Child Doesn’t Want To Move

Dear Sara,

My husband has a great job that pays really well. His company needs him in another location so we have to relocate. There is no other comparable job in this area so we don’t feel we have a choice. We have a sixteen year old daughter who is very upset. She is a cheerleader at her high school, she has lots of friends and she has been dating a young man who is her class mate. I realize what a problem this move is for her but I don’t see any other choice. How can I help her adjust?

-Carrie



Dear Carrie,

This move is going to be really difficult for your daughter so you will have to be really patient with her. She seems to have lots of social skills which will be important to her adjustment to her new location. She will miss her old friends but it won’t be long before she has new ones.

Even if she is far away she can still keep in touch with her friends. Kids spend lots of time on line and texting and she will still be able to do these things. Until she adjusts to her new surroundings you might let her spend some weekends or vacation time with her friends. She needs the comfort of her old world while she adjusts to the new one. This will be a big challenge for your daughter but sometimes this can be a good thing. Growing up means learning to deal with change.

-Sara

My Daughter Wants A Bra

Dear Sara,

My daughter wants a bra. She’s eleven years old and doesn’t need one. We have been fighting about this for three or four months and she just won’t let up. She tells me that all her friends are wearing bras and she is the only one who doesn’t have one. Should I give in or make her wait until she needs one?

-Donna




Dear Donna,

This is not a moral issue but a social one. Your daughter’s friends may or may not have bras but she seems to feel that her social status is lacking because she doesn’t have one. Why not give in on this one and save your battles for bigger more important issues.

She is just going into her preteen years. This is a difficult time for girls and how she fits into her group is very important to her. If she has a good group of friends be supportive. Being left out of the group is very difficult for any child.

-Sara

Trying To Work With Kids At Home – HELP!

Dear Sara,

Because of the Coronavirus I am stuck at home with four kids. I have played games with them and tried to keep them entertained but I still have to work remotely. While I am working they get into fights and otherwise demand my attention. I am losing patience with them and don’t know how much more of this I can take. What can I do to make this at home thing more manageable?
-Trudi




Dear Trudi,

It sounds like you’re doing pretty well except for when you have to work. Sit down with your kids and work out a daily schedule. You might consider only letting them watch TV when you are working. That way it will be a treat rather than the usual. If there is something they really like for you to do with them, use that as a reward for being cooperative while you work. There also needs to be some negative things that will happen if they don’t cooperate. Your older kids might be able to entertain the younger ones for a while if you give them some extra allowance. Hang in there.
-Sara

My Family Is A Mess Financially

Dear Sara,

My husband and I have three kids. We are in a mess financially. We both work but with daycare, car payments and house payment we seem to be going in the hole every month. This is so stressful and I know that the kids are feeling it too. I want to get back on track financially but it just feels impossible. How do I start getting out of this mess?

-Melanie




Dear Melanie,

The first step is wanting to change things and you seem to be at that point now. One of the foundations of a solid marriage and family is the ability to manage money. There is an underlying anxiety that the kids sense or feel because no one is in charge of financial responsibility. Your first step has to be to create a budget. You and your husband can start by writing down every single thing that you spend down on paper and start to find things that you can cut back on. Let your kids see what you are doing and show them what needs to be done. They need to know what the budget is and what they can expect. Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, has a step by step program for getting your financial act together. It won’t be easy and it may take a while but it will be worth it to be rid of all that stress.

Good luck.
-Sara

Wife Is Leaving After 25 Years

Dear Sara,

I have been married for twenty-five years and my wife is leaving me. I can’t tell you what a shock this is. She waited until all of the kids were raised and on their own and said that she did her job and now she’s done. I know I am not the best husband. I’m about fifty pounds overweight and I smoke a lot. I said I would change but she said it wouldn’t make any difference, she just wanted to be free. It’s not very manly but I cry a lot. What should I do?

-Carl




Dear Carl,

It sounds like your wife has made up her mind so it’s up to you to take care of yourself. It’s OK to cry and grieve and with time you will gradually feel better. I’m sure your doctor would agree with me that you need to lose the fifty pounds and quit smoking. Don’t sit at home and dwell on your sorrow. Join a gym and start taking care of yourself. You still have time to find somebody else who can be part of your life.

-Sara

Coronavirus Blues – I’m losing my mind

Dear Sara,

I feel like I am losing my mind. I am cooped up with three kids who are used to going to school and daycare. I can’t go to my job because of a virus of all things. When I got married I told my husband that I really didn’t want kids. He really wanted kids so we agreed we would send our kids to a daycare so that I could work at a job that I love. Now it’s all my job to take care of the kids for who knows how long. They are already restless and I don’t know what to do. How do I cope with this?

-Shawna




Dear Shawna,

It sounds like you are used to working and organizing things. Why don’t you make a list of things for the kids to do? Let them help you. It could be interesting and fun to see what they come up with. Divide the day into sections and include one section where everybody goes to their room to nap or rest. You can have a section for schoolwork, TV, or outdoor play. If the kids are involved in the plan they won’t be so cranky when they don’t get their way. Make sure your husband spends his free time with them as well. Keep in touch with your friends and co-workers by phone or internet. You don’t have much choice but to bear with it. Good luck.
-Sara

Two-Year-Old Son Is A Little Escape Artist

Dear Sara,

My two-year-old son is getting to be quite a little escape artist. If he sees any opportunity he will take off. He also likes to climb and will get up before we do in the morning and pull a chair up and get the cereal box out and help himself. So far he hasn’t been hurt but I am very concerned. He seems to think of things that I haven’t even considered. How can I stay ahead of him?

-Carrie


Dear Carrie,

Your son seems very active so you are right to be concerned. At this point, you can begin to set limits and reward his good behavior and give consequences for his bad behavior but you also have to make your home baby proof. Since your son is so active you might start by putting the chain/slide lock at the top of your exterior doors. This will prevent him from going outside when you aren’t looking. They also make childproof locks for kitchen cabinets. You can install them in the kitchen and bathroom. If you don’t mind him eating cereal before you get up, you could leave it out where he won’t have to climb to get it,

You need to be especially concerned about locking up medications. Kids like baby aspirin, chewable vitamins, and cough meds. Sometimes even picky eaters will eat colorful pills. Your caution in this area could save you a scary trip to the ER to have your son’s stomach pumped. One more thing to think about. Since your son likes to climb, if you have a heavy bookcase you might want to bolt it to the wall so that he can’t pull it over on himself.

Two-year-olds are really cute and can be a lot of fun but they have no idea of danger. Keeping him safe can be a real challenge. Good luck.

-Sara

Is My Son Wasting His Life Away?

Dear Sara,

My eighteen-year-old son has graduated from high school and is enrolled in the college in our area. He has refused to attend. All of his life we have talked about him going to college and then on to medical school. One of his first toys was a doctor’s set. This has always been my dream for him but he said that he wants to play in a band with his friends instead. They are petty good but I can’t see them going anywhere except locally. I feel like he is wasting his life. What can I do or say to make him see that he is making a wrong choice?

-Laura


Dear Laura,

When kids reach the age that your son is now, they feel that they are old enough and smart enough to make their own choices. You have to hope that the way you have parented him has equipped him to make good choices. The dream that you have had all these years may have been your dream but not your son’s. He may have agreed with you to make you happy but when the time came to follow through, he decided to follow what he thinks is right for him.

See if you can get your son to at least go to college part time and drop your insistence on medical school. He may be more agreeable to attending school if you let up on the pressure. Be supportive of his musical career but let him know that continuing school is in his best interest even if he doesn’t feel he needs a degree. You have had a dream all these years and you must be terribly disappointed but this is your son’s life and he is determined to make his own choices.

-Sara

21-Year-Old Daughter Needs A Reality Check

Dear Sara,

My daughter is twenty one and still lives at home. She thinks of herself as independent since she has a job but she doesn’t pay rent, eats her meals here and doesn’t do her own laundry. I want her to keep decent hours and let me know when she will be here or not. She said she would like her privacy and that I shouldn’t ask questions. Who is right here?

-Mona



Dear Mona,

You are both right. At twenty one your daughter should be independent. You should expect her to pay rent, buy her own food and do her own laundry. If she is disrespectful to you then she should move out and find her own place. This would give her plenty of privacy. She needs a reality check. If she wants to be independent then she has to act like it.

-Sara

Babysitter Needs Help

Dear Sara,

I am a baby sitter for three children ages six, three and eighteen months. The six-year-old wants constant attention. He seems to be in my face all of the time. He will drive his toy car around in a circle until I can’t stand it anymore and have to demand that he stop. He wears pull-ups at night because he wets the bed and has temper tantrums in the morning. He is in kindergarten half a day and can print his name but chooses not to at times. The only time he is calm is when he watches TV but his parents have set a limit on this. What can I do to get him to calm down?

-Margaret



Dear Margaret,

It sounds like this young man has figured out that the only way to get your attention away from his siblings (who are younger and possibly cuter) is to be annoying. As the oldest, he was probably the center of his parents’ attention for about three years and now he has been displaced by his two younger siblings. It sounds like the two younger kids need lots of your attention but try to make a special effort to pay attention to their older brother. If you can ignore some of his pesky behaviors and focus on the things that he does to please you, that could make some difference in his behavior.

It’s also possible that this young man has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which could make it difficult for him to sit still and pay attention. Often kids who have ADHD will be able to sit still for TV and games but in general, they have the problems that you describe. His parents may want to have him evaluated by a professional to see if he truly has ADHD or if he is just somewhat immature. Try to be patient. It appears that he is having a difficult time in his young life.

-Sara