Dear Sara, my 15 year old is dating a guy with a criminal record…

Dear Sara,

My 16 year old daughter Kirsten is “in love” with a guy we thought was 18. Her friend’s mother just told us that he is not 18 but 25 and has a criminal record. He has been arrested on drug and assault charges. Her father and I have forbidden her to see him any more but we think that she may sneak out to see him. How can we put a stop to this?

Edie [Read more...]

Dear Sara, My daughter’s teacher says my daughter is advanced…

Dear Sara,

My daughter Gina has just turned five years old. She is unusually bright and has been reading since she was two. She is in kindergarten now and the teachers think she should be advanced to first grade. I want her to grow up normally and have friends her own age. How should I handle this?

Maria [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my five year old twins are pleading for me to buy a dog…

Dear Sara,

I have five year old twins who are pleading for a dog. Their friend has one and they think that it is wonderful. I have a job and between that and taking care of the twins and the house I have very little spare time. They insist they will take care of the dog but I know better. What kind of dog would be the easiest to take care of?

Trudy

Dear Trudy,

You are right. At the age your kids are, most of the responsibility will be yours. What you might want to do is insist that they help you until they are old enough to do this on their own. They can put the food and water in the bowl and let their new friend out into the yard when he needs to go out and learn to walk him on the leash under your supervision.

Puppies are really cute but they are a lot of work. Until they are trained you will be cleaning up after them a lot. Why don’t you try the local animal shelter. There are so many older dogs who need homes and they are vet checked and healthy. You might look for one that is laid back and won’t be jumping on the kids all of the time. The twins might be able to walk a medium size dog on a leash if he is not too active. There will be one special one that is perfect for your family.

Caring for a dog can teach a child responsibility. It will need to fed watered and walked. A pet’s love will be remembered long after it is gone. He will be part of your family.

Sara

Dear Sara, how do I make sure my kids do not join a gang…

Dear Sara,

I have two preschoolers and live in a neighborhood that has a lot of gang graffitti. I don’t want my kids involved in gangs. What can I do ?

Sherry [Read more...]

Dear Sara, how do I make sure my 14 year old stays healthy, now that she is a vegetarian?

Dear Sara,

My 14 year old daughter Shawna has decided to be a vegetarian. She says that she doesn’t want to eat anything “with eyes.” I know that she is going through puberty and needs protein and certain amounts of vitamins. She seems to be a normal weight now but I worry about her physical well being. What kinds of things do I need to worry about.

Rachel [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my 3 grown children keep coming back to me for financial help…

Dear Sara,

My husband left and I have raised my three children by myself. They are 20,24 and 26 years old and are living on their own and all have jobs. The problem is that they keep coming back to me for financial help, always an emergency. They can’t pay the rent or their car payment is due and they don’t get paid until the end of the month or something else that seems an emergency to them. I am ending up in debt because of them. I know I should just say no but I always give in. How can I get them to take care of themselves?

Peggy [Read more...]

Dear Sara, I caught my two boys smoking today….

Dear Sara,

I can’t tell you how upset I am. I have two sons ages 9 and 12. I caught them smoking today. The reason I am so upset is that my Mother died of lung cancer. She was only 42 years old and I still miss her so much. I can remember growing up how my clothes and hair smelled like smoke and I vowed that I would never smoke. I have told my sons about the dangers of smoking and they still tried it. What can I do to make them understand?

Angie [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my 14 year old’s boyfriend is now going out with her best friend…

Dear Sara,

My daughter Paige is 14 and broken hearted. She had a 15 year old boyfriend that she said that she was “going with.” They didn’t go any where but he came over to our house and called her on the phone. In the last week he has stopped calling her and now says that he is “going with” her best friend. She is crying and doesn’t want to go to school. What can I do to help?

Gail [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my wife’s mother won’t stop criticizing my wife….

Dear Sara,

My wife and I have four children ages six to fourteen. In general, they are cooperative well behaved children. The problem is my mother-in-law. She comes over to our house without being invited and proceeds to tell my wife all of the wrong things she is doing, including how to parent our children and run the household. I have been putting up with this for years and I have just about had it with her criticism and complaints. My wife tells me to stay out of it and just lets it go on. What can I do to stop this interference?

Nolin [Read more...]

Dear Sara, I’m a single mom and haven’t introduced a boyfriend to my family in the past 3 years….

Dear Sara,

I have been divorced for three years and I am considering dating again. I have a boy Jon age 11 and a girl Christina age 9. Are there any guidelines regarding how to introduce a new boyfriend into the family?

Didi [Read more...]