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"We took our cat to the vet for a check-up. Everything was fine, but when we brought him home and opened the travel box that he was in, he was dead. What do I tell my daughter? It was her cat."

"I know it may sound ridiculous, but my son won a fish at a street fair, and three days later it died. He absolutely fell apart. About a fish! I don't know what to say to him."

"My husband died last night. How do I tell our son?"

When a child experiences the death of a person or of a beloved pet, it can be a heart-wrenching experience for...

Single parents are often concerned with their "single" status. They worry that being single might have a negative effect on their children. Sometimes they feel guilty that their child isn't "getting as much" as a child in a two parent home. Often they feel bewildered or exhausted by the constant demands of taking care of a child single-handedly. Common, too, at least in divorced households, is the added anger or bitterness toward an uncooperative ex-spouse.

The feelings that single parents have can seem particularly intense at times. If you're not...

When children of any age temporarily disappear for any reason -- as in the case of the three year old who dashes off down the street, or the teenager who stays out overnight without phoning -- parents' feelings of panic and fear are unimaginable -- unless you've been through it yourself. Clearly, if a child disappears (at any age) for a long period of time, you must contact the police. But often children run off temporarily, and parents must consider how to handle these incidents based upon the age of their child.

When toddlers and early elementary...

There is no doubt that one important quality of parenting (and of maintaining one's sanity while parenting!) is a sense of humor. It can smooth the bumps, soothe the feelings and lighten the heaviest of loads. Humor, used properly, can teach your children to approach life in a positive manner by encouraging a second look at circumstances which may at first seem overwhelming or unbearable. However, humor can also be a sharp sword which cuts deeply into the self-esteem of your child and as such should be used with thoughtfulness and...

Now that the cold weather is upon us, many parents are faced with the difficulty of encouraging their children to bundle up to stay warm. While some (though it seems very few!) children do this willingly, the vast majority kick and scream their way up from toddlerhood through adolescent defiance, all the while remaining absolutely adamant about NOT putting on that extra sweater or bulky coat. So what's a parent to do? Should parents simply give up or is this a worthwhile battle to engage in? Let's take a look at some of the causes of defiance as well as a few...

As NYC families, most of us are intimately familiar with the wealth of opportunity that is available for our children here in the city. By five years old, many children have been exposed to the finest art, music, theater, museums. Even our children's palates have experienced more than many children growing up in other parts of the country - sushi, lox, exotic cuisine from around the world, all are accessible and at least part of our children's vocabulary, if not exactly to their taste. Because we live in a city that truly has the finest of everything, it's...

"I'm totally stuck," said a mother to me recently. "Every time I try to set a limit with my son, and I tell him how I feel about his behavior, he either ignores me or says in a snotty voice `I don't care!' If I try to follow through with a consequence, and tell him I'm going to take away his Nintendo, he also says `I don't care.' I just don't know how to discipline him. He doesn't care if I do, so it has no impact."

The problem that this woman is experiencing is not uncommon. It stems from the fact that children, of all ages and either gender, are...

Parental guilt, like worry, is a significant part of parenting. As mentioned last month, each of these emotions has positive as well as negative effects. On the positive side, parental guilt can serve to help us correct the mistakes that we might make with our children. For example, let's say you wrongly accuse your child of something and later discover that he's innocent. Your ensuing feeling of guilt can lead you to do the right thing * apologize and promise you won't hastily jump to such conclusions in the future. Guilt also has a negative side, however, and...

For most children going back to school almost always involves a certain amount of anxiety. As adults, the transition from summertime to school time seems relatively easy. After all, the date for the beginning of school has probably been part of our planning for the summer...we had to keep it in mind to plan vacations, many of us made alternate child care arrangements for the summer and now must release others from that responsibility. For children, however, the summer days flow endlessly one into the other and summertime is eternal. Thus, as school approaches in...

In Part I we talked about the importance of instituting a consistent bedtime routine in order to help your child stay in bed. But what happens if your child is still getting out of bed numerous times during the evening?

There are two more things to try prior to the disciplinary technique which will follow.

1) Eliminate sugar prior to bedtime, especially chocolate. Chocolate has caffeine, and sugar stimulates your child. Both of these can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep.

2) Eliminate TV prior to bedtime. Many parents believe that TV...

Do you have joint custody with a "jerk?" Is your ex uncooperative and difficult? You're not alone. And the task of raising a child - negotiating the details of visitation, school, money, health issues, etc. with a an uncooperative ex-spouse is, more than likely, the most difficult task you've ever faced. If your ex is a jerk, then when you say "black," she says "white." World War III erupts when you speak with him. Her maturity has regressed to the level of an eight year old. His values are so different from yours that you can't believe you ever married him in the...

One of the biggest problems facing parents today is curbing the sense of entitlement that children feel. From designer jeans, to extended curfews, to credit cards, many children have an attitude of "I deserve to have the things my friends have" or simply "I deserve to have stuff as well as money to spend." In part, this attitude is encouraged and reinforced by the media, whose primary message is "you gotta have it or you're not cool." However, parents also play a part, often overindulging their children by buying them material things whenever they want them or...

Disagreements among children are common, and may be looked upon as a normal part of the socialization process. Yet too frequently they also represent a missed opportunity for parents to teach their children something about relationships, and to help their children engage in healthy communication with others.

Often, a simple misunderstanding begins a negative cycle of behavior on the part of all the children involved that can escalate into a more serious disagreement and sometimes even break up a friendship. In order for us to help our children break...

As the holidays approach, our thoughts may turn to traditional meals, beautiful decorations, and loving gatherings of family and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays can also usher in unrealistic expectations, heightened stress, family pressure and afterward, a bad case of the post-holiday blues.

How can we make the most of the positive aspects of the holiday season while minimizing its negative potential?

Minimizing the negative potential during the holidays simply requires a little preparation combined with some realistic expectations. To...

How can I enforce the rules of my house with my son's friends?

Truthfully, enforcing "house rules" should not be so different with your child's friends than enforcing them with your child. The key in both cases is to communicate your expectations respectfully, honestly and clearly, and to set up ahead of time some well-defined consequences for rules that get broken. Let's look at the different components as they might apply to a child who takes out too many toys at a time.

* Respect. Many times parents feel doubtful about enforcing "house...

Many parents feel extremely challenged by their children's disinterest in and / or adamant refusal to do homework. Having been told by their children's teachers how vital a role they play in their children's success in school, they feel responsible for making their child attend to their homework. Using a variety of techniques, which usually include badgering, threatening, nagging, pleading, demanding, and yelling, among others, they succeed only at alienating their child and inadvertently pushing their child further down the road of rebellion. But what's a parent...

At a seminar I gave, I spoke about the necessity of transmitting our values to our children, not only with words, but with actions. I talked about the need for children to have limits and for parents to remain firm in their convictions when they made decisions, especially decisions that are based on values. A woman raised her hand and said "But how do we do that? My nine year old daughter wanted to see "Titanic". I saw it: it had nudity, it was a love story and a tragedy, and I felt strongly that it was inappropriate for her. But all her friends saw it, and she...

Depending upon whether your child is entering preschool, on-going (elementary) school, middle school, high school or even college next year, this is the time of "acceptances" and "rejections." You may have already heard whether your child was accepted into a particular school, or you may still be waiting to hear. It is a time of anxiety and dread, of agony and ecstasy. And your child stands to be caught in the middle of a very adult phenomenon and to be burdened by it and suffer unduly because of it.

There are two times of the year when my office is...

There isn't a parent in the world who hasn't, at one time or another, found themselves locked in mortal combat with a child, struggling for power. From the minute a child can pronounce the word "no" straight through and including adulthood, parents find the notion of power -- what kind, how much, and when to give it -- a frustrating and sometimes overwhelming challenge.

When our children are infants power is not an issue. For one thing, they can't talk back, for another they are so small that we easily dominate them. We,...

My daughter came home from Kindergarten the other day, slicing the air with her palms, kicking the air and yelling "HIIIIIIIIIII-YAH!" Turning to me, she smiled and said with a gleam in her eye, "I'm going to 'Karate' the table, Mom." As I have never introduced her to the idea of "Karate-ing" anything, it was clear that peer influence had begun.

For most of us, friendships are reciprocal. We influence and are influenced by friends. Our children are no different. As they make friends at school, their behavior is influenced by these friends. This is to...