Q: I have caught my 14-year-old daughter in several lies lately, sometimes about very minor things. It’s getting so that I can’t believe anything she tells me. It’s almost as if she is a chronic liar. How should I handle this?
A: Someone once said, “You’ll never get mixed up if you simply tell the truth. Then you don’t have to remember what you have said, and you never forget what you have said.” As your daughter matures, the challenge is to guide her toward honesty.
Q: It’s summer and my kids are out of school. I remember the lazy days of summer in my childhood, but these days, it seems as if everyone’s kids are at camps or summer enrichment opportunities. Should I be structuring my kids’ vacation more? How much is too much?
Q: I just found out that my 15-year-old son, who’s always been a great student and a well-behaved kid, has been using prescription painkillers and synthetic drugs he’s gotten from a classmate. My wife and I never thought we’d have to deal with this problem – what do we do?
Q: Around here, prom seems to have turned into a 24-hour-plus party. My daughter is begging to attend all the prom activities, because “everyone else is.” I think it’s too much partying and she should come home right after the dance – am I being overly protective?
A: When I was growing up in Southern California, my friends and I wanted to have an after-prom beach party to watch the sunrise. We never were able to negotiate that option! But the parents were able to arrange satisfying compromises.
Q: My son’s close friend is in a household where the parents are rarely home. He just seems very lonely, and is over at our house all the time. Is there a way for us to “parent” him without usurping his own parents’ roles?
Q: My kids are driving me crazy with their wardrobes. My son wants to wear baggy pants that fall off, and my daughter’s leggings look like they were painted on. How can I make them dress more modestly?
Q: I think my daughter is binge eating and purging. I’ve found empty packages of cookies and candy in her wastebasket, but her clothes are hanging on her. I’m afraid she has an eating disorder – what do I do?
Q: My ex-wife married a man who is a much tougher disciplinarian than I am. He isn’t abusive, but they tell me he yells and screams a lot. What is the best way for me to deal with this?