Dear Family Coach: My daughter works fiercely and independently on her school projects and takes a lot of pride in them. Her best friend's parents do most of her work for her, producing an almost professional-looking result. How do I help my daughter understand that it's better for her to do her own work, even if it isn't quite as pristine? ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: As the end of the school year approaches, it is next to impossible to get my 10-year-old son to do his homework. He wants to be outside playing, and I don't blame him. How can I get us both through these last few weeks without his grades dropping off? -- Mom Waiting for Summer
Dear Mom: I, like you, am just about ready to ...Read more
True story: I sent one of my more recent books to a radio talk-show host who, in turn, gave it to one of her “readers,” asking him to extract appropriate questions.
Said reader, a 30-something year-old, opened the book, read “Children are bad” and refused to go any further, making no small amount of drama over my micro-aggression.
To ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a divorced mom, and because of my past substance abuse issues, my ex-husband has primary physical custody of our children. I only get to see them on weekends and we miss each other terribly. I've been trying to make it up to them by filling every weekend with outings and activities. But I think I've made a mistake. More than ...Read more
Q: My girlfriend and I were invited to a friend's Seder dinner for the Passover holiday, but the invitation fell through. My girlfriend has met my former wife several times and they appear to like each other, so she asked if we could go to her home for Passover dinner. I figured out a comfortable way to ask and she welcomed us.
During the ...Read more
Q: Our two teenagers -- brother and sister -- both seem to get overwhelmed when they're assigned tasks at home or school. They start projects, but don't finish them. Do you have any advice?
Jim: There's a great quote attributed to Mark Twain: "The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My kids are completely out of control. They are 11 and 5, and they talk back, don't do what they are told and eat what they want to eat. If I threaten to take stuff away, they throw tantrums and screaming fits. I live in a condo, and I can't have this happening every morning when people are living upstairs and next door to ...Read more
It's never too early to introduce kids to iconic art. These new books feature an interactive collection starring Andy Warhol, bold Roy Lichtenstein's pop art, and first concepts with Henri Matisse.
"Andy Warhol Coloring Book" from Mudpuppy Publishing; 32 pages.
With clean white backgrounds and a bold banana standing out on the cover, this ...Read more
Paramedic 189's Final ReportMr Rodney L Mortensen
Have you ever seen a Fire Engine racing down the street, lights blazing, siren wailing and air horn blasting? Have you ever wondered where they were going, and what emergency could be so serious that it requires this kind of response? I was lucky enough to spend 30 years racing down the ...
Dear Family Coach: Often my children receive money in holiday cards mailed from their grandparents. They usually spend the money on stupid stuff they don't need. One time my son gave a $50 bill to the American Heart Association, which is noble, but I also thought a bit excessive. Should we let the kids spend their money on anything they want (...Read more
Question: I homeschool my three children, ages are 8, 6, and 5. The older two have a very poor attitude about doing school, especially math, and the younger one is starting to pick up on it. Their poor attitudes make the lessons take longer and they complain and cry about finishing their assignments. I've tried sending them to their rooms until ...Read more
Q: My husband shares equal custody with his ex, and I have to say it, but she's a loser with a capital "L." She was just caught shoplifting and we suspect she's drinking again. Unfortunately, the kids overheard their dad and me talking about her and they've been very distant for the last couple of weeks. My husband would petition for custody, ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I used to spend a lot of time getting together with friends and family. But ever since our baby was born, our social life has changed for the worse. I understand that some of this is normal, but it doesn't feel very good. How can we save our friendships?
A: It's kind of amazing, isn't it? These little creatures who ...Read more
Q: It looks like my husband will be getting a job transfer, which means that we're probably relocating soon. How can we help our kids adjust to the move?
Jim: Relocating has a huge impact on children. It's a significant life change that, for many kids, can be almost as stressful as losing someone to death. A child's sense of loss often goes ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 14-year-old son usually attends camps for part of the summer, and then we take a family trip. But he announced he wants to do nothing this upcoming summer. Every camp I recommend, he rejects. I have to work, so I can't shuttle him here and there all summer. I think he will be bored doing nothing and will get into trouble....Read more
These absorbing middle grade reads have a timeless, almost old-fashioned appeal, with stories sure to be classics. And with Newbery award winners in the mix, this lineup gets 5 stars.
"The Boy on the Porch" by Sharon Creech; HarperCollins; 151 pages; $16.99.
Just seeing the name Sharon Creech cemented to me how good this little book would be...Read more
Question: My daughter, who just turned three, has a surge of energy after dinner and can take hours to fall asleep. I try putting her down around 8 o’clock, but there are nights when she doesn’t fall asleep before 10. Sometimes she tells me she's tired but can't fall asleep. At other times, she will throw a tantrum before bed. When ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My husband and I were out on a very rare date night when the babysitter called to say that my 5 year old wouldn't go to sleep. Apparently she was throwing a fit because she couldn't find her lovey (her comfort object). She wanted us to come home. We really didn't want to leave the movie, so I bribed her with a trip to the ...Read more
The most wonderful mother in fiction, of course, will always be Marmee March from Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." Pious and selfless, sensible and loving, she kept the home fires burning while her husband was away at war, guiding her four daughters wisely and, in her spare time, helping the poor.
To be quite honest, she never interested me ...Read more
Q: My kids' dad and I have been apart for about a year. I've recently met a great guy and we are planning to move in together, but my kids, ages 11 and 13, are really fighting me. I'm surprised because I am the one who was always around -- their dad worked all the time. My ex is taking me back to court because he says it's too soon for us to ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I got a call from my 15-year-old son's school principal today telling me that my son is being suspended for smoking on campus. Needless to say, my wife and I aren't very happy about this. My son, who is a little overweight, says he can quit anytime and that he only started because it will help him lose weight. He also says he's ...Read more