How do I tell my husband I’m homesick?

Dear Sara,

I just moved to a new city with my husband and our two kids ages six months and two years. We moved because he had a terrific job opportunity here and no prospects in our home town. I am so depressed. I miss my Mom and Dad and all the friends I grew up with. My Mom and Dad would keep my two little ones when I needed to get groceries or wanted to go out to dinner with my husband. Now I have no one and feel like I get no breaks. I feel guilty wanting to go home and angry because I have to stay here. We are financially way better off but I am really unhappy. What can I do?


Dear Christy,

Getting adjusted to a new situation takes time but that doesn’t keep you from feeling really miserable right now. It’s really not good for you to stay home all of the time without any adult companionship. It sounds like your husband is so involved in his new job that you can’t count on him either.

So you need a plan. If you want to get out and meet people you are going to have to find someone you can trust to take care of your children. You might consider a gym where they have babysitting service on site. This way you could work out (which will help your depression) and be close by to make sure your kids are doing OK. Also look for churches that offer a mother’s day out.

Think about what your interests are. Find some way to get together with people with the same interests. You may need to find a daycare in your area and see if they will take your children on an as needed basis. You will continue to feel angry and resentful if you stay home by yourself and the more depressed you get the harder it will be to get yourself up and out of the house.

I hope you are keeping in touch with your Mom and Dad and friends by telephone, e-mail and skype. Let your husband know about about your anger and depression and how much you miss your home town. He can’t change his job at this point but maybe you could plan a trip home so that you could touch base with family and friends again.

Getting used to a new and strange place takes time and at this point it feels like you are really isolated. Just one friend would help to lessen this feeling. Reach out and look around you for other mothers in the same situation.

Take care of yourself.


Dear Sara, how do I help with my son’s temper tantrums?

Dear Sara,

I have a four year old son who has started having temper tantrums. Up until now he has been a fairly easy going little boy. Nothing much has changed in our household so I don’t know what’s going on. Any ideas?


Dear Charlotte,

With a two year old I would usually recommend ignoring a temper tantrum. Usually they will stop tantrums when they figure out that they can’t get their way acting this way. If you think that your son is trying to manipulate you to get his way then this would be a solution.

He may be trying to tell you something though. Is he with you all day or does he go to daycare? If he is in daycare you may need to go there and observe his interactions with the other kids and his caregivers. Ask questions and find out what, if anything, has changed. Are there new neighbors that he is interacting with? He could be copying some other child’s behavior.

You might consider sexual abuse. Usually sexual abuse is by someone the child knows and trusts. Check your son over when you give him a bath and see if you see anything unusual. He may not be able to put it into words if something like this is happening to him.

I hope all is well with your little guy and ignoring his tantrums will work but be sure to check things out.


What can I do to prevent diaper rash?

Dear Sara,

My first baby is three months old. She cries a lot and I think this is partly because of diaper rash. What can I do to prevent diaper rash?


Dear Heather,

Diaper rash can certainly make your baby uncomfortable. The most important thing to do is change her diaper often, at leash every 3-4 hours. There are diapers now that are super absorbent so you might look for these. You can also let your baby go without diapers for periods of time so that air can get to her skin. Powder makes your baby smell good but it really doesn’t help with diaper rash and if your baby inhales it, she as a risk for pneumonia.

There are various barrier creams that you can try. These protect baby’s skin from coming in contact with urine and feces. I can remember suing zinc oxide when my kids were babies and there is always Vaseline. There are newer products on the market like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and Desitin.
If you baby’s diaper rash lasts more that three days, you need to call your pediatrician. There is always the chance that she could have a yeast infection which is more difficult to treat. The most important thing to do is keep her little bottom as dry as possible.


Dear Sara, how do I tell my daughter I don’t want to babysit?

Dear Sara,

I am the grandmother of four wonderful grandchildren, all preschoolers, ages six months to five years. My daughter wants to go back to work and wants me to keep them. She said that she has an education and she feels that she should work instead of staying home with kids. I don’t work but I have things that I like to do. I love my grand kids but I don’t want to baby sit them five days a week. She is insisting. How can I tell her no?

Dear Barbara,

It sounds like you haven’t said no to your daughter very often in the past. She seems to think that you should be willing to do whatever she wants without question so it may be really hard to make her see that this is a real imposition on you.

It looks like she will be angry with you if you tell her no. Are you willing to deal with that? You could let her know that you would be willing to keep the children if they were sick and couldn’t go to daycare but she should find full time care elsewhere. If you don’t want this responsibility, you will have to stand up to her and her anger. Raising four kids is a full time job and it’s your daughter’s responsibility. Maybe she could wait another six years to go back to work. This would make things more manageable.
Good luck.


Dear Sara, how do I help my daughter lose weight?

Dear Sara,

My daughter Emily is fourteen now and has come to me for help with weight loss. She is 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds. I agree that she needs to lose some weight but I want her to do it safely. Can you give us some help on how to go about this?


Dear Nicole,

The first part of your plan should be a visit to her pediatrician to make sure that there aren’t any underlying problems.
Sometimes kids don’t really realize how much food they are eating. We are a very affluent society and food is very available. Buy her a book that gives the calorie count of most foods and a notebook to keep track of her calories. She can probably lose weight on 1200 -1400 calories a day but be sure and check with her doctor to make sure this is a good plan for Emily.

You will have to be in charge of making sure that she eats the healthy diet that she needs. Let her go shopping with you (armed with her calorie counter) and pick out some of the food that she might enjoy. Encourage her to eat healthy and get food from all the necessary food groups. Suggest fruits and vegetables and foods with calcium and iron..

Weight will come off faster if Emily combines exercise with her diet. Walking, swimming and biking are some activities that she would enjoy and could burn off some calories and make the dieting go faster.

Once a week is often enough to weigh in. He enthusiasm may fade after a while so make sure there are non food rewards for reaching important milestones (like each five pounds). She will probably need some cool new clothes.
Be sure to give Emily lots of praise for choosing a healthy lifestyle.


Dear Sara, how do I stop my two year old from causing scenes?

Dear Sara,

My two year old daughter likes to squeal. I don’t think she is doing it for attention, I just think she likes to hear herself. She is usually pretty well behaved but I have to keep a close eye on her because she is very active. How can I get her to stop squealing? She is driving me crazy.


Dear Karen,

This is a difficult problem because any attention your daughter gets for squealing might have the wrong effect because children like attention. You could try whispering to her when she squeals to see if she will follow your lead. She probably doesn’t squeal when she has something to do that interests or entertains her so try to have some toys that are interactive.

The good part is that squealing is usually just a phase and she should out grow it pretty soon.
Is your daughter’s language developing at a normal rate? She should have some words by now and be able to communicate her needs. If the squealing continues and you notice a lack of vocabulary, you might want to talk to your pediatrician.


Dear Sara, how can I get my daughters to stop tattling?

Dear Sara,

My girls ages six and eight are driving me crazy with their tattling. What can I do to get them to stop?


Dear Joyce,

Kids will do what ever it takes to get your attention and they certainly have figured out a way to do this even though it’s negative. The one being tattled on gets attention for doing negative things and the tattler for being a little angel who is being harassed.

Your best way to handle this is to ignore both of them. They may continue for a time but if they are frustrated in their attempt to gain your attention their behavior will gradually lessen. Don’t get pulled into their disagreements.
Try to give them attention when they are playing well. You can do this by playing a game with them or going for a walk around the block. They need your attention, just not at the wrong time.
Keep in mind that they will probably be best friends one day.


Dear Sara, what should I do with the stray my daughters brought home?

Dear Sara,

I have two daughters ages ten and twelve. They have brought home a stray dog and are totally enamored by her. She’s cute and friendly and has made herself at home here. I really don’t want a dog. I know there will be muddy foot prints and pee stains on my carpets and if the girls don’t take her out and feed her I will have to do this. Should I let them have this dog?


Dear Avery,

You admit that this little dog is cute and friendly so you must like her a little bit. It’s going to be difficult for the girls to give her up now that they have become attached to her, so why don’t you give her a chance.

There are some things to think about though. Is she a stray or just lost from her owner? You might want to check around your neighborhood to see if anyone has lost a pet. Has she been neutered? If you keep her you certainly don’t want to deal with puppies as well. A trip to the vet is a good idea to make sure she is healthy and that she gets her shots and neutered if she needs it.

Let your girls know that they will be responsible for the care of their new found friend. The responsibility will be good for them. You can let them know that if they don’t take care of their new pet she will have to go.


Dear Sara, how can I stop my two year old from saying “no” to everything?

Dear Sara,

My two year old son Connor is telling me “no” to almost everything. I realize that he will outgrow this but I wonder how best to handle this negative stage. Any suggestions?


Dear Melissa,

Apparently Connor has the idea of what “no” means now and has decided to use it to his advantage. At this age you can pick him up and make him do what he is supposed to do. If he cries or balks, you can make a game out of or recite nursery rhymes to distract him.

As Connor gets older you won’t be able to use these tactics so it’s really important not to back down and give in to his tantrums. If he learns that he can defy your authority and get away with it, he will continue this behavior because it works for him.

When he is little you will have little problems to deal with. As Connor gets older he will have bigger problems and you will need to be the parent with authority who makes decisions that will be in his best interests. What you are doing now is laying the ground work and establishing the fact that you are the parent and get to make the rules.

He may argue and plead with you but if you have established that you are the parent then he will respect you and your wishes.


Dear Sara, should I let my 15 year old go out with boys?

Dear Sara,

Our fifteen year old daughter wants to go to a school dance with a group of her friends. One of the boys can drive and plans to take them and bring them home. She said that the dance is over at ten and they will probably go out to eat afterward but she doesn’t know what time they will get home. Should we take her and pick her up? She said that she would rather stay home that do that.


Dear Ron,

There are a few questions that you could ask yourself to decide whether or not to let your daughter go out with this group. The first one might be “has my daughter given me any reason not to trust her?” Does she lie to you to get around your rules? Is she usually dependable?

What do you know about the driver of the car? Is he a safe driver or has he been known to be reckless? You might want to talk to his parents. Are there drugs and alcohol in the neighborhood or school? The police department might know about this.

The problem is that you can’t protect your daughter every minute and she will eventually have to learn to use her own judgment. If everything checks out and you feel that the situation is not too risky, you might want to consider letting her go with her friends but have the option of calling you to bring her home if she feels unsafe or uncomfortable.

Good luck.