How to Deal with Kids Being Disrespectful to Adults

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a middle school principal. I had a situation in the lunch room where one of our eighth graders was making fun of a custodian by calling him “baldy”. Both the custodian and I reacted by yelling at the kid. As he and his friends started to laugh, I realized that it wasn’t the best move. My idle threats of suspending kids who were laughing stopped most of the laughing, and me physically intimidating the remaining two laughers by getting in their faces quieted the rest. I realized that what I did was not effective, but I’m not sure what to do next time to not put myself in that position. – Malik, Los Angeles, California

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How to Guide Your Kids to Own and Create Their Own Happiness

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I’m at loss. My four year old is either emotionally damaged, a pessimist, or I’m doing something wrong. Every now and then he says things like “Nobody loves me”, “I’m a bad boy”, and “Nobody wants to play with me”. I don’t know what to do or say. I’ve tried reasoning with him and explaining things. I’ve tried telling him how many people love him. I tell him that he isn’t a bad boy, and that sometimes other kids like to play by themselves or with other kids. I even tried ignoring or saying something along the lines that it was his problem and/or he needs to figure out himself. It makes me either so sad or so mad when he says things like that. Please help. –Carol, New York, New York

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How to Stop Using Your Useless, Hurtful Classroom Behavior Chart

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach third grade and I use a behavior chart. All of the kids start out with a red, a yellow, and a green card by their names. If a kid does something “bad,” I usually give a warning. The next time, they lose their green card. The next time, they lose their yellow and lose five minutes of recess. After that, they lose their red and go to the principal and I call home. I think I am like many teachers who feel like the chart doesn’t work, but I don’t know what else to use. –Jackie, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Be the Only Parent in the World Who is an Unreasonable Moron

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am the mother of a 17 year old boy. He has his license. I am totally uncomfortable with him driving with anyone else in the car. I just see how he acts with other people around him when he’s not driving. He’s not horribly irresponsible, but he’s (and I love him) goofy and immature. He whines and complains that I am not being reasonable. He says that I am the only parent who has this rule. I’m a single mom, so I don’t have anyone to bounce this one off of, and I’m thinking about changing my rule about this. Do you think I should? –Joan, Centerville, Ohio

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How to Keep Your Kid Safe in Parking Lots and While Crossing the Street

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a concern with my five year old son. About a year ago, he started refusing to hold my hand when crossing the street and when walking in parking lots. I try to convince him to hold my hand but nothing works. I don’t want to be the kind of parent who yells at their child or forces them to do things, but I worry about his safety. He has run away from me in the parking lot a couple of times recently. What should I do? –Shannon, Louisville, Kentucky

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