Toddler Cries Whenever Other Children Cry
Young children are learning about feelings-why they happen, what they mean, how other people respond to them. Sometimes young children “try on” other people’s feelings as part of this exploration process.

6-Year-Old Struggling At Bedtime
Although we can’t control when our children actually fall asleep, we can work with them to develop a clear, consistent bedtime routine that frees us from constant intervention at bedtime.

Baby Struggling With New Baby In Childcare
When a young baby struggles with changes in her childcare environment, there are a number of things parents and caregivers can do to ease the transition.

Angry 9-Year-Old
When dealing with a child’s angry outbursts, it is important to understand the underlying causes of the anger as well as the other emotions that may be precipitating it. Through practice, modeling, and support, we can teach our children to find more safe, appropriate ways to express their big angry feelings.

Friendship Triangle With 7-Year-Old Boys
When children are involved in painful friendship triangles, one child is often excluded and parents often feel unsure how to help. Figuring out what you want to teach your child about friendship, listening and role playing are three ways to support kids in learning about the complex dynamics of friendship.

Concern About Sexual Abuse
When an older and a younger child engage in sex play, it can set off panic in parents. It’s a good idea to take the time to get clear information about was going on and what the motivation was for the play, so you can react clearly and appropriately for both children. Responding thoughtfully ensures that your responses aren’t more traumatic than the actual incident itself.

3-Year-Old Reading Too Early?
When young preschoolers are encouraged to focus on learning reading, math and other academic skills, they sometimes miss out on important self-directed learning through social interaction, creative play, and fantasy. Making creative play a priority is one of the most important ways parents can encourage their children’s healthy social, physical and intellectual development.

Moving Out Of A Crib
It is a big step for a child to transition from a crib to a bed. Making the change gradually, keeping familiar routines intact, and learning to be a “human fence” are just a few of the things parents can do to make this transition easier.

Separated Parents Struggling To Respect Each Other
When marriages end-and even when they don’t-it can be hard to respectfully blend two different parenting styles. But our children really benefit from our efforts to listen to each other, respect each other, and honor each other’s goals and wishes for our children.

8-Year-Old Caught Stealing
When parents find out that their elementary-school child has stolen something, it’s easy for parents to panic and worry that their child is becoming a thief. Understanding the developmental reasons kids at this age steal can help you calm down, sort things out with your child, and develop appropriate consequences.

Spunky 2-And-A-Half-Year-Old Girl
When we have a high-spirited, strong-willed child, particularly after having had a mellower, more flexible child first, the adjustment can throw us for a loop and leave us doubting ourselves as parents. Understanding the particular needs of a spirited toddler can help us-and our children-survive their fierce, and sometime unending struggles for autonomy.

7-Year-Old Know-It-All
Seven-year-olds go through a developmental phase that leads them to suddenly become the “experts” at everything. They like to boss other people around and make sure all the rules are enforced. Understanding the reasons children need to be “know-it-alls” can help us find compassion for their bossiness and lead to helpful strategies for responding.

“9-Year-Old Doesn’t Want My Help Anymore”
It can be very difficult to watch our children struggle and not be able to help. Nine-year-olds are sometimes in a place where they want to do everything all by themselves. Yet even though our kids may reject our offers to help them, we can still teach them skills that will improve their effectiveness in dealing with challenges independently.

Toddler Struggling With Changes
Even when changes in a toddler’s life are positive, it takes them time to adjust to new routines. Giving it time, providing consistency and helping her bridge between her old and new experiences can support your toddler in adapting to change.

Pretend Play
Fantasy play is an important part of young children’s development, and there are many ways parents can honor and support it.

8-Year-Old Has No Sports Temperament
When parents and children have different temperaments, parents sometimes feel concerned that their children are not more “like” them. Understanding our own temperament and that of our child is important because it enables us to respect our children for who they are, and also to figure out ways to gently encourage them to balance our their natural tendencies.

2-Year-Old Doesn’t Want Parents To Kiss
Toddlers often have a hard time when we focus our attention on our partners. They cry, complain, climb in the middle and otherwise express their dissatisfaction about not being the center of attention. But there are strategies that can help children learn to relax while you are “loving others” in their presence.

Helping Toddlers Play Successfully
Toddlers need lots of opportunities to learn to play successfully with other children. Through observing your child’s learning style, choosing appropriate social situations for him, and supporting his interactions with other children, you can help your child develop the social skills he needs.

New Stepparent Looking For Advice
When you begin a relationship with a new partner’s child, there are things you can do to help the transition go more smoothly: make room for the child’s feelings, honor his relationships with both of his parents, and take small steps to build a relationship with him.

Getting Into Angry Fights With My 8-Year-Old
Most children and many parents have a lot to learn about the constructive uses and expression of anger. There are developmental reasons why 8 Year-Olds are often full of anger toward their parents. By listening and talking, recognizing our own triggers, and understanding the underlying reasons for anger, we can learn, along with our children, how to navigate through angry feelings safely and constructively.

11-Year-Old Wants to Shave Her Legs
11-year old girl is angry at her mother for not letting her shave her legs.

Reading To A 7-Month-Old
It is the rare seven-month-old who wants to sit still to read books. Still, there are many ways parents can increase their children’s love of language and set the stage for a growing love of books.

5-Year-Old Doesn’t Want To Go To School
When children don’t want to go to school, there can be a variety of reasons. Through listening and careful observation you can help your child figure out what is making mornings difficult and figure out ways to remedy the problem.

Toddler Not Interested In Mama
When children favor one parent over another or seem to consistently reject one parent, there may be a number of normal developmental factors at play. Carefully observing your child can help you ascertain the ways your child is-and isn’t-connected to you, and may give you clues how best to respond. Dealing with a child’s favoritism, though painful, gives us opportunities to practice unconditional love.

5-Year-Old Sleeping With Dad
Deciding whether it’s wise for a single parent to share a family bed with a child is a complex matter which requires looking at a variety of dynamics in the parents’ life and in the parent-child relationship. In this answer, we respond to a grandmother who wonders whether it’s okay for her five-year-old granddaughter to sleep with her father after her parents’ divorce.

Mother Concerned About Interracial Dating
When teenage children consider dating someone of a different racial or religious background, parents sometimes feel concerned about the prejudice they may have to face as a result of their choice. Giving adolescents support in dealing with bias and discrimination is an important way to help our kids succeed with their clear, strong, conscious decisions.

7-Year-Old Revisiting Separation Anxiety
When a seven-year-old is going through a renewed bout of separation anxiety, there may be developmental factors at work. Understanding the cognitive leaps seven-year-olds are making can help you and your child figure out how to deal with this new level of fears.

Sharing Custody Of A Baby When One Parent Lives Far Away
Whenever possible, it is important that children be given opportunities to bond with both of their parents. When one parent lives far away, and the child is very young, long-distance visitation should be instituted gradually, so the baby’s essential sense of trust and safety stays intact.

New Kid Snubbed By Playmates
When children are being teased and left out, it can break our hearts. Yet there are ways we as parents can empower our children to respond effectively to teasing and make connections that will be more fruitful.

8-Year-Old Focused On Penis Play
Allowing children to explore sexual feelings and their own bodies is hard for many parents. Understanding what children are trying to find out, providing age-appropriate information and setting appropriate limits are three steps parents can make in supporting their children’s safe exploration.

Helping A 6-Year-Old Who Is Telling Lies
It is common for young children to lie. Understanding the reasons they tell “untruths” can help us respond compassionately, so our children learn the value of honesty without feeling ashamed.

New Parents Going Back To Work?
The first months of an infant’s life are a critical time for parent-child bonding. This deep, lifelong attachment can get a solid start whether or not mothers go back to work. When parents need to return to work soon after their children are born, it’s essential that they spend as much focused time with their babies as possible and that they choose high-quality care for their infants when they need to be away.

Talking To My Daughter About Menstruation
Gaining comfort talking to children about sex involves looking at our own history, a desire to communicate openly with our children, and opportunities to practice. Assessing what our children already know and what they’re wanting to learn is also an important part of the process.

Developing Autonomy In My 2-Year-Old
When toddlers want us to focus our full attention on them at all times, there are ways to gradually teach them to play independently.

“Simple Living” With Kids
Parents who are choosing to reduce consumption and live more simply can find it challenging to deal with kids who want everything their friends have. Yet there are ways to pass on “simple living” values while still respecting children’s needs to feel a part of their peer culture.

Negotiating Difficult Co-parenting Relationships
In blended families, parents are sometimes put in the situation of sharing custody with a parent whose parenting skills are problematic. Tension between households can create a challenging environment. Figuring out how to support children who are faced with difficult circumstances that are out of your control requires careful intervention.

Struggles Over Homework
Parents often find themselves engaged in struggles with their children about finishing homework. Understanding whose responsibility homework is, and getting clear about the ways that parents can really help, can eliminate many of these nightly battles.

Mom Struggling To Let Her 14-Year-Old Make Her Own Decision
Sometimes our own hopes and dreams for our children get in the way of letting kids find out what they want for themselves. In this question, a talented 14-year-old athlete questions her participation in a particular sport and her mother struggles with letting her daughter make her own decision.

Changing Caregivers
When young children lose a caregiver they’ve had for a long time, parents can take steps to make the transition an easier one for everyone.

Competition Between Siblings
In the preschool and early elementary years, children sometimes become very competitive with siblings, cousins, and close friends. Understanding why can help us understand our kid’s drive to compete, and can give us insight into ways we can redirect their impulse to “be the best.”

Messy Room
Many children resist cleaning up their rooms. This is often an area of conflict for parents, who don’t like having to nag their children and don’t feel comfortable with all the sedimentary layers in their children’s rooms. Figuring out how to support children in keeping their rooms clean requires teaching, encouragement and hands-on help.

School Lunch
Children and parents often have different ideas about what kids should eat for lunch at school. Parents usually want their kids to eat a more nutritious lunch; kids want what everybody else is eating. Resolving this conflict successfully requires communication, creativity and compromise.

Unhappy 11-Year-Old Full Of Complaints
Parents of preadolescent children are often faced with distraught, moody children who lash out at their parents with complaints and accusations. When parents stop reacting and start listening at a deeper level, they can transform these difficult interactions into opportunities for communication and learning.

10-Year-Old Wants To Quit Sports
Sometimes when children have been very involved in a particular activity or sport, they get to the point where they want to quit. Listening to our children, helping them make good choices, and understanding our own investment in our their “success,” are all important aspects of an effective response.

12-Year-Old Doesn’t Want To Participate In Family Activities
As children edge toward adolescence, their interest in family-related activities often declines. For parents, this juncture can be a painful one-they may feel as if they are “losing” their child. Staying connected to a preadolescent child requires listening, negotiation, adjusting our expectations, and finding new ways to be together.

Chores
Parents and children both benefit when children are included in work which helps the family. When considering what chores are appropriate for children, it’s important to take into account their capabilities as well what you want them to teach them about work.

Giving Kids An Allowance
Daily, our children are targeted by advertisers as the next up-and-coming consumer group. Quite naturally, kids respond by wanting more and more “things.” Responding to children’s increasing demands for “stuff” requires that we assess our family’s values, teach kids to be informed consumers, and negotiate with kids while establishing clear limits on buying.

Responding To Children Who Want To Buy Everything
An allowance can be an excellent tool for teaching child about money and how to manage it wisely. There are many different ways families can implement an allowance system depending on their goals, values and circumstances.

Responding To Offensive Slang
Children pick up all kinds of words out in the world and they usually bring them home to try them out on their parents. When a particular word offends you, it can be helpful to give your child information about the word while simultaneously responding to his or her questions about it.

Peer Pressure
It can be painful for us to watch our children reject old friends in order to get “in” with a new crowd. Learning to respond effectively when our children are caught up in these kind of painful interactions can give us the opportunity to teach them something about the deeper meaning of friendship.

Rude Behavior
Parents are often frustrated, angry or confounded by their children’s rude behavior. Understanding where rudeness comes from can help parents’ come up with effective strategies to respond to it.

7-Year-Olds Exploring Each Other’s Bodies
Children often engage in sex play with each other. This often brings up feelings of uncertainty and discomfort for parents. Through assessing the children’s relationship, finding out they’re trying to learn, and talking openly with the other child’s parents, you open the way for a response that promotes safety, while honoring children’s natural curiosity.

Fingernail Polish For A 7-Year-Old??
Cultural and peer pressures are leading children to explore symbols of growing up – like make-up – at younger and younger ages. By understanding kids’ fascination with being “grown-up,” listening to your child, and exploring your own level of comfort, you’ll be able to figure out a response that’s right for your family.

Playground Teasing
It can be excruciating for us as parents when our children are teased or excluded by other children at school. Yet there are things we can do to help our children – and our children’s schools — respond effectively to playground taunts and teasing.

Nine-Year-Old Wants To Stay Home Alone
Figuring out when it’s okay for school-aged kids to walk to school themselves, go on solo trips to the store, or be home alone is hard for many parents. Working with our own fears, methodically assessing our children’s readiness, and starting small can help ease the way toward our children’s greater independence.

Big Energy 4-Year-Old
Four-year-olds can be extremely physical and full of energy, and some four-year-olds are more physically intense than others. Understanding your child’s temperament, and the circumstances influencing him, can help you learn to manage your child’s “big energy.”

Helping Kids Deal With Death
Children experience death very differently than adults. Understanding how kids’ perspective of death evolves over time can help us support them when someone close to them dies.

Dealing With A 2-Year-Old’s Fears
Fears naturally arise for children as their awareness of the larger world increases. Understanding how children’s fears arise, and what children need to work through them, can give us the tools we need to support them in their quest to master their fears.

Begging For Videos
Sitting in front of a screen, watching TV or videos for extended periods of time, is not ideal for toddlers who need to be physically interacting with their world in order to grow and learn. However, since television is an integral part of life in most contemporary families, parents can help young children by limiting TV time, choosing programming carefully, and watching with their children.

Responding To A Baby’s Cries
Parents and caregivers often have different perspectives on how to respond to a crying baby. Understanding how babies develop trust and what is necessary for their healthy emotional development can give us insight into what babies need from us when they cry.

Toddler Tantrums
It can be very hard for parents when their sweet, lovable babies start exploding in tantrums when they reach toddlerhood. Understanding what tantrums are really about can give us a sound basis for responding to them effectively.

A Picky Eater
Food is often a challenging issue in families. Learning about some of the myths and realities of children’s eating habits can help parents better understand their responsibilities in feeding their children.

Co-parenting After Divorce
Co-parenting after a divorce necessitates a very different relationship than that of a couple who are living together and raising children. There are guidelines for entering this new territory that can make the co-parenting experience work for everyone.

Dealing With Divorce
Divorce is a huge event in the life of a child. But there are things divorcing couples can do to lessen the negative impact on their children’s lives.

Separation Trauma
Leaving children in child care can be very difficult for parents and children alike. But there are practical things you can do for your child, and for youreself, to make the transition to a new child care setting smoother for everyone.

Choosing Child Care
Taking the time to carefully select a child care setting that will be a good match for both you and your child is the first step in creating a successful child care experience for your family.

Exclusionary Play
Watching four and five-year olds exclude other children from their play, “Go away! You can’t play with us!” can be excruciating for parents – whether their child is the one doing the excluding or the one being left out. Yet exclusionary play is a normal stage in children’s social development. Learning why exclusionary play occurs can help us understand children’s behavior and clear the way for us to respond to it effectively.

Sleepless Nights
Dealing with sleep — or the lack of sleep — brings us right to the core of our most important issues as parents. Although it is humbling to realize that you cannot force a child to sleep, there are some things you can do to ease your child into a new sleeping pattern.

Toddler Testing
If you look at it from a todder’s point of view, testing is an essential way to explore the world. Although it tries our patience, there are ways to intervene respectfully.

Sibling Spats
The interpersonal skills children get to practice in their sibling relationships will serve them in relationships for the rest of their lives. Viewing sibling conflicts in this light helps parents respond more positively when their children fight.

Exasperating In-laws
Grandparents sometimes interact with our kids in ways we don’t like. We may also feel criticized by their comments about our parenting. Listening, communication and respectful limit setting can help smooth the rough spots.

2-Year-Old Grabs All The Toys
Understanding why toddlers have such an aversion to sharing makes it easier for parents to accept their children’s behavior and find creative solutions for dealing with this inevitable stage when “Mine!” is the rallying cry.

4-Year-Old Cursing A Blue Streak
Four-year-olds, who are busy exploring the power of language, often come home using bathroom talk and trying out curse words. By understanding their developmental need to test language, letting them know how we feel about their words, and modeling appropriate language, we can help them move through this stage to more acceptable forms of expression.

Helping Children Work Through Conflict
When kids learn to successfully resolve conflicts with their siblings and their friends, they build a foundation for social relationships for the rest of their lives. Parents who learn effective tools for facilitating children’s problem-solving offer their children the best chance to learn essential conflict-resolution skills.

Almost 5-Year-Old Driving Me Nuts
Being “grown-up” and learning new skills often goes hand in hand with regression to more babyish behavior. This seemingly contradictory behavior can be confusing for parents, but in fact, is a normal part of development.

Blowing It With The Kids
When we fall short of our ideals as parents and make those inevitable mistakes, it is useful to acknowledge our mistakes to our children, to look at the sources of our stress, and to reach out for support.

Safe Roughhousing
Men are conditioned to use wrestling as a primary way of connecting with their children. Yet wrestling can sometimes get too rough for kids. With careful communication, wrestling can be fun and safe for everyone.

A Family Bed?
Whether children sleep with their parents or on their own is determined largely by parents’ culture and beliefs about children. Yet many families who choose a family bed feel criticized for their decision. It’s important to recognize that children who sleep in a family bed can learn independence and autonomy as well as children who sleep alone.

 

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