Advice Blog

How Teachers Can Become the Ultimate Authority Figures in Their Classrooms

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am an elementary school assistant principal. I need a good referral paper for when kids act up in class and their teachers send them to me so that I know what they did and so that I can talk to them about what they did wrong. It is my job to “put out the fires”, and I hope that a good form will allow me to be more efficient at doing so. –Riki, Iowa

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How to Keep Your Kid from Whining to Get Something

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I need some help with my 8-year-old. I dread taking her into stores because she constantly asks for her mother and I to buy her things. If we say “no,” she whines and begs. While sometimes we give in and buy her things once she has begged for a while, and we do have the occasional tantrum. The whining is what is driving us crazy. How do we avoid the whining and tantrums altogether?

— Patrick, Columbus

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How Teachers Can Achieve a Calm, Compliant Classroom

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach fifth grade. I follow your column and website and I know that I will be a better teacher this year because of you, so thanks. Anyway, what is the one piece of advice that you would give a teacher like me who has struggled with discipline throughout his career? What’s the one thing that I need to do that will make this school year easier/better?

— Johnathan

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How to Respond to ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Questions

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My 3-year-old is driving me crazy. I don’t really know if you can call this a “behavioral problem.” He is doing something that I know is typical, but knowing this hasn’t saved me from losing my mind. He keeps asking me “Why?” about every single little thing that happens! “Why are you doing that?” “Why? Why? Why?” I notice that he’s not even listening to my answer. Do I ignore him? Do I run away? What do I do? — Phil, Omaha, Neb.

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How to Get Your Teen to Keep a Clean Room

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have been having a power struggle with my 16 year old for the last 10 years about the mess in his room. I am exhausted from it. I am embarrassed at how long I have been fighting this battle and how long he has been winning it. I have grounded him, taken away privileges, you name it. Sometimes when I really threaten and yell, he will pick up most of his things. He leaves his stuff around the rest of the house as well. He will be going to college the year after next. Should I just give up on this one and just pick my battles? I’m not sure what to do.

— Sarah

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How to Simultaneously Remove and Train a Belligerent Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I appreciate you offering to give me some strategies because my para and I are at our wits’ end. I am in a K-3 ED classroom with five children. I’ve got a great para and we are on the same page – which is important.

The student giving us the blues is a first grade female. When she has an anger/rage episode, it starts w/ her walking around the class (let her do, she wants attention) When she gets no attention & others are great at ignoring, she ups the ante by putting her face into others faces and calling them “bitch” or she’ll touch their desk. Others are still pretty good at ignoring. I praise them for ignoring, she escalates more.

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