all entries with the category

Feelings and emotions

Favoring one parent over another is normal childhood behavior

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 19, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara
I have a 13 months old boy and in the last 3 months he acts in a way that makes me feel a little hurt. He shows affection to his father (which makes me happy) but whenever my husband goes out of the room my baby starts crying as if I was not there. The same thing happens when we are out and daddy is out of his sight. He looks really desperate.
In addition, he started giving hugs in past month (which I thought him how to do with his favorite toy). My son refuses to hug me. He hugs daddy, he hugs every single stuffed animal or even his fluffy cloths but when I ask him to hug me he just turns around. My husband tried to ask him the same but he just doesn't want to hug me.
Besides that, when I hold him and his father is around, he constantly reaches for him.
Any advice would be appreciated!

From: Desperate Mommy, Chicago


8-y-old's "back chat" wearing mom down

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 17, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi there,

I am the mother of an 8 year old girl. She is very strong willed, knows her own mind and very determined, all traits I do love about her but we at constant battles at the moment. She is back chatting and arguing with me constantly and being very disrespectful. I am firm and I punish her by sending her to her room or taking things away from her, like the tv or computer or she misses out on doing things because of her behaviour. She accepts her punishment and always apologizes and we talk about it and how it made each of us feel and about better choices she could make. She takes it all in and listens and then...bam..again with the back chat and's like it's just not sinking in and I am at a loss in what to do as I want to have this under control before she becomes a teenager and I don't want to squash the traits that I admire in her but I just want her to be respectful and think before she acts. I often give her a choice as as I have asked and it's ok, don't do it and you loose I give her the choice, most times she always makes the right choice but with a "OH FINE THEN< I"LL DO IT" and pulls a face....any advice would be much appreciated and I am wiling to put in the hard work to get results as she is an amazing little person, I just want her to be respectful to us and her brother and stop the yelling. Thanks for your time.

From: Janiene, Aukland


This friend is worried about mom's interaction with her daughter

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 16, 2012 06:00 AM

My friend has two children ages two and four. The girl who is four, seems very oppositional. She literally starts every sentence with "No" when you make a comment or ask her a question. She is and has always been jealous of her brother and antagonizes him to the point of him biting her. Now a new baby has arrived which she has dreaded from the start so she is particularly angry today. She was verbally nasty to me and when anyone asked her today about the baby she refused to answer. My friend is getting quite frustrated with her and I tried to explain the expectation of regression, accidents happening, acting out, lying and just outright non compliance(which has been an issue before baby was conceived minus the accidents) and that she needs to be more attentive as far as communication, including her in baby care etc. I am not around enough to see the full interaction between mother and daughter, but I am out of the obvious tactics for this behavior and because I have noticed the hostile feelings towards the brother after two years of having him around, I am concerned about deeper issues. I forgot to mention that the mother says things like, "I get along better will my son" and ""When the she asks me a mil and one questions while doing housework, I tell her to stop with all the questions, I'm busy". So that may be a clue. They are a very religious couple and are very gentle and sweet. I just want to help her out before she gets too frustrated.

From: Debbie (town withheld)


Kindergartner's shyness worries mom

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 9, 2012 06:00 AM

I have a 5 1/2 year old daughter who is very shy when put in new situations or meets new people. I know that this is very common behavior but there are times when I think her shyness harms her more than I'd like it to. She has a tendency not to talk at all in these situations (such as meeting her brand new kindergarten teacher), and even resorts to acting like a cat, which includes crawling around on all fours on the ground. She often squeaks in response to a question, rather than utter a simple statement like, "My name is ....". Once she warms up to the new person or group, she's fine and participates as required. Is there anything I can do to help her grow out of this shy phase sooner rather than later? Help boost her self-confidence, perhaps? Thank you!

From: Concerned Mom, SmallTown, NH


Toddler is biting mom

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 3, 2012 06:00 AM

My son just turned 1 a few weeks ago. He has recently started biting me, hard enough to be painful and leave a mark. He only has four teeth, but makes very good use of them. I should note that he does not bite out of anger or frustration. It seems to me that he bites when he's very happy or excited about something (he'll crawl over to me and bite my leg if I'm sitting on the floor, for example). Every time he does this, I firmly say, "NO. No biting." He only seems to bite me. He has not bitten his dad, or anyone at daycare, where he goes 2 days a week. Is there a more appropriate way to help him stop this behavior?

Thank you.
From: Kathryn, Danvers, MA


Mom: Stop blaming the friend who's a "bad influence."

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 21, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,

Three and a half years ago my husband had an affair with a neighbor. She and I weren't friends but we were friendly since we had children in school together. Our kids are now 13 and 16. I've since found out that she is not well-like in town. My husband and I separated and they stayed together for a few years but are now apart. My daughter never liked her daughter because she was the mean girl at school. They never played together or hung out. My daughter's friends weren't allowed to play with this girl either. After our separation when my husband had his visitation times, he would sleep at the girlfriend's house creating an environment that made my daughter have to play with her's. The girls eventually became friends since they were together so much. This girl is still the mean girl and she's rubbing off on my daughter. My daughter was never disrespectful to me, mean to other children or anything like that. She is a very good kid. She gets excellent grades and plays 2 sports. But lately she has been very disrespectful to me, talking back, gossiping about other girls, swearing and things like that. Now that my husband and this woman are no longer together, I don't want my daughter at her house. Even though I don't like that she's friends with this girl, I told her she can be friends with her but I don't want her hanging out at her house due to my feelings about this woman. This causes a huge fight everytime I find out that she's over there. My daughter always uses the excuse that the woman isn't home when they're there. I also think the girls shouldn't be in the house alone. Other parents have told me they don't let their children play there because there is no adult supervision a lot of the time. Obviously I despise this woman and don't want her near my children. Both my kids are aware of the affair. Am I wrong to not want her in that house?


Uh oh. She hates first grade already

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 13, 2012 06:00 AM

My 6yr old just started 1st grade and hates it. The first 3 days of school were ok. After that she cries every morning on the way to school and into the building. Daughter loved preschool and would cry if she had to miss a day. We didn't have a problem with kindergarten. My child was put into a inclusion class this yr. I am wondering if that has anything to do with her not wanting to go. Her complaint is that she doesn't have any of her friends in her class. I tell her that she has to make new friends. What should i do?

From: Jenn, VA


"Shy" first grader doesn't speak up in class

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 10, 2012 06:00 AM

I have a first grader who went to a private school for PreK and K but is now in a public magnet school for first grade. He is not much of a talker in class and is very shy. He has been reluctant in responding to the teachers questions in class. When the teacher asks questions in class he does not reply and tries to avoid eye contact, looks every other way except the teacher. If he does not understand the task, he will sit there instead of asking the teacher a question as how to do it. There are talkers in the class so the teacher is disciplining by telling everyone to keep quiet. He says that he is not allowed to speak in class because he will get in trouble but the teacher says she wants him to answer when she asks him something or when it is class discussion time. What should I do? Thanks

From: Natasha, Baton Rouge, LA


Why does 12-y-o pretend she's 8?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 7, 2012 06:00 AM

My friend's daughter is 12 years old, but she believes she's only 8 and has behaved like a 8 year old since 1/2 year ago, by talking with [a] baby voice, refusing to go to the 7th grade because she thinks that's for older kids. Also, she thinks she's not pretty so that she asks her mom not to look at her when she's talking to her. She got her first period when she was ten, she's tall for her age for Chinese. Her grandmother, who lives with her, often tells her that it's too early for her to have her period. I wonder if that has anything to do with her acting. My question is how to help her to accept that she's 12 and why she refuses to grow up.

Thank you very much for your time.

From: Nini, Beijing China


Helping toddlers when there's a baby coming

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 6, 2012 06:00 AM

I'm expecting my second child in March 2013 and at that time the baby's older brother will be two. Recently I have noticed that he gets upset/jealous when I hold another baby or pay attention to another child. Which I feel is quite normal for a child his age, and being an only child at this time. But I wonder how he'll be when his brother/sister arrives next year. And is there anything I can do during my pregnancy to get him prepared? Or do I wait until the baby arrives to see how he reacts/adjusts? I would appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you.

From: Kristen, Boston, MA


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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