Dear Sara, my daughter Cindy has body odor but I’m not sure what I can do to help…

Dear Sara,

My 14 year old daughter Cindy has body odor. I can smell this from 2 feet away. She doesn’t have many friends and I wonder if this could be the reason. I have encouraged her to bathe more often but I can still smell the odor. What can I do to help her?


Dear Kate,

Sometimes kids will wear the same clothes for long periods of time without putting them in the wash (for instance bras or a favorite shirt). She probably can’t smell the odor herself so you might want to check to see if this is the problem. If you find that this is happening, you could duplicate her favorites and make sure she is changing often.

This is a difficult age for kids as they want to assert their independence but push her to take a daily bath and use deodorant. You could encourage her by letting her pick out her own soap and deodorant.

If the odor that you are smelling doesn’t seem to be the usual odor related to sweat, she could have a vaginal infection. If you suspect that this could be the problem then a trip to the doctor will be necessary. This might be a good time for an appointment with a gynecologist.

Good luck.


Dear Sara, I have a lot going on but I want to pay more attention to my kids…

Dear Sara,

My children Alan age 10 and Ashley age 12 are constantly repeating themselves to me. They complain that I am not listening to them. I have a full time job and my mother is in a nursing home, so I constantly have something to do with never any time for myself. How can I keep my sanity and pay more attention to my kids.


Dear Holly,

It appears that you have two problems here. The first is that you are tuning out your children and not focusing in on their needs. The second problem is that you don’t have time to take care of yourself and your needs. You could be approaching meltdown.

Let Alan and Ashley know that before you can answer their queries that you need 30 minutes or so of quiet time to change gears from work to home life. Use this time to do something that will help you relax.

Alan and Ashley are growing up fast. They really do need your attention even if what they are talking about appears trivial, it’s not trivial to them. They need someone to talk to who will listen to what they have to say and make them feel important and loved. If you can paraphrase what they say and repeat it back to them, they will feel that you have heard them. Also listen for what they are feeling and try to reflect this back as well. Are they worried about an exam or excited about the game they played or sad because some said something mean? These things are important to them.

They will soon be teens and pulling away from your family unit to try their own wings. Try to keep the lines of communication open. You don’t want to lose them.


Dear Sara, We are snowed in and my kids are getting whiny…

Dear Sara,

I have two preschoolers ages three and five. We’ve been pretty much snowed in for a couple of weeks and the kids are really getting whiney. They are tired of playing in the snow and even T.V. is getting boring for them. This is getting to me and I’m starting to scream at them. How can I get through this?


Dear Jade,

I know this winter has been rough. Kids get bored easily and need variety in their life. It’s part of growing up and learning about the world. They are looking to you right now to provide this learning experience.

You might try making some simple cookies and letting them help. Kids always like to do this and enjoy the results. Cookie cutters are fun if you have some.

You also might try making modeling clay yourself with 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of corn starch stirred together in a pan, add 1 and 1/4 cups of cold water and food coloring and cook over medium heat stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes. Then remove from heat and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Don’t let the kids eat any of this.

This is time to be creative. Take time with your kids because they grow up fast.

Try to take some time for yourself as well. I know it’s not easy with two active kids. Promise yourself a special treat when the snow is gone!


Dear Sara, my middle child Nikki is becoming a problem…

Dear Sara,

I have five children and my middle child Nikki, age 16 is the problem. She is whiny and clingy and often into fights and arguments with the other children. How can I improve her disposition and help her be more cooperative?



You can kind of see what Nikki’s problem is. She has two older siblings who are bigger, smarter and able to do more than she can. They probably try to boss her around and make her bend to their wishes. On the other hand she has two younger siblings that she has to compete with who need lots of attention and who she may perceive as cuter and more lovable. She seems to be caught between them with no way to get attention but to act out.

Nikki may need some ways to gain positive attention. Does she have some talent like art or dance that you can encourage? If you find that she likes to help in the kitchen, you could teach her simple cooking chores and give her attention for being helpful. This would also give her some one on one time with you where she doesn’t have to compete with the younger children.

Another way to change her attitude and behavior is to “catch her being good” and give her your attention at those times. She may be ignored when she is behaving appropriately since you have so many other things to take care of.

Nikki needs your help in finding her place to shine.


Dear Sara, My husband has been offered a great job but it requires us to move as a family…

Dear Sara,

I have two children, Brad age 8 and Kellie age 10. My husband has a great job offer that means moving from East coast to West coast. We have family here and the kids have made many friends and are involved in sports at school. They really don’t want to move. This is really great opportunity for my husband and he is anxious to move. I am torn between this new job in a far away place and what the kids want. Should we stay because of what the kids want?

Sara Beth [Read more...]

Dear Sara, My daughter’s boyfriend thinks that my daughter might be anorexic…

Dear Sara,

My daughter Kayla is 17 and a senior in high school. She has a boyfriend, Logan who is a freshman in college. They have been dating about a year. Logan came to me and told me in confidence that he thinks that Kayla has anorexia. I’ll admit that she has lost weight and is very thin but I didn’t think of her as unhealthy. What kinds of things do I need to look for and what can I do if I feel she has this problem?

Kevin [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my two preschoolers are causing a lot of chaos with all their toys…

Dear Sara,

I have two preschoolers and way too many toys. Both sets of grandparents are very generous, so every occasion brings more toys. I try to keep them organized and pick up every day but the children just seem to drag them out and then don’t play with them. What can I do to keep down the chaos?

Jennifer [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my daughter is still wide awake at 10 pm…

Dear Sara,

My three year old is taking an hour and a half nap at daycare and doesn’t want to go to bed at night. I have to get up early and she is still wide awake at 10:00PM when I need to go to bed. I have talked to them at daycare and they have tried to keep her awake but they say she falls asleep anyway. I need my rest. What can I do?

Ann Marie [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my teen age daughters are bickering over who gets to use the family car…

Dear Sara,

I have two teen age daughters and they have school and social activities where they need to use the family car. There is constant bickering between them about who needs the car the most. Can you give me a solution as to how to divide car time between them?

Richard [Read more...]

Dear Sara, my 15 year old son wants to stop taking his ADHD medicine…

Dear Sara,

My 15 year old son Josh has been taking Ritalin for ADHD. He has decided that he doesn’t like the side effects and wants to stop taking it. I am afraid his grades will suffer. What can I do to help him.

Lois [Read more...]