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School Start and Birthdays

Posted on 5/21/2013

Q: Our son's fifth birthday is in August. He did just fine, socially and academically, in preschool, but the counselor at the school he's slated to attend has recommended that we hold him back a...

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Nine year old: Homeschooling problem

Posted on 1/28/2013

Q: Our 9-year-old (only child) is home-schooled. He starts out well for about one hour, but then the wheels start falling off. He has to constantly be told what to do, but if you don't stand over...

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Nine year old Refuses to go to her room

Posted on 1/15/2013

Q: What should I do when my 9-year-old daughter loses all of her privileges because of her misbehavior but refuses to go to her room? I tried to physically force her, but she put up too much of a...

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7 year old twins fighting

Posted on 1/8/2013

Q: How can we help our 7-year-old twin girls stop fighting? They constantly provoke and antagonize each other. We thought this was just normal sibling conflict, but it seems to be developing into...

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Attitude is everything!

Posted on 12/11/2012

Q: Our 7-year-old has always been a great, respectful, funny little kid. However, recently he started lying and become a little sneaky. We punished him by taking his television privilege away and...

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Leave the Homework to the Child

Posted on 8/23/2011

<i>As the new school year begins, it's time for me, once again, to make my perennial case against parental involvement in homework.</i> First, it is significant to note that as...

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8-Year-Old Boy Video Games

Posted on 8/2/2011

Q. We have taken video game privileges away from our 8-year-old son for various misbehaviors, but now he's sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to play them anyway. If we confine him to...

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6-Year-Old Boys Being Rambunctious

Posted on 7/26/2011

Q. I have 6-year-old twin boys who tend to get rambunctious when playing with other boys. How can I teach them to control their behavior when around other 'wild' kids? Recently, one of my boys and...

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Wild Boys

Posted on 7/25/2011

Q: I have 6-year-old twin boys who tend to get rambunctious when playing with other boys. How can I teach them to control their behavior when around other 'wild' kids? Recently, one of my boys...

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Young Children Attending Funeral

Posted on 6/14/2011

Children at funerals? Q: My father-in-law has about one month to live. Should our children - ages 7, 5 and 2 - attend the funeral or viewing? A. Sit down with the older two children,...

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8-Year-Old Girl Not Completing Chores

Posted on 5/24/2011

Let children know you mean business Q: Our 8-year-old daughter has not been completing chores and following directions. On the morning of a recent soccer game, she failed to follow some simple...

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8-Year-Old Boy - Grade Retention Issue

Posted on 5/24/2011

Q: My 8-year-old son is the youngest in his third-grade class. Some students are more than a year older because parents are holding back boys these days. I am concerned because he is struggling...

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Kids Hitting Parents

Posted on 2/22/2011

A hidden abuse problem: Kids who assault parents One of the more heartbreaking consequences of the "psychological" parenting philosophy and style that American parents began adopting in the...

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Third Grade Boy Defiant and Lazy

Posted on 11/16/2010

This 'laziness' may be a clever form of defiance In their e-mail to me, his parents call him "The Laziest Kid in America." The child in question, a third-grader, hides his clothes rather than...

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Fifth Grade Boy School Issues

Posted on 11/2/2010

Parent wishes school would act on discipline Q: Our son's fifth-grade teacher has recently sent home notes to the effect that our little darling isn't paying attention and is missing homework...

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8-Year-Old Boy with Temper

Posted on 10/26/2010

8-year-old with a temper Q. My 8-year-old son is a sweet, sensitive little guy with a really bad temper. When I ask him to do something like take a bath or clean his room he often flies off the...

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10-Year-Old Girl Shaving Legs

Posted on 10/19/2010

Girl talk: Shaving legs Q: My 10-year-old daughter has been asking to shave her legs. So far I have said no, mainly because putting a razor in the hands of a 10-year-old doesn't seem safe....

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10-Year-Old Girl in Step-Family with Very Lenient Mom

Posted on 10/19/2010

Ultra-lenient mom Q: Our 10-year-old daughter goes back and forth between our house and her mom's. Our homes are run very differently. Bio-Mom gives her everything she wants (TV and DVD in her...

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8-Year-Old Son is a Verbal Bully

Posted on 8/10/2010

Son regrets ridiculing girl Q: My nearly 8-year-old son made fun of our next-door neighbor's biracial daughter's skin color. The minute he realized how wrong he was, he became very upset and...

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Sixth Grade Son Excessive Homework Load

Posted on 8/3/2010

How much homework is too much in sixth grade? Q: My son will be starting sixth grade at a new public charter school. This school uses a classical curriculum that does not draw from pop culture...

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7-Year-Old Son Sucking on Stuffed Animals

Posted on 7/20/2010

Sleeping with stuffed toys Q: My husband recently discovered that our 7-year-old son has been sucking on his stuffed animals when we put him to bed. He took the animals away, telling our son he...

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Younger Children Playing Poker with Older Child

Posted on 7/13/2010

Dealing with poker Q: What do you think about a 13-year-old child playing poker with my kids, ages 8 and 9? Even though they weren't using money, I didn't think it was age-appropriate, so I...

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6-Year-Old Girl Throwing Tantrums

Posted on 6/8/2010

Tantrums at 6? Kid's living la vida toddler A concerned mother told me her 6-year-old daughter still threw tantrums nearly every day, during which she screamed as if she were being tortured,...

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8-Year-Old Boy Humiliated by Coach

Posted on 5/11/2010

Coach humiliates kids Q: Our 8-year-old son is on an extremely competitive gymnastics team. We're concerned about the coach's disciplinary style. When a child makes a mistake, he is prone to...

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7-Year-Old Boy Bored Living in the Country

Posted on 4/13/2010

Bored country kid needs a hobby Q: We live in the country and my 7-year-old son is bored out of his mind. He desperately wants to move to the city where he can have neighbor kids to play with....

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Young Siblings Bickering

Posted on 2/16/2010

Siblings can't bicker if they're not together Q. My 7- and 4-year-old daughters play together all day long, but the play is punctuated every few minutes with bickering of the "I'm telling!" and...

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7-Year-Old Boy Dealing with Bully

Posted on 1/12/2010

ADVISE SON TO STAY OUT OF THE WAY OF POTENTIAL BULLY Q. My 7-year-old home-schooled son, whose personality is generally sweet and somewhat goofy, goes to a 4-hour class once a week with five...

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Ex-Wife Giving Lavish Gifts to 7-Year-Old Daughter

Posted on 1/12/2010

Stop lavish gifts from ex Q. Both my husband and I have 7-year-olds from previous marriages. My husband's ex-wife routinely sends her daughter home from visits with new presents. The last few...

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6-Year-Old Boy Lying

Posted on 11/3/2009

Nip that lying in the bud Q. My 6-year-old has recently started lying. His favorite sentence is "I didn't do anything." Even when I catch him in a lie he denies being at fault. I calmly and...

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6th Grader Required to Watch TV by School

Posted on 10/20/2009

Along the same lines: A mother relates that her daughter's sixth-grade science teacher assigned the class to watch "American Idol." The mother writes, "We told our daughter to forget it, it wasn't...

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Kindergartener Questionnaire

Posted on 10/20/2009

KINDERGARTEN QUESTIONNAIRE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY Q. My kindergartener brought home a questionnaire that asks: Do you like your class? Do you have friends in your class? Does your teacher...

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Consequence Needs to Produce Permanent Memory for 6-Year-Old Tantrum

Posted on 9/29/2009

ISSUING CONSEQUENCES EQUALS WELL-BEHAVED CHILDREN From the Mailbag: A Charlotte woman writes to the Observer that I should get out in the real world more and meet the "mothers and fathers of...

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Kindergarten Separation Anxiety

Posted on 8/4/2009

TAKE THE DRAMA OUT OF DROP-OFF TIME Q: I've been a public school teacher for quite a few years, and I wanted your opinion on the problem of kindergarten and even older children throwing fits...

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Parents Concerned About 10-Year-Old Daughter's Teacher Assignment

Posted on 7/28/2009

PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT CHILD'S TEACHER ASSIGNMENT Q. Our 10-year-old daughter has been assigned to a third-grade teacher whom we feel is not a good "fit" for her. This teacher has a reputation...

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6-Year-Old Boy Spitting

Posted on 7/21/2009

OLD CURE FOR STUBBORN KIDS From the Great Ideas Department: A veteran teacher writes that she had a 6-year-old male student who spit constantly during recess. ( I wonder from whom this child...

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10-Year-Old Girl Crying at Bedtime

Posted on 6/9/2009

*Good News from California: A mom from the Bay Area writes that after her father passed away last year, her 10-year-old daughter began crying every night at bedtime. The child's distress escalated...

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7-Year-Old Girl Performance Anxiety

Posted on 3/3/2009

DON'T FIGHT YOUR CHILD'S PERFORMANCE ANXIETY Q. Our 7-year-old daughter does well in school without our help and is a generally happy kid. Her only problem is an incapacitating case of...

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Use Chair of Wisdom for 8-Year-Old and 10-Year-Old Girls

Posted on 1/27/2009

IF 'NO' DOESN'T WORK, GET THE CHAIR OF WISDOM Q. Our 8- and 10-year-old daughters came to me and asked if they could go to the movies with two friends from school that they wanted to "get to...

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6-Year-Old Boy Interest in War-Like Games

Posted on 10/28/2008

INTEREST IN WAR-LIKE GAMES NOT UNUSUAL FOR BOYS Q: My happy 6-year-old son has started incorporating death and war-like games into his play. He has never been a mean-spirited child, but his dad...

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Give Older Children Some Freedom

Posted on 10/21/2008

GIVE OLDER CHILDREN SOME FREEDOM TO ROAM From the time I was 12, my parents would let me walk from our house in Westchester, Ill., to the bus stop five blocks away, catch a bus to the...

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7-Year-Old Girl Not Helping Around the House

Posted on 9/2/2008

GIVE HELPFUL SIS A 'VACATION' Q. My 7-year-old, Michelle, has a wonderful example in her 12-year-old sister, Emma. Emma is very helpful around the house. She even asks me if there's anything I...

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7-Year-Old Girl's Diary Upsets Dad

Posted on 7/29/2008

ONLY ALARMING BEHAVIOR JUSTIFIES SNOOPING IN DIARY Q: My husband read our 7-year-old daughter's composition book that she had been using as a diary and became upset at some of the things she...

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6-Year-Old Boys - Moaning, Eye Rolling, Door Slamming, Stomping

Posted on 7/22/2008

TRY '3 STRIKES' WITH REBELLIOUS 6-YEAR-OLDS Q: How should we handle the noises (moaning), the gestures (eye rolling) and the posturing (door slamming, stomping) that ensue so often around here...

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Personality nor Behavior is Fixed by Age 6

Posted on 7/8/2008

IS AGE 6 REALLY TOO LATE TO CHANGE A CHILD'S BEHAVIOR? Q. I've always heard that a child's character and personality are pretty well set by the time he/she is 5 or 6 years old, and that any...

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10-Year-Old Boy's Sad Poem Does Not Need Psychiatric Evaluation

Posted on 4/15/2008

SAD MOOD IN HIS POEM DOESN'T MEAN 10-YEAR-OLD IS FALLING APART I got a letter from a child psychiatrist scolding me for not recommending a psychiatric evaluation for a 10-year-old boy who used...

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First Grade Boy Zoning Out in Class

Posted on 3/25/2008

'ZONING OUT' COULD BE SEIZURE In a recent column, I answered a question from the mother of a first-grade boy who frequently "zoned out" in class and rarely finished classwork. I recommended...

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10-Year-Old Boy's Poem Worries Mom

Posted on 3/25/2008

Son's poem worries mom My 10-year-old son wrote an autobiographical poem as a school assignment. The assignment was to write about what he dreams, wants and fears. He wrote, in part, "Dreams I...

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Boy Siblings Speak Mean to One Another

Posted on 3/18/2008

WHEN CHILDREN SQUABBLE, IT'S USUALLY BEST NOT TO INTERVENE Q. Should I punish my boys - ages 12, 9, and 8 - when they speak very meanly to one another? They say things like "You're stupid" and...

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First Grade Boy Zones Out in Class

Posted on 3/11/2008

FOR WAKE-UP CALL, TRY EARLY BEDTIME My first-grade son's teacher says he frequently "zones out" and doesn't finish assignments in class, even simple things like coloring each number on the page...

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7-Year-Old Boy Talking Back, Arguing, and Lying

Posted on 3/4/2008

PARENTS SHARE THEIR 3 STORIES OF 'TOUGH LOVE' TURNAROUNDS It's one thing to give advice on the rearing of children, which is what I do through this column. It's quite another to share...

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