8-yr-old sleeps in mom's underwear

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 27, 2013 06:00 AM

Over the past couple of months, my son has been sneaking into my wife and my room and taking her bras and underwear, putting them on and falling asleep like that. He is otherwise a totally normal 8 year old boy. Up until this, he would normally sleep naked, despite numerous attempts to get him to stay in his pajamas. He is normal in school and play. The only major life difference that has occurred is that I have been attending seminary and am out of town two nights a week. It was shortly after I started this schedule that this new behavior appeared. His mother and I are happily married, with respectable jobs even if a meager income. He is close with his grandparents, even though he lives three hours from his paternal grandmother and his maternal grandparents live in South America. I am a bit concerned about this behavior and would like some advice as to how to deal with this in a productive way without making him feel any humiliation or other awkward feelings.

From: Steve, York, PA


What if she doesn't want to go to camp?

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

Hi Barbara & readers,

Last winter, my 10 yo daughter and her friend decided to go to 2-week over night camp together. You can guess what's happened. They aren't best friends anymore. My daughter hasn't yet said she "won't" go to camp -- it's not until mid July so it isn't really on her radar screen yet -- but she hasn't mentioned this girl in months as someone she's hangs with at school and hasn't included her in any plans. When I casually asked her how "Mary" is, she said I dunno and moved on, but I worry about what's coming. We are all paid for, there's no going back on this! Do I force her to go if it comes to that? PS. The girls were in day camp together last summer.

From: UhOh, Central Jersey


These 15-year-olds are excluding a long-time friend

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 19, 2013 06:00 AM

Hello Barbara,
\Longtime fan, first time writer! My daughter is 15 and has a tight group of friends most of whom she became close with through shared sports. It's a co-ed group, but there's a tight girl-only sub-group. There is a girl in the group they've been excluding lately because she is "annoying." My daughter certainly has not stuck up for her or encouraged that she be included. I don't know how strong a voice she has been in the group to exclude (getting info from is is like pulling teeth!) My question is, as a parent, how much shyould I or other parents intervene? We live in a small town, we all know each other and are friendly. Personally, I think she's a nice kid and I can't imagine she's so annoying that they can't continue to include her in group events. She ran into the group recently during an outing to which she was not invited and she was very hurt. So do I make my daughter include her, [or] let things run their course? Help!

From :Berklady21, Western Ma


Don't keep absent grandparents a secret

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 17, 2013 06:00 AM

Dear Barbara,
My husband's parents are very difficult and domineering people. When our first child was born 3 years ago, they took issue with some of our decisions. We had some angry words with them and they decided to cut us out of their lives. There has been almost no contact from them in the last 3 years. We have tried many times to reconcile with them but they refuse every time and have shown no interest in our children. Unfortunately, I doubt that this situation will ever improve.

Since my oldest is only 3, he doesn't yet realize that he has a missing set of grandparents, but in a couple of years he's going to start asking questions and I don't know what to tell him that won't be a lie (i.e. saying that the live far away when they actually live in the next town over) or cast my in-laws in a bad light. In the event they do reconcile with us, I don't want my kids to have any negative feelings about their grandparents that would keep them from having a good relationship. I could use your advice!

From: Perplexed Mom, Chelmsford, MA


When an apology is not offered

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 11, 2013 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,
I've had an issue come up recently and I am hoping you can help. My three year old refuses to apologize. In most situations, whatever happened was accidental (stepping on a playmate's foot or splashing water at the water table and getting it in someone's eyes) but instead of apologizing, she puts her head down and cries.

I don't know where this is coming from. We don't make a big deal of things (YOU MUST APOLOGIZE!) and generally let the kids work things out for themselves. Most times, it's not even a big deal and the action goes unnoticed but if the other child does call her out on it (hey, you stepped on my foot) then a simple "sorry" and it would be over but it turns into a show stopper because she cries and refuses to apologize and then is too upset to continue playing and must be removed from the situation.

I've tried talking to her about it at another time when her emotions are not so raw. I've explained that she doesn't have to cry, all she has to do is say sorry but she starts to cry all over again saying, "BUT IT WAS AN ACCIDENT".

I don't want to give her a complex and make it a bigger deal but i don't want her to think it's okay to not apologize for somethings. I've even tried to show her that everyone apologizes. For example, if she and I are playing blocks I will "accidentally" knock over her blocks and say, 'I'm sorry, let me help you fix that,' but she just isn't catching on.

Any ideas?

From: Apology Accepted, Marshfield, MA


Grandma, you can set the rules in your house

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 10, 2013 06:00 AM

My grand daughter lives in Hawaii, they have very liberal discipline attitudes there, I think. She is 12, mouthy, obnoxious, lazy, entitled, and not very pleasant to be around most of the time. Apparently her parents and their friends don't notice this and encourage freedom of loud screaming and disrespectful speech, behavior. She is coming home to visit for two months at my home in Pa. I want to tell her that I will not tolerate any screaming or bad attitudes in our house. Her Pappy runs a business and needs to have a quiet, relaxing place to come home to after work. Can I be firm with her and tell her how I expect her to act in our home, and expect her to behave in a manner that that is respectful?

From: Linda, Julian, PA


Mom dreads the end of school

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 5, 2013 06:00 AM

I am the mom of two, boy and girl, fourth and second graders. Can you give me some advice? Every year, there is a week or two (this year,almost two) after school ends and before day camps kick in and I take some time off to keep the kids occupied. I always think, This will be fun! But I always end up hating it! I hate to say that! But it's true! They don't want to do any of the things I suggest (go to the lake! Go to the library! Visit an amusement park!), they just want to sit in front of the tv or some other screen and I end up being the mean mom and then they bicker and pick fights with each other about every little thing and it's awful. I never hear anyone else complain about this particular problem! Is it me?!

From: LTMc, NY state


This first-born is still a baby herself!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 1, 2013 06:00 AM

My 13-month- old will hit/try to climb on her 1-month old sister, I keep pulling them apart.... if I have both of them in my arms or the younger one in arm, my oldest is loving to her but as soon as I sit the youngest down, the oldest goes from a loving big sis to a mean sister... I keep telling the older one, "no, that hurts," but I don't now what else I can do. I even put my oldest in her bouncer to try and give them theire own time and I even give them one on one .... but nothing seams to help.... PLZ HELP and on top of it all, my 1month old has a cold, so we're barely getting any sleep :(

From: Kewlgrl, Boardman (Oh? Pa? OK? Wisc? reader doesn't specify)


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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