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 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 Teach Your Kids to Feel and Show Appreciation

Dear Kid Whisperer,

When I take my kids out to a movie, restaurant, pool, beach, play palace, park, basically anything, immediately after we leave said activity, the kids are asking to do something else. No “Thank you,” no “We had a great time”, no appreciation… just “What do I get next?” I am so fed up with this behavior. This me, me, me attitude and entitlement is driving me crazy. What do I do? -Jessica, Saugatuck, Michigan

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How to Avoid Raising an Entitled Child

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I grew up with nothing. It is one of the great thrills of my life to now be able to take my two children (14 and 16) on expensive trips, to give them gifts, and basically give them everything that they want. I can easily afford all of this. It does take some of the luster away when they don’t say thank you, unless it’s a serious luxury item. I bought my daughter a nice, new, luxury car, for example. Am I right in thinking they will come to appreciate these things in time? –Manual, Sacramento, California

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How Grandparents Can Set Limits About Grandparenting

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a grandparent to three granddaughters who have parents that try, but don’t like to say “no” to their children. They want my husband and me to be on board with that philosophy as well. As former educators, we cannot with a clear conscience agree.  We are finding it harder to spend time with our grandkids. Any good advice?  Sara, Bexley, Ohio

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How to Be a Parent and Not a Servant

  • Dear Kid Whisperer,I have three boys, aged 8, 12, and 16 who are all quite disrespectful and very unappreciative of me. It’s very hurtful. I am a stay at home mom and I think of myself as being great at my job. I cook them hot meals, do their laundry, clean their rooms, drive them everywhere, and help them with their homework. I take care of the house so that they can concentrate on their studies. They don’t say “thank you”, and they treat me like a servant. I’m tired of it. What do I do? –Marjorie, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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How to Keep Your Kids From Destroying Your Home

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I need help/advice to get my kids to stop destroying the house. They are ages 12, 7 and 3. I have to spend four hours cleaning if I want the house to be clean, and then they immediately wreck it again. They leave toys and crumbs everywhere, ignoring all limits we have placed on them. I’m pregnant right now and I really can’t keep this up. I’m about to have a panic attack. Taking away games and play time with friends hasn’t worked. Sitting them down and telling them how much stress it’s causing hasn’t worked either.
-Melissa, Fort Worth, Texas

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