Advice Blog

How to Use Gentle Guidance Interventions With a Difficult Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My life this school year is miserable because of one student. He was recently out sick for a week, and it was the best week we had all year, by far. The problem is that nothing works with this student to get him to behave. I know that if I correct his behavior and tell him what to do, he explodes and I can kiss the next hour goodbye. If I ignore him, which I usually do now, his behavior gets worse, and then I tell him to stop, and he ends up exploding anyway! Help! -John, Sacramento, CA

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How to Handle a Kid Who Causes a Scene at Daycare

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My three-year-old and my mother had a bad moment last week. My mom, who loves her granddaughter more than life itself, picked her up from daycare and my daughter, who does love her grandma, yelled at her and said she didn’t want to go with her. My mom was embarrassed and heartbroken. She didn’t know what to do. There was a big scene that lasted a while before everyone worked together to get my daughter to go with her grandmother. My mom is worried that it will happen again, and I don’t know what to tell her to do, so I’m asking you. What do I do? Alice, Nelsonville, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Kid Who Intentionally Broke a House Rule

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I worry about asking this question because I don’t know if you will think this is silly or not, but because of my faith, I do not want my children to listen to the radio and listen to popular music without adult supervision. Last week my fourteen-year-old was listening to some music on her clock radio that I do not find to be acceptable. She knows she is not allowed to listen to it, but she did it anyway. What do I do about this? -Rebecca, Solon, Ohio

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How to Handle a Kid You’re Afraid to Take on Vacation

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a twelve-year-old son. His mother (my ex-wife) and I made a lot of mistakes with him, especially when he was much younger. He has been really disruptive in the house and even violent with his younger step-brothers. We have a family vacation coming up in a couple of weeks and I’m thinking about not taking him. I would feel terrible to leave him because he loves going to the beach, but his mother is willing to keep him for the week (she’s very supportive). As of now, we think that if he does go on the vacation, he will just terrorize all of us. How should I handle this? -Scott, Columbus, Ohio

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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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