How to Deal With Attention-Seeking Questions

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I need a non-sarcastic and non-condescending response to questions that my eight-year-old daughter knows the answers to. This happens all day long. I will be holding a blue plate and she will ask me if the plate is yellow. I will be cooking spaghetti and she will look directly at the food in the pot and ask me what we are having for dinner. She is smart and obviously knows the answers to these questions. It’s not that I don’t give her attention. I give her tons of it. Maybe it’s just because I’m irritable currently, or maybe I’m just tired of the questions, but I am getting so snippy with her and I don’t want to be. -Jolene, Louisville, Kentucky

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How to Deal With Crying Tantrums

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I’m curious about crying tantrums. We have a strong-willed six-year old girl who cries about everything lately. She cries over us not buying a toy or what she eats for breakfast. I offer her a hug, tell her I am sad that she is sad and tell her that it’s too loud and we can’t hear each other. I am gentle and loving. I tell her that she can come back when she can not hurt our ears. When she’s calm, at some other time, I have asked her if she is sad about other parts of her life. I know that she is healthy and well rested. How do I deal with excessive crying without punishing or shaming? – Andrea, Spokane, Washington

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How to Respectfully Disagree with Your Colleague’s Behavior Advice

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a student for whom I have been given a behavior plan to use. It has been unsuccessful, just like every other behavior plan I have been told to use in the past. I have been given a myriad of time- consuming suggestions for how to modify work and his environment to limit distractions. This child takes up a majority of my time in class and even my planning time, which I spend documenting everything he has and has not done. Frankly, I am exhausted. I am afraid if someone tells me to try one more thing, I may not be very professional in my response. Do you have a suggestion for how I could respond in a professional manner so I can take back control of my classroom? I have been to your summer conference and have used the skills I learned with great success, but the way that I am being asked to work with this child is so time- consuming that I feel like I am too overwhelmed to function. – Mary, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Kid Who Refuses to Do What You Ask

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My five-year-old has always been well-behaved, but lately she has been refusing to do what I tell her to do, shouting “NO” at me when I ask her to do even the simplest tasks. I don’t know if I am panicking or if this is just a phase, but my instincts say that this behavior is going to continue unless I make it stop. So how do I make it stop? -Tracy, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Deliver a Logical Consequence, Not a Punishment

Dear Kid Whisperer,

A week before Halloween, my seven-year-old daughter threw a huge fit at the store when I would not buy her a toy. It was so severe and embarrassing that we actually left the store with the groceries sitting in the middle of the toy aisle. She even kicked and hit me on the way out. I told her that night that Halloween was cancelled for her. No candy, no parties, no trick-or-treat. I told her 2nd grade teacher that she could not dress up for the school Halloween party, and could not get candy. My mother-in-law has been very upset about this, saying that this is not fair, and she’s implying that I am a terrible parent (which is nothing new). Am I right? Tell me I am right. -Mary Anne, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Physically Violent Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I recently attended one of your workshops at my school. You touched on the idea that when a student does something that needs a consequence, you should do the consequence later so you don’t have to stop teaching and so you can come up with something that makes sense. My question is this: what if the student is hurting someone? I can’t wait to deal with that later.  -Pat, Cincinnati, Ohio

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