-year-old brings items home from school that are not his. He says that his friends give him these items or that they let him borrow them for a few days. We encourage him to return everything the next school day, but he often forgets. When I question my son, he sticks to his story but knows I'm not quite sure I believe him. How do we find out if he is telling the truth? How do I know if he’s borrowing or stealing?

     

  • My Toddler Will Only Sleep in My Bed

    My four-year-old sleeps with us every night. He starts out in his bed but comes into our room in the middle of the night. This has been going on for several years. We have tried rewards if he sleeps in his bed all night, but that doesn't seem to work. We have tried putting him back in his bed but later in the night, he will return to our room. What do you suggest?

     

  • Raising a Busy, Stubborn Boy

    My five-year-old son has always been very busy, like he had a rocket-booster in his back. He is also very stubborn and seems to want to do the opposite of what we want, no matter what it is. He recently started not wanting to go to preschool or cooperate in any way. He says he wants to stay home with me, but when he is home, he’s a terror. My husband and I provide a loving home, healthy meals, 11 hours of sleep or more a night, timeouts, reading and religious upbringing, but we just can't figure out how to…

     

  • My 15-Year-Old Has No Motivation

    I am worried about my son who has no motivation toward life or completing simple daily tasks. Drug and alcohol dependency, as well as mental illness, run in our family, and I am concerned that he will fall into the same problems. He is a good kid with a beautiful passion for music, but he has no interest in setting goals or fulfilling even basic responsibilities like household chores. I have tried to get him to go to counseling, but he refuses. He's the type that keeps things bottled up inside. We are a very close family, yet I feel…

     

  • Choosing the Right Consequences for Disobedience

    I am concerned about using food as either a reward or negative consequence when my children fail to follow instructions. Since obesity is an epidemic in America, how does it promote health and fitness to use food as a consequence? I will let my child choose a healthy dinner or help me cook, but what else can I do that doesn’t involve treats? Also, I expect my children to pick up after themselves, but I don’t think I should have to tell them to do that every day. I want it to become routine for them so that when they…

     

  • Terrible Tantrums in Public

    My children throw horrible tantrums at bedtime and when I take them out for a meal. One of my children is four years-old and the other is two. My two year-old cries so hard at bedtime that she sometimes makes herself throw up. She will scream for hours until I put her into my bed. I am tired of not sleeping and not being able to take my children out. Please help.

     

  • Six-Year-Old is Afraid to Sleep

    Our six-year-old daughter has always been cautious and easily frightened. This behavior has recently turned worse. She throws a tantrum if she has to be alone in any situation, including being in her room with the door closed. She hasn’t slept in her own bed for almost a month. We have tried showing her love, asking her questions, issuing punishment and giving her incentives. Nothing seems to work.

     

  • Is Running Away Normal?

    We awoke at 5:00 a.m. to find that our nine-year-old son had run away in an attempt to avoid a dance class because one part of the dance disturbed him. He has never done anything like this and was obviously genuinely sorry when he saw how upset we were. He's a very intelligent, independent kid but has never been allowed to leave the house without telling someone. He's been grounded for the past two weeks for lying to us, but he insists this has nothing to do with that. Is this kind of irrational response to an apparently minor situation…

     

  • Help my Bashful Boy

    My five-year-old son suddenly becomes clingy, bashful and unwilling to participate whenever I introduce him to situations where there are groups of children present. When his mother takes him to class, he does not behave this way. The other night at a karate class he buried his face in my shirt for 15 minutes and refused to participate. He couldn’t tell me why he didn’t want to go to class and when I pressed him about it, he started crying. I am extremely accepting and noncritical and regularly affirm his self-worth. Is this normal?

     

  • Teenage Son Finds Bad Friends

    My teenage son has had drug issues in the past but is now doing well. However, I am concerned about a new friendship he’s formed with an 18-year-old who is on probation from school right now for using drugs. They work together and carpool to school. He now smells like cigarette smoke but denies smoking. Should we confront him and take all of his privileges away?

     

  • Wandering Five-Year Old

    Our five-year-old grandson wandered off at a school sporting event. His grandfather found him in the boy's locker room rummaging through the belongings of others. He's always been mischievous, but this is alarming. I'm concerned this could lead to a serious problem.

     

  • Out-of-Control ODD Behavior

    My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. While his ADHD symptoms seem under control, his ODD symptoms are getting worse. His father and I have been divorced for two years, and we have joint custody. I don't believe that my son gets the structure and discipline he needs at his dad's house, but I try to make sure things are consistent and controlled in mine. Lately I have been having huge issues with back talk and disrespect. It is a daily struggle at this point, and I no longer know what to do. Nothing seems to work.

     

  • Insect Issues

    My 12-year-old stepson and I are having trouble coming to terms over his interest in insects. His father’s work keeps him away for weeks at a time, and his biological mother is not involved in his life. I spend more time with him than anyone else. I despise most insects. He brings black widows, ants, termites and other bugs into the home all the time. I have grandchildren who visit frequently and don’t want someone to get bit. There are other behavioral issues going on with my stepson (problems in school, not listening, not following instructions, hitting other kids, anger…

     

  • Teenage Son Cuts Himself, Hates Dad

    My 14-year-old son has many anger issues, has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, yells constantly, cuts himself and burns things in his room. He sees a psychiatrist monthly but still has deep anger issues with his father, whom I divorced years ago. I want to help my son. Where do I go for help?

     

  • Help me Stop Yelling at my Children

    I need help to stop yelling at my beautiful, precious, small children. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that today, I won't yell at them. But I have a busy life, little help from friends and family and my patience burns out quickly. I've tried counting, leaving the room, praying, reading books about parenting, and being open with family and friends about my struggles. But really, they just nod in agreement and don't have any help to offer. How can I stop?

     

  • Help for a Child Who Steals

    My 7-year-old is stealing money from relatives, stores and school. We cannot get her to stop. How can I get her behavior under control?

     

  • Drug-Using, Abusive Teenage Son

    My 16-year-old son is out of control. He started having behavior issues in elementary school and has been kicked out of school repeatedly. He’s using drugs and believes that I owe him everything, despite the TV, computer, clothes and everything else I have already given him. He constantly calls me derogatory names and threatens to hurt anyone that stands in his way or says no to him. The struggle to live with him has gotten overwhelming, and I'm falling apart. How do I find the son I had? 

     

  • Dealing with Divorce

    I am a recently-divorced single mother. My children are having problems adjusting to our new living situation and to the fact that my ex-husband and I live in different houses now. For example, since the divorce, my 8-year-old has started lying constantly. What can I do to help them?

     

  • Extreme Behavior, Harming Others

    My 7-year-old son has had behavioral issues since he was about one-year-old. When he was a toddler, he was kicked out of seven daycares for biting, hitting and throwing things at others. My husband and I have two other small children under two years, and my son is generally very good with his siblings, but I am worried about having him around them after the events that took place a few days ago. He has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and is on three different medications. He goes to an alternative school because he was suspended more than…

     

  • Disrespectful and Throwing Tantrums at Eight-Years-Old

    Our 8-year old son is a good student and receives rave reviews at school, but at home he's extremely disrespectful and refuses to listen and follow directions. He has always been challenging, but lately he's become very disrespectful and throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way. During these tantrums, he will sometimes hit his sister, me, or the family cat. He also throws toys, slams doors and tears apart his bedroom. His father and I have been trying everything from taking away toys to spankings and timeouts. Last night we removed all the toys from his room, but he…

     

  • Inappropriate Texting

    I found some extremely disturbing sexual photos and text messages on my 11-year-old daughter’s phone recently. They were from a 14-year-old boy who was asking her to have phone sex with him. She told me that she said no to the boy and that she was uncomfortable with his request. However, when I told her I did not want her to have any further communication with this boy, she became very upset and insisted that she trusts him. She and I have always been very close and have an open line of communication, but it just baffles me that she…

     

  • Adoptive Parents Changing Defiant Behavior

    We are adoptive parents who have been trying to correct numerous behavior problems in our two children for more than eight years. We have tried the POST program and others, but our children remain stubborn. They have come a long way from where they started, but they tell us that they enjoy causing us trouble while they put on show of good behavior for everyone else. Could you provide us with a successful care plan for changing defiance and building healthy relationships? We have a strong Christian faith, but this situation has stressed our family.

     

  • Playing With Toy Swords and Guns

    My 6-year-old son likes to play with fake swords and guns but recently has begun using them in inappropriate ways. His behavior seems to have changed since he made a new friend about a week ago. He has stopped listening to his leaders in his after-school program, strays from the group and has even started poking girls with sticks and pinching them. I have taken away the swords for a day and explained that he must change his behavior in order to get them back. He is on the brink of getting kicked out of the after-school program because of…

     

  • Three-Year-Old Acting Out

    I have a 3-year-old and a 2-year old who are exact opposites. My 3-year-old screams all the time, never listens and only sleeps about six hours a night. It’s hard for me to get her to eat and all she seems to want to do is watch TV. My 2-year-old, on the other hand, does whatever she’s told and listens very well. You would never think they had the same parents. How do I get my 3-year-old to calm down and stop misbehaving? I have already tried everything my doctor suggested.

     

  • Drugs and Gang Membership

    I am a single parent who desperately needs help for my son. Since he entered high school a year ago I have seen a decline in his academic performance. He stays out late and sometimes doesn't come home at all. He is smoking marijuana and is affiliated with a gang. He has stolen money from me and damaged property in our home. I have tried everything I know to try to help. I have a strong faith in God and I am praying for him but he needs intervention.

     

  • Acting Out Towards Stepfather

    Though my son can be kind, helpful and cooperative at times, I’m concerned about his relationship with his stepfather, my husband. My son is 12-years old and can yell and sound angry at times. Specifically, he can be extremely stubborn and defiant, especially with his stepfather and I am afraid that their relationship is destructive. Sometimes, after my son acts out, my husband will swear at him or give him the cold shoulder for days, and sometimes he even makes snide remarks to my son when he isn’t acting out. I know my husband genuinely cares about my son because…

     

  • Angry all the Time

    My son is 14 years old. He is angry all the time, and he won’t engage in school. He feels that all of his teachers think he is stupid. He is in a special program at school because he has a hard time comprehending. I am constantly getting e-mails from his teachers letting me know that he is falling way behind in his studies. I am at my wits’ end. I tried talking to him about it, but all he does it start yelling, changing around the words I say to him. I do not know what else to do.

     

  • Obsessed with Her Boyfriend

    I have an 18-year-old daughter who is obsessed with her boyfriend. They have been dating for three years, and he is two-and-a-half years older than her. My daughter is smart, beautiful and responsible, but when it comes to this boy, she has no sense. He is a high school dropout with no job and sleeps on his grandmother’s couch. My daughter received a scholarship to a state school with free tuition, and she started in September. Last week, she came home and said that she dropped out because it was too much pressure and she just wants to work full…

     

  • Afraid of Teenage Pregnancy

    I am a single mother, and I have a problem with 13-year-old son. He always wants to be with his girlfriend. I am afraid that he will have sex and get this girl pregnant at age 13. Please advise me about this.

     

  • Kicked Out of School and Defiant Behavior

    I am a single mother of a 14-year-old boy. His father died five years ago, and it was a difficult time before his death, but it’s been even more difficult since. I have been dealing with behavioral issues with my son in school since he started pre-K, and it seems to have only become worse with time. He has been kicked out of regular school and has attended an alternative school for the past two years. He has been tested, and the school diagnosed him with a mild academic handicap. We have done everything possible to set up a plan…

     

  • Not Following Rules and Failing School

    My 16-year-old son left home a few weeks ago and was staying with another family because he didn’t want to follow our rules and was failing school. He didn’t want the follow the other family’s rules, either, and has left their house. He is going from friend to friend and has missed school lately due to being sick. I would really like to get him some help, but I don’t know where to start. He lost his sister to a brain tumor, and his dad and I divorced a few years ago. I am now engaged to be remarried, and…

     

  • Curiousity About Heaven

    My 8-year-old son and I have a great relationship. Although we’ve been through a lot, he is happy, obedient, confident and funny. He’s a great kid. We are spiritual and pray a lot, go to church and talk about God. Lately, he’s asked me a lot about free will and Heaven. He asked if people have a choice to go to heaven “early.” When prompted, he says he would like to go to Heaven to see Jesus early because then he couldn’t hurt anymore.I was quite taken back by this, and we had a long conversation. He said “hurt” because…

     

  • Self Abuse and Abuse Towards Others

    My 10-year-old son has been showing some very disturbing behaviors. In 2004, his dad and I split and were divorced four years later. Both of us have started new relationships. My son has had behavior problems since we’ve entered these new relationships. At school, his grades are failing, and he started stealing from school, friends and both his father and me. My fiancé and I have done most of the disciplining. His father lets him get away with anything. He tells me all his dad does is play on the computer all day. I know my son is angry, and…

     

  • Diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar Disorder

    I was told to contact your organization in hopes of helping 8-year-old my son. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. My husband lost his job and we can’t afford my son’s medication any longer. We have tried keeping his conditions under control through diet. In the fifth week of school, he is now up to his fourth citation. He is on the verge of being kicked out of school. He is in the third grade. I wanted to get him into some kind of counseling, but again, we have no money — we are losing our house…

     

  • Devastating Experiences Create Poor Behavior

    My 12-year-old grandson has been with my husband and me since he was 9 months old. He has had some devastating experiences over the last two years. He is also ADHD and is being treated with medication. My husband and I are his main caregivers, and I have been diagnosed with cancer, which has had a dreadful effect on my grandson. In addition, he is going through puberty and has become defiant and angry, and he uses language that is deplorable for a child. His mother recently told him that she has AIDS. This was not done gently. My husband…

     

  • A 15-Year-Old Out of Control

    I need help with my 15-year-old son. I am a single mother with limited income, and I’m out of options. He is a former honor student getting F’s in his four major core classes due to missing homework. He failed two classes last year for the same reason. He took summer school and was kicked out on the last day, losing the credits. He’s now in night school, but he won’t do the work. He is argumentative, disrespectful and disobedient. He fights with his younger sister, hits, kicks and starts fights. There is never a peaceful day or night in…

     

  • Throwing Tantrums

    We are having a hard time with my boyfriend’s 3-year-old son throwing tantrums at bedtime or any other time he is asked to do something he does not want to do. How can I positively enforce that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated? Also, he stays up late most nights and wants his dad to sleep with him, either when he falls asleep or if he wakes up during the night. Is there a normal age when this should stop happening? Is there a good way to wean him from this behavior and get him into bed earlier?

     

  • Trouble Setting Boundaries

    I’m having trouble setting boundaries with my 14-year-old daughter. I’m frustrated and stressed out. I know if she doesn’t get on the right track she could end up becoming self-destructive. How do you discipline a child without all of the stress and drama? How do I let her know I’m putting my foot down and not playing games? She lies to me couldn’t care less about school, and she’s boy crazy. Please help.

     

  • Trouble Staying on Task and Listening

    My 5-year-old son is in kindergarten and having trouble with staying on task and listening to his teachers. He is also disrespectful and distracting the other children. He cannot sit still and is constantly moving. We discussed things we can do to help and none seem to be working. I discussed ADHD with his doctor, and he wants me to pursue different classes or counseling. Do you have any suggestions about what we can do as a family? I’m up for anything.

     

  • Threatens to Run Away

    My 17-year-old son threatens to run away, is verbally abusive, destroys property and is manipulative. I have two younger children at home, and I have difficulty focusing on them. My son rages until everyone gives in to his demands. I don’t know what to do for him, short of throwing him out of my house

     

  • Failing in School

    I am having severe problems with my 13-year-old son. He is failing in school, and no matter what we do to help him, he falls right back down. He has been in fights already this year, and the sheriff has been involved. His next screw-up will land him in juvenile detention. We have tried counseling, medication, punishment, etc. Nothing is working with him. He is putting such a strain on our family that no one wants to be around him. I get calls from the school every day about something he has done or about his bad behavior. He is…

     

  • Parenting During Shared Custody

    I’m a parent educator who has completed the Boys Town CSP Training. What do I tell a mother who has trouble parenting her two young teenage girls because she has shared custody of them and only sees them on weekends? Thank you.

     

  • Daughter Not Ready to Date

    I recently discovered my 14-year-old freshman daughter is involved in a relationship with an 18-year-old who is out of high school. My daughter has known this young man for years through friends. It only came to my attention during the last couple of months she is more than friends with him. My daughter phoned this young man a couple of months ago. I explained to her at the time that further contact was unacceptable. I heard from others that the situation may still be ongoing. I confronted her directly and asked whether this was true. She told me it wasn’t.…

     

  • Difficult to Discipline

    I’m not sure if I am on the right path; I’m not even sure where to begin. I am having trouble with my 10-year-old son. He is becoming more difficult to discipline. I have tried grounding him and talking to him. Nothing his father or I say to him fazes him. All their lives, both of my children have had everything they have ever wanted, and I am trying to make them understand that there is value to having things. However, my son does not appreciate anything and thinks that he can do and get whatever he wants at any…

     

  • Fighting Siblings

    I am beginning to think that my children are never going to get along. Although most people say that a three-year age gap between children is perfect, I am starting to strongly disagree. They fight over everything, all day long. They are not nice to each other and are constantly hitting or biting. Sometimes my 6-year-old gets so mad that she screams in his face. I have tried time-outs and taking away special toys. I have even tried a behavior chart; however, nothing is working for me. It has come down to avoiding parties or social events because it is…

     

  • Teens, Tight Clothes and Texting

    My husband and I are in desperate need of help for his 13-year-old daughter. We have been in a custody battle with his ex-wife for the past two years, and communication with her is very difficult. Recently, since she left her current husband, communication with her started to improve but the honesty is still not there. She encourages and allows my stepdaughter to have a boyfriend, go to his house, make out, go out on dates, etc. My stepdaughter wears tight clothes, sends inappropriate pictures on her cell phone, sends dishonest text messages to friends/family about others, and wears dark…

     

  • Problems with Listening

    My son turns 5 in September. I am having serious problems with him listening. He does not listen to anything I say until I become very strict with him — for example, threaten him with something like, “If you don’t come for a bath now, then I will take you forcefully.” Getting him to do any work is a challenge, whether it’s a bath or doing homework. I try to encourage him with rewards like a snack or a toy, but he says, “First give me the popsicle and then I will do it.” Please help me with some ideas…

     

  • Uncontrollable Anger Problem

    My 8-year-old son has an uncontrollable anger problem, from playing with friends to video games. If he doesn’t win, he hits the roof. If he isn’t chosen in school right off the bat, he gets mad. It’s to the point that he doesn’t have any friends at all. His dad and I will tell him not to play video games so he can calm down and try again later, and he screams at us. He is defiant in every meaning of the word. He always tells us no. I’m at my wit’s end, and I don’t know what else to…

     

  • Refuses to Listen and Starting to Steal

    My 7-year-old stepson was placed in foster care as an infant until he was 3 years old. He was bounced from foster home to foster home until we finally gained custody. His biological mother went in and out of his life constantly. Since we have gained custody, he has lived in our home and his mother’s parental rights were severed by the state, so she no longer has contact with him. Our struggle is his behavior. He refuses to listen to anyone. He steals from anyone. He has not made the transition to shoplifting, but he will raid our cupboards…

     

  • When to Utilize Professional Counseling

    My 12-year-old grandson has come to live with me. He has a deadbeat dad, and his mother committed suicide last year. Both of his parents had drug issues. This child is angry and resentful. He says he hates his life and hates people. He is disrespectful and rebellious. He says that if I put him in counseling, he will be worse. He is academically behind, and I am concerned that when he goes to school in August I will have more problems.