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Letters About Children

Letters About Children

Topic: Child Abuse

OC Wrote:

I am very concerned about my grandchild. He is the product of a divorce. His Mother has full custody and his Father, my son, has visitation rights. The Father and Mother get along just fine since the divorce.

My grandchild keeps telling me that he wants to live with his Father. Whenever he is at his Father's or my house, then he never wants to go home. This makes me wonder if he is happy at his Mother's. She has remarried and my grandchild does seem to like his step-father. Is this a problem or should I be concerned that he never wants to leave and wants to live with his Father?

B Responded:

It may be a case where he simply enjoys being with you and Dad. Most children, when doing something they enjoy or being with someone they like/love, do not want it to end or call it a day. It can be from not wanting to go home from a friend's house, from the local amusement park, or from the grandparents, or from the Dad whom he loves and doesn't get to see very often. Children want the fun to continue and never end.

Once they do go home, however, they are fine. They usually start doing something else that they don't want to stop there, especially at bedtime.

While all adults should be knowledgable about the signs of child abuse, I would caution you that the likelihood of changing his situation is little to none, short of the Mother giving her consent for him to live elsewhere. This is my opinion based on what you have said. Your best bet is to be quietly observant and to make every effort to help him make an easy transition home each time.

You must have evidence of physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional or verbal abuse. Most states have child welfare offices where you can get more information about this important topic. Usually, unless there is obvious abuse and it is affecting a child in all aspects of his life, then most courts are hesitant to take a child from his Mother. Too, they sometimes give the Mother many opportunities to correct whatever is happening before making such a major decision.

Your grandchild sounds more like a typical child who like many others must divide their time between two or more homes. You can best help by always being available and keeping in contact with him. Should he need to talk about anything serious in his life, now or in the future, he'll have you.

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Topic: Breaking A Promise

DI Wrote:

When I was home over the weekend, I found a pack of cigarettes that my 11-year old sister hid in my room. When I questioned her about it, she first denied that she smokes, but later admitted that she does.

She made me promise not to tell Mom. I hate to see her get hooked on smoking but I'd also hate knowing that she got a spanking because of me. My question is should I tell Mom?

B Responded:

Yes and yes are my replies. Yes, your Mom must know, and, yes, you should keep your promises.

You didn't promise, I hope, to tell others who will tell Mom, did you? If not, then get word back to Mom immediately. This is too important to your sister's future for someone, in authority, not to know.

Hopefully, too, you've learned that you will have to be more careful about the promises you make to your sister because if you love her then you have to help protect her, even from herself. She's simply too young to make such life choices.

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Topic: Is My Child Hyperactive?

TN Wrote:

I have the most active toddler, and he will be 3 years old soon. My husband works a lot of hours and I am drained. I have two more children as well, both girls, ages 4 and 12. Could my toddler be hyperactive? I'm exhausted.

B Responded:

I suppose it is possible, however, you need to consult your physician. Too, Mother may want a good physical as well. You do have your hands full here.

I recommend that you visit this site, the site, which appears to be an excellent one for parents in general. It specifically addresses the correct questions you should ask yourself if you think your child is hyperactive. The site uses the experts to answer questions about children.

It could be that with all your responsiblities, the number and the ages of your children, plus the absence of help, that you may need to make time for yourself by enrolling your youngster in a 'Mother's Morning Out' program at a local church or a day program for his age group. Then you can have some time to 'catch your breath' each week and get the relief you may need to meet the demands of Motherhood and your particular circumstances. Ultimately, only your physician and you can determine if he truly is hyperactive.

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Topic: Rebelling Child

RB Wrote:

My daughter recently turned 13 and is rebelling. She has a smart answer for everything, has started smoking and has been caught shoplifting.

I have grounded her, taken away her allowance, and given her extra chores that she will not do. I'm at my wit's end. My husband thinks that she needs a good old-fashioned spanking. I think she is too old for that. Any suggestions?

B Responded:

Discipline to me is helping your children develop self-control. It is guiding them, encouraging them, and helping them feel good about themselves and teaching them how to think for themselves.

Discipline should help them learn how to control their own behavior. Spanking does not teach self-control.

You are doing all you can to teach her these things by what your letter said. Along with that, be sure you are giving out plenty of doses of love, both in word and deed. Be sure to make and take the time to talk with her and find out what she is thinking and feeling and let her know what~~you~~are thinking and feeling. She needs to understand that 'she' is choosing this because of her behavior. It is important that she see you are remaining the adult here rather than threatening and yelling; she's still learning by example.

If her behavior continues to get worse despite all your efforts, then you may need to seek outside help. A qualified, outside person and/or counselor can assist you all. A counselor can be her friend and yours by helping to soften the load you feel you are carrying right now. It is better to do this than to let your relationship deteriorate to where there is no return.

Most communities have mental health facilities which charge by income, if at all. It is there for support and there is no shame for anyone who uses these resources. It only shows that you care.

Parents must always do what they think is best for their children and that is all anyone can expect. Many a rebellious child grew up to be a wonderful, wise adult...there is always hope. You are not alone in dealing with these difficult teenage's tough on the child and parents. Again, good luck.

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Topic: Can't Stop The Fighting

AG Wrote:

I have two boys, ages 8 and 10, and they fight constantly about anything. I have tried everything to make them stop and it is driving me crazy. Any suggestions?

B Responded:

No, I really don't have any suggestions. Siblings do this and it appears that all a parent can do is try to continue teaching them not to do it, and/or only keep them from hurting one another, while not losing their...the parents...minds over the constant bickering.

There is a new WebTV user newsgroup that might at least offer you, as a concerned parent, a place to let off your own frustrations about this problem. It's called


It's new and looking for parents just like you who wish to discuss these type of things that just seem to never end, no matter what you do, during certain stages of children's lives. Visit them and see if you might feel better or find suggestions there.

I will tell you that those who did it, fought the most and the hardest and loudest, in my own family are now the best of friends as adults. I, too, never thought I would see the day. It comes!

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Topic: Control And Children

KO Wrote:

I am having terrible problems with my 21-month-old daughter. She will not go to bed for me. When I tell her it's time for bed, she kicks, screams, and throws things. When my husband says it is time for bed then she picks up her little Barney and trots on to her bedroom without even a whimper.

When she wakes up in the night crying, I go to her and she crys even worse, because it is not Daddy. It takes me a long time to get her calmed down and back to sleep.

During the day, she is fine. She comes up to hug and kiss me without me asking and we have a really good time together. Am I that bad that she doesn't want me to be with her at bedtime or what?

B Responded:

Of course not! It all sounds normal to me. I think it is all about control. You are simply going to have to let her know that 'you' are in control and 'live through' a few fits, and not give in. Hopefully, Dad will support you in this so that you can help her learn that neither of you will give in to her bad behavior.

We all establish ways of 'controlling' our loved ones. It's human nature. She's found a way with you to perhaps 'get her way.' You've simply got to find a way to be firm, but loving, to show her that this isn't going to work or else she'll have to be placed physically in her room and crying and screaming all night. She probably would stop if she sees that it doesn't work to her benefit. She sounds like a very smart child and a typical one, too.

Throwing things would deserve a spanking at my house, period.

If you know all is well, and it is only bad behavior, then you've got to help her change it. If she is ugly to you, then perhaps Dad should not put her to bed at all. She'll soon learn that she must not be ugly to you or neither you or Dad will put up with that behavior.

It's all normal and typical for a child in the learning process. It is also harder to correct than to say.

You are not a bad parent! This is just part of being a parent and helping your child learn good behaviors. Just show some 'tough' love, both of you backing each other up, and it will work out. Good luck!

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Topic: B Reflects on Littleton, CO

Just a few thoughts as the number grows in school violence in America. Eight schools in two years living out a nightmare, with the world asking, 'why?'

I have no answers just as there is no one answer, but it is a good time to start looking at ourselves, each and his own home, family. Do you truly know what your children are doing? Do you truly know what your children are seeing? Do you truly know that it can't or won't be your child that kills or will be killed?

I don't know why but this reminds me of a time long ago when another Mother said to me, 'if you will make your children mind, then my children will be good.'

All of the children, hers and mine, weren't being very good that day as we visited. I think she was suggesting that I punish my children for their bad behavior and then she wouldn't have to do anything to hers.

Today it seems we can't wait for others to answer our questions or decide things for us or to know more than we know about and for our own children. We must, simply, know and take responsibility for and about our own, even to the point of invading their privacy, until we definitely know that they are the responsible citizens we are hoping we have raised.

Surely, there is something we, as parents, have not learned here. Perhaps the answers lie in each of our own homes, or, at the very least, it can be a beginning place to try to solve this national recurring nightmare.

Can each family know what their children are doing; know what their children are seeing; know, through teaching, that their children value human life; and do whatever it takes to ensure this? I don't know. Do you?

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Topic: Family Troubles

BH Wrote:

My daughter, age 10, and my husband don't get along. They scream, yell, and even hit each other. I have other children. There are lots of problems. It's close to making me think of leaving my husband if things don't change. I just don't know what to do. I know everyone has problems.

B Responded:

Yes, we all have problems; however, when they aren't being handled well and you are at the end of your wits, then you may need to get outside, professional help. There's absolutely no harm in getting that help. The harm comes when you do nothing.

There should be a mental health clinic nearby. There you will find trained counselors who help families and marriages. They usually charge by income.

If you or your family don't want to do this, then seek out someone you can talk with (e.g., your minister, friend, etc.). Help yourself even if the rest of the family won't participate in getting help.

You can't solve anything or make good decisions until you are able to look at your own situation realistically and honestly. This fact applies to all in the family. Only then can you make good judgments about what your options are and/or are best for your family. It's easy to fool yourself and not actually see the situation for what it is when you are so involved and part of it.

Yes, all families have problems. Families can also solve these problems. Ask your spouse to seek out some help with and for you and make it through these tough times. Then you both can help your daughter and other children.

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Topic: Crime & Punishment!

LO Wrote:

Two years ago I was with relatives at a wedding rehearsal at a church. One of the young women present, and to sing at the wedding with my husband, was wearing short shorts and sitting in a very unladylike manner. She had one foot flat on the floor and the other entire foot up on the seat of her chair with her legs spread. It was embarrassing.

She changed positions, but always with her legs spread. She wasn't flirting with my husband. He didn't appear to even notice. It really bothered me.

I decided to ask my sister-in-law who had brought her to tell her quietly to sit right or I would tell her. She wouldn't, and said she always sits like that. Shortly everyone left without saying anything to my husband or me. The next day another sister-in-law called and suggested that I not attend the wedding because she didn't want me to ruin her sister's important day.

Since all this happened, my mother-in-law has stopped all contact with me. For 16 years, we got along fine. She has also stopped all contact with my children. She no longer sends them cards, gifts for their birthdays or acknowledges them at Christmas. None of the sister-in-laws are either.

What did I do that was so wrong? Do you think that for whatever reason they all hate me that they should hold it against my children? What is your opinion?

B Responded:

Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime. This has to be the classic example. How on earth could anyone explain a Grandmother, or any relative, who mistreats her grandchildren, or any children, for anything a Mother did, much less said?

Regardless of what you did or said then, or during the 16 years of marriage when you were all getting along, I can't imagine how mistreating your children helps anyone or anything. These folks are scary! They have major problems and I'd work hard at not letting their problems become yours by reacting, worrying or giving them another thought. There's got to be more to this story or there's nothing to these people, period. You are better off to not have your children 'exposed' to them.

Thanks for Visiting

Topic: Racist Parents?

OL Wrote:

My parents are so racist that I can no longer date or have black guys over to our house. They are so overprotective and they are embarrassed for me to be seen with black guys. They think just bad things will happen to me if I am with a black guy. I don't understand and I don't know how to change their minds.

I have been in therapy for several years, but I need advice now. There is a guy that I really love who is black and I am not allowed to see him and I am very sad.

B Responded:

If there were some magic word to erase or eliminate racism and prejudices then we would all be saying that magic word many times a day; there isn't.

The bottom line here is that whether your parents are right or wrong isn't the issue. The issue is that you must honor and obey your parents. This isn't something only the young do, it is something we all do at any age when in our parents home. We respect their wishes whether they are right or wrong or whether we agree or not. You need to talk with your therapist immediately and let the professional help you through this.

Most people have prejudices of some kind and it is not always about race. It can be about most anything, from prejudices against someone's religion to someone's color of hair to someone's income. Prejudice creeps into everyone's lives in various forms.

You feel the weight of this now because it is directly affecting you. Some of us spend our lifetimes trying to overcome our own personal prejudices; others avoid it completely or thrive on it. You have an opportunity to examine your own feelings and those of your parents.

The objective for you, as a young person, should be to get an education, prepare for a good job, that permits you to live in your own home where you may set and practice the rules and values of your choosing, which may or may not be similar to your parents. This is a huge subject which isn't easily understood by those who are racist or those who aren't, the young or the old actually. Your parents believe that they are doing what is right for you. That has value too. Let your therapist help you while you feel all this sadness and confusion that you have no control over now.

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