Advice Blog

How to Support a Kid Who is Worried About the New School Year

Dear Kid Whisperer,

As my eleven-year-old returns to school, I am very concerned. I feel like he was a in a cocoon here at home for much of the last school year because of COVID, and it has affected his social development. He has a tendency to wallow a bit, and I worry about him not having a good year, both because of last year and because of his attitude. How do I avoid him getting bogged down in a funk as we enter the school year? -Trevor, Skokie, Illinois

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How to Deal With a Teen Driver Who Never Comes Home on Time

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am so stressed out. My sixteen-year-old is going to be the death of me. She has her driver’s license, and she has a car, and is pretty much always one to two hours late whenever we give her a time to be home. She doesn’t even answer her cell when we call. I’m at a loss. -Stacey, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Stop Making Three Different Meals at Dinnertime

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My seven-year-old is a picky eater. I guess I have gotten lucky with my first three kids: they will eat anything I put in front of them. The youngest is the total opposite. I have been making special meals for her, and I’m tired of it. In addition, my other children have started to request special meals. Once that started happening, I realized how unmanageable this is. What do I do? -Janine, Tipp City, Ohio

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How to Get Your Kid to Do What You Ask

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a five-year-old who hates being told what to do. Even simple instructions like clearing his plate after dinner or bringing in his things from the back seat of the car are a problem. He not only refuses, he gets angry. Our seven-year-old was never like this. We told her to do things and she did them. I know for sure that he needs to do what we tell him to do, and we have had consequences for his refusal. We need a way of getting him to do what we want without him getting angry, because the consequences are piling up. By the way, asking nicely has no effect! – Matt, Stow, Ohio

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How to Stop Being a Pushover and Start Parenting

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have three children: 6, 8, and 14 years old. I know I am a pushover, and they know it too. The other moms in my friend group are pretty similar, and they are relaxed in their parenting styles. The difference seems to be that their kids are mostly well-behaved and mine aren’t. We get together at each other’s homes, and two of my kids are particularly poorly behaved.  I can see in their eyes and in their behavior that me talking to them doesn’t work. The other parents are starting to get annoyed and judgmental. I am just an agreeable person who doesn’t like conflict, even with my kids. What do I do now? -Kelly, Las Vegas, Nevada

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How to Handle Tweens Who Want to Use Social Media

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I’m a single dad and my daughter and I have had an ongoing fight for the last few years about social media. She is fourteen and wants to have social media accounts. I believe that social media is bad for children. I actually think it’s bad for everyone. I don’t even have a Facebook account. She is very distressed about it (all of her friends are on it) and I’m thinking about letting her have a Facebook account, even though I think the negatives of being on Facebook far outweigh the positives. What’s your advice? -Fred, Atlanta, Georgia

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How to Retrain Your Kid for Society

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My ten-year-old son is excited to start having friends over again now that pandemic restrictions are lifting, as am I. The problem is that he has issues with anger and impulse control. He used to get in fights with friends he had over, and he just got into a fight with his little brother. I have to make it work so that he can have friends over, because he needs to have this playtime for his own development of social skills, especially after the pandemic. How would you suggest I make this happen? -Kay, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Deal With Judgment From Other Adults

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My question is about adults. I take my seven-year-old to a nearby park every few days. I allow my child to explore and run around all over the large park, and I have now had a couple awkward interactions with parents who will deliver my child to me when my he goes out of my sight. They have said some vaguely judgmental things upon delivery, like: “I’m sure you didn’t mean to let him out of your sight.” Frankly, I don’t need to have my eyes on him all the time. He’s safe in the park. I don’t know what to say to these people. Anne, Los Angeles, California

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The Kid Whisperer Podcast Featuring Scott Ervin and Pat Kiely: Episode 6

Topics in this episode include:

Why don’t we talk about “teacher burnout?”

How do you handle a 17-year-old who refuses to contribute to your household?

What should I do when my kid fakes sick to stay home from school?

I feel like my students don’t like me. Am I just being insecure?