Parent Blog

How to Take the Struggle Out of Mealtime

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I struggle with getting my 8-year-old to eat dinner. I have taken tons of advice and done what doctors and other experts have suggested: not allowing him to eat anything beside what I prepare, allowing him  to eat whatever he wants, taking away TV, allowing him to eat whenever he wants, having him sit at dinner and snack later, bribing him to eat with candy. Nothing works. He sometimes refuses to eat at mealtime, then he says he’s hungry later, so I feed him. What now? -Gemma, New York, New York

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How to Enforce Personal Boundaries With Your Kid

Dear Kid Whisperer,

Every morning my 12-year-old son feels the need to constantly knock on my bathroom door to ask or tell me something mundane. How do I get him to stop this inappropriate habit? In addition to being annoying for me, my fiancée is always still sleeping at this point in the morning, and this is causing more tension. I tell my son constantly to let me get ready in peace and to finish getting ready himself, and that once we are both ready, we can talk. – Christie, Boston, Massachusetts

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How to Give Your Kids Proper Guidance on Chores

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I follow you on Facebook, and love what you shared about kids who do chores being healthier and stronger people than kids that don’t do chores. I now have my 7 and 9 year-old doing chores, but they are so terrible at doing them that I think it would be easier to just do the chores myself. What am I doing wrong? -Christie, Moscow, Idaho

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How to Make Sure Your Kid Only Speaks to You Using Kind Words

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a 3.5 year old who treats me horribly. The way she talks to me is awful, and it’s embarrassing. I am 23 weeks pregnant and my husband is military and is often out of town. I am totally exhausted. I feel like I have tried everything and am trying to avoid confrontation, which feels wrong. What do I do? -Anjelica, Austin, Texas

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How to Enforce Table Manners With Kids (and Adults!)

Dear Kid Whisperer,

How do I get my 7-year old kid and 38-year old husband to chew with their mouths closed at the dinner table? My usual approach is to say “please chew with your mouth closed” to no one in particular shortly after we’ve sat down to eat. But that’s getting old. I really want it to just be standard behavior, no matter when or where they are eating. Also, for the record- my husband is fully aware that he is guilty of the behavior and has encouraged me to correct him. Suggestions? -Sabrina, Phoenix, Arizona

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How to Deal With Temper Tantrums in the Car

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My husband and I read your column and have been using your strategies for maintaining a calm home environment with success with our seven-year old, who seems more prone to tantrums than his brothers and sisters. Removing him from the environment does work well, but what about when we want to create a tantrum-free environment in a moving car? -Kristen, Athens, Ohio

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How to Stop Accidentally Encouraging Temper Tantrums

Dear Kid Whisperer,

When my five-year-old daughter does not get her way and becomes angry, sometimes she escalates until she needs help calming down. We do this thing called “flowers and cake” where she smells the flowers then blows out the candles (getting her to take deep breaths). She seems to be escalating more and more lately, though.

Do we just stay the course with this? Will it eventually work itself out? Do we just need patience or are there other ideas that you have to deal with the escalating? -Tim, San Francisco, California

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How to Immediately Curb Sibling Bickering

Dear Kid Whisperer,

Today my 6-year old was fighting with his brother. I told him to go in his room, but he would not go. I have attended one of your conferences, so I knew to delay the consequence. I felt like I was losing control by delaying, since he kept fighting with his brother and he refused to go to his room (he’s too big to carry in there). What consequences would I use for this? -Tonia, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

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