Parenting Coach Answers Common Parenting Questions

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If you’re reading this section, then chances are that you have at least one child. And if you have a child, you know that parenting can be hard. Just when you think you have one stage figured out, the darn kid grows and throws you for a loop with the next developmental stage. It can seem nearly impossible to stay ahead.


Parenting coach Meghan Leahy recently joined On Parenting editor Amy Joyce at the Washington Post, to answer some readers’ questions. The queries were about kids of all ages — from babies to kids in their twenties. Leahy offered balanced, sound advice, and here we highlight a few of the Q&A’s.

Hi, Good morning. My question is the following. I have an 8-year-old boy who, when I am talking to my husband, wants to give his opinion in everything or asks, “What are you guys talking about???” He wants to know everything…. it makes me crazy…. how can i explain to him there are things that are none of his business without hurting his feelings?? Thanks

A good way to facilitate respectful communication is to start family meetings, stat.

There is a talking stick, and only the person who is holding the stick can speak. This means that there is no interrupting and no talking-over someone else. This will probably be pretty tough in the beginning. Your son will feel the need to trump everything you are saying, but just keep your boundaries, over and over.

Keep practicing. It will get there.

Interrupting children can happen at any age. Leahy’s advice can be applied at any point — especially when a little one is just learning to talk and can’t help but interrupt all day, every day.

My 3.5 year old is super attached to me and has been very emotional this week, which is the week I go in for a C-section to deliver my baby. My parents will care for him over the weekend while I’m at the hospital, and he adores them and is very familiar with them. Still — we all anticipate a lot of tears and sadness when it’s time to come home yet I have to stay. Do you have any tips or ideas on how we can make this a bit easier on him? We have a few little presents for him, Daddy can walk with him to the car, we’ve been talking a bit about the upcoming events so that he’s got some context for it, and we are OK with the sadness because we know it’s normal. Even so — if there’s anything we are missing, I’m all ears. Thanks.

Best of luck…your son will struggle with this, but keep the connections with him strong. All will be well.

Bringing a new baby home when you already have a child can be stressful for everyone. It is important to make sure the older child is cared for — not just physically, but emotionally, while mom has to be on baby duty.

Hi, my kids (8 and 4) go back to school next week. Any tips to start the school year right? Thanks

  • weekly routine chart, hung up for all to see
  • family meetings as often as you can, not to talk schedule, but to share conversation
  • meal planning
  • a schedule for getting back into chores (don’t do it the first week of school, too much)
  • cutting back on tech SIGNIFICANTLY
  • beginning to make an attempt at getting to bed earlier
  • (by the way, most of this advice is for yourself, first)
  • getting clear on activities and practices and when they happen. Have you over-committed? Under?
  • Planning some fall fun before the season flits away.
  • keeping a sense of humor for the mess that will be.

This checklist is priceless. It can be easy to get caught up in the all of the necessary back-to-school purchases, like school supplies, clothes, and lunchboxes. But when it comes down to it, the routine is what is going to be the most difficult thing to handle. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

Read the rest of the Q & A with questions about pictures, potty talk, and scheduling, and more here.




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