A mom called in and shared an incident with her 14-year old daughter and "the 15-year old boyfriend" who were in the bedroom and his hand was where it shouldn't have been. Mother reported that she handled the situation with her brain and not her emotions. In the end, because she acted like a R.A.N. parent, she felt the situation was handled without shame and humiliation and actually taught them about making healthy decisions.
I recommended that Mom (capitalization intended) bring the boyfriend into the family fold. Invite him over a lot. To dinner, to movie night, to doing chores around the house. They all need to get to know one another. He may see her daughter as being "too much work" and move on. Or, he might stick around. Either way, it's a win-win for the family.
Mom and Dad also need to know that sex is one of the most powerful forces in nature. Staying alive runs "neck and neck" with the sex drive. Don't underestimate it. Pay attention!
Our first reaction is likely not the healthiest one in terms of our role of being kids' first and most important and powerful teacher. Use every opportunity you can to teach them.
It will take a lot, a lot of lessons and the same ones over and over until you think you're losing it. It's sinking in; you just can't see it right now. You know how it is...you're sounding more and more like your parents everyday. A lot of stuff stuck with you.
My take is:
- She's manipulative.
- She's in denial about her finances.
- Is likely to be narcissistic and controlling (yep, according to Pamela).
- She wants something from you, Pamela.
- She wants attention.
- She's socially delayed and has no other way to engage you.
The only course of action is to ignore her. If she references the gifts she's sent, Pamela, tell her that she agreed not so send gifts. Don't engage her and move on.
Neil deGrasse Tyson's reflections on knowledge vs. thinking are entertaining and thought-provoking! Watch this brief Ted Talk! So fun.
Approach with caution and not accusation. Ask how Mom handles she the behavior and ask for any suggestions she has for you. If the situation doesn't improve, you can't take the risk of him or her getting hurt and will have to tell parents just that..it won't be easy and your relationship may end, but you've been honest and are advocating for the best interest of the child. So be it.
A father of an 18-month old son called to ask about how to transition from "co-sleeping" which is where children stay in the parents' bedroom until they feel it's time to transition baby to their own room and crib.
I've read many, many articles, "mom" blogs, entire books, research studies and the 1200+ developmental histories of the kids coming through my practice and there's a common theme. Nobody has a firm answer for "how to get kids to sleep through the night". Have you seen those books that tout "3 Secrets to Getting Your Child to Sleep"? Ha! There's no such thing as "sleep training", but there is understanding your child's vulnerability to those problems that interfere with sleeping.
The fact is that sleeping is a neurological process. The more well-integrated your child's brain is, the more competently they'll sleep. I can't recall reading any material that takes into account that your child may have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, autism, anxiety or depression. At least 17 disorders have symptoms related to ADHD. Of course, none of us ever wants to think about our sweet babies as growing up and having this kind of life challenge.
However, these disorders typically manifest initially as a "regulatory" disorder meaning that they have difficulty "shifting" from one state to another (wakefulness to sleep and sleep to wakefulness and activity to sedentary states). It's a "gas and brake" problem.
Father indicated that baby was conceived without "assisted fertilization techniques" such as in-vitro fertilization, the pregnancy was not complicated by problems, labor and delivery was smooth (at-home and baby was delivered after 6 hours) and baby has met all language and motor milestones. Baby did not have difficulty with feeding (no colic or latching on problems). As well, baby has transitioned, successfully, to child care.
Because babies master the concept of object permanence at about 8-9 months of age, they understand that just because items or people are "out of sight", they're not gone. It eases the separation anxiety.
All of these factors suggest that the transition to his own room and crib is a matter of several approaches and understandings.
Father thought that he would introduce his son to his crib by putting him in it and letting him play. If he does this, baby will not understand the expectations, so I recommended that baby be put in the crib for sleep only. Parents can introduce baby to the crib and let him know that this is where he'll sleep. Babies understand concepts, but because of the complexity of expressive language, they're unable to say what's on their minds.
When baby is put in the crib, a parent can sit in the room, eyes closed, relaxed and with only the occasional "shh", baby will settle down to sleep. The goal here is to avoid creating anxiety. Once anxiety becomes part of the equation, you've got a serious battle on your hands.
Father also indicated that baby wakes up once or twice in the night. This is not unusual for a rapidly developing body and brain/mind. You cannot let a baby sleep in a wet diaper and they will cry continually if they're hungry. Don't even think about them going back to sleep. These are two more reasons why "cry it out" may not be in the best interest of the child. Meet their needs.
Childhood is but a moment and infancy and toddlerhood is another moment. Adulthood is 60-70+ years long. Give them the best possible start you can. Trust is established early in life. Take advantage of this time...while they still like being with you. Trust your own instincts. You're raising your own kids, not someone else's. They'll be sleeping soundly every night by age 3. Invest the time.
One listener emailed a question about financially enabling a 30-ish son and I recommended weaning him off and making him responsible otherwise he'll be sleeping on relatives' sofas until the day he leaves this earth.
Another parent was concerned about her 3-year old who's likely to quote the nasty things they've been saying about a relative when the relative arrives for a holiday event. Ha! Busted! You'll have to keep the kid busy and hope he forgets everything by next year!
Finally, want to make changes this year? Select one goal, just one. Make very small "corrections" until you reach your goal. Actually, the only goal is to make progress. Be ready to start over several times.
Maybe you're better off with a "do-able" project. Want to get that closet under control? Make a plan. A plan is halfway to getting there. Feed the kids pizza and other easy foods and let them play their favorite video games or watch movies until they drop. Get all your materials together and don't stop until it's done! You're gonna feel great!
See you next Sunday!