The Family Coach from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 15 Jan 2021 09:23:27 -0800 The Family Coach from Creators Syndicate 36197a3e9c980b3ab84c2edc87984662 Saving Sex Ed and an Overloaded Parent for 05/26/2018 Sat, 26 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My school district has a sex education program that I don't care for. Parents have the option of signing their children out of the class. I opted out for my two older children. However, this year all of my younger child's friends are taking the class, and I'm receiving a lot of pressure for her to attend. I'm not sure I want my eighth-grader forced to endure several weeks of content on sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and even a childbirth video. Am I wrong to want to shield her from the information in this class? &#8212; Sex-Can-Wait Mom</p> <p>Dear Mom: I think you are asking the wrong question. You may not be wrong to <i> want </i> to shield your daughter from information you deem inappropriate for her age. However, the real question is: Is it even possible to shield your daughter at this point? And the answer to that question, whether or not you allow her to attend the class, is a resounding no. The kids are going to talk the second they exit the classroom. Your daughter will miss out on the information from the teacher and only get the highlights from her friends. She will likely then Google the information secretly to learn what you are working so hard avoid. <p>Updated: Sat May 26, 2018</p> 3dd6e74b088b988772e9e9da215fdbf1 Creating Good Readers and Brushing a Toddler's Teeth for 05/19/2018 Sat, 19 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: I want my kids to be good readers and read as much as possible. What's the best way to make this happen? &#8212; Literary Dad</p> <p>Dear Dad: Being a good reader and enjoying reading are two totally different things. It is possible to be a proficient reader who understands nuances, subtext and complex vocabulary but not passionate about sitting down with a book. It is also possible to adore reading but perhaps not score high on standardized tests. Focusing all energy on ability instead of satisfaction can suck the joy right out of reading.<p>Updated: Sat May 19, 2018</p> 1563a16c681f962987c12a9085fcbfb9 Letting Kids Handle Their Money and a Tattler for 05/18/2018 Fri, 18 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My children often receive holiday cards with money inside in the mail from their grandparents. They usually spend the money on stupid stuff they don't need. One time my son gave a $50 bill to the American Heart Association, which is noble but I also thought a bit excessive. Should we let the kids spend their money on anything they want (even if it's a waste of money) or try to show them the value of saving? &#8212; Frugal Dad</p> <p>Dear Frugal: Define a waste of money. My guess is your definition will be vastly different from that of your children. In the eyes of a 7-year-old, a $50 bill is not much different from a $5 bill. Children don't know what money can buy or why it might be worth it to save a bit.<p>Updated: Fri May 18, 2018</p> d3d3be8a19d47b33eb5940f87b94e313 An Uncooperative Bar Mitzvah Boy and a Budding Rapper for 05/12/2018 Sat, 12 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My son is scheduled to have his bar mitzvah next year, and it's a very important event for our family. Unfortunately, he doesn't see it that way. He never practices; he drags his feet to Hebrew school; and he has said repeatedly that he doesn't care about Judaism. What can I do to change his attitude? &#8212; Kosher Pickle</p> <p>Dear Kosher: This is a tough one because it involves faith and family and so many things you clearly hold dear. However, you're pretty limited in what can be done. I'm guessing you've explained why his bar mitzvah is an important event. He likely knows the significance of the ritual and the history of the Jewish people. And yet, none of that has swayed him. At this point, you have two choices. You can continue to beg and bribe him until he finally makes it to the event. But you can't complain if he doesn't wow the crowd. The other option is to do absolutely nothing.<p>Updated: Sat May 12, 2018</p> 6e62150471189fa9c4a659b31035d29b Promiscuous Neighbors and Occasional Formula Feeding for 05/05/2018 Sat, 05 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My next-door neighbor is a single mom who works long hours. Her 13- and 15-year-old daughters are often alone. They are good kids. But I see random boys coming and going a lot, and I'm worried the girls are making bad choices. I'd like to tell the mom she needs to work less so she doesn't leave them alone as much. How can I say this gently? &#8212; Concerned Neighbor</p> <p>Dear Neighbor: I have to assume this mom is working long hours because she has no other choice. She might not be getting child support from the children's father. She may have medical bills or extensive debt that must be paid. It doesn't really matter. The point is that Mom is working her tail off and raising two girls on her own.<p>Updated: Sat May 05, 2018</p> 15348727d398821f70ba02ee1b986773 Sexy Songs and a Son's Diary for 04/28/2018 Sat, 28 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My 8-year-old kid loves Katy Perry songs, which are seemingly all about sex. However, we've been innocently singing along in the car and having a blast. Well, that is until recently, when I heard her singing about a menage a trois in public. My husband and I were mortified. Do I have to put an end to this, and if so, how? &#8212; Katy Fan's Mom</p> <p>Dear Mom: On a scale of inappropriate, your daughter belting out potentially racy lyrics rates about a four on a 10-point scale. Sure, it would likely make some older folks uncomfortable to hear your little lady squealing sexual innuendos and sex talk. But that's more about them than your daughter. She doesn't know what she is saying.<p>Updated: Sat Apr 28, 2018</p> 5a5d46baede662d7f7f93d4231e7c1b9 A Sunday Sleepover and Conflicting Stories for 04/21/2018 Sat, 21 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My 14-year-old daughter was invited to a birthday pool party at a local resort. It's being held on a Sunday night. The girls are expected to sleep over and miss school on Monday. I told my daughter she could attend the party but I would be picking her up at 10:30 p.m. Of course, she threw a fit. Am I being unreasonable? &#8212; Party Pooper</p> <p>Dear Pooper: First things first, who throws a sleepover party for ninth-graders on a school night? Sleepovers are some of my best childhood memories &#8212; up all night, all the chatter with the lights off, the late-night snacks, the secrets. It's a special time. And I don't necessarily disagree with kids missing school here and there for fun events. Life is short. But missing school to attend a birthday party doesn't quite meet the bar. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 21, 2018</p> 33d8a28d958c3407ddc1a80392e5530b Fearing ADHD Meds and a Hair Catastrophe for 04/14/2018 Sat, 14 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My daughter has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She showed the signs for several years. However, recently, she has had much more trouble in school, and even with her friends. Her doctor recommended she try medication to help control some of her behavior, but we are really against it. There are side effects, and we don't want her to be dependent on drugs for the rest of her life. What do you think about it? &#8212; Concerned Parents </p> <p>Dear Concerned: <span class="column--highlighted-text">What if your daughter didn't have ADHD but instead was born with a congenital heart condition that required her to be on medication for the rest of her life? Would you consider withholding the drugs?</span> I highly doubt it. Yet when it comes to mental health conditions, people often consider medical management a non-necessity. While there are other treatments, studies show that medication, especially when combined with other therapies, is highly effective in treating ADHD. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 14, 2018</p> ac9178824ebadb58c557713a9859e551 Visible Tattoos and a Sugary Breakfast Habit for 04/07/2018 Sat, 07 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My son will be 18 in a few months. He has been accepted into college and will be moving to a big city in the fall. He says that once at college, he's going to get a tattoo on his hand or wrist. I don't mind a tattoo, but I'm concerned about him losing job possibilities because of his tattoo being too visible. But he will be 18, and the only thing I could do is threaten to take away his college money. Would that be a mistake, or is this decision too big to allow a young man to make? &#8212; Purse Strings</p> <p>Dear Strings: <span class="column--highlighted-text">I am never a fan of using the purse strings to keep young adults in line.</span> If your son is wasting your money, blowing off classes and failing semester after semester, then it's time to pull the plug, or at least change the deal. Otherwise it's time to let your son grow up and make his own decisions.<p>Updated: Sat Apr 07, 2018</p> afe0e2837c9f6484c8c0e72de15823cd Lonely Mom and Dealing With Miscarriage for 03/31/2018 Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: I have two kids. When my oldest was born, I had lots of friends to meet for play dates. Those friends provided me with a lot of social and emotional support. I never realized how much until I had my second son. My youngest has a severe form of autism. He is difficult to be around, and thus, I have pretty much lost all of my friends. I am lonely and exhausted, and I feel abandoned. How can I help my friends see how much I need their friendship? &#8212; Alone</p> <p>Dear Alone:<span class="column--highlighted-text"> It can feel exceptionally lonely to be the parent of a child with special needs. I am sorry your friends didn't rise to the occasion.</span> <p>Updated: Sat Mar 31, 2018</p> d4d6b2f64cd771ee7157847f60059532 Snooping Mistakes and a Pesky Pacifier for 03/24/2018 Sat, 24 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My 16-year-old daughter tells us nothing about her life. So when she goes to bed, I sometimes browse through her cellphone. At first I just noticed typical teenage girl gossip. But then I read about a boy she likes and is trying to attract by wearing tight clothing and sending him racy Snapchats. How can I address this with her without telling her that I've been on her phone? &#8212; Snooper</p> <p>Dear Snooper: Stop snooping right now. Your daughter <i> chooses </i> not to share her life with you. It would be helpful to figure out why. Is she just private, or is she worried about the potential lectures she will get if she tells you anything? Either way, I can guarantee she will be even less likely to share her life details once she finds out you've been snooping. Furthermore, once you read or see something upsetting, you can't unknow it. That's the danger. You don't know what you will find, or even how to handle it.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 24, 2018</p> 7d2910de5d0ea1e25e6ed458846a39b9 Potty-Training Resistance and a Nickname for 03/17/2018 Sat, 17 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My nearly 4-year-old daughter is not potty trained. At preschool she is prompted to use to toilet every hour or so, and she successfully tinkles. But at home she refuses to tell us when she needs to go and has a tantrum when we suggest she sit on the potty. She has never pooped on the potty at school or at home. She just goes in her pullup. We've tried everything. Should we continue to push her or just put her in underwear and hope for the best? &#8212; Daddy</p> <p>Dear Daddy: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Pump the breaks. Potty training comes easily to some, looking almost as if the kid trained herself. But for others it's a struggle.</span> The worst path parents can take with a resistant trainer is to push and prod. Little kids control almost nothing in their lives. Where they pee and poop is in their control. When children see how desperately important the toilet seems to their parents, they often decide to resist just because they can. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 17, 2018</p> 4744e164b3474f5485d7fcbf8bf84ef3 A Falling Hero and Perfect Profanity for 03/10/2018 Sat, 10 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My son's sports idol is a womanizing, arrogant jerk by most accounts. At only 10 years old, my son isn't aware of most of his hero's problems. Despite recent allegations of serial extramarital affairs, my son said he loves him anyway. As a woman, wife and mother, I'm troubled by this. But I don't want to ruin his hero for him. What can I do? &#8212; Feminist Mom</p> <p>Dear Feminist: It would be very hard for your son to truly comprehend what is so upsetting about an extramarital affair. He's just a boy who probably can't even envision dating, let alone marriage. So his need to brush off the allegations isn't troubling per se. However, it does signify that it might be time to broaden your discussions in general about dating, marriage and heroes. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 10, 2018</p> 3ad9a379e32acd1d46f57a3629b653ce A Broken Promise and Nighttime Cellphone Rules for 03/03/2018 Sat, 03 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My daughter couldn't find her glasses, so she offered to give her brother a crazy amount of money if he were to find them. He suggested that she check her backpack. When she did, she found her glasses. Now, my daughter refuses to pay my son the money she promised him. I feel she should have to pay up because, without her brother, she wouldn't have found them. On the other hand, he didn't exactly find them. They've been fighting about this ferociously. Whose side should I take? &#8212; In the Middle </p> <p>Dear Middle: You should take no one's side. Stay far out of it. This isn't your battle to resolve, and any meddling you do will backfire almost immediately. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 03, 2018</p> 8d93163086616055a14ad8462a5579fe Extreme Stranger Danger and Crazy Neighbors for 02/24/2018 Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My daughter, who is just 3, seems to have severe stranger danger and social anxiety. She struggles to use public bathrooms and attend fun activities like storytime. She won't participate, shuts down, clings to me and cries. Everyone looks at me like I beat her. Today we couldn't even coax her into looking at the dentist. I'm at my wits' end. Is this a normal phase, or should I find us a good therapist? &#8212; Despondent Dad </p> <p>Dear Despondent: Being shy isn't necessarily a problem. Some kids just need more time to warm up to new people and situations. Given a period to do so and the right support, most kids can overcome their inhibitions. However, when shyness begins to interfere with the child's daily living activities, it could be cause for concern. <p>Updated: Sat Feb 24, 2018</p> 54799b865214ca5bbe6521020339e657 Eating Paper and Test Anxiety for 02/17/2018 Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: My 7-year-old son is always ripping the pages off of books and eating them. All the corners are gone and eaten. I have no idea what to do about this, or if I should even do anything about this. Is this normal or a problem? &#8212; Not So Sure</p> <p>Dear Not So Sure: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Well, it probably isn't a problem, but it's worth checking out. Eating nonfood items is a symptom of a disorder called Pica.</span> One of the most common nonfood items ingested is paper. It's so common is has a name: Xylophagia. There are a variety of reasons people do it. Your son may have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Anxiety could be the culprit, as could simple boredom. It's also possible that paper eating might be just tip of the iceberg. There are numerous serious medical concerns when people ingest paper, including intestinal obstruction, perforation and infections. So it's important to double-check that this issue isn't more serious.<p>Updated: Sat Feb 17, 2018</p> 9eca06a1d07d4e4a2c6137f76dfa9e93 Broken Cellphone and Therapy-Averse Dad for 02/10/2018 Sat, 10 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: I know my son broke his cellphone on purpose so he could get a newer one. He denies it, but I have proof. He needs a phone. But I'm hesitant to get this for him, since it feels like I would be rewarding dishonesty. What should I do? &#8212;Mad</p> <p>Dear Mad: You say he needs a phone. Well, maybe he doesn't. Generations of children survived quite well without a phone in their back pocket. It would be even easier to be in touch nowadays, as nearly every other man, woman and child over the age of 12 has a phone he could borrow. <p>Updated: Sat Feb 10, 2018</p> a6b0c156fc3574892f7e6664fa67f91c A Prying Parent and a Persuasive Son for 02/03/2018 Sat, 03 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: I ask my fifth-grader obsessively about her day &#8212; who did she eat lunch with? Who did she hang with on the playground? Where was Girl X? Who did Girl Y hang out with? She has always talked openly with me about everything, but she is starting to keep things to herself. I know that is supposed to happen, but I really love details. How do I satiate my own need to know while still respecting the privacy I know she needs? &#8212; Nosey Parker</p> <p>Dear Nosey: You are in for a long adolescence. Younger children tend to be more forthcoming about their day-to-day adventures. But as puberty ensues, they drift away from the home front and move closer to a private life. <p>Updated: Sat Feb 03, 2018</p> 8221fdb3b2b29f72a0cd81e9df07fe45 A Recital Disaster and Avoiding Overscheduling for 01/27/2018 Sat, 27 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: At a recent piano recital, my daughter bombed. For weeks leading up to it the teacher asked my daughter to stop and practice this one section more because she wasn't getting it. I also kept calling my daughter out when she practiced, to stop and try it again. My daughter would get mad, but I was just doing what the teacher kept asking her to do. Considering the less than stellar performance, what do we say to her about it? &#8212; Disappointed</p> <p>Dear Disappointed: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Before I answer, I have one question for you to ponder: Do you want to be honest or kind?</span> Because you likely can't be both.<p>Updated: Sat Jan 27, 2018</p> 5b3b9a9a479a75d6b24757c054cf2dc4 A Friend's Birth Control and Teen Chats for 01/20/2018 Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Family Coach: I've always been close with my 16-year-old daughter's best friend. Recently, she confided in my that she is sexually active and would like to acquire some birth control. Her mother is a strict believer of abstinence and won't entertain the idea of birth control. Would it be wrong to take her to the doctor myself without discussing it with her mother? &#8212; BFF Mom </p> <p>Dear Mom: That's quite the tricky situation. Dealing with an unintended pregnancy at 16 would surely cause difficulty for this girl. But being sexually active and taking medication behind her mother's back could also cause considerable strife. <p>Updated: Sat Jan 20, 2018</p>