Conquering night-time fears

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 31, 2013 06:00 AM

My son is 3.5 and for the past 10 weeks he wakes up at least once, sometimes up to four times a night. He says he can't sleep or he needs to be tucked in etc. However, I get the sense he is scared. At a separate time, I asked if he knew why he woke up and called out to mom and dad. He said he heard noises and was scared. We talked about the fact that our heat does click on and off. But he says I hear things under my bed, etc. So I know he must be scared. I am empathetic to my little boy who is sacred. But having us all wake up 1-4 times a night is making us all crazy! Not to mention it is not healthy for my son to be sleep deprived. He does have a night light. I am not sure what else I can do to help us all stay asleep!

From: Andover Mom, Andover, MA


Why is preschooler unhappy to see mom at pick-up? He's having a good time!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 29, 2013 06:00 AM

Hi! I feel a bit of a lose end -- my little boy, who is nearly 3, is lovely at home. We are very close have a great bond. He goes to pre school for 2 half days a week. When I take him in, he cuddles me, holds my hand and wants me to stay although he is getting better now and enjoys pre sch which is great. The problem that is getting to me is when I pick him up from pre sch. As soon as he sees me, he goes into a sulk and chucks things and basically acts as if he doesn't like me. Why does he act like this when we are so close normally? I have another son age 4 and half and he has always run to me, "mummy, mummy!" and is happy to see me. Any tips on how picking him up from pre sch can be easier and why he acts this way?

Many thanks for reading.

From: Sarah, Devon, UK


When a relative is transgender

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 28, 2013 06:00 AM

My brother is married to a transgendered individual. "B" lives as a woman but is still, biologically/physically, a man. When people meet her, it's often obvious to them that she is really a man. "B" has been with my brother for over 15 years now and both my daughters call her "aunt" and do not realize she is a man.

My oldest is 12 and my youngest is 8. I do not want to keep secrets from them ... do I raise the transgendered issue? Do I wait for them to ask? They're going to ask some day, I know and I don't want them to feel like this is a deep dark secret (though my brother and his spouse do not discuss the issue -- ever).

Looking for your advice Barbara. Thanks in advance.

From: LadyDi, Westford, MA


When's the right time to tell a 10-year-old about a half-sib?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 24, 2013 06:00 AM

Dear Barbara,

My fiance has a 10 year old daughter whom he is very close to. He also has a 6 month old son from a previous relationship who his daughter knows nothing about.

He really wants to tell his daughter about her baby brother. I question if this is the right decision at this time because she has had a number of adjustments in the past year-- getting used to her dad's new relationship with me and me moving in with them. My concern is that telling her may be too much for her. Also, what is the right way for my fiance to tell his daughter that he has another child and it's not with me (his fiancé)?

Thank you kindly for your advice.

From: Alayna, St. Louis


Au pair needs help with the 5 pm cranky time

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 22, 2013 06:00 AM

I am an au pair looking after an 8 year old boy who every night around 5pm gets into a mood where he refuses to do what is is asked and acts out against others etc. However, when I tell him to go into time out, he simply refuses to do so. Then runs away and hides. I am also looking after 2 other children and cannot take myself away from the youngest in order to chase after him and play hide & go seek. I do not know how I can get him to do what he is asked.

From: Newtol, No location given


Does baby prefer grandma?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 18, 2013 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,
I am a stay-at-home mom of a gorgeous 10 month old boy. I run a business from home and am quite busy so my mum comes over once a week to help out. Recently, when I have gone to take bub from my mum's arms, he has cried and not wanted to come to me.

I am afraid that he prefers to be with her over me. Could there be a cause/solution for this? Could this just be a phase?

Thanks so much for your help!!

From: JaySee, NY


Preschooler falls asleep for the night before eating dinner

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 15, 2013 06:00 AM


My 3.5 year old daughter has been sleeping every night without having dinner. She's not fussy about food and generally eats everything. She's an early riser, gets up by 7 am everyday, goes to school and doesn't have an afternoon nap. Generally, I give her milk in the evening, followed by a small snack at 6, but now she [falls a]sleep by 7.30 - 8 without dinner. I'm beginning to worry; she' a little underweight for her age, though active. Please suggest. Thanks

From: Sonali, India


2-y-old hates it when mom or dad leaves

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 14, 2013 06:00 AM

My 2 year old cries whenever I tell her I am going to work or [the] store. She says repeatedly, you come back! I try to reassure her I am coming back as does my fiancee but nothing seems to work, she still cries and it is stressing me and my fiancee out! What can I do?

From: Staci, Norfolk (state not given)


Parents fighting in front of the baby need help. Now.

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 9, 2013 06:00 AM

[This letter has been condensed.]
What is the effect of violence in front of a one year old baby and if she physically got hurt during our fight?..
Please help me, I don't know what to do husband and I, when we were not yet married, decided to go separate ways but then days later, we found out I was pregnant ...because of that, he married me ... and since then we have been fighting nastily and sometimes we become violent and she is just beside us...
Recently, we had our worst fight ever and my baby was 1 yrold alrdy, we were slapping, punching, kicking each other and our baby suddenly went to my back and I fell on top of her, she was crying so hard that we stopped and before that she walks in the middle and is trying so hard to stop us by smiling and making us laugh...I take her to the other room but she keeps on going back to us and throwing herself in the middle of our fight...please help as it is breaking my heart that I have done this terrible thing to my little girl who does not deserve all our fights...

From: Carmelitta, Philippines


Mom asks, "Is preschool necessary?" Here's a tutorial

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 8, 2013 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,

I was wondering about preschool. Is it required? if not, is it necessary? What is the difference between it and kindergarten besides the ages of the children? It seems crazy to send my dd twice a week for three hours when she is already in a daycare setting with kids her own age and teachers that she loves and learns a lot from. On the other hand, I would hate to do her a disservice by not sending her and then having her being behind right from the start. Am I over-thinking the whole thing? Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated here. Thanks!

From: Over-thinking mom, Marshfield, MA


Choking reaction in a 9 year old warrants an evaluation

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 4, 2013 06:00 AM

My 9 year old has this fear that every time she eats, something is stuck in her throat. It happens on and off. She'll go thru a period of eating really well and then times like now where she'll eat very little which will be only liquids. She cries when you ask her to eat solid food. I'm not sure if she's depressed about me going back to work and is rebelling. I'm about to lose my mind as I myself suffer from depression and anxiety. Please advice me on what I should do.

From: Dina, Hamilton (no state given)


Could this 4-year-old be lying for attention?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 3, 2013 06:00 AM

Recently my almost 4 years old will do things before I wake up in the morning. She will usually eat a package of Gummies or some dry oatmeal. Knowing she did so, I will calmly ask what she did before waking me up and she will say nothing. Then she will look around whatever room we are in and say the first thing she sees or thinks of. How can I get her to be honest with me upfront?

From: Lisa, Torrington, CT


This boy prefers girl toys

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz January 2, 2013 06:00 AM

My six year old plays with dolls -- girl toys -- he has boy toys but he prefers playing with girl toys. He tells me, mom I want to be a girl. At school, his teacher tells me he the same thing. He has a 14 yr old old brother and does not want to play soccer or play with cars with him.

From: Glinda, Houston, TX


About the author

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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Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

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