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Although the idea of having different rules in your household for your children who are different ages might seem self-evident, the actual implementation of those rules can be troublesome. Any parent who has tried, for example, to institute an earlier bedtime for their 6 year old when they have an 8 year old who stays up later will have heard the popular refrain "It's not fair!" more than once. In fact, the uprising that can occur when younger ones rebel often causes parents to crumble, allowing their younger children to have more flexible, lax or lenient rules...

"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

"I nag and I nag and I nag. He just doesn't listen. For example, I tell him to turn off the TV, it's time to do his homework. No response. So I say it again. He still doesn't respond. Sometimes I repeat myself a half a dozen times. Finally, I stand in front of the TV and scream at him and he looks up and says `huh?' And you know what really gets me? Then he's annoyed because I interrupted his program and yelled at him."

Sound familiar? There are few things more annoying to parents than when a child doesn't listen. We begin by asking nicely. It's...

In today's society, and at younger and younger ages, people are increasingly horrified by the rude attitude and foul language used by young people of all ages. From the five year old who defiantly puts her hands on her hips, lifts one eyebrow and declares to her mother "You're stupid, and I don't have to do what you say" to the four letter words that erupt from the mouths of teenagers, lack of respect for one's elders appears to be increasingly prevalent. How then do we engage (or even demand) the respect of our children? And how do we encourage them to show...

A woman with a five year old asked me if it was normal that her son was expressing a desire to run away from home, telling her "I hate you" and screaming that she didn't understand him when he felt angry. She said that she wasn't expecting that type of behavior until he was a teenager.

More and more often now I'm being asked the question "is it normal for a young child to be so rude, to want to run away, to have such an `attitude'?" Unfortunately the answer is not altogether clear cut. On the one hand, children of all ages speak in a kind of code....

"I have a problem with one of my son's friends. He has absolutely no respect for the "house rules" when he comes over to play. After every playdate, the place is a wreck, with toys all over the place. He never picks up after himself, and my son ends up completely overwhelmed with the clean-up afterwards."

"My daughter has a friend that I like, but sometimes she does sneaky things when she comes over for a playdate. For example, she'll take one of my daughter's toys and hide it, then say `innocently' that she has no idea where it is and even pretends to...

How can I get my two year old to cooperate in the morning? Does this differ for a 7 year old?

Most parents approach morning chaos with the thought "How can I make this easier for me?" I've found, however, that it's often more effective to ask "How can I make this easier for my child?"

Mornings can be difficult for adults and children alike. Children often feel confused and frustrated by having to adhere to a time schedule that they don't understand or value. Because their priorities are different from those of an adult, it's difficult for...

If you've been reading in these articles you have beguan to come up with ways to make yourself a more effective parent. Perhaps you've used some of the tools with success, and if so, congratulations. It's also possible that some of the tools have been difficult to implement...maybe you've read them, thought they'd be helpful, but in your rush to get the kids off to school that morning, you threw the paper out. Or maybe you just felt too tired and irritable that day to try something new, and yelling was easier and at least seemed to work -- after all the kids did...

When it comes to our children, every parent has experienced the emotions of worry and guilt. In fact, I often tell my workshop participants that these two feelings in particular seem to go hand in hand with the title of Mom or Dad. Worry and guilt aren't necessarily negative of course. For example, maybe you have a nagging worry about your child's ongoing cough so you call the doctor one more time and discover that indeed, he has bronchitis. Or maybe you feel guilty because you blamed your daughter for something she didn't do, and your guilt causes you to...

Summer's over, it's the beginning of October, and our children are in school. Most parents have breathed a sigh of relief, and are looking towards holiday preparations. Everyone is settled into the new routine. Or are they?

"I don't understand what's wrong with my son. He's absolutely bouncing off the walls when he gets home from school. I didn't see this behavior over the summer."

"My daughter's teacher told me she hit someone in school. She's never hit anyone in her life!"

"My son is so morose and unpleasant. What's going on...

The holidays are over, and you have returned home from visiting the relatives. It's half-past nine in the evening and you've just put your daughter to bed. It's time to prop up your feet and listen to the new CD you got and relax. You close your eyes and...

"Mommy? Can I have another hug?"

You give her a hug, and send your pride and joy back to bed. You close your eyes once again and...

"Mommy? I forgot to tell you something..."

Why is it that at nine in the evening, the pitter-patter of little feet that you so yearned for before...

A mother pulled me aside after a lecture I'd given and asked if I would answer a question for her. "I feel like I'm caught in a bind with my daughter," she explained. "I enrolled her in an after school sports program that she said she wanted to sign up for. We're not even halfway through the semester though, and she's telling me she doesn't like it and wants to drop out. I'm confused. She's only six, and I hate to make her do something that she's really unhappy with, but at the same time I think she about the right age to start learning about commitment."
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Infants are naturally good eaters. They fuss when they're hungry, eat heartily until they feel satisfied, and then they stop eating. Why, then, are food issues and eating disorders on the rise? Why don't the natural eating habits of the infant last? What goes wrong?

The answer is that many things can go wrong. However, as parents, we have an integral part in helping our children develop healthy ideas about eating that can compliment their natural instincts and deter dangerous eating habits later on.

Let's look at the influences that shift...

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman ... these mythical characters sprinkle our childhood memories and fill us with nostalgia. As parents, most of us weave these fantasies into tales which enrich and enhance our own little one's childhood experience. Children look eagerly forward to the magical appearance of gifts under a tree, money under a pillow, even tales of the Sandman serve their purpose in gently transitioning a child from the excitement of a day filled with activity to a restful sleep. These mythical characters add magic and...

As I sat indoors this past season in some of the coldest weather we'd seen in many winters, with my children bored and irritable, full of energy with no place to expend it, I longed for the warmer days of spring and summer when I could set them loose on the playground. Now the opportunity is here, and I've breathed a sigh of relief. But as any parent can attest, the playground brings its own challenges. At times the politics on the playground rival those of the Capital in Washington. Is it o.k. for your child to play with someone else's shovel and pail if the...

Of all the myriad aspects that make up the school year -- routines, extracurricular activities, early mornings, pick up and drop off plans -- the one that challenges parents the most is homework. And most parents (and children too!) close their eyes to its inevitable occurrence thereby finding themselves ensnarled in power struggles and tantrums with each other once homework passes through the portals of their previously calm home. Let's look at an alternative to the closed eyes route and see how you might be able to set your child up for success even before...

A mother sat in my office the other day, telling me about her preadolescent son. He was surly, she said, and when he spoke to her it was with a great deal of eye rolling and nasty comments. He refused to pick up his clothes, and his simple chores of taking out the trash and setting the table were never done properly. Even when she approached him to ask a question about something he wanted - such as when he would like to leave for soccer practice, he would snap at her, they'd invariably get into an argument, and he'd wind up saying something like "Never mind, I don't want to go...

On November 7, 1997 I walked into one of my workshops - my "advanced" group, most of whom have been with me for at least several years. I was greeted with exclamations of confusion and bewilderment, resulting from an article appearing in the New York Times on that date entitled "When Parents Decide To Take Charge Again." In case you didn't have an opportunity to read the article yourself, the gist of it was that many parents are disillusioned with the "psychologically correct mode of discipline" -- concerned that "appeals to the child's better side" in an effort...

"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...