Parent Blog

How to Set Limits With the Adult Whose Kid You are Babysitting

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I care for my seven-year-old niece two times a week so her mom can get things done around the house and so I can spend time with her daughter. After a month, her behavior is starting to come around (it was terrible at first). Nevertheless, her mother doesn’t like the way I do things with her daughter. She doesn’t like her child suffering consequences or going to a room until she can be pleasant. It’s becoming a real point of contention, even though everyone is aware that my niece’s behaviors are improving when she is with me. What do I do? -Kim, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Kid Who Doesn’t Like Doing Chores

Dear Kid Whisperer,

After reading your blog, my husband and I realized that our eight-year-old was not doing enough chores. She now does the dishes every night after dinner. Now I am second-guessing myself. The problem is that she really, really hates doing it, and gets upset while she’s cleaning up. It takes her a long time. I feel like, as a stay-at-home mom, maybe I should be doing such a big job (she has three younger siblings and we produce lots of dirty dishes). Advice? -Ann, Boca Raton, Florida

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How to Prepare Your Teen to Save Money for College

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My daughter is 16. She says that she wants to go to college, and we have told her that we will give her four dollars for every dollar she puts toward her education. This is what my parents did with me. The difference is that I saved my allowance and was excited to get a job to start saving more. My daughter still spends all of her allowance on worthless stuff and when I bring up getting a job, she just rolls her eyes. I talk to her a lot about the importance of college and why she needs to save up for it. She says she will, but doesn’t act like it. What do I do? -Jessica, Indianapolis, Indiana

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How to Put an End to Gift-Snooping

Dear Kid Whisperer,

We need help figuring out a logical consequence for our almost 9-year-old son who snuck into our closet (definitely off-limits) and snooped around and climbed up to the top shelf and found his big birthday present. This happened last year at Christmas and we thought ruining the surprise for himself was lesson enough, but apparently it didn’t stick with him. What’s a logical consequence? We don’t want to be cruel and not give it to him, but do want to leave him with a memorable lesson in respecting privacy.  -Mary, San Antonio, Texas

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How to Avoid Using Reminders While Showing Love For Your Kids

Dear Kid Whisperer,

This might not be a good question because it isn’t about a specific situation with my 15-year-old, but a general problem. I have to remind her over and over about everything: the way she speaks to me, cleaning up her room, you name it. She is generally cooperative after I tell her something a billion times, but I’m just so exhausted from talking. I feel like there must be a better way to get her to act the way I want her to act. -Karen, Orlando, FL

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How to Keep the Back Seat Clean

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I handed my 5-year-old a few books and some trash from his car seat and asked him to take it into the house and put it where it belongs. He put it back on the car seat, said “no” and walked in the house. I am proud of myself that I didn’t react, but now I have no idea what to do about it. -Theresa, Miami, Florida

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How to Handle a Kid Who Refuses to Shower

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I know a certain 11-year-old who doesn’t want to do anything in the shower but wash her hair (because she likes how soft and pretty it is when it’s clean). She will go as far as turning on the shower to make us THINK she’s bathing, and then just wash her hair in the sink. She stinks. What do I do? -Jenelle, Iowa City, Iowa

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How to Turn Down Your Kid’s Volume

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a very loud daughter. Her volume is always turned all the way up. I find myself telling her she needs to be quiet, but I really don’t like that message. Do you have a better one-liner than “be quiet”? -Anne, Honolulu, Hawaii

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How to Handle a Kid Who Hates Showering

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My 5-year-old refuses to shower. This has been happening for the last two years. When it’s time for a shower, he screams, he yells, he hides. It’s exhausting. I feel like I’ve tried everything. What do I do? -Annie, Omaha, Nebraska

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