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Homework Slackers and a Fake Identification Card

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: Neither of my kids (13- and 15-year-old boys) do any homework without prodding, and then they don't even bother to turn it in. It's like they have no ownership of their schoolwork. Please help me help them before they flunk out. -- Concerned Dad

Dear Concerned: I'll give you my recommendation, but I can tell you right now ...Read more

Brother Calls Sister Fat and Awful Piano Lessons

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 15-year-old son repeatedly calls his little sister "Fat A--." These words are demeaning and taking a toll on my shy and big-for-her-age 9-year-old daughter. We have made him apologize, taken privileges away, had him do push-ups and given him lots of other punishments. Do you have any suggestions to nip this in the bud? -- ...Read more

A School Trip Away from Home and College Tours

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My daughter is 13. At the end of the academic calendar, her school is going on a four-day class trip to Washington, D.C. She's a homebody and does not want to go. But I think it's important for her confidence, sense of self-worth, etc. I know I can't physically force her to go ... but can I make her go? -- Well-Traveled

...Read more

Curious About Death and Dog Naming

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: Lately, my 8-year-old son has been begging me to take him to a cemetery. He seems very curious about death, and I'm both uncomfortable and confused. We never talk about death or watch movies about death, yet it's on his mind. I can't imagine ushering him through a cemetery. What should I do? -- R.I.Parent

Dear R.I.P.: ...Read more

Mom's Excessive Worry and a Poor Sport

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: This is probably going to sound weird. My children are 5 and 7. They're happy, healthy and well-adjusted, but I'm always afraid they're about to die. I check their breathing several times per night. Sometimes I even call the school office to make sure they're OK. I hate being this way, but I can't help it. What is there to ...Read more

Long Drives with Technology and Senior Trips

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: When we go on vacation, the trips often include long drives. My wife thinks it's perfectly fine for the kids to use their electronic devices for a big chunk of the journey. She says it's their downtime. I strongly disagree. Why do they need to be staring at screens for so long? What do you think? -- Car-Sick Dad

Dear Dad: ...Read more

Getting a Job and Online Gaming Dangers

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My daughter is 16 and wants a job to save money for college. The other day, she interviewed at a local store. She will likely get the job. Unfortunately, I have a longstanding boycott of this establishment due to some of its policies. Should I stop her from working there or get out of her way? -- Activist Mom

Dear Mom: Step...Read more

When Your Child Is Sexted

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: A boy in my 14-year-old daughter's class sexted her a picture of his privates. He asked her a few times whether she wanted to see the picture, and she declined. But he wore her down, and eventually, she said it was OK to send the picture. How should we handle this? -- Freaked Out Parents

Dear Freaked: Unfortunately, young ...Read more

Forgetting Homework and Bottle Games

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I just found out that my 10-year-old daughter has been forgetting to complete or submit school assignments. She does well on assignments when she does them. But she often gets sidetracked in her imagination or just forgets to turn in completed work. How can I help her get organized and stay focused before missing assignments...Read more

Lying About the Tooth Fairy and Family Time

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I don't believe in lying to my children about anything. We take an active role in showing our kids that Cinderella is a fictional character, as is Mickey Mouse. This year, my oldest lost his first tooth. Unbeknownst to us, he was excited for the tooth fairy to come. The next morning, he cried heartily when nothing was under ...Read more

Fat Shaming and Showing Privates

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: This morning, my 9-year-old came into my room to ask whether she is fat. I was devastated because I'm exceptionally careful to project a positive female body image. I never discuss weight around her. I don't know where this is coming from, and I don't know how to handle it without creating a bigger issue. For the record, she...Read more

Weaning Security Blankets and a Nurse's Friend

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 12-year-old son still likes sleeping with a small security blanket, stuffed animals and a dream light. At what point will he outgrow such things? Or do we need to wean him off them? -- Uneasy Dad

Dear Uneasy: I grew up with a Snoopy doll that acted as my security blanket. He followed me to camp, and even to college. My ...Read more

Constant Meltdowns and Embarrassing Tantrums

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My son seems more prone to crying breakdowns than other kids his age. He usually melts down over simple disappointments, like another kid not sharing or having to leave the park. We've tried empathy, hugs, humor and distraction, but it seems that he just needs to sooth himself. Waiting for him to recover can be frustrating. ...Read more

A Friend's Divorce and a Loud Toddler

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: We just found out that our good friends are separating. My daughter is best friends with their 8-year-old daughter. Our families spend a lot of time together, celebrating holidays, taking vacations and helping care for each other's kids. Everyone is so upset. Now we aren't sure where our allegiance should be and how to help ...Read more

Ballet for Boys and an Unfair Teacher

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 8-year-old son loves dance. He has taken some classes at school. For his birthday this year, he requested ballet slippers, and now he wants to take ballet lessons. I fully support his decision. But I am incredibly worried he will get mercilessly teased if he goes through with it. Should I still let him get into ballet? --...Read more

Repressed Feelings and Family Charity

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 10-year-old son refuses hugs and kisses. He won't say "I love you" either. It really hurts because he used to run into my arms and tell me sweet words. I respect his boundaries, but I worry that he is stifling his feelings in an unhealthy way. He assures me that he does love me. Still, what can I do to help him express ...Read more

Skipping the Breast for the Bottle and Relentless Advice

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I'm about to have my second son. I tried to breast-feed the first one but gave up after six weeks of hell. I don't even want to try this time, but my husband and friends are pressuring me. If I hear one more time how breast is best, I'm going to scream. Is it OK to just go right to formula? -- Bottle Best Mom

Dear Mom: ...Read more

Mom Left out and Fear of Independence

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: How do I keep from feeling like I'm back in junior high when I see all the other moms at school socializing but I'm not included? -- Left Out

Dear Left Out: In a way, the schoolyard for parents isn't that dissimilar from junior high. There are different groups of people. Some are friends. Some aren't. That's not necessarily...Read more

Poor Organizational Skills and Allowance

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My child has terrible organizational skills, as do I. He has trouble keeping track of his work and belongings. Since I struggle as much as he does, how can I help him? -- Messy Mom

Dear Messy: It is a challenge to assist children with issues that plague us as well. But there is help out there for both of you.

Being ...Read more

Private School Woes and Kissing

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 11-year-old son attends an expensive private school. We're not as wealthy as many of his classmates' families. My son feels lacking by comparison. How do I help him appreciate what he has and give him some perspective? -- Discouraged Dad

Dear Dad: Perspective comes with distance and time. It is impossible for your son to...Read more


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