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Extreme Stranger Danger and Crazy Neighbors

Parents / The Family Coach /

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

Eating Paper and Test Anxiety

Parents / The Family Coach /

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

Broken Cellphone and Therapy-Averse Dad

Parents / The Family Coach /

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

A Prying Parent and a Persuasive Son

Parents / The Family Coach /

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

A Recital Disaster and Avoiding Overscheduling

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: At a recent piano recital, my daughter bombed. For weeks leading up to it the teacher asked my daughter to stop and practice this one section more because she wasn't getting it. I also kept calling my daughter out when she practiced, to stop and try it again. My daughter would get mad, but I was just doing what the teacher ...Read more

A Friend's Birth Control and Teen Chats

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: I've always been close with my 16-year-old daughter's best friend. Recently, she confided in my that she is sexually active and would like to acquire some birth control. Her mother is a strict believer of abstinence and won't entertain the idea of birth control. Would it be wrong to take her to the doctor myself without ...Read more

A Classmate's Suicide and an Unfriendly Mom Friend

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: A child in my daughter's high school committed suicide over the holiday break. My daughter didn't know the child and doesn't seem particularly bothered by the incident. I'm not sure if I should discuss this incident or just let it blow over. Any advice? -- Scared

Dear Scared: Teenage suicide is certainly cause for alarm. ...Read more

A Square Peg and Walking to School

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My wife and I are raising three kids. We are a sporty high-achievement family. As parents, we have been instilling the values of hard work and persistence. Unfortunately, my youngest son doesn't seem to be fitting in with the rest of us. Every time I try to work with him it feels like jamming a square peg into a round hole. ...Read more

Party Pooper and Sleepovers

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My family has been invited to a New Year's Eve party. There will be lots of food, kids and karaoke. My 14-year-old daughter doesn't want to go. She wants to stay home by herself. She often tries to opt out of family plans she isn't particularly jazzed about. I think she should be forced to join the family sometimes. Is this ...Read more

A Cheater and a Gaming Spender

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 16-year-old daughter was caught cheating on a test. She was overwhelmed and made a bad choice. Now it seems like it will ruin all of her hard work because it will be reported to colleges. She is beyond distraught, and I'm worried about her. What can I do to minimize the damage here? -- Panic-Stricken

Dear Panic: This is ...Read more

No Present Christmas and a Bogus Girlfriend

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My 14-year-old son has told me to get him nothing for Christmas. He says he doesn't need or want anything. Meanwhile, his brothers have long lists. Money isn't an issue, yet I'm struggling with not getting him something. I don't want him to miss getting presents, but it seems weird to force presents on a kid who doesn't care...Read more

Santa Surveillance and Checking Bedtime at College

Parents / The Family Coach /

Dear Family Coach: My kids' behavior has been dreadful lately. I've tried everything, and I feel like I can't make a dent. The kids love Christmas and Santa, so I'm thinking about getting The Elf on the Shelf to encourage good behavior. Even though I've totally resisted because I have no time for this, I'm hoping the behavior will at least ...Read more

Sabotaging College and Emotional Meltdowns

Parents / The Family Coach /

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

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