Bickering at the bus stop

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  February 4, 2010 06:00 AM

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Barbara,
 I have two sons, ages 9 and 8. Ever since they started school, waiting for the school bus has been a problem. Our school bus does not stop in front of our house - it is 2 blocks away around a corner. The problem is that still, in 3rd and 2nd grade, every day is an argument over who gets on the bus first. They get in fist fights with each other, try to cut other kids, and generally act like monsters.

What I would like to do is make them walk to school for a long period of time until they get the hint. The problem then becomes one of time and distance - it is at least a 40-minute walk to their school along some very busy streets. Due to work schedules, we can't walk with them every day - we have to get on the train after they get on the bus. I am not sure I trust them to walk by themselves, and I don't really need all the other parents calling me neglectful because (gasp) I let my kids walk to school alone.

How do I get them to realize that the world will not end if they are not first on the bus, and that they are losing friends left and right with their obnoxious behavior? And all without losing my job for being late?
 
From: BMS, Watertown

Hi BMS,

Siblings bicker for all kinds of reasons, but the most common reason of all is because it gets them attention from you. No matter what, each child always wants more of you and they don't care if that happens for negative reasons.

What's more, sib bickering often turns into a habit, a ritual, Pavlovian even. The school bus arrives, and this is what they do. In fact, at some level it may even be the way they express affection for each other. I know that sounds bizarre but really, it's what they expect from each other, it's a term of endearment and not maintaining the ritual is like a dis.  (This insight comes from parent coach and author Nancy Samalin who came to the conclusion after watching her own sons.)

OK, fine, so maybe the fighting to get on first is a ritual  ("I know what to do, I know what my brother will say, I know what I do next"), that doesn't mean it's a good thing, especially if  other kids find it obnoxious. Rather than consider this a nightmare and dread the mornings, look at it as an opportunity to empower them to become problem-solvers.

I'm assuming you don't tolerate fist fights at home, so you need to extend the rules of the household to the rules for the bus stop.  Have a family meeting or a sit-down and state the problem: "Every morning at the bus stop, there is a fist fight over who gets on the bus first. Sometimes someone cries; sometimes someone is rude to another child. Almost every day, I am embarrassed to see my sons doing this. This is a hard problem, because you both want the same thing: to be first on the bus."

Acknowledge their feelings ("Two brothers who want the same thing! Wow! How does that make you feel?"). State the family rule: "In our family, the rule is no fist fighting, not even at the bus stop." Then put the problem in their hands: "I need the two of you to figure out a way to stop the fighting at the bus stop." Give them a deadline: "Please come back to us with some ideas by Sunday night." If they need help, give them some ideas: "Maybe you want to have a turn-taking system, with a chart. Maybe you want to have a turn-taking chart that involves every child at the bus stop, so that everyone gets a turn to be first, and you can each take turns being in charge of the chart." (Yes, that might need another chart!)

Give them a consequence: "If you can't come up with some ideas, then dad and I will, but you might not like our ideas as much." Show confidence in them: "I know you can figure this out together." And offer a reward: "Every day you don't have a fight about who is first, there will be a sticker on the chart. At the end of a week, you can have X." (Keep it small and appropriate.) Make it clear you expect this to be worked out together; it's a problem they have together and they need to figure it out together.

The solution might also involve getting up earlier to allow for more time at the bus stop. Maybe they want to write a book together about two brothers who have this problem and how to solve it. Maybe they want to video tape the scene at the bus stop, or interview everyone else at the bus stop about what it's like for them to see them fighting. Maybe they want to interview other brothers they know about how they deal with getting on the bus. Or interview bus drivers. The idea is to get them to examine the problem and think outside the box. With any luck, it will actually be fun for them.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.
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21 comments so far...
  1. Uh, how about consequences for their actions? Take away their XBox or Playstation or whatever is important to them until they behave. And follow through. Problem solved.

    Posted by Dad February 4, 10 07:29 AM
  1. "Maybe they want to write a book together about two brothers who have this problem and how to solve it. Maybe they want to video tape the scene at the bus stop, or interview everyone else at the bus stop about what it's like for them to see them fighting. Maybe they want to interview other brothers they know about how they deal with getting on the bus. Or interview bus drivers."

    Normally love your advice, but this is just downright wacky.

    Posted by Evelyn February 4, 10 09:30 AM
  1. Letter writer here. Consequences do get imposed - the most logical one being that they walk to school. The problem becomes one of someone being there to walk them to school, given the distance and traffic problem. Extra chores are also imposed - which works for a few days.

    My problem with making up a chart is it makes it seem like they are in charge at the bus stop. They're not - they are not the bosses of the bus stop. They are just kids like everyone else, and they don't get to say who goes first. I guess that is my real question: How do I rein in the narcissism that says "We rule the bus stop, and we decide the order of the line." I have said just that to them repeatedly (i.e. You are not in charge, get over yourselves), and when I am there I will make them get on last if they are being obnoxious. I need to think creatively about how to get them out of this mindset that they are the only two who matter at the bus stop.

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 10:09 AM
  1. My own boys are just a bit younger than yours, so I sympathize with the issue of competiveness between brothers!

    I like a lot of Barbara's suggestions (she lost me at the writing the book part, too!), especially that they be required to come up with their own solution to the problem. Having said that, between the two of them, to me the simplest thing would be to say they alternate weeks. One week it's Brother A, one week it's Brother B.

    As far as the rest of the kids, I think the most obvious and societally normal thing is "whoever gets to the bus stop first is first in line." This is how we handle things generally in the world, isn't it? If the brothers do not arrive at the bus stop first, they do not get on first. I like your own idea that if they do not behave, they get on last.

    I think the walk to school consequence is not as logical as it seems ... for all the problems you mention. I would search for consequences that are easier on you and not so dangerous (no TV time or whatever).

    Posted by anita February 4, 10 01:41 PM
  1. I love this question because it hits home so well. I think Barbara is right on when she says the competition to be first on the bus is habit, or even ritual. I doubt either kid really cares about being first on the bus, and that setting up a turn-taking schedule would take all the fun out of the competition.

    My kids had a similar habit of wanting to press "the inside button" for an elevator. The outside button to page the elevator was deemed by them to be less desirable--it was a purely arbitrary excuse to argue. They are teens now, but they still joke about it and exchange glances if they are in an elevator together. Taking a page from the children's book character Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, I decided to join in their competition to push "the inside button". Once I did it, they were able to see how silly it was. I don't know if LW wants to to be first on the bus one day, but maybe the other bus stop kids could demonstrate?

    Posted by gastrogal February 4, 10 02:50 PM
  1. Sounds like these two boys don't really have enough respect for their parent's discipline methods - probably they don't take your threats all that seriously enough to get their little brains to realize that fighting = punishment. Walking to school would be an EXCELLENT way to get the message across, especially in this cold weather. To make that threat and then follow through with it would probably put a bit of shock into them so they view you as a bit less of a pushover. If you can get it into your schedule even once or twice in a week, it may be enough to nip the whole situation in the bud.

    Barbara has great advice on how to have the talk with your kids, as for the book and video thing and making charts, not so much. Sounds a bit too "creative" to me.

    In my 15 years of Nanny experience, I've noticed there are some kids that, even with a tiny bit of pushover behavior from the parent, will completely ignore house rules when out of eye/ear shot because they think they can get away with anything.

    A nice long walk in the cold might snap them out of it.

    Posted by Sarah February 4, 10 02:56 PM
  1. I don't think walking to school with an adult is dangerous. Just annoying for the adult. But actually, it is less annoying than having to change my name and join the witness protection program rather than admit that the little bus stop hellions are mine, LOL.

    And alas, I must find something to hold over them other than TV or video games - we own neither. Now legos on the other hand...

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 03:15 PM
  1. I think you should force them to get on last every day for months as a punishment for what they have already done. They're bullies to the other children, based on what you have described, and this is probably happening at school, too. Who is watching the kids at the bus stop when you are not there? Your spouse? Have you spoken with their teachers to find out if they are acting similarly in class?

    Sorry, Barbara's touchy-feely advice today does not resonate in the least with me. They're boys. They don't want to write a storybook together about their feelings. But it is important that they learn empathy by example, so it is important to explain to them how insensitive they are being to everyone else and how the others must feel when they act up. If getting on last doesn't work, then ground them and take away TV/video games, etc. It's not that hard.

    Posted by JKR February 4, 10 03:51 PM
  1. The bus driver has some responsibilty here. The driver should not open the door of bus until the students are well back from curb and in line (at any age). If they see pushing and/or shoving, the students should get a warning and then be written up. I have taken "cutters" and made them enter bus last.

    Posted by Bob M February 4, 10 04:47 PM
  1. I know BMS has a tv/video game free household, so taking those away are not an option for her. But I guess I'd have to agree that for every time they fight over this *ridiculous* issue, they have an appropriate consequence enforced until it stops.

    I love gastrogal's similar example of pressing the elevator button. When we moved to our new house, we had an issue over who was going to press the garage door button when we got home every day. They were starting to crumple to tears over it!

    I warned them that they were fighting and getting upset over something that was NOT IMPORTANT (earthquake in Haiti, anyone? bare shelves at the food pantry?) and that I wasn't going to participate in any discussions with them over what was fair because it was *so* ridiculous. If they fought (and if anyone cried) over it one more time, no one would be allowed to press the button anymore except for me. Which is what happened for a while...and now my older child has taken over and the younger one has forgotten that it was ever a power struggle. Which is all it was (and I'm sure that's all that's going on between these boys as well).

    Posted by RH February 4, 10 04:59 PM
  1. I don't get complaints about them at school, thank goodness. I do keep in contact with their teachers about various academic issues, but I have been assured that their behavior is, if not perfect, at least not bullying. More like being typical goofballs at times.

    I like the elevator button concept too - it's like they just got utterly fixated on this one thing. When I am not there, they wait on their own (the stop is right in front of a friend's house, and there are at least 6 other kids, and usually 2-3 parents hanging around.) I know that the other moms will tell them to knock it off if they get too wild (with my blessing), but that shouldn't be their job. Next year I don't want to have to walk the to the bus stop at all - they will be old enough to go themselves. But only if they can learn to get over this little obsession.

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 05:36 PM
  1. Have you had them screened for Bus Stop Line Spatio-Temporal Confusion Disorder? I think there is a ribbon for that now.

    Seriously, odd days one goes first, even days the other goes first. Flip a coin to see who gets which and it lasts for a month, or a semester, or whatever.

    Posted by di February 4, 10 08:55 PM
  1. It just sounds to me the like the consequences are not serious enough. Walking to school is not necessarily a punishment. My kid loves walking to school--he doesn't care what the weather is. There must be SOME privilege you can threaten to take away or some punishment that will MEAN something to them! Stick to your guns and do not give in until they cooperate. Maybe it means writing sorry notes to all the kids and parents at the bus stop and the driver--boys hate writing notes! Take away their favorite thing--activity, dessert, toy, whatever until they earn it back. How about extra chores until they cooperate?

    Posted by chilly February 4, 10 09:45 PM
  1. I like the idea of working with them to find a solution, and then finding some consequence that is actually meaningful if they can't follow through. They're old enough to sit down and say 'Enough is enough, you guys are acting like animals at the bus stop, and I know you are capable of behaving much better than that. You need to figure out how to fix this, or you'll lose Legos/mop the floor/scrub the toilet/whatever for a day every time you fight over who gets on the bus first." If they're anything like my kids, the first sentences out of their mouths will start with 'But he....', and you can nip that in the bud - 'I want you to tell me about YOU, not your brother or anyone else'. Mostly sit and listen, but offer advice if they ask, and set a time limit if they aren't making progress. And, of course, when they come up with good ideas, let them know. When they arrive at a solution, I'd have them write it down and sign it, and maybe hang it on the back of the front door or somewhere else prominent. Before you leave in the morning, have both of them read it out loud , and remind them that you expect them to follow the solution they agreed to. If there's some reason that it's not working, acknowledge that and have them renegotiate.

    Good luck!

    Posted by akmom February 5, 10 06:54 AM
  1. We did sit down last night and discuss the situation. The new bus stop rules:

    -Which of the two of them goes first will alternate. Wednesday does not count, as one gets a ride to a before school activity. So someone gets Monday and Thursday, someone gets Tuesday and Friday
    -The 'who goes first' rule applies only to them. Other people at the stop first get priority.
    -Step out of line? Go to the back.
    -Any arguments, either witnessed by me or reported by my spies (the other moms) will result in two straight days of walking, regardless of weather. If I cannot do it because of work, my husband will walk with them and go in slightly later, and stay later (somewhat flexible work hours)
    -Any flack about walking will result in a loss of legos for at least 2 days.

    The boys have agreed to this. In writing. This morning we had a smooth bus stop experience. Let's see if it lasts. Thank you for all the advise everyone.


    Posted by BMS February 5, 10 09:36 AM
  1. I can't wait to hear what happens next, its better than watching LOST. Keep us posted BMS!

    Posted by Sarah February 5, 10 11:10 AM
  1. Congratulations, BMS! This sounds like a great solution-and it's a great indication of how the "village" can help raise the kids!

    Posted by PJ February 5, 10 11:29 AM
  1. BMS, your solution sounds great. I hope things continue to go as smoothly as they did today.

    Posted by akmom February 5, 10 12:01 PM
  1. Wow, BMS... thanks for continuing to comment on the original post and updating us on the progress. Sounds like you knew what would work for your two boys and have figured out effective follow-through as well.

    If anything, they'll be getting great exercise walking to school! ;)

    Posted by M2B February 5, 10 01:28 PM
  1. way to go BMS!!

    Posted by chilly February 6, 10 08:11 AM
  1. Glad to hear the solution worked. I had this problem with my two boys as well - always fighting over who got on the bus first, who gets to press the elevator button and who gets to open the door with the key card at the hotel. Although I consider going to the bus stop a manifestation of helicopter parenting, their behavior required monitoring. For them, the embarrassment of being pulled out of line and getting on last in front of the other kids cured them of it. But there was clearly a power struggle going on with the younger always feeling demoralized, requiring a bit more finesse than a laying down of law consequence as suggested by #1 Dad.

    Posted by bobo February 8, 10 01:45 PM
 
21 comments so far...
  1. Uh, how about consequences for their actions? Take away their XBox or Playstation or whatever is important to them until they behave. And follow through. Problem solved.

    Posted by Dad February 4, 10 07:29 AM
  1. "Maybe they want to write a book together about two brothers who have this problem and how to solve it. Maybe they want to video tape the scene at the bus stop, or interview everyone else at the bus stop about what it's like for them to see them fighting. Maybe they want to interview other brothers they know about how they deal with getting on the bus. Or interview bus drivers."

    Normally love your advice, but this is just downright wacky.

    Posted by Evelyn February 4, 10 09:30 AM
  1. Letter writer here. Consequences do get imposed - the most logical one being that they walk to school. The problem becomes one of someone being there to walk them to school, given the distance and traffic problem. Extra chores are also imposed - which works for a few days.

    My problem with making up a chart is it makes it seem like they are in charge at the bus stop. They're not - they are not the bosses of the bus stop. They are just kids like everyone else, and they don't get to say who goes first. I guess that is my real question: How do I rein in the narcissism that says "We rule the bus stop, and we decide the order of the line." I have said just that to them repeatedly (i.e. You are not in charge, get over yourselves), and when I am there I will make them get on last if they are being obnoxious. I need to think creatively about how to get them out of this mindset that they are the only two who matter at the bus stop.

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 10:09 AM
  1. My own boys are just a bit younger than yours, so I sympathize with the issue of competiveness between brothers!

    I like a lot of Barbara's suggestions (she lost me at the writing the book part, too!), especially that they be required to come up with their own solution to the problem. Having said that, between the two of them, to me the simplest thing would be to say they alternate weeks. One week it's Brother A, one week it's Brother B.

    As far as the rest of the kids, I think the most obvious and societally normal thing is "whoever gets to the bus stop first is first in line." This is how we handle things generally in the world, isn't it? If the brothers do not arrive at the bus stop first, they do not get on first. I like your own idea that if they do not behave, they get on last.

    I think the walk to school consequence is not as logical as it seems ... for all the problems you mention. I would search for consequences that are easier on you and not so dangerous (no TV time or whatever).

    Posted by anita February 4, 10 01:41 PM
  1. I love this question because it hits home so well. I think Barbara is right on when she says the competition to be first on the bus is habit, or even ritual. I doubt either kid really cares about being first on the bus, and that setting up a turn-taking schedule would take all the fun out of the competition.

    My kids had a similar habit of wanting to press "the inside button" for an elevator. The outside button to page the elevator was deemed by them to be less desirable--it was a purely arbitrary excuse to argue. They are teens now, but they still joke about it and exchange glances if they are in an elevator together. Taking a page from the children's book character Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, I decided to join in their competition to push "the inside button". Once I did it, they were able to see how silly it was. I don't know if LW wants to to be first on the bus one day, but maybe the other bus stop kids could demonstrate?

    Posted by gastrogal February 4, 10 02:50 PM
  1. Sounds like these two boys don't really have enough respect for their parent's discipline methods - probably they don't take your threats all that seriously enough to get their little brains to realize that fighting = punishment. Walking to school would be an EXCELLENT way to get the message across, especially in this cold weather. To make that threat and then follow through with it would probably put a bit of shock into them so they view you as a bit less of a pushover. If you can get it into your schedule even once or twice in a week, it may be enough to nip the whole situation in the bud.

    Barbara has great advice on how to have the talk with your kids, as for the book and video thing and making charts, not so much. Sounds a bit too "creative" to me.

    In my 15 years of Nanny experience, I've noticed there are some kids that, even with a tiny bit of pushover behavior from the parent, will completely ignore house rules when out of eye/ear shot because they think they can get away with anything.

    A nice long walk in the cold might snap them out of it.

    Posted by Sarah February 4, 10 02:56 PM
  1. I don't think walking to school with an adult is dangerous. Just annoying for the adult. But actually, it is less annoying than having to change my name and join the witness protection program rather than admit that the little bus stop hellions are mine, LOL.

    And alas, I must find something to hold over them other than TV or video games - we own neither. Now legos on the other hand...

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 03:15 PM
  1. I think you should force them to get on last every day for months as a punishment for what they have already done. They're bullies to the other children, based on what you have described, and this is probably happening at school, too. Who is watching the kids at the bus stop when you are not there? Your spouse? Have you spoken with their teachers to find out if they are acting similarly in class?

    Sorry, Barbara's touchy-feely advice today does not resonate in the least with me. They're boys. They don't want to write a storybook together about their feelings. But it is important that they learn empathy by example, so it is important to explain to them how insensitive they are being to everyone else and how the others must feel when they act up. If getting on last doesn't work, then ground them and take away TV/video games, etc. It's not that hard.

    Posted by JKR February 4, 10 03:51 PM
  1. The bus driver has some responsibilty here. The driver should not open the door of bus until the students are well back from curb and in line (at any age). If they see pushing and/or shoving, the students should get a warning and then be written up. I have taken "cutters" and made them enter bus last.

    Posted by Bob M February 4, 10 04:47 PM
  1. I know BMS has a tv/video game free household, so taking those away are not an option for her. But I guess I'd have to agree that for every time they fight over this *ridiculous* issue, they have an appropriate consequence enforced until it stops.

    I love gastrogal's similar example of pressing the elevator button. When we moved to our new house, we had an issue over who was going to press the garage door button when we got home every day. They were starting to crumple to tears over it!

    I warned them that they were fighting and getting upset over something that was NOT IMPORTANT (earthquake in Haiti, anyone? bare shelves at the food pantry?) and that I wasn't going to participate in any discussions with them over what was fair because it was *so* ridiculous. If they fought (and if anyone cried) over it one more time, no one would be allowed to press the button anymore except for me. Which is what happened for a while...and now my older child has taken over and the younger one has forgotten that it was ever a power struggle. Which is all it was (and I'm sure that's all that's going on between these boys as well).

    Posted by RH February 4, 10 04:59 PM
  1. I don't get complaints about them at school, thank goodness. I do keep in contact with their teachers about various academic issues, but I have been assured that their behavior is, if not perfect, at least not bullying. More like being typical goofballs at times.

    I like the elevator button concept too - it's like they just got utterly fixated on this one thing. When I am not there, they wait on their own (the stop is right in front of a friend's house, and there are at least 6 other kids, and usually 2-3 parents hanging around.) I know that the other moms will tell them to knock it off if they get too wild (with my blessing), but that shouldn't be their job. Next year I don't want to have to walk the to the bus stop at all - they will be old enough to go themselves. But only if they can learn to get over this little obsession.

    Posted by BMS February 4, 10 05:36 PM
  1. Have you had them screened for Bus Stop Line Spatio-Temporal Confusion Disorder? I think there is a ribbon for that now.

    Seriously, odd days one goes first, even days the other goes first. Flip a coin to see who gets which and it lasts for a month, or a semester, or whatever.

    Posted by di February 4, 10 08:55 PM
  1. It just sounds to me the like the consequences are not serious enough. Walking to school is not necessarily a punishment. My kid loves walking to school--he doesn't care what the weather is. There must be SOME privilege you can threaten to take away or some punishment that will MEAN something to them! Stick to your guns and do not give in until they cooperate. Maybe it means writing sorry notes to all the kids and parents at the bus stop and the driver--boys hate writing notes! Take away their favorite thing--activity, dessert, toy, whatever until they earn it back. How about extra chores until they cooperate?

    Posted by chilly February 4, 10 09:45 PM
  1. I like the idea of working with them to find a solution, and then finding some consequence that is actually meaningful if they can't follow through. They're old enough to sit down and say 'Enough is enough, you guys are acting like animals at the bus stop, and I know you are capable of behaving much better than that. You need to figure out how to fix this, or you'll lose Legos/mop the floor/scrub the toilet/whatever for a day every time you fight over who gets on the bus first." If they're anything like my kids, the first sentences out of their mouths will start with 'But he....', and you can nip that in the bud - 'I want you to tell me about YOU, not your brother or anyone else'. Mostly sit and listen, but offer advice if they ask, and set a time limit if they aren't making progress. And, of course, when they come up with good ideas, let them know. When they arrive at a solution, I'd have them write it down and sign it, and maybe hang it on the back of the front door or somewhere else prominent. Before you leave in the morning, have both of them read it out loud , and remind them that you expect them to follow the solution they agreed to. If there's some reason that it's not working, acknowledge that and have them renegotiate.

    Good luck!

    Posted by akmom February 5, 10 06:54 AM
  1. We did sit down last night and discuss the situation. The new bus stop rules:

    -Which of the two of them goes first will alternate. Wednesday does not count, as one gets a ride to a before school activity. So someone gets Monday and Thursday, someone gets Tuesday and Friday
    -The 'who goes first' rule applies only to them. Other people at the stop first get priority.
    -Step out of line? Go to the back.
    -Any arguments, either witnessed by me or reported by my spies (the other moms) will result in two straight days of walking, regardless of weather. If I cannot do it because of work, my husband will walk with them and go in slightly later, and stay later (somewhat flexible work hours)
    -Any flack about walking will result in a loss of legos for at least 2 days.

    The boys have agreed to this. In writing. This morning we had a smooth bus stop experience. Let's see if it lasts. Thank you for all the advise everyone.


    Posted by BMS February 5, 10 09:36 AM
  1. I can't wait to hear what happens next, its better than watching LOST. Keep us posted BMS!

    Posted by Sarah February 5, 10 11:10 AM
  1. Congratulations, BMS! This sounds like a great solution-and it's a great indication of how the "village" can help raise the kids!

    Posted by PJ February 5, 10 11:29 AM
  1. BMS, your solution sounds great. I hope things continue to go as smoothly as they did today.

    Posted by akmom February 5, 10 12:01 PM
  1. Wow, BMS... thanks for continuing to comment on the original post and updating us on the progress. Sounds like you knew what would work for your two boys and have figured out effective follow-through as well.

    If anything, they'll be getting great exercise walking to school! ;)

    Posted by M2B February 5, 10 01:28 PM
  1. way to go BMS!!

    Posted by chilly February 6, 10 08:11 AM
  1. Glad to hear the solution worked. I had this problem with my two boys as well - always fighting over who got on the bus first, who gets to press the elevator button and who gets to open the door with the key card at the hotel. Although I consider going to the bus stop a manifestation of helicopter parenting, their behavior required monitoring. For them, the embarrassment of being pulled out of line and getting on last in front of the other kids cured them of it. But there was clearly a power struggle going on with the younger always feeling demoralized, requiring a bit more finesse than a laying down of law consequence as suggested by #1 Dad.

    Posted by bobo February 8, 10 01:45 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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