Santa Surveillance and Checking Bedtime at College for 12/09/2017

Santa Surveillance and Checking Bedtime at College for 12/09/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My kids’ behavior has been dreadful lately. I’ve tried everything, and I feel like I can’t make a dent. The kids love Christmas and Santa, so I’m thinking about getting The Elf on the Shelf to encourage good behavior. Even though I’ve totally resisted because I have no time for this, I’m hoping the behavior will at least improve for December. Should I get it? — Hesitant

Dear Hesitant: Every year I hear parents say to their misbehaving kids, “Santa’s watching.” And every year I’m heartbroken for those parents. They are out of tools. They believe the only way to improve behavior at this point is to hold the loss of material gifts over their kids’ heads. Now there are even more options for pretending someone all-knowing is watching your kids. First there was the elf who reports back to Santa to decide who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Then the Mensch on a Bench showed up so the Jews don’t feel left out. Now there are even Santa spy surveillance cameras (Can you say creepy?) that light up when Santa’s elves are observing. Good grief!

Updated: Sat Dec 09, 2017


Santa Surveillance and Checking Bedtime at College for 12/09/2017

Sabotaging College and Emotional Meltdowns for 12/02/2017

Sabotaging College and Emotional Meltdowns for 12/02/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My son is a senior, and he is slowly throwing away all of his options for college. He has excellent SAT scores, but his grades are erratic. He isn’t going to class and is missing a lot of assignments. When confronted, he is remorseful but still can’t get his act together. He’s sabotaging himself, and I’m heartbroken watching him fail. I’ve tried everything to help him to no avail. What can I do now to stop his downfall? — Devastated

Dear Devastated: It’s painful to watch an accident happening and not be able to prevent it. As a last-ditch effort, it might help to organize a big conference with your son, his high school counselor and his teachers to allow everyone to work on the issues together. Try not to add additional stress and pressure, as that may actually make your son regress further. Instead, focus on addressing his emotional needs, and let the school help with the academic ones.

Updated: Sat Dec 02, 2017


Sabotaging College and Emotional Meltdowns for 12/02/2017

A Homebody and a Christmas Tree for 11/25/2017

A Homebody and a Christmas Tree for 11/25/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My son is strongly considering a college close to us so he can live at home. It’s not a financial decision, as we have set aside enough money for dorms. My wife and I love our son, but we feel it would be best for him to experience college away from us. We are his crutch. How wrong or hurtful would it be to forbid him from living at home? — Nearly Empty Nesters

Dear Nesters: You are your son’s crutch for a reason. For 18 years, you probably allowed him to settle in comfortably in your home without pushing him to his limits. When he balked about attending a birthday party, you probably let him to skip it. When he didn’t want to attend sleep-away camp, you probably happily kept him at home. That’s fine. But now, you can’t expect him to be ready and prepared to fly the coop. You want to pull the crutch away from him without building up a safety net. That’s not fair.

Updated: Sat Nov 25, 2017


A Homebody and a Christmas Tree for 11/25/2017

An Older Boyfriend and Comic Fans for 11/18/2017

An Older Boyfriend and Comic Fans for 11/18/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: My daughter is a very mature and responsible 20-year-old. She lives at college, works part time and is involved in many community programs. Recently, she told me her boyfriend is a 31-year-old lawyer. I usually trust her judgment, but this boyfriend seems like another generation to me. How can I discourage this relationship to give her time to grow up? — Discouraged Dad

Dear Dad: Your baby isn’t a baby anymore. While you may not like her choices, it sounds like she is well on the road to being an independent adult. In another year she will have her degree, a full-time job and the ability to do whatever she wishes. She will not be financially dependent on her parents and thus will not have to obey your wishes. This is a pretty tough nut to swallow, but it’s where you are at.

Updated: Sat Nov 18, 2017


An Older Boyfriend and Comic Fans for 11/18/2017

Back to An Unstable Mother and Quitting Baseball for 11/17/2017

Back to An Unstable Mother and Quitting Baseball for 11/17/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: I’ve been raising my granddaughter for almost 17 years. My daughter wanted very little to do with her. Now she has money coming in, and she wants her daughter to come back. I have legal custody, and I’m afraid that if I let her go back, she will be subjected to an unhealthy environment. They both have mental health issues, my granddaughter’s being a result of the treatment from her mother. Should I let her go or tell her to stay with me? — Confused

Dear Confused: My heart is hurting for you. You are in a precarious position. Surely, you want what’s best for your child. But you also want what’s best for your grandchild. Those two things might be incongruous.

Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017


Back to An Unstable Mother and Quitting Baseball for 11/17/2017

Unsupervised Parties and A Control Freak for 11/11/2017

Unsupervised Parties and A Control Freak for 11/11/2017
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: This year we moved our two high school kids to a new area. Both kids report having no friends. It’s been a difficult transition. They say the only way they can make friends is if I allow them to go to parties. But all of the parties are unsupervised. Do I have to let them go? —Feeling Guilty

Dear Guilty: I’m guessing the move wasn’t their choice so you feel more responsible for their happiness. Hence, the guilt. But don’t let guilt cloud your good judgment. Work through this problem with open communication.

Updated: Sat Nov 11, 2017


Unsupervised Parties and A Control Freak for 11/11/2017