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Thumb-Sucking Can Cause Child Problems

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. My son just finished first grade, and I could not help but notice during the many year-end activities that a little girl in his class sucks her thumb constantly. I recently asked my son whether this is something she does often, and he replied that she has sucked her thumb since preschool. While this little girl's habit did not seem to ...Read more

Highly Sensitive Grandson Needs To Play Sports

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I have a 9-year-old grandson who is highly sensitive. He is gifted and very intelligent in school, excels at math and reads at a very high level. The problem is that he is not athletic and is very sensitive. He has tried certain sports, but becomes very emotional if he makes an out or things don't go right. He will start to cry, which ...Read more

It's Time for a Family Meeting

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I am the mother of four school-age children, and I am writing to you today to seek advice in making mornings at home less stressful. All I seem to do is yell from the time my children get up until I drop them off at school, which overwhelms me with guilt throughout my workday. No matter how much I prepare the evening before, I still always ...Read more

Son's Friend Is Poor Influence

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. My son and a close friend of his are in 7th grade. My son's friend is kind to me and respectful to his teachers, but talks back to his parents very disrespectfully and even yells and swears at his mother. His parents are not pushovers and have tried diligently to correct their son's behavior, to no avail. They have not yet taken him to ...Read more

Underachievement Story Resonates with Many

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I discovered your literature while searching the Internet for insight into my life and current circumstances (as an adjunct to formal therapy), and what was written in your book "Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It" (Great Potential Press, 2008) resonated strongly with me. Parts of this book felt like a narration of...Read more

Grandparent Worries About Gay Child

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

The following question was submitted recently by a reader in response to a Sylvia Rimm on Raising Kids column published in February 2015. Dr. Rimm's response follows:

Q. Even though my five children are all in their 40s, I still read your column, as I have four grandchildren. It distressed me to read your advice about an 8th-grade boy you ...Read more

Gifted Children Can Internalize Pressures

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. At the age of 4, I was labeled through testing as being gifted. I was then "branded" the genius of the family, which often made me the center of attention. This caused me to place a huge amount of pressure on myself, and my mom also pressured me to be the first in my family to earn a college diploma. This attention did not sit well with my ...Read more

Parents Need To Compromise

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. Our son maintains a very busy schedule by his own choice, and we find it difficult to establish a routine. This lack of routine exacerbates the issue of my husband's and my different parenting styles. How do parents "get on the same page" and show a united front even though our priorities are different?

A. I assume your busy son is either ...Read more

Girl Drama in Middle School

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: What advice would you give to help a middle-school girl make friends and establish relationships with other females in her peer group?

A: Middle-grade social life can, at times, feel absolutely wonderful, but at other times, terrible and lonely. It's a time for best friends, cliques and likely some hurt feelings. Helping girls set ...Read more

Smart Kid Has Behavioral Problems

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: What would you do for a child who feels alone at school because he realizes he is smarter than most of the other kids? He is in 3rd grade and comes home and says he does not have any friends because no one likes him. He attends a public school, and applying to private school has not worked out because of his behavioral problems. Also, ...Read more

High School Student Interested in Sibling Effect

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I am a high school student researching the difference in intelligence of children raised as "only" children compared to children raised with siblings. I'm investigating whether factors such as age difference, number of siblings and parental influence have an effect on a child's intelligence and whether having siblings is beneficial or not. ...Read more

Parent Appreciates Understanding Son's Fears

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. Thank you for your response to my question about my 5th-grade son who was having severe nighttime anxiety issues and difficultly sleeping. When I first wrote to you, I did not know what was causing his fears, but your guess was correct in that it was something on a screen he had recently viewed. Your advice was very helpful. He had very ...Read more

"Disneyland" Dad Not Always a Problem

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I am recently separated, and I am worried that my ex-husband will be a "Disneyland" dad. What can I do to encourage my children's best behavior when I only have them half of the time?

A. After a separation or divorce, life works much better for children if parents are reasonably consistent about rules. If there is not joint custody, and ...Read more

Parents Want To Build Self-Esteem

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. As parents, how do we build self-esteem while avoiding using the superlatives that you indicate place pressure on children? Also, how should we express pride in our children without placing pressure on them?

A. Pressures that children feel come from many directions, and of course, parents can be a part of those pressures. Teachers, peers ...Read more

Parents Have Fallen in Love With Giving Choices

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: Our only child is a 6-year-old kindergartener. How do we turn the "V" in the "V of Love" that you have spoken and written about back up the right way? Also, because he is oversensitive, how do we encourage him to try new things and take risks?

A: Parents and even teachers seem to have fallen in love with the concept of giving children ...Read more

Child Has Uneven Abilities

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My son has above-average ability but slow processing speed. He experiences frustration and confidence problems because he understands what he is learning but can't always write or verbalize this understanding. What can his teachers and we, his family, do to support him?

A: There are many ways you can help your son and many possible causes ...Read more

Arguments Between Sisters Are Typical

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My 6- and 8-year-old daughters argue and fight over any matter, big or small, important or not. My 8-year-old also sometimes takes on the role of parent and tries to instruct or punish her younger sister. Could you offer any advice or solutions as to how I can help improve their relationship?

A: Most siblings do a bit of arguing, and it is...Read more

Mother Needs to Move On

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My 10-year-old niece recently confided in me that she feels "sick to her stomach" whenever an event is coming up where her divorced parents will both be in attendance. Her mother (my sister) and her husband divorced three years ago. Her father has since remarried, and my sister has remained single. My niece said her father's new wife is ...Read more

Boy Feels Like a Girl

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My 7-year-old son has always seemed like a typical little boy but has told me recently that sometimes he feels like a girl. I paused when he said this because I have noticed him developing mannerisms that to me appear more feminine than masculine. I asked him whether someone told him he looks or acts like a girl, and he said no.

He plays ...Read more

Electronics Are Changing Our Children

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: As summer approaches, I am seeking advice as to how I can interest my sons in spending more time outdoors. They are plenty old enough to play in the yard by themselves or with each other, and I can't stand the thought of them sitting in the house all day when it's beautiful outside because their electronics have a greater pull over them ...Read more

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