My Wife Doesn’t Have Time for me

Dear Sara,

I have been married for ten years and we have two children ages seven months and three years. I work long hours to support my family. I feel that I have lost that connection that my wife Laura and I used to have. I love my kids but I feel displaced by them. Laura seems too busy for me now. We used to have fun together and get romantic but she doesn’t seem interested. What can I do to reconnect with my wife?

Carliss

Dear Carliss,

Your marriage needs to be nurtured just like anything that you value. Think about your relationship before you married and had kids. You both wanted to be together and wanted to talk and be listened to and snuggle and cuddle. This part of a relationship has to be maintained in order for it to remain healthy.

If the family focus is only on the children and their needs, the parents relationship may wither and die from neglect. With two preschoolers Laura may feel overloaded and tired a lot. She may need help from you so that she can feel that she has a few minutes to take a deep breath. I realize that you are working long hours but your marriage is important.

If you want to reconnect then you will have to plan some time alone. A whole weekend would be good. Make Laura feel really special. She is probably feeling the same emotional disconnect that you are. If you feel you can’t get away for a whole weekend then plan to have a weekly date where you can spend a few hours talking and reconnecting. Try to find a good babysitter so Laura won’t have to worry about the kids.

Tell Laura how you feel and she will see that this is important to you. Don’t give up and things will eventually get back to normal. She is just overloaded right now.

Sara

How can I be a Better Parent Than Mine Were?

Dear Sara,

I was raised by parents who basically ignored me. They worked all day and drank when they came home at night. They yelled at me when I did something they didn’t like and that was the extent of our interactions. I have a new baby and I need to know a better way to discipline her. I love her so much and I want her to feel wanted and loved. I always felt that the way I was raised was wrong and I want things to be different for my daughter.

Jan

Dear Jan,

Your parents did the opposite of good parenting. They ignored you and only paid attention when you did something wrong. The only way you had their attention was when you were being bad. I’m so glad that you realize their mistake and want to change things.

As your daughter grows, pay more attention when she is being good so she won’t act out just to get your attention. Her best reward will be your praise. There will inevitably be times when she does something that will need a punishment. If you don’t discipline her at these times you will have a spoiled brat on your hands. Part of loving your child is to raise her to be responsible for her actions.

When you need to discipline her you will know what her favorite toy or activity is. You are in a position to give or take away according to her behavior. Discipline gets harder as your child gets older so be consistent. Try to be fair and not too harsh but don’t back down when you give a punishment.

Every stage of parenting brings new challenges but your love and attention are important in every stage.

Sara

I’m not enjoying being a stay at home mom

Dear Sara,

I’m a stay at home Mom with a one year old and a four year old. All my friends work and put their kids in day care but I felt like it was important to be at home with my kids until they started to school. I didn’t realize how lonely that was going to be. I am beginning to feel depressed and I am gaining weight because I eat a lot. My husband isn’t much help. When he comes home he just wants to watch TV and what he calls “chill out” after a busy day. I need to change things but how?

Robin

Dear Robin,

In past generations when it was expected for Mom to stay home with the kids, there were other Moms in the neighborhood to socialize with. They had informal chat groups while the kids played. That lifestyle is no longer there so stay at home Moms have to be proactive and find places where they can interact with others like themselves.

You might start with the YMCA. This time of year is a good time to start as they are waving fees and most have babysitting services. You might want to try yoga. It’s good for you mentally and physically. When weather permits you could bundle the kids up and put them in a stroller and walk for about an hour. They will enjoy it and you will get some much needed exercise.
Since your husband just wants to be a couch potato in the evenings, why don’t you enlist him as a babysitter once a week and try to get together with some of your friends. You need to get out of the house and he needs to take some of the responsibility for his children. Do what it takes to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy.

Happy New Year

Sara

How do I help my daughter deal with rape?

Dear Sara,

My 17 year old daughter was abducted and raped. Luckily she managed to escape but she’s a mess. I don’t know what to do for her. She’s in therapy and has a group that she can talk to but they haven’t caught the man who raped her so she’s petrified he will come back. She wants a gun but I’m afraid for her to have one. She’s so skittish right now. She thinks she sees someone around every corner. What can I do to calm her down?

Naomi

Dear Naomi,

How awful for your daughter. Even with counseling and therapy it will take quite some time for her to work her way through this. She may have some feelings of anxiety for the rest of her life. The best thing for you to do is to listen if she wants to talk and be there to hug her when she feels afraid.

If she feels the need for a weapon you might suggest a stun gun. She needs to feel safe and able to defend herself. She might also want to look into self defense classes or some type of martial arts. I’m so sorry for her and hope that she heals soon.

Sara

How do I prevent a political fights at the Christmas table?

Dear Sara,

My two sons are coming home from college for Christmas. Thanksgiving was a political battleground for them. They were on different sides and both are very strong minded. They had friends visiting, things became very heated and the whole holiday was ruined for me. The election and who won still seems to be a hot topic. How can I get them to calm down and let me have a little “peace on earth”?

Susan

Dear Susan,

You have a right to set limits. Before the Christmas holiday, talk to your sons separately, tell them how you feel and let them know that they have to leave the political discussions outside your home. Christmas is a family time and they need to respect your wishes. Be assertive. Don’t let them mess with your holiday.

Let them know the election is over. President elect Trump has four years to do his best to make good on his promises. Whatever our feelings we have to accept the results and all work together. After four years we will have an opportunity to judge how he has done and vote again. My hope is for peace on earth and good will towards men until then.

Merry Christmas.

Sara

How do I break the news to my kids that we no longer have extra spending money?

Dear Sara,

Our family has really had to cut back because I lost my job and I am staying at home now. We have gone from a two income family with money to put away for retirement to a one income family just barely getting by. We don’t have any money to entertain our two kids because we need the money for groceries. What can we do to keep our kids occupied and happy this summer?

Holly

Dear Holly,

The best entertainment you can give the kids is the gift of your time and attention. They can play games on their own but it’s much more fun if Mom and Dad join in. Drag out the board games and play Monopoly or one of their other favorites.

You’ll probably be eating at home more because it’s less expensive. When the weather is good get out and have a picnic or have a cookout and let them invite their friends. Take your kids for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s a good exercise and gives you a chance to interact with your neighbors.

Another family project you might get you kids involved in is a family garden. Fresh vegetables from your own garden are incredible. Let your kids help pick out seeds and plant them. Most things come up fairly readily. If you have an excess, it’s fairly easy to freeze vegetables. You will be surprised at how much better they are than what you pay good money for at the grocery store.

Your kids might remember this summer more than any other because they had the benefit of spending more time with you.

Sara

Dear Sara, My teen is embarrassed about her growing bust-line

Dear Sara,

My 13 year old daughter Nicole has a problem that most girls would probably envy. She is getting a very nice bust-line, but she is very uncomfortable with it and tries to hide it. She isn’t overweight at all, so this is not a problem. Her best friend is petite and has very little development in that area. What can I do to help her appreciate her assets and be more confident. [Read more...]

Dear Sara, My Toddler Bites…

Dear Sara,

My 2 year old daughter Annie has been biting her 4 year old brother. I have been putting her in timeout for this but so far it hasn’t helped. One of the problems is that she won’t stay in timeout unless I’m there holding on to her which in my mind gives her too much attention. Is there some other way to discipline her for biting? [Read more...]

Dear Sara, We told our 14 year old daughter she couldn’t go to a party but she sneaked out anyways…

Dear Sara,

Our 14 year old daughter Taylor sneaked out Saturday night to go to a party at her friend’s house. She had asked us if she could go and was told that she couldn’t attend because we found out that her friend’s older brother was giving the party and the crowd would be kids who were 16 and 17. She waited until we went to bed and had someone pick her up at the end of our block. I just happened to get up and looked in her room to find that she was gone. She is grounded for now but we wonder if we were being too strict by not letting her go to the party.

Christie

Dear Christie,

Your rules are for Taylor’s safety and she has to accept the fact that she can’t defy them and do as she pleases. Apparently her friend invited her since the party was at her house and she felt entitled. The brother might not have been aware of the invitation. At times fourteen year olds tend to think that they are more mature than they really are.

Are you against kids having parties or was this just because the crowd was older? If the parents were at home and there was no alcohol involved, this might have been safe enough for Taylor. Maybe you have a problem with Taylor hanging out with boys who are older than she is. This is a cause for concern in that they may be more experienced and she could end up in a situation that she is not prepared for.

Supervised parties are a way for kids to get together with their friends and become social. They need some safe ways to hang out and have fun. You might consider letting Taylor invite some friends her age to your house. You can provide pizza, soft drinks and whatever entertainment kids that age enjoy and be there to supervise.

For now Taylor deserves to be grounded for defying your rule.

Sara

Dear Sara, I have an 18 month old granddaughter…

Dear Sara,

I have an 18 month old granddaughter whose parents work hectic hours. This baby has been left with a caregiver who she is not happy with. She is very insecure and demanding.

[Read more...]