How to Deal With an Abusive Adult

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have heard you speak and you mentioned that the skills that you teach work on adults too. This question involves a child but mostly is needed for an adult. My boyfriend and I have a six-year old girl and we all live together. Very often he is verbally abusive, to me and my daughter. Especially lately, he has really started to belittle, berate, humiliate and threaten us for no reason. Let me be clear that my daughter is in no way a behavior problem. He picks fights with both of us and intimidates us. How do I set limits with him so I can protect my daughter? -Tayla, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Know if Your Strategies are Working

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I follow you online and I went to your conference last summer, and it has changed my life. I have been able to be calm and much more strict with my seven-year-old. I am skeptical about something, though. Whenever I tell my son to feel free to be with the family as long as he can be pleasant, and then he isn’t pleasant and has to go to his room, and I tell him he can come back when he can be pleasant (just like you taught me), he will sometimes have a screaming, hysterical fit in his room. It happens less than it used to, but what am I doing wrong when he does this? -Karen, Centerville

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How to Have a Calm Response

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I just gave birth six months ago and I have a three-year-old. Since the new baby came, my three-year-old has become very aggressive and reacts with anger towards me and others. I have already been given the advice to make time for just spending time with my three-year old. That has been somewhat effective. I am dealing with a bit of post-partum depression and sometimes have a hard time not reacting with anger myself. How do I teach my three-year old to not react with aggression, especially since I am having trouble with it myself? -Alexandra, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Teach Your Kid That Work Has Value

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My oldest child is ten. He recently had a friend over for dinner. The friend remarked that he was surprised that my son didn’t have to clear the table after dinner. This friend started talking about the chores that he had to do and was beside himself when he learned that my child didn’t do any chores. I have always felt that being an adult is hard, and that you are only young once, and that parents should give kids their youth to be kind of care-free, but now I’m wavering. -Carrie, Des Moines, Iowa

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How to Train Your Kid to Be Safe

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have an adopted 9-year-old daughter who recently was trying to iron her hair in the basement when she was supposed to be doing her homework in her room. Somehow, the iron fell and burned the carpet, almost starting a house fire. She knows that she is not allowed to use the iron. She has been unsafe with things in the past. She has some trauma in her background, so I don’t want to scare her by talking a lot about house fires. I have told her how serious this is, though. I don’t want to have to hide the iron, the matches, etc. from a girl who will turn ten in May. What do I do? -Mary Anne, Lexington, Kentucky

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How to Respond When Your Child Wants to Quit

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My son is 8 and we are having a really hard time with him and basketball. He said that he wanted to play basketball, but now he complains about going, he barely participates once he is there, and he displays a bad attitude towards his coach and teammates. Even in games, he plays half-heartedly. Getting him to go to basketball and then getting him to participate is sucking the life out of me. He says he wants to quit. What should I do? -Hailey, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Deal With Attention-Seeking Questions

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I need a non-sarcastic and non-condescending response to questions that my eight-year-old daughter knows the answers to. This happens all day long. I will be holding a blue plate and she will ask me if the plate is yellow. I will be cooking spaghetti and she will look directly at the food in the pot and ask me what we are having for dinner. She is smart and obviously knows the answers to these questions. It’s not that I don’t give her attention. I give her tons of it. Maybe it’s just because I’m irritable currently, or maybe I’m just tired of the questions, but I am getting so snippy with her and I don’t want to be. -Jolene, Louisville, Kentucky

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How to Deal With Crying Tantrums

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I’m curious about crying tantrums. We have a strong-willed six-year old girl who cries about everything lately. She cries over us not buying a toy or what she eats for breakfast. I offer her a hug, tell her I am sad that she is sad and tell her that it’s too loud and we can’t hear each other. I am gentle and loving. I tell her that she can come back when she can not hurt our ears. When she’s calm, at some other time, I have asked her if she is sad about other parts of her life. I know that she is healthy and well rested. How do I deal with excessive crying without punishing or shaming? – Andrea, Spokane, Washington

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