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"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...

Many parents express intense concern over the way their children treat and are treated by friends. From "my child's so bossy, I'm worried that she'll never have any friends," to "my child doesn't stand up for himself, he always does what his friends want," and including "my child came home crying because his friends wouldn't let him join the soccer game," children's social lives, the form that they take, and the way in which they develop worry and distress parents.

"Kids are so cruel, won't that affect my child's self-esteem?" "My daughter was treated...

"I took my daughter to school for her first day. We got to the schoolyard, and her class isn't very big, and the girls were all huddled together, chatting. My daughter walked up to greet them, and they were so mean to her. Catty and cruel - you know how girls can be. I was furious. My daughter came home crying that day, and I just don't know how to help her."

"I watched my son in the schoolyard and it was so clear that he was having difficulty breaking into a group. Several boys were playing basketball, some others were looking through their Pokemon...

"I just don't understand it," one Mom complained. "He was so awful all weekend, and I was so patient. I must have bitten my tongue a thousand times, and he just kept at me. Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore and I lost it. I felt completely unappreciated."

The most common definition of "patient" in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, reads: "to bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint." But if we bear our children's misbehavior without complaint, what are we teaching our children? In the long run, how effective is our patience? And what...

"My daughter's teacher asked me to look over her homework on a nightly basis. Apparently, she's been handing in sloppy work that sometimes isn't complete. But now all we do is fight over the homework. It's just not working, and I don't know what to do!"

"My son's teacher told me he's been playing rough on the playground. She asked me to speak to him, but I'm not sure what good that's going to do."

When teachers ask parents to get involved in the issues that come up for kids in school, it often creates more problems than it solves. Children...

This past weekend represented a “first” for my husband and me in the parenting department: we went away and left our son home by himself for two nights. We did not come to this decision easily, mind you. While he’s a “rising senior” in High School and a really reliable kid, he’s only 16. We questioned ourselves: what if there was an emergency? Would he know how to handle it? What if he got ill: who could he call? How would he eat? Would he turn the flame off the burner on the stove if he cooked for himself? How would we know where he was? What if we text him and we don’t hear back...

When my son came home from his first day of school this week, I asked him how it went with regard to using his AmEx PASS card to purchase lunch, since this was one of the things he was wary about when switching from cash to card to receive his allowance.
“The place we went to wouldn’t take my card,” he said.
“Oh. How did you handle that?” I asked.
“I just borrowed money from a friend,” he replied.
Ok, but how are you going to pay your friend back, I wondered. Presumably, his friend doesn’t take AmEx either! But I bit my tongue and didn’t ask. I wanted to, I...