Hoping For Grandchildren

Dear Sara,

My daughter is twenty six now and has been married for four years. She works full time and says she doesn’t want children. I was a stay home at home mom for her and her brother and have never worked. I told her that I would help her by keeping the kids with me while she worked. She is not interested in this. She said she didn’t want to be tied down with kids and she wasn’t good mother material. I was really hoping for grand babies. What could I do to help change her mind?

Dear Claudia,

It sounds like your daughter has made up her mind about having children and I doubt that anything you say could make a difference. If you continue to bring up the subject you could end up damaging your relationship with her and I’m sure that is not what you intend.

She may change her mind in the future but it needs to be her idea not yours. Maybe you could find a volunteer job working with children to help keep you busy. Right now your daughter needs you as a mother and a friend.

Son’s Aggressive Behavior

Dear Sara,

I am a divorced mom with a sixteen year old son, Jordan. His father lives in another state and Jordan seldom sees him. Jordan is six feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds. Lately I have been having problems with Jordan being aggressive toward me if he doesn’t get what he wants. He has thrown a shoe at me and shoved me down on the couch. I don’t want him to think that this kind of behavior is OK toward me or for that matter anyone else. What should I do about this?

Dear Christine,

You are absolutely right! This kind of behavior should not be tolerated. You have control over things that you have given him, like a car, a cell phone (that you probably pay the bill for) or an allowance. Let him know that you will not put up with any more aggressive behavior and you will take away any or all of these things that you have given him if he acts in any way aggressive toward you. This includes threatening, pushing or trying to control you in any way. If you aren’t assertive he will continue to bully you. Don’t tolerate this at all.

If his behavior continues to be aggressive, you could see if his father would take custody for a while.

Can’t Afford College

Dear Sara,

My son is seventeen and wants to go to college. He is very bright and ambitious. I want him to have this opportunity but my wife and I have minimum wage jobs and just manage to buy food, gas and pay rent. This seems really important to him but we can’t help. How can he manage to pay for college without a mountain of debt?

Dear John,

The first thing your son need to look into are scholarships. He might want to look on-line and apply for any which fit his plan for college. Government loans are available but he will have to pay them back for a long time. He might want to consider living at home and getting a part-time job to help him pay expenses and tuition. If he is a good student maybe someone in his chosen field will help him out with part-time employment. Good luck to him.

Child Turned Vegetarian

Dear Sara,

My fifteen year old daughter has decided she wants to be a vegetarian. She feels sorry for the animals that are killed. I can’t make her eat meat and I don’t feel she is getting proper nutrition especially iron. How should I handle this?

Dear Katrina,

This phase isn’t too unusual for teens. She may or may not give it up after a while. I hope she likes most vegetables. Spinach and kale are good sources of iron as well as eggs and raisins.

You might start with a visit to her MD and make sure her overall health is good. Your next step is to see a specialist in nutrition to work out a healthy diet of things she likes.

A vegetarian diet won’t hurt her, just make sure she eats things that are good for her and she doesn’t fill up on junk food. Let her know that you will support her diet but that you want her to follow a good nutritionally balanced diet.

Good luck.

Cheating Husband

Dear Sara,

I was looking for an address on my husband’s computer and came upon information that completely surprised me. Apparently he is having a relationship with another person. We have three grade school children and although we haven’t been close for a while I assumed that we had a solid marriage. I don’t necessarily want a divorce for the sake of the children but I’m afraid if I confront my husband, this could be what he wants. I am also afraid if this gets out my kids will be hurt. I guess my main goal is to protect my kids. How can I do this?

Dear Jennifer,

It sounds like your marriage was a bit shaky even before you found out about your husband. Now that you know that he is interested in someone else it makes sense to talk to your husband about it. It will probably help to have some professional counseling. You need help in communicating so that each of you can understand how to make your marriage stronger. Your husband may feel the same way about protecting the children as you do but you won’t find out unless you talk to him. It’s important to do what’s best for the children but your feelings are important too.

Did My Child Take Drugs

Dear Sara,

I have four teens and I’m a working Mom. When I came home from work last night, my sixteen year old was asleep on the couch. I cooked supper and about an hour later we all sat down to dinner. The sixteen year old came to the table and spent the entire meal with his head on his arm on the table. He roused himself from time to time to eat and join the conversation. After I thought about it, I wondered if he could have taken some kind of drug. I’ve never had a problem like this with my other kids. What should I do?

Dear Karen,

Sixteen is an age when kids want to experiment and this does seem pretty suspicious. You probably need to start with your medicine cabinet. Is there anything like left over prescription pain killers in there? You need to get rid of them or store them in a secure place.

Does your son have an allowance that would be large enough to purchase drugs? If so you might consider cutting back on his money supply so he can’t afford to purchase illegal drugs. Keep track of the money in your purse. If he needs extra money he may “borrow” from you without asking.

Have a confidential talk with your son and let him know what you suspect. Either way he will probably deny that he has a problem. Let him know that you won’t tolerate drugs in you household. If he seems impaired again, be willing to provide consequences like taking away his phone or driving privileges. Keep an eye on things and get professional help if you think he needs it.

Mother Diagnosed with Cancer

Dear Sara,

My Mom lives in another state about an eight hour drive away. We haven’t been on good terms for a while because she doesn’t like my husband. She has cancer now and has asked me to come and stay with her for a while. I have two preschool kids and there is no place at her home for them besides I don’t want to leave my home and husband for a long period of time. I know she is sick and may die but I really can’t figure out how to cope with all of this. What can I do?

Dear Clementine,

How sad for your Mom to be away from you and your children at a time like this. If she and your husband got along better you might invite her to come and stay with you. It doesn’t sound like she would be comfortable with this and the constant activity of two young children would be difficult for her.

If you can manage it, the best you could do would be to have a long weekend with her as often as you can. She will probably need a caregiver or a nursing home eventually and you could help her arrange these things. I hope that you and your Mom can patch up your relationship before it’s too late. Be kind to her but remember your family is important as well.

Chatty Cathy

Dear Sara,

My five year old daughter is driving me crazy. She talks all of the time. She interrupts when I am talking to another adult and at times she follows me around and continues to talk about anything and everything. Her kindergarten teacher is also having problems with her talking nonstop at school. This constant chatter has begun to wear on me and at times I lose my patience and just tell her to “shut up.” She then gets her feelings hurt and cries. How should I deal with her constant need to talk?

Dear Suzanne,

It sounds like you have already tried to deal with her constant chatter without results. I am wondering if she might have ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It would be a good idea to check this out with a professional while she is still young. There is medication that she could take that would help her calm down. This will be important to help her pay attention in school.

If you find out that this is not the problem but maybe just a way to get your attention, you could try rewarding her for times when she is quiet and giving her undivided attention at certain times of the day when she can enjoy your company. It sounds like she is very bright and needs to express herself. You just have to help her control her need to talk all of the time.

To Spank Or Not To Spank

Dear Sara,

My husband and I are having a “discussion” about how to raise our two preschool sons. He believes in spanking because he was raised that way and says that he respects and loves his parents. I was raised by parents who believed that spanking was unacceptable and used other consequences. How do you feel about corporal punishment?

Dear Ava,

Kids need to have a little fear in their heart of the consequences that they will have if they do something reckless or stupid. They need to think “if I do that what will Mom or Dad do?” If a kid thinks “well nothing much will happen” then they might proceed to do the reckless stupid thing and get themselves hurt or in trouble.

Your goal is for your children to respect you. If you are nice and kind and loving that’s good but if your children don’t respect you, then they will do as they please and walk all over you. You need to be in charge. You can’t be the nice guy all of the time. You have to mean what you say and back it up with a punishment strong enough to get their attention. They will for sure have to face the consequences as adults if they mess up.

My parents spanked me and I must have been really bad at one point because my Daddy switched me with a branch off the maple tree out front. I can still remember that and my Dad was so easy going that it probably hurt him just as much as me.

I started out spanking my kids but after a while I decided against it and used time outs. Spanking is probably OK as long as you can make sure you can remember to stay calm and not leave marks or bruises. That’s when it becomes abusive. I really think time out or taking away privileges works just as well or better than spanking.

Overwhelming Mother

Dear Sara,

I have been married two years and have a beautiful six month baby girl. The problem is not with the baby but with my mother. She has been coming to my house three or four times a week for six to eight hours a day. At first I really appreciated the help but now I am beginning to dread her visits since she is so controlling.

Everything has to be done her way. She ends up taking over. I have tried to tell her how I feel but she says she has more experience and knows how things need to be done. How can I deal with her?

Dear Savannah,

Probably the first thing you need to do is limit the amount of days your Mom can visit. I’m sure that she loves your little girl as much as you do but how are you supposed to gain the experience that she has if you aren’t allowed to take care of your own little girl.

If you decide that your Mom can come over one day a week, let her know up front that this is what you want. She may be angry and hurt but you have a right to your privacy. Be sure and call her every day and ask for her advice if you need it. You may feel a loss as well since you are used to having your Mom around so much. In order to independent of your Mom, you have to have some boundaries.