Home & Leisure

Uneven Abilities Are Confusing

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My husband and I have heard you speak and have read your book, "How to Parent So Children Will Learn." We are hoping you could help us with our oldest son. He is a fifth-grader with a late July birthday and takes sixth-grade math and science classes at our local middle school. He is considered twice-exceptional (2e) with a very high visual ...Read more

Great-Grandmother Worries About Family Standards

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I am a 78-year-old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I recently learned that I will be a great-grandmother again, through my 21-year-old granddaughter is not married, has only a part-time job, no career direction or ambition, and still lives dependent upon her parents. I cannot say that much is better about her boyfriend. This baby...Read more

There Is Hope For 4-Year-Old

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My niece and her ex-husband share joint custody of their very intelligent and very stubborn 4-year-old daughter. While my niece very tries very hard to set boundaries and consistent discipline for her daughter, her efforts are sabotaged by the ex-husband who always gives in to the little girl and does not discipline her. I think he is just ...Read more

Capable Preschooler Refuses to Talk

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. My 4 1/2-year-old son refuses to speak to other adults when his father or I are present. He talks to his teachers while at preschool, his friends and parents of his friends. He's very intelligent and knows all his letter sounds and how to read simple words. He did all these spontaneously. He recently had a kindergarten screening and refused ...Read more

Daughter Competes With Mom

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: What can you do when your daughter competes against you instead of seeing you as the role model? She often accuses me of being "perfect."

A: I don't know for sure what is causing the competition between you and your daughter, so I'm only making guesses based on experiences with other families. There could be one of two likely dynamics taking...Read more

Teacher Respect Crucial

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. What technique should I, as a teacher, use when I realize I have a parent that speaks poorly of me to her child? How do I explain to these parents the harm that is being done?

A. You've touched on a most important issue and I do hope many parents read this particular column. When children do well in school, there's a great likelihood that ...Read more

Girl Too Worried About Being Thin

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I have a 10-year-old daughter who is in an awkward "not quite at puberty" phase. She is built more like her father in that she has a very long body and short, muscular legs. Her growth pattern from birth on has always been a period of chubbiness followed by a large growth spurt. I know that she's getting ready to grow again, but she does have...Read more

Cells Phones Are Important Today

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My son is a sophomore in high school and we live in a relatively safe midwestern community. I was annoyed at him the other day for doing poorly in a few of his classes because I think he spends more time surfing the web and playing video games on his phone than he does focusing on those classes. My solution to this was to take away his ...Read more

Over-Sensitive Grandson Can Become Strong

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. My 11-year-old grandson is well behaved, sensitive and successful -- both academically and socially -- even though he is a bit shy. He does, however, exhibit some behaviors that are concerning. He has absolutely no tolerance for certain sounds his younger brother makes, such as humming or singing, nor can he tolerate any repetitive ...Read more

The Importance of Development in Young Children

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I have heard your talk about the "V of Love" as a guide for raising children. How do you reconcile developmental asynchrony with the "V of Love?" Also, what do you recommend as strategies or first steps for parents to correct children when they have been given too many choices and too much freedom, or what you have called the "inverted V?" ...Read more

Fifth Grade Student Feels Pressure To Fit In

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I am a fifth-grader in the gifted program at my elementary school, and my grades worry me. Sometimes I don't excel because I want to pretend I am an average student, and other times I want to earn a 100 percent which I can do easily because of the people around me, including my friends. What are some tips you could give me to help with this...Read more

Child Has Unusual Test Anxiety

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. How do you help a student who knows the information but cannot show it on a test? This student can complete a practice test and earn a score of 100 percent, but when he takes the actual test, he fails or receives a much lower score. I am not sure how to help him.

A. Your student is suffering from unusual test anxiety, unless the practice ...Read more

Families Are Important For Children

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q. I am a 53-year-old gay male who has been in a committed relationship with my husband for 12 years. He is also 53, and we are seriously discussing starting a family. We love children -- and not just from a storybook perspective, simply thinking they are cute and cuddly. I often find that children are the most interesting people in a room and...Read more

Mother Searches For Balance

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: Prior to my husband and I having children, we both agreed I would be a stay-at-home mom. As a child that grew up with divorced parents and a mother who worked full-time, I know how much it hurt my mom that she couldn't be present for the daytime school events or to drive me to after-school activities because she was working 30 minutes away....Read more

Twins Do Need Some Separation

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I have 5-year-old twin girls. Since they were toddlers, one daughter has always been dominant over her sister, although they are very close and loving toward one another. They are now in kindergarten and I specifically requested they be put into separate classes to give my non-dominant daughter a chance to develop some independence.

The ...Read more

Boy Thinks Smart Equals Fast

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I have a 10-year-old son who always seems to be in a rush to finish any work or activity he is involved in -- especially where his schoolwork is concerned. He is very bright and capable of earning high grades, but in his hurry to be the first one done with a test or assignment, he makes silly and unnecessary mistakes that result in his ...Read more

Religious School Troublemakers Not Easy

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I have taught 7th grade religious education for the past four years, and for the most part, the students in my classes have behaved well and respectfully toward me. I know the majority of these children are not there by choice, and I appreciate it when they realize I am trying my best to make the class interesting and enjoyable for them. ...Read more

Anxious Child Lacks Confidence

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: My nine-year-old daughter has very strong perfectionist tendencies -- to the point of her not wanting to ever try anything new out of fear of not having the project or work turn out just right the first time. I am constantly reassuring her that I love her and that no one will think any less of her if she does not produce perfect work at all...Read more

Holiday Excitement Causes Child Problems

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: I have a six-year-old son who becomes too overexcited in the weeks leading to up to his birthday, and especially Christmas. Last year, starting in early December, he started behaving very badly, which is completely out of character for him. This unusual behavior consisted of not listening when told to do something and behaving, frankly, ...Read more

Boy Promises, But Makes No Effort

Parents / Sylvia Rimm /

Q: What do you do with a child that says, "I will do it (meaning his school work)...don't worry," but then he does not ever complete his work? He has many missing assignments, and I am very concerned this will result in him failing his classes.

A: Your son's good intentions or promises that are not carried through appear to be snowballing ...Read more


Social Connections


Wee Pals Dog Eat Doug Baby Blues Rhymes with Orange Reply All Doonesbury