Dear Family Coach: My son is a senior, and he is slowly throwing away all of his options for college. He has excellent SAT scores, but his grades are erratic. He isn't going to class and is missing a lot of assignments. When confronted, he is remorseful but still can't get his act together. He's sabotaging himself, and I'm heartbroken watching...Read more
Books about upcoming holidays provide anticipatory excitement and activities for children. These new releases will help kids weather December school days and look forward to holiday celebrations.
"Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome" by An Swerts; illustrations by Eline van Lindenhuizen; Clavis New York; 28 pages; $17.99.
This homey, whimsical ...Read more
An interesting, and telling, tale: As part of a recent speaking engagement sponsored by a regional medical center in the west, I was scheduled to address a gathering of local pediatricians. Two weeks prior to the address, my contact called to inform me that the medical center’s behavioral health unit had put up such a fuss over my planned talk...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: The high schools in our old neighborhood were well known for drug and alcohol problems. For that reason, a few months ago, my family moved to a new (and very expensive neighborhood) so that my son could attend one of the best schools in our state, one that we hoped wouldn't have those problems. My husband and I place a high value ...Read more
Q. My husband and I have been married for 5 years -- together for 7. For years I've heard what a bitch his ex is. Their daughter recently graduated and wanted to spend her first Thanksgiving after college with both her parents, me included. I thought spending the holiday with the ex was a little much, so I suggested we all go out for dinner the ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My son is strongly considering a college close to us so he can live at home. It's not a financial decision, as we have set aside enough money for dorms. My wife and I love our son, but we feel it would be best for him to experience college away from us. We are his crutch. How wrong or hurtful would it be to forbid him from ...Read more
'Tis the season for lightening up and smiling. These new wintry holiday season picture books are full of whimsy, humor and cool mod artwork.
"The Littlest Reindeer" by Nicola Killen; Simon & Schuster; 32 pages; $15.99.
With a modern color scheme of grays, muted blacks, creams and reds, Nicola Killen shows off a dreamy winter wonderland with ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad -- my wife left me with the baby right after our son was born. He's now four and keeps asking where his mommy is. I try to keep in touch with her and ask her to spend time with her son, but she's not interested. I've also been dating a lot, hoping to meet women so my son can have some positive female role models in...Read more
Great Idea, Fanny!Maureen Baggett
A funny book about farm animals and the different ways people might see them. Fanny grew up in the city so she has a different idea about which animal gives milk. She also thinks a pretty chicken is the best one to get, even if he is a rooster and doesn't lay the eggs ...
I'm a big toaster. For years at Thanksgiving I tried to kick off the dinner by raising our glasses together and counting our blessings. We are a yours, mine, and ours bonusfamily and the people at the table are an uncommon bunch. There are exes and current partners, there are kids from each coupling that have all been raised together -- and now ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My daughter is a very mature and responsible 20-year-old. She lives at college, works part time and is involved in many community programs. Recently, she told me her boyfriend is a 31-year-old lawyer. I usually trust her judgment, but this boyfriend seems like another generation to me. How can I discourage this relationship to...Read more
The children's-book author crowd always rises to social challenges in a timely and sensitive manner. With recent attacks on animal rights, picture books that celebrate animals help encourage young readers to treat all living things kindly. These new tales empower children to realize they can be caring stewards of the animal kingdom.
"The Boy ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: I've been raising my granddaughter for almost 17 years. My daughter wanted very little to do with her. Now she has money coming in, and she wants her daughter to come back. I have legal custody, and I'm afraid that if I let her go back, she will be subjected to an unhealthy environment. They both have mental health issues, ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: Over the past month, I don't think there's been a day without a news story of some famous person being accused of sexual assault or harassment. I'm disgusted by these men's behavior, but I'm concerned that one group of victims is being left out: men who are assaulted or harassed by women. At my last job, my female boss frequently ...Read more
Q: My kids' dad and I broke up about four months ago. This is our first big holiday and in doing research on the subject, I've read some sources that say you should spend the holidays with your child's other parent and other sources that say you should not. Once and for all, what's right? I'm tired of making mistakes. What's good ex-etiquette?
Dear Family Coach: This year we moved our two high school kids to a new area. Both kids report having no friends. It's been a difficult transition. They say the only way they can make friends is if I allow them to go to parties. But all of the parties are unsupervised. Do I have to let them go? --Feeling Guilty
Dear Guilty: I'm guessing the ...Read more
Hard to believe, but it's nearly time to start holiday shopping. Remember: Reading is fundamental, and books are the gifts that keep on giving. These new books and sets will make some young people very happy.
"Dragons Love Tacos: The Definitive Collection" by Adam Rubin; illustrated by Daniel Salmieri; Dial/Penguin; $24.
Who doesn't love ...Read more
Question: In the school district where I used to teach, I attended many meetings concerning children with special needs. Many of the kids in question were said to be "on the [autism] spectrum." In fifteen years I witnessed the number of supposedly autistic children go from practically zero to enough to fill a special education class at ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My son is applying to colleges to be a music major. He has visions of a career on Broadway or in the music business. He's talented, and I've always enjoyed his music. However, I think he isn't good enough to make a career out of it. He says he doesn't mind having little money as long as he can make music. My husband and I ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you gave some great general guidelines for childproofing. How 'bout some details for specific parts of the house?
A: You almost beat me to the punch! As promised, here they are.
IN THE KITCHEN
-- Keep high chairs a few feet away from walls. Babies' legs are plenty strong enough to push off the wall and knock ...Read more
Q: My partner asked me how I'd feel if she had a sleepover with her ex this Christmas so that they can both spend the whole day with their son. I have always understood wanting to do things for the sake of their child; however, there is history concerning her ex being abusive and manipulating (mainly to try and get me out of the picture). Every ...Read more