Parent Blog

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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How to Handle a Kid Experiencing Separation Sadness

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My wife just went back to work in an office after working from home for the last year. I am still working from home and am also taking care of my three-year-old son. Whenever my wife leaves the apartment, he completely freaks out. He screams and yells and tries to will himself through our front door to follow her. He cries for hours as I try to tell him that she will be back, that she misses him too, etcetera. I’m not sure where to go from here. -Mike, Nashville, Tennessee

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How to Deal With a Moody Nine-Year-Old

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am at a loss with my nine-year-old daughter. She wakes up in a bad mood and stays in it all day. She mopes. She rolls her eyes when her father and I talk. We try to cheer her up. We talk to her about how to have a more positive attitude. Nothing helps, unless we take her to do something really fun, and that only works briefly. We are not sure what to do now. -Jennifer, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Set Limits With the Adult Whose Kid You are Babysitting

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I care for my seven-year-old niece two times a week so her mom can get things done around the house and so I can spend time with her daughter. After a month, her behavior is starting to come around (it was terrible at first). Nevertheless, her mother doesn’t like the way I do things with her daughter. She doesn’t like her child suffering consequences or going to a room until she can be pleasant. It’s becoming a real point of contention, even though everyone is aware that my niece’s behaviors are improving when she is with me. What do I do? -Kim, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Kid Who Doesn’t Like Doing Chores

Dear Kid Whisperer,

After reading your blog, my husband and I realized that our eight-year-old was not doing enough chores. She now does the dishes every night after dinner. Now I am second-guessing myself. The problem is that she really, really hates doing it, and gets upset while she’s cleaning up. It takes her a long time. I feel like, as a stay-at-home mom, maybe I should be doing such a big job (she has three younger siblings and we produce lots of dirty dishes). Advice? -Ann, Boca Raton, Florida

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How to Prepare Your Teen to Save Money for College

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My daughter is 16. She says that she wants to go to college, and we have told her that we will give her four dollars for every dollar she puts toward her education. This is what my parents did with me. The difference is that I saved my allowance and was excited to get a job to start saving more. My daughter still spends all of her allowance on worthless stuff and when I bring up getting a job, she just rolls her eyes. I talk to her a lot about the importance of college and why she needs to save up for it. She says she will, but doesn’t act like it. What do I do? -Jessica, Indianapolis, Indiana

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How to Put an End to Gift-Snooping

Dear Kid Whisperer,

We need help figuring out a logical consequence for our almost 9-year-old son who snuck into our closet (definitely off-limits) and snooped around and climbed up to the top shelf and found his big birthday present. This happened last year at Christmas and we thought ruining the surprise for himself was lesson enough, but apparently it didn’t stick with him. What’s a logical consequence? We don’t want to be cruel and not give it to him, but do want to leave him with a memorable lesson in respecting privacy.  -Mary, San Antonio, Texas

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