Snooping Mistakes and a Pesky Pacifier for 03/24/2018

Snooping Mistakes and a Pesky Pacifier for 03/24/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My 16-year-old daughter tells us nothing about her life. So when she goes to bed, I sometimes browse through her cellphone. At first I just noticed typical teenage girl gossip. But then I read about a boy she likes and is trying to attract by wearing tight clothing and sending him racy Snapchats. How can I address this with her without telling her that I’ve been on her phone? — Snooper

Dear Snooper: Stop snooping right now. Your daughter chooses not to share her life with you. It would be helpful to figure out why. Is she just private, or is she worried about the potential lectures she will get if she tells you anything? Either way, I can guarantee she will be even less likely to share her life details once she finds out you’ve been snooping. Furthermore, once you read or see something upsetting, you can’t unknow it. That’s the danger. You don’t know what you will find, or even how to handle it.

Updated: Sat Mar 24, 2018


Snooping Mistakes and a Pesky Pacifier for 03/24/2018

A New Dress Code Policy & A Win for Girls

Sometimes a small change can make a massive difference. Today I found out my school district changed it’s dress code policy. What might look like minor language alterations actually add up to a huge development.

Last year my 13-year-old daughter was objectified, mortified and singled out due to her size (tall) and gender. First we were told girls couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys can’t control themselves. Then various school administrators gave my daughter two dress code violations stating that her shorts were too short. Frustrated and embarrassed by what she had to wear the rest of the day my daughter wrote an email to the principal expressing her thoughts on the dress code. The principal wrote back that it was out of her hands as she was just following district policy (LAME).

I was livid and fed up with the policy and its implementation. I wrote a tongue in cheek letter to the principal inviting her to take my daughter shopping. The letter struck a chord, for better or worse, with so many. I received hundreds of notes from women and girls thanking me for expressing their frustration. I also received loads of well-meaning folks telling me I was raising a slut and a snowflake. Everyone is entitled to their opinion although I respectfully disagreed.

The dress code singles out girls. Although tall and overweight girls are disproportionately more likely to be cited. The not-so-subtle message of the dress code is that girls’ bodies are a distraction and girls need to be responsible for making boys comfortable. In the age of #MeToo it is clear that we need to be sending different messages to both the boys and the girls.

This year my daughter entered high school where miraculously the dress code isn’t enforced much. Life went on. However, I just spotted an understated post on the middle school Facebook page that simply says, “Dress Code approved 1/16/2018.” I clicked on the link and immediately smiled from ear to ear.

The new dress code states that kids must wear a shirt, pant, shorts or a skirt, and shoes. No one can wear clothing with profanity, violent images, any illegal item or hate speech. That’s pretty much it.

The best part of the new policy actually doesn’t relate to the dress code, but to how it can be enforced. School staff may NOT publicly call out a student for attire. Staff may NOT require students to bend, kneel or measure skirts or straps. And most important, school staff may NOT accuse students of distracting other students with their clothing. When I read that part I became teary from I place I didn’t know was still hurting. This is a huge advancement and a win for all the kids in the district.

I don’t think my letters to and about the principal had any influence over this policy. But I do think that our collective voice across the country is being heard. This policy shift may seem small and insignificant. But right now I feel hopeful, and that’s not nothing.

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Potty-Training Resistance and a Nickname for 03/17/2018

Potty-Training Resistance and a Nickname for 03/17/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My nearly 4-year-old daughter is not potty trained. At preschool she is prompted to use to toilet every hour or so, and she successfully tinkles. But at home she refuses to tell us when she needs to go and has a tantrum when we suggest she sit on the potty. She has never pooped on the potty at school or at home. She just goes in her pullup. We’ve tried everything. Should we continue to push her or just put her in underwear and hope for the best? — Daddy

Dear Daddy: Pump the breaks. Potty training comes easily to some, looking almost as if the kid trained herself. But for others it’s a struggle. The worst path parents can take with a resistant trainer is to push and prod. Little kids control almost nothing in their lives. Where they pee and poop is in their control. When children see how desperately important the toilet seems to their parents, they often decide to resist just because they can.

Updated: Sat Mar 17, 2018


Potty-Training Resistance and a Nickname for 03/17/2018

A Falling Hero and Perfect Profanity for 03/10/2018

A Falling Hero and Perfect Profanity for 03/10/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My son’s sports idol is a womanizing, arrogant jerk by most accounts. At only 10 years old, my son isn’t aware of most of his hero’s problems. Despite recent allegations of serial extramarital affairs, my son said he loves him anyway. As a woman, wife and mother, I’m troubled by this. But I don’t want to ruin his hero for him. What can I do? — Feminist Mom

Dear Feminist: It would be very hard for your son to truly comprehend what is so upsetting about an extramarital affair. He’s just a boy who probably can’t even envision dating, let alone marriage. So his need to brush off the allegations isn’t troubling per se. However, it does signify that it might be time to broaden your discussions in general about dating, marriage and heroes.

Updated: Sat Mar 10, 2018


A Falling Hero and Perfect Profanity for 03/10/2018

A Broken Promise and Nighttime Cellphone Rules for 03/03/2018

A Broken Promise and Nighttime Cellphone Rules for 03/03/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My daughter couldn’t find her glasses, so she offered to give her brother a crazy amount of money if he were to find them. He suggested that she check her backpack. When she did, she found her glasses. Now, my daughter refuses to pay my son the money she promised him. I feel she should have to pay up because, without her brother, she wouldn’t have found them. On the other hand, he didn’t exactly find them. They’ve been fighting about this ferociously. Whose side should I take? — In the Middle

Dear Middle: You should take no one’s side. Stay far out of it. This isn’t your battle to resolve, and any meddling you do will backfire almost immediately.

Updated: Sat Mar 03, 2018


A Broken Promise and Nighttime Cellphone Rules for 03/03/2018