Q: My fifth-grade son has recently started a new behavior at night that has my husband and me worried that something may be bothering him. He will be fine all day, during the evening and at bedtime, but within about 30 minutes after we tell him "lights off," he will show up in our room in tears saying he can't breathe or his chest hurts. We ...Read more
Q: I have two children, ages 11 and 5. Both are very bright, loving and well-behaved. It would honestly be difficult to wish for children any better, but my husband and I are continually frustrated by their lack of interest in any hobby or activity that does not involve the TV, a video game or the presence of another person. It would be nice ...Read more
Q: How does one balance and wisely create appropriate challenges for kids without leading them to shut down or to stop learning?
A: In order to encourage children to risk doing difficult or challenging activities at home or at school, you need to instill in them the importance of being a hard worker who perseveres. When children do persist at...Read more
Q: My son falls in the supersensitive category and wears his emotions on his sleeve (and everywhere else). He often snowballs; he has on one problem, and that reminds him of another, and he keeps going. What are some strategies to get him back on track when he is snowballing?
A: It does sound as if small problems for your son send him into a ...Read more
Q: I have a daughter who just turned 14 and is on an emotional roller coaster. She struggles with relationships and self-image, which I know is perfectly normal for a teenage girl. She is also quite creative and imaginative and is prone to self-diagnosis. A few months ago, she was convinced she was a sociopath. That didn't fit, because my ...Read more
Q: What would your advice be when a child asks these two questions: What is the purpose of life, and why was I born?
A: Most of us have asked those questions at some time in our lives, and eventually we compose our own answers and live our lives based around those answers. When children ask these questions, they can represent something very ...Read more
Q. My 16-year-old daughter thinks nothing of swearing at me, and often yells at me using the "F" word. I have responded by telling her that it is unacceptable to speak to me that way and that others will not respect her for the way she talks to her parent. Unfortunately, this has been to no avail.
I will admit that I am a sensitive person, ...Read more
Q. I have two very competitive kids. They start to cry when they are beginning to lose, even before the game is over. How can I help them with this? What can I do so that they know they won't win every time, and that it's OK?
A. You haven't mentioned the age of your children, but if they're still crying when they lose, they must be fairly ...Read more
Q: My ex-husband and I both still lie next to our boys and talk about the day and just whatever is on our mind. Our elder son is 18, and the other is 13. They share a room. Our 13-year-old told me last weekend that he gets angry because his dad lies in his brother's bed for a long time and then only sits in his bed for a short time before giving...Read more
Q: I have fraternal twins. One outshines the other in just about every area, despite the fact that they are both smart in these same areas and are both grade-advanced. We try to get them interested in different areas, subjects and sports so both have their own "thing," but so far, they want to participate in the same activities.
How do we ...Read more
Q: My 6-year-old daughter gets in trouble constantly at school for not following directions, for talking and for arguing with other children. I understand she is difficult to work with. The problem is that the only time the teacher talks to me after school is when she is telling me about something naughty that my daughter did. She tells me in ...Read more
Q: My son is tagged overconfident because he does not understand that some kids do not think in the same way he does. He does not have many friends because of this. How do I teach him to be sensitive and understanding about other kids' abilities or disabilities?
A: Realistic self-confidence is healthy, but when it is described as "...Read more
Q: Any tips for helping my gifted son, who is in seventh grade, handle group projects more effectively?
A: Working in school groups is practice for life, so it's important that your son learn the skill of doing just that. He may have had a few bad experiences that soured him on group work, so you will need to ask him for more information ...Read more
Q: My son reacts very strongly and negatively to anything other than purely positive feedback. How can I provide constructive criticism and help him to accept it?
A: Children hardly ever enjoy criticism. Even adults are not very fond of it. Positive feedback is always more satisfying and comfortable. The best way to help your son is to assure...Read more
Q: I am new to the world of gifted education. Our son is 8 years old and is in second grade. My husband and I have noticed a lot of resentment from parents toward our school district and teachers for lack of funding. The couple of school meetings I've been to have been full of negativity. We have not experienced this ourselves and are afraid ...Read more
Q: My spouse has a hard time dealing with our sensitive son, who is 9 years old. I think my husband is too hard on him. Any tips for how to help my spouse understand him better?
A: It's difficult for me to know whether you are being oversensitive or your husband is truly being too hard on your son. We do want to encourage both boys and girls ...Read more
Q: I have a fifth-grade daughter who is struggling socially at her public school. She does have friends outside of school, but at school she does not seem to have any. She has expressed to me that the girls in her class pretend to not be smart.
We are considering a nonpublic school for middle school. I would appreciate your thoughts. I do ...Read more
Q: My 11-year-old son is very happy at his present school. He loves his peers and teachers and feels very safe there. But he is dyslexic, and the school is very poorly resourced and underfunded. His spelling is three years below grade level, and although he's very bright, he avoids tasks he feels are difficult and rushes through his work.
I ...Read more
Q: My son regularly says he wishes he could be home-schooled because he wants to work at his own pace. Yet he seems to enjoy school and has friends. Do you have any advice on how to respond or how much to probe? He is an eighth-grader.
A: Eighth grade is an odd time for a child to request home schooling, particularly because he seems happy ...Read more
Q: I have twins who are 3 1/2 years old. My son is currently being potty trained and in Pull-Ups. My daughter is in underwear all day but has accidents at nap time, usually once per week. At home, she wears diapers for naps and overnight and wakes up dry on average five to six days per week. She proudly takes off her diaper herself and puts on...Read more