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Every day we and our children walk by the homeless on the street. When our children are very young we feel especially protective because their instinct is towards empathy: they ask us why that person doesn't have a home, where does that person sleep, and can't we give them some money? And we teach our children from an early age, when these questions first arise, to be careful and make a wide berth in case the person is dangerous. By the time our children reach elementary school, this has probably become an automatic habit, and if the children were asked, they...

"Teenagers! Dey tink dey know everyting!" proclaims Sebastian, the "guardian" crab of 'Ariel', the Little Mermaid in Disney's film of the same title. "And isn't that the truth!" most parents of a teenager respond with dispair.

For many parents and their teens, adolescence is a period of upheaval and conflict. A child who was once cooperative and communicative suddenly becomes opinionated, withdrawn, and rebellious. Parents often wake up one morning to find themselves totally bewildered about how to handle this "stranger" who used to be their child....

At a workshop I was teaching on discipline the other night one man asked "So what happens if my wife thinks that our child should go to bed at 7:30 and I believe that children should go to bed whenever they get tired, even if that's at 10 or 11 at night?"

Disagreement between spouses is a natural part of child-rearing. In fact, given our different backgrounds, upbringing, personalities, it's hard to see why parents would ever agree! But the truth is that when spouses don't agree about disciplining or communicating with the children, and especially when...

With violent responses to our difficulties here in the United States topping the headlines of the major newspapers nearly every day, it has become increasingly important for parents to take advantage of "teachable moments" in which they can instruct their children in conflict resolution skills. The opportunities to do so arise with most children nearly every day. Whether the disputes between a child and his siblings, peers or teachers are minor or major, each one represents an opportunity for us to give our children insight into how conflict can be peacefully...

Jealousy, that "green eyed monster", has been written about for centuries. It has been called "cruel as the grave" and a "jaundice of the soul." Perhaps, then, it is no wonder that many parents feel so alarmed when their children exhibit this much-despised feeling. Especially when children seem to feel jealous so easily, and over such "trivial" things: a toy belonging to another child; a parent's attention, a high test score earned by a friend. Confronted with a child's jealousy most parents work to eliminate it, to explain why the child shouldn't feel jealous and...

I believe that children have certain rights. Like adults, they have the right to be respected, to hold an opinion, and to have their basic needs (for shelter, food, love, etc.) met. Unlike adults, I believe they have a final right, one that adults have outgrown, and that is the right to their childhood and the relative innocence that accompanies that time of life.

Having said that, I am not beginning an argument to keep children in the dark about the possibility of war. In fact, I’m not sure that’s something that...

In Part I, we talked about how to promote honesty, not only in your child, but in your family as well. Now that you're set up for success, let's talk about what happens when your child does lie, as all children will inevitably do at one time or another.

First of all, let's distinguish three types of lies and what motivates our children to tell them.

* Fanciful storytelling. One kind of "lie" is the fanciful storytelling that is so common among younger children. For example "Mommy, we went to the zoo today with my class, and we got to ride...

Research indicates that twenty - two percent of children begin to cheat in the first grade. By eighth grade, forty nine percent of children admit to having cheated, and seventy-five percent of freshmen high school students cheat on their exams.

From these numbers, it’s clear that cheating is an issue which most parents will face at one point or another in their child's lifetime. Why do children cheat? And more importantly, what can parents do to...

"My 20 month old daughter started to cry and when I went in, there was my 5 year old son standing there. She had a red welt on her forehead and I was convinced he'd hit her, but he denied it. I began interrogating him, and wound up accusing him of hitting her. I found out later that she'd hit her head going under a table. I felt so guilty!"

"I walked into my infant son's room where he was lying in his playpen. My 3 year old son had taken every item of clothing out of the dresser drawers and piled it on top of my four month old. I was horrified!"...

We've all heard that team sports are excellent for our children in many respects. They can help build team work, self-esteem, and confidence. Children's gross motor skills and coordination improve. They can learn the value of working together with others for a common goal. Sometimes they must put aside personal "glory" for the sake of the team. All of these are valuable attributes. But what happens if your child suddenly comes home spouting every four letter word in the English language?

"My son plays roller hockey, and until recently, he seemed to be...

Spanking has a long history of popularity as a disciplinary tool. It has been handed down from generation to generation as an appropriate way to teach children to behave obediently. The "logic" that parents use to approach their children with this form of punishment varies. Some parents are completely conscious. In other words, they think "My child did something wrong. She must be punished. Therefore I will spank her to teach her a lesson." Other parents are sort of semi-conscious. In other words, when their child misbehaves, they don't necessarily think it...

Stephanie thought she was going to lose her mind. She just couldn't seem to keep things under control with her 5 year old twin boys and 8 year old daughter. From the moment they got up on the morning until they went to sleep at night it was one argument after another: who got to choose where to sit at breakfast, which TV show they were going to watch, who would be first in the bathroom, and so on. Just when she'd get one argument sorted out, another would erupt.

This kind of in-fighting is common in households with multiple children. In a bid for mom...

Interruptions are a part of life. As adults we've come to expect some interruptions and, for the most part, handle them with a certain amount of grace. When we're on the phone, for example, and our call waiting interrupts, we either ignore it or ask the person to whom we're talking to please wait, our other line is ringing and we'll get right back to them.

Why is it, then, that the interruptions children cause are so much more frustrating? Could it be that, unlike call waiting, children interrupt 15 times in a single minute? Could it be they're more...

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, romance is in the air. Or not, as the case may be. For teenagers whose sexuality is just beginning to bud, or for those without a boy or girl friend, this can be a challenging time of year. Deluged with romantic “hype,” teens can feel like losers if they don’t have a significant other or if they’re not ready for a romantic or sexual relationship. And for teens who are discovering a same sex orientation, this time of year can be particularly difficult.

Most teens face the prospect of romance armed with entirely...

July, 2006. It is a summer of transition for me. This week, my daughter turns 18 and in the Fall she will begin an independent life at Northwestern University. I can hardly believe it. When she was born people said, "Cherish this time. It goes so fast." Like most new parents we didn't understand that advice. As a matter of fact, the days seemed endless. At one point I was convinced that she would never be older than 2 months, 6 night feedings, 8 poopy diapers and 24 hours of uncomfortable colic. But she did get older, stopped eating throughout the night, began...

We're moving from the bright greens of summer to the brilliant colors of fall. Our children are making the transition from summer to school, and from flexible schedules to structure. How, during this time of transition and in the school year beyond, can we maintain a sense of the fun that summer brings? Fun that binds our children to us in a way that nothing else can? When children and parents have fun together: playing, laughing and relaxing, the underlying structure of the relationship is strengthened. And it is that underlying strength that sustains both...

"Don't talk to strangers."

"Speak when someone asks you a question."

"Don't take anything from strangers."

"Be polite."

Do these seem to be contradictory statements? They are. Yet as parents, we admonish our children with words similar to these on a regular basis. With the number of child abduction cases growing it is time to stop and rethink some of the things we say to our children that may make them easy prey to kidnapping.

Obviously, we've got to talk to our children about the potential danger from...

The Internet has been described as an information superhighway which will create one global village, drawing people closer and providing them with a wealth of information. This seductive reasoning sounds good at first hearing: for example, we no longer have to step out of our homes to look up information at the library, it's at our fingertips in our very own homes. We can converse with people all over the globe, learning more about other cultures. Because they are virtually faceless and nameless, our differences have less of a chance of getting in the way of our...

Almost every child has had fears that relate to scary creatures -- monsters under the bed, "things" lurking in the dark, imagined goblins or ghouls or things that go bump in the night. And almost every child has had fears that could be true, but aren't -- like what happens if mommy leaves but doesn't come back?

The "prescription" in such cases pretty much boils down to the same thing -- patting them, reassuring them and making them go to bed anyway, or leaving the house in spite of the howling, knowing that they're safe and that you will, indeed, be...

The New Year is here. It's the final year of the decade and the doorway to the new millennium. It's a wonderful time to make resolutions, especially resolutions that have to do with your most valuable gift -- your family. Here are some suggestions that will infuse your family with health and send it into the millennium with joy:

* Spend time together. We live in a very busy world. Sometimes it's easy to bypass the things that are important to us and that we should be spending the most time on - like our family. After all, when we're done getting...