Single mom seeks help

Every now and then a reader emails me a question that I could not possibly give an unbiased answer to. And so, with her permission, I am passing her email off to all of you - hoping that you may have some advice for a single mom in quite a predicament.

Feeling Clingy

Over the summertime, my son started becoming extra clingy. I would be in the next room, and he would call out to make sure that I was still there. He wouldn’t go to his dad’s house without a fight because he didn’t want to leave me. He was constantly worried that I was going to abandon him, or that I might die. So I wrote an article about it, and got a lot of feedback from other parents that were going through the same thing. And it appeared that it was going on with kids around the same age as my son.

Here’s one comment in particular:

My 8 year old daughter seems to be going through this. There was no event that seemed to have caused it aside from turning 8. She refuses to go to her dad’s house, and hasn’t been able to have a sleep over. She has tantrums about going to her father’s a week in advance. She constantly asks to sleep in my bed. She can’t be on the second floor of the house without someone else being there unless she is somehow preoccupied. It’s hard to help her cope because I feel suffocated. I’d love to hear some advice. by Kim (more...)

Boys Raised by Moms

When I got to work this morning, Mr. W had left a book on my desk called “Assertive Discipline for Parents”. He had been reading it, and I expressed interest in it and asked to borrow it when he was done. It was still on my desk when one of my co-workers came over and saw it. At first my co-worker joked about it, but then he mentioned that it’s actually a good subject to read up on. He brought up a lady friend of his that had to cancel their lunch date because she needed to come home and fix her son lunch. Her son’s age? Oh, he’s 18. (more...)

First Kiss

Over the weekend, while my texting tween was hunched over her cell phone, she paused long enough to ask me if she could go over to the house of this new “friend” to hang out. I agreed, thinking that it was no different than when she went over to one of her other guy friend’s house. Her first guy friend had been friends with her since 1st grade, and for several years had even considered themselves best friends. I had gotten to know this kid well, as well as his family. And there had never been any reason to not let them hang out. But after I agreed to let my daughter hang out with this new “friend”, I immediately regretted the words. Why? My daughter was a tomboy, naturally drawn to being one of the guys at school, and chatting with her guy pals on Facebook. So what was causing me to bristle at the thought of her hanging out with one of the guys? For one, it was the way they had been texting back and forth consistently for the past several days. Two, it was the way she lit up, eager to talk up his good points every time I asked a few innocent questions about who he was, what he liked, his intentions for my daughter, plans for the future, and what his parents did for a living. You know, innocent. Three, she was getting to the age when male-female friendships developed into something more than just hanging out, and I wasn’t sure that I had counseled her enough on matters of the heart and the art of being chaste. Most of all, it was that I didn’t even know this kid or his parents. (more...)

The difference between moms and dads

Growing up, I was fortunate to have both my parents in the home. My dad is a real estate appraiser, and though he worked a lot, we were often able to accompany him on local road trips when he went to look at houses. Sometimes we’d ride along with him, fascinated by the beauty of some areas that we never would have seen otherwise. Other times he would drop my mom and us three girls off at the park so we could have a picnic. He’d join us when his appointment was done.

Dad was the one who had the ideas for fun places to go and things to see. Who knew that sitting in the lobby of a fancy hotel, as if we were guests, enjoying hot chocolate by the fire could be so much fun. But with Dad, it was his way of instilling make-believe in us. (more...)

Is it ok to discipline other people's children?

We want our kids to have friends. But sometimes friends aren’t welcome. Little Timmy comes over to play with your son, and lets himself into your home as soon as you open the door. And even though he came over to play with your son, suddenly your child is playing by himself in the living room while Timmy rifles through his things upstairs. He invites himself on your family outings. He opens your refrigerator to see what you have to eat. Maybe he lies repeatedly. Maybe he makes a mess of your home and then leaves before cleaning it up. He might use language that doesn’t fly in your home. He might be a hitter, or a biter, or use some other form of brutality to get his way. He might even steal your child’s belongings, maybe even yours. Whatever he’s doing wrong, the kid gets under your skin. Little Timmy has no sense of boundaries whatsoever, fails to follow the house rules even though you have reminded him of them repeatedly, and you have noticed that your child’s behavior has gone downhill dramatically ever since Timmy made his first appearance. And yet your child insists they want to be friends with them. (How do you deal without dropkicking Little Timmy across the neighborhood? Read more...)

The good kid vs the, um, not-so-good kid

To celebrate, I told him we’d pick out something for dessert that night, and that I would let him pick out dinner. I was trying to think of ways to make this an even bigger deal. I even mulled over singing him “Congratulations to you” to the tune of Happy Birthday. Don’t worry, that idea never manifested. But I was just beaming with pride. I immediately let Mr. Wonderful know, and then let the rest of the world know by posting the news as my Facebook status.

I asked the Taz what he wanted to eat, and he rattled off idea after idea until a decision was finally made. And that’s when another voice piped up in the back seat.

“You never made this big of a deal when I made Student Council…..”

Sometimes having two kids is like a shaky balancing act. (Read more about my neglected daughter...)

How Rebellion is Born

“Did you eat your breakfast?” I asked my son this morning as he turned on his video games before school.
“Uh, yeah,” he said.
“Alright, what did you eat?” I asked my little Tasmanian Devil.
“Oh yeah, I didn’t. But I’m not hungry,” he told me.
“Turn off the game. You’re not allowed to play until you have finished getting ready, and that includes eating breakfast and brushing your teeth,” I reminded him.
“Oh my gosh, Mom! You don’t care about me?” My son likes to go into dramatics when he isn’t getting his way, especially when it’s getting in the middle of his game playing time. “I told you I’m not hungry, and now you’re making me eat!”

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