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Costume Dreams and Game Night Resistance

Dr. Catherine Pearlman on

Dear Family Coach: Last year, my daughter, who was 8 years old, wanted her own Halloween costume to be her favorite singer, Lady Gaga. The costume was sparkly and glittery and revealed a lot of skin. I was uncomfortable with it and promised to get it next year. I figured she'd forget, but she keeps mentioning her Lady Gaga costume, even though Halloween is months away. I don't know what to do. The costume makes her look like a Vegas showgirl. But I gave my word. What to do? -- Conservative Mom

Dear Mom: Oops, you made one of the classic parenting blunders. You made a promise hoping your Lady Gaga-obsessed daughter would forget. Of course she didn't forget. She's 8, not 2. She loves her some Lady Gaga and wants to dress like her idol. You should never have tried to push it off or make her forget. Now you have to live up to your word, lest you want to teach her that words mean nothing.

Just because she wants to be the scantily clad music icon doesn't mean she has to dress live a Vegas showgirl. Again, she's 8. You can easily make adaptations. Have your daughter wear a tank top and leggings under the costume. If you don't like the store-bought option, then make your own. You have plenty of time to make something that you and she will both love.

I'm guessing what drew your daughter to the costume was the glitz and glitter, not the amount of skin showing. So dazzle her with your bedazzling efforts and make her the sparkling costume of her dreams.

Dear Family Coach: I'd like to institute a family game night. My wife, our three teenage kids and I are like ships that pass in the night. Our schedules make it difficult for us all to be together. I've identified one night a week when we can all make time. But every one of my kids is resisting the idea. Can I get them onboard, or should I just give up? -- Game Night Dad

Dear Dad: Definitely don't give up. I'm sure your kids would happily avoid time with their parents if it were up to them. It's not that they don't love and respect you. It's just that their center of the universe has shifted out of the house. But that doesn't mean that you can't draw them back in for one night a week. If we were to let kids avoid everything they don't want to do, there would be anarchy.

So, stand firm on game night, but call it family night. Be flexible with the activities, and allow the children to have input. Maybe a night at home is what you imagined but the kids would rather go to bowling as a family. It really doesn't matter what you do. It's just important that you do it as a family. Get creative, too. Maybe have an ice cream taste test and vote on the best. Maybe paint pottery or go rock climbing.

Make sure that family night is mandatory for the kids, with consequences for missing it without an approved absence. If you don't, you will lose the troops after just one night. Each will find a way out. And make sure you reserve the night on your schedule. You are not allowed an excused absence until the night if firmly accepted into the family lifestyle. If you miss it, family night quickly become a distant memory.


Dr. Catherine Pearlman, the founder of The Family Coach, LLC, advises parents on all matters of child rearing. To write to Dr. Pearlman, send her an email at To find out more about Dr. Catherine Pearlman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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