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Jewish but Not Religious, and Chores

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My family is Jewish but not religious. Most of us are atheist or agnostic. We still celebrate all of the holidays because we consider ourselves culturally Jewish. We used to live in a Jewish area, so the schools were closed for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Now we live in an area with very few Jews, so the kids have school on...Read more

Rigid Bedtime and Postered Walls

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My sister-in-law keeps her 1-year-old daughter on the strictest schedule. She has to put her down for a nap and down to bed at exactly the right time. She freaks out if a family gathering runs a bit late. It's so frustrating, and it ends up stressing us all out. How can we encourage her to lighten up? -- Annoyed

Dear ...Read more

A Slob and a Deliberately Unhelpful Daughter

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My teen son is a slob, and it drives me insane. The other day I decided to help him clean up. It took us four hours, but everything had a place and the room was spotless. Not a day later, it was back to a disaster area. I was hurt and felt that he was disrespectful to me by not trying to keep his room clean. Am I wrong? -- ...Read more

Gifts Giving and Receiving

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: A friend visited recently and brought a toy for both of my children. The 5-year-old received an awesome puzzle, and the 3-year-old received a dolphin bath toy. Unfortunately, my older son became obsessed with his brother's dolphin. He pushed his gift aside and obsessed over the dolphin. I tried to get them to share, but it ...Read more

Play Dates With a Stay-At-Home Dad and a Stinky Teen

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I'm a stay-at-home dad, and most of my play dates have been with other dads so far. But I'm becoming friends with moms, too. We all have one big thing in common, but I just feel like it might be a little odd at first. If I invite a mom over with her child, are there certain things I should do as a Dad to sort of, I don't ...Read more

Potential Football Injuries and Stealing a Candy Bar

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I allowed my son to play high school football last year because he's a former soccer player, and the coach said he needed him to kick and punt. I was comfortable with that, and he had a great time. This year, however, the coach wants him to be the backup quarterback. My son is thrilled, of course. Football terrifies me ...Read more

Unsupervised Play and Losing Friends

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My children are grown now, but I feel deeply concerned by the hypervigilance that I see in today's parenting style. Playing unsupervised and out of sight of adults, and simply spending time alone (outdoors mostly) was crucial to my childhood years and my children's early years. Do you consider it a problem that today's ...Read more

Obnoxious Teen Revolts and a Reasonable Curfew

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My wife and I have four kids ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old. Everyone is so busy. I wanted to have one night of the week when we are all together for game night. Everyone is excited about it except for my oldest. At 16, he'd rather be with his friends on Friday night. Every time we try to get together, he is ...Read more

A Late-Night Suicide Threat

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: Last night, my 16-year old snuck out of the house with friends at 2 a.m. They were on a mission to help a girl who was threatening suicide. My son did call me after they called the police. But I don't know why he got involved, and I'm not all right with him sneaking out. How should I reprimand him? -- Dad

Dear Dad: Your son...Read more

A Basement Hangout and a Dead Cellphone

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 16-year-old son has a girlfriend, and her mom does not allow them to be alone at my house. They prefer to hang out in our finished basement, but I don't want to keep going down there. Should I tell them they can't go down there or tell the mom I can't watch them every single second? -- Stuck in the Middle

Dear Stuck: I ...Read more

Strangers Groping Gorgeous Hair and Driving Without a Permit

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 13-year-old daughter has the most incredible red hair with ringlets. It's really striking, and she gets a lot of attention for it. She mostly enjoys the attention. But often, people she doesn't even know feel compelled to run their fingers through her hair. They just want to touch it. My daughter isn't particularly touchy...Read more

How To Tell a Child About a Sexual Assault

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I was sexually assaulted in college. I never told anyone in my family. It's taken years, but I am not in pain anymore. As my daughter begins her freshman year of high school, I am feeling the urge to tell her my story. I want her to know what can happen to girls, but I also don't want to frighten her. When and how should I ...Read more

A Bisexual Friend and a New IPad

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My daughter is 16, and she has a good friend who identifies as bisexual. I try to be open-minded, but I get the feeling that this girl is hitting on my daughter. I hear certain comments and see some suggestions. This makes me very uncomfortable. What should I do? -- Not Ready for Sex Mom

Dear Mom: You better get ready for ...Read more

Divorced Parents and Choking on a Pea

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I'm a divorced mom with a 10-year-old son. The arrangement with my ex is my son switches houses every weekend. He often forgets something inconsequential like a uniform or a book at one place or the other. Whenever I get frustrated with him, he tells me I don't understand how hard it is to have divorced parents because my ...Read more

A Book Lover and a Kind Soul

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I feel one of my great failures as a parent is that my kids are not readers. They spend tons of time on their phones, like most other kids, and they diligently complete their homework. But free time is never spent reading. When I impose reading time, it feels like a punishment rather than a pleasure, which seems ...Read more

Daughter Unties Mom After Robbery

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: Last week, while my husband and 7-year-old daughter were at an amusement, park two young men broke into my house and demanded money and credit cards. After I gave them what they wanted, they gagged me and hogtied me face down in the kitchen. Three hours later, my husband and daughter came home, and they untied me. Luckily, I...Read more

Running After the Mean Girls and an Ignoring Stepdaughter

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 7-year-old daughter is not very savvy on the playground. She is constantly chasing after the "mean girls" because she says they play more exciting games than her own friends. Should we be helping her understand that it is better to hang with those who appreciate her and want her around, even if the game is a little bit ...Read more

A Shaggy-Haired Grandson and a Young Fan of Rap Music

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My family is throwing a party for my father's 65th birthday, and my mother told me to cut my 13-year-old son's hair or not bring him along. Do I haul my kid to a barber over his objections, or is it OK to leave him at home? Help! -- Dad in the Middle

Dear In the Middle: It must be incredibly sad to see your parents throw down...Read more

Little Miss Know-It-All and a Defiant Boy

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: Sometimes I notice that my child acts like a know-it-all. She is constantly raising her hand in class and telling her friends the best way to do play a game or do any task. Her friends are getting annoyed, and I see how it causes her to struggle socially. How can I help her work better with her peers? -- Know-It-All's Mom

...Read more

The Front Seat and Bickering Siblings

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My wife lets my 10-year-old sit in the front seat of the car. She says it's no big deal, but it freaks me out. Am I overreacting? -- Scared Dad

Dear Dad: You aren't overreacting. The safest place for a child to ride in the car is buckled up in the back seat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American ...Read more

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