Addressing a situation with a bully — Good Parenting

bullyingDear Dr. Debbie,

In the carpool on the way home from school, I overheard the children talking about a bully. They’re in third grade. When I tried to get more information out of my daughter later at dinner, she shrugged it off. I don’t know the child they were talking about, so I obviously can’t approach her parents. Should I tell the teacher? It seems wrong to do nothing.

Not (Yet) Involved

Snooping on your kid's digital devices — Good Parenting

Boy Cell phoneDear Dr. Debbie,

My husband and I are debating whether to monitor what our soon-to-be 15-year-old does on his laptop and phone. I accidentally came across his sharing of sexual content with a female classmate which stunned me. I imagine a confrontation would result in him claiming we’ve invaded his privacy while we argue that improper use of devices — which we pay for — can result in a loss of privileges. I’m feeling angry, disappointed, afraid and protective.

But mostly,


The benefit of friends of different ages — Good Parenting

Kids all agesDear Dr. Debbie,

I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old. They really don’t play much together, but there’s an 8-year-old who comes over to play after school and on the weekends, especially if we’re in the yard. With a four year difference between this boy and my older son, I’m wondering if I should discourage his coming over or just expect it to fizzle out. In the meantime, my kids enjoy the attention he gives them, and it gives me a break. It makes me feel both relieved and a little guilty when he comes around because the three of them will actually play quite nicely together while I catch up with the rest of the world on my iPhone.

Is Age Just a Number?

Juggling children's needs after a new baby — Good Parenting

Big SisterDear Dr. Debbie,

I recently planned a mother/daughter day with my 4-year-old. Since her little brother came along, things have been kind of rough for everyone. It used to be just the two of us while Daddy was at work, and we would do everything together from going to the park to doing laundry. Now I am always rushed and tired. This was going to be a special day to reconnect and make sure my daughter has some happy childhood memories.

With Daddy on baby duty at home, we started out with some window shopping and lunch at a restaurant. But during a matinee at a children’s theater performance, she fidgeted and I couldn’t keep my mind off of what might be going on at home. The magic of the morning had completely worn off by dinnertime, with the baby more demanding of my attention than usual and Daddy more worn out than he normally would be.

At bedtime, my daughter threw a temper tantrum about a book she wanted read to her that couldn’t be found. Then Daddy ran out (a little too eagerly) to restock the diaper supply. The baby fussed and fussed, and then he threw up.

My hopes of giving my daughter a beautiful memory were dashed. Do you think she even appreciated the undivided attention that was given her for most of the day?

Not What I Had in Mind

How to raise an emotionally intelligent child — Good Parenting

Boy cryingDear Dr. Debbie,

My son is 6 years old and does well in school. I wonder, though, if he couldn’t do better with managing his emotions and resolving conflicts with others. He puts up a fuss when I have to nag him to let the dog out. Also, I would think he’d be used to the fact that his 2-year-old brother can’t wait patiently for a turn. Are these unrealistic expectations given his age? It’s exasperating at times to have to deal with selfishness and whining with someone his age. Should I just patiently wait for him to mature or are there things I can do to help him get better?

His Mom

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