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 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 Stop Your Kid from Causing Problems with Another Kid

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have been all over the internet looking for a solution to my daughter’s problem with another student and was hoping you may be able to give some insight and suggestions. The problem is between my daughter and another girl. For the last 2 years, these two have annoyed, picked and argued. I have been to the school on several occasions to help come up with a solution to no avail, and just this last week it has become physical. They have started kicking each other in P.E., in the lunch line, and on their way to art. They also seem to have a type of “competition” going between themselves.

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How to Train Your Child to be Polite

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I was your server last night when you came into my restaurant with your wife and daughter. You told me that if I “Liked” you on Facebook and emailed you the question that I asked you, that you would answer it. So I did and I am. So now, how do you get your daughter to be so polite? She said “please” and “thank you” not only to you and your wife, but to me too. My daughter is much younger than your daughter, but I would like her to be that polite by the time she is two. -Anna, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Allow Your Child to Improve Through Struggle

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I am the parent of a very promising young lady. She is very smart and she is generally a very happy girl. She is going into her freshman year of high school. I often remark to my husband that she lives a charmed life. People like her and she is a very successful person. She just got her schedule for her first grading period. She completely fell apart. Her first period class is physical education. She says that she will “get sweaty and gross” and that it’s hard enough to be a freshman at this school, where kids really are known to be mean. What can I do to help her?
-Andrea, Euclid, Ohio

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How to Calmly Remove a Defiant Kid from a Public Place

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am so tired. I feel like I am the worst parent in the world and I hope that you can help me. I think that I make a lot of mistakes with my four year old, and the way that he acts is terrible, but the last few times that we have gone to the park, I have realized that I have hit rock bottom as a parent. I need help with everything, but maybe you could first help me with this park situation. He is okay the whole entire time that we are there, but when I tell him that it’s time to go, he yells “no” and continues to play. Yesterday he walked up to me and screamed “NO!” in my face and then ran away. I just sat there on a teeter- totter and cried. How is that for rock bottom? I am a bit heavy and I can’t run after him. Is there something wrong with my child? What do I do?

-Amy, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Create a Great Consequence When Your Kid is Acting Like a Real Jerk

Dear Kid Whisperer,

In the past, my son Tyler tended to be pretty peaceful, but as the summer has begun, he has started some kind of rivalry with our neighbor, Stephen. My son is six and Stephen is five. They argue so much that I won’t let my son play with Stephen anymore. So yesterday I heard screaming and I came outside to find my son standing at the edge of my yard screaming through our fence at Stephen. He was using a couple of four letter words that he had learned from his father. I yelled at him to come inside. He ignored me.

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