Dear Family Coach: My daughter, who is just 3, seems to have severe stranger danger and social anxiety. She struggles to use public bathrooms and attend fun activities like storytime. She won't participate, shuts down, clings to me and cries. Everyone looks at me like I beat her. Today we couldn't even coax her into looking at the dentist. I'm...Read more
With school shootings, wars, a seeming proliferation of bullying and bad behavior in the news, kids need some concrete examples of other strong, kind young people enacting positive change in the world. These new books will help inspire and energize kids.
"American Heart" by Laura Moriarty; HarperTeen; 402 pages; $17.99.
New York Times best-...Read more
Question: When our daughter, an only child, turned thirteen and entered the 8th grade, it was like a switch was flipped. Almost overnight, she went from being a sweet, respectful and obedient child who had never given us any serious problems to being petulant, sassy, and often belligerent. She wants nothing to do with us anymore and ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, you wrote about the benefits of meditation for children. I honestly thought you were joking. But a counselor at my son's school just recommended it, saying it could help my son's severe anxiety. When I asked how to do it, he handed me a copy of your article! For the benefits of other readers, would you please ...Read more
Q: My boyfriend and I have been living together for two years. He has two children, ages 3 and 4 1/2 His ex will not allow the kids to come to our home. He must see them at her house. He's there all the time, morning and night, and sometimes he stays the night when she's out of town on business. I hate it (I've never even seen her) and I think ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 7-year-old son is always ripping the pages off of books and eating them. All the corners are gone and eaten. I have no idea what to do about this, or if I should even do anything about this. Is this normal or a problem? -- Not So Sure
Dear Not So Sure: Well, it probably isn't a problem, but it's worth checking out. ...Read more
Question: You seem to be opposed to putting children into any sort of psychological therapy. That’s curious, especially given that you’re a child psychologist. What is your explanation for this and are there any situations in which you would be in favor of therapy for a child?
Answer: As I said in a recent column, I was...Read more
Q: I've recently struck up a friendship with a guy I lived with five years ago. I left when I was pregnant and never told him. Our son is now four, and after recently seeing my ex I think I should tell him that Randy is his son. At our last meeting, things got sort of flirty again, and I think Valentine's Day might be a good time to get his ...Read more
Good Boy, Achilles!Eddie Ellis
Suppose God gave dogs a mission: Take care of humans. "Kirkus Reviews" described this story of a boy and his beloved puppy as ". . . sure to be inspirational for Christians, moving for dog lovers, and perfect for readers who are both. . ." Set on a small farm, “Good...
Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is almost two and being a dad has been the greatest experience of my life. But lately, I look at my child and feel absolutely nothing. What's wrong with me, and what can I do to get my mojo back?
A: Over the course of the 20+ years I've been writing about parenting, there have been only a few things that I'm not sure I...Read more
Dear Family Coach: I know my son broke his cellphone on purpose so he could get a newer one. He denies it, but I have proof. He needs a phone. But I'm hesitant to get this for him, since it feels like I would be rewarding dishonesty. What should I do? --Mad
Dear Mad: You say he needs a phone. Well, maybe he doesn't. Generations of children ...Read more
These new readers for young children are fresh and fun and more involved than simple "Dick and Jane" tales.
"King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth" by Dori Hillestad Butler; illustrated by Nancy Meyers; Peachtree Publishers; 47 pages; $14.95.
In Dori Hillestad Butler's beginning chapter book series, readers are introduced to analytical...Read more
A true story: When my daughter, Amy, was a pre-teen, she became anxious about going to sleep because of fears of dying in the middle of the night. When I tucked her in (I was her preferred tucker-inner), she would tell me, usually tearfully, that she didn’t want to go to sleep for fear of never waking up.
As a good daddy is supposed to do, I ...Read more
Q: I just found out that when my daughter is at my house she texts her mother behind my back. I found her phone and checked her messages. She tells me she's happy when she's with me, but she tells her mother she "misses her and wants to come home." Why is she lying? I feel betrayed. What's good ex-etiquette?
A: We've got some first-class red ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I read your recent column about doing projects with your kids and liked what you had to say. But you left out a very important part of the house: the kitchen. While not everyone will have to do household repairs or change the oil in their car, we all have to eat. My mom always had me help her in the kitchen, and as a mom, I want to...Read more
Dear Family Coach: I ask my fifth-grader obsessively about her day -- who did she eat lunch with? Who did she hang with on the playground? Where was Girl X? Who did Girl Y hang out with? She has always talked openly with me about everything, but she is starting to keep things to herself. I know that is supposed to happen, but I really love ...Read more
Most middle-grade readers ages 8 to 12 or 13 enjoy books that are mysterious, fantastical and adventurous. These picks have all those qualities and more.
"The Book of Pearl" by Timothee de Fombelle; Candlewick Press; 368 pages; $17.99.
French author Timothee De Fombelle has penned stunning tales that are internationally successful, from the ...Read more
We’re a month, more or less, into the new year and America has already suffered two school shootings. As usual, the usual voices are calling for increased restrictions on the buying and selling of guns. But guns are not the problem, a contention I can prove.
In 1963, at age 15, I packed my bags and went to live with my father in Valdosta, GA,...Read more
Saying young children are "simply not ready" for social media, health experts and children's advocates are urging Facebook to discontinue Messenger Kids, its new messaging app.
The app is aimed at younger than 13, which until now has been the minimum age of users of Facebook and other social networks. When Facebook introduced it last month, ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My job requires long hours and frequent travel, which means that I rarely ever get to spend as much time with my 5-year-old daughter as I'd like to. As a father, what can I do to log some quality time with her, besides playing with dolls?
A: Let's start with the myth of "quality time." There's really no mystery. The truth is that ...Read more
Q: Even though my ex and I have been together for five years, he's been abusive since day one. I finally got tired of it and left -- and got a restraining order to protect myself and our two kids. He has custody of his daughter from a previous relationship -- and I've raised her the whole time -- but he has not let me see her since I left. He ...Read more