Life Advice



Ask Amy: Adult survivors of abuse must be heard

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

What is the answer to this situation?

– Tired before they even get here

Dear Tired: If you’ve worked as a childhood educator, surely you have seen other parents whose behavior or reactions amplified, rather than mollified, their children. Parents sometimes believe that countering over-stimulation with more stimulation will somehow “tire out” their children, but as you know, overstimulated young children can’t focus, and tired children melt down.

There are ways to offer fellowship and support, where you can piggyback some gentle “coaching” onto your compassion in order to offer these overwhelmed parents some commonsense advice.

You might start by acknowledging that two children under the age of four is a lot, no matter how you slice it.

Obviously, the children won’t be climbing all over everything in your house, because you’ll calmly stop them and say, “You can’t climb on top of the furniture at my house, but over here is something you can do,” and point them toward a different activity.

If you are able to catch a quiet moment with these parents, you could start by simply asking them how things are going. Is the older child in pre-school?

You can say, “Well, I’ve worked with a lot of kids, and I can see that your two are very active. It’s a lot! Let me know if you’d be interested in some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I also have a couple of books I could recommend, if you’re interested.”

Watching you interacting calmly and appropriately with these children might make the lightbulb go on for the parents.


Dear Amy: On the subject of holiday meal leftovers, several members of my family show up with carry-out containers, enter the house, fill their containers, take them out to the car, and then come back in to eat with the rest of the family.

Now that’s gall.

– Hungry

Dear Hungry: I’d call that cheeky – as in, how chipmunks eat.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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