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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How to Deal With a Kid Who Refuses to Do What You Ask

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My five-year-old has always been well-behaved, but lately she has been refusing to do what I tell her to do, shouting “NO” at me when I ask her to do even the simplest tasks. I don’t know if I am panicking or if this is just a phase, but my instincts say that this behavior is going to continue unless I make it stop. So how do I make it stop? -Tracy, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Deliver a Logical Consequence, Not a Punishment

Dear Kid Whisperer,

A week before Halloween, my seven-year-old daughter threw a huge fit at the store when I would not buy her a toy. It was so severe and embarrassing that we actually left the store with the groceries sitting in the middle of the toy aisle. She even kicked and hit me on the way out. I told her that night that Halloween was cancelled for her. No candy, no parties, no trick-or-treat. I told her 2nd grade teacher that she could not dress up for the school Halloween party, and could not get candy. My mother-in-law has been very upset about this, saying that this is not fair, and she’s implying that I am a terrible parent (which is nothing new). Am I right? Tell me I am right. -Mary Anne, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Teach Your Kids to Feel and Show Appreciation

Dear Kid Whisperer,

When I take my kids out to a movie, restaurant, pool, beach, play palace, park, basically anything, immediately after we leave said activity, the kids are asking to do something else. No “Thank you,” no “We had a great time”, no appreciation… just “What do I get next?” I am so fed up with this behavior. This me, me, me attitude and entitlement is driving me crazy. What do I do? -Jessica, Saugatuck, Michigan

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