Message Boards

Topic : General Advice

Number of Replies: 2034
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Friday, July 01, 2005, 04:46:09 pm
Author : dataimport
Have a question or problem concerning your child? Share advice and support with other parents.

As of January, 2009, this message board will become "Read Only" and will be closed to further posting. Please join the NEW Dr. Phil Community to continue your discussions, personalize your message board experience, start a blog and meet new friends.

May 1, 2009, 8:45 am CDT

stepson advice

Quote From: brittini

My stepson has been through a lot in his life and he is only 5. More than any 5 yr old should. First off he cries all the time. I can say "why did you put that toy there?" and he would replie "I dont know" then cry. If the teacher corrects him he cries. Doing is homework is a chore for me, he is learning letters and I will correct him on how to make a letter but then he will just do it wrong again so I correct him again..which he then cries. Its like anything we say good or bad he wants to cry. Its so bad his teachers say its dirupting class. And last year he almost got removed from pre-k due to cring.


So heres his background, Im not sure if this is playing a part or not. His mother is a drug abuser and has abandoned him twice now. Once at a few months old and another at 4 yrs. She just leaves and come when she pleases leaving him when anyone thats willing to take him. My step son can tell me what drugs look like and how you use them. He tells me about cops running in the house with guns. He has done Sexual  postions to a huge teddy bear, and Im not talking just missionary but also "from behind". His mother just recently married a random guy after knowing him a few weeks which my S-son spend all summer with. Just recently this guy died from a drug overdose, which we had to explane to our child about death. She has had human services called out alot for cutting herself in front of her child. Which my s-son has showed me what he calls "the right way to cut".


My step son is very smart and very respectful. I want nothing more than for him to be happy. I beleive his mother does love him very much she just make the wrong choices in her life. We want custady of him but we dont have the money for the lawyer. We have taken him to a thyrpist (sp?) but she wasnt much of a help. Anyone have any Idea why he does this or just some advice to help him stop crying

Your step son has been through a lot.  He has probably been abused by his mother, also; he has probably been verbally abused and neglected.


His crying at your trying to correct him is a reaction to an accusatory situation.  You MUST reevaluate how to try to correct him. 


For example, instead of saying, "Why did you put that toy there?" (which is accusatory" say, "Instead of putting that toy there, will you put it here, please?"  A 5 year old does not have a language skills or maturity to describe WHY HE DID SOMETHING.  Plus, with that kind of question there are NO RIGHT ANSWERS and you are setting him up for failure, which makes him cry.


Instead of CORRECTING his letters, SHOW him a different way of making the letter: "Hey, son, lets try making the letter this way."  Put your hand over his and draw the letter.  OVER emphasize his praise, "WOW, that's a GREAT job!  How about you trying to do it yourself?"


LOOSE the word WHY from your vocabulary!!  Do you REALLY expect a 5 y.o. to EXPLAIN his actions???


The sexual and other inapropriate behavior can be corrected by telling him, "We don't do that at our house."  ALWAYS use the WE statement.  You do not want him to feel alone, he is a PART your family.  He has spent too much time alone while living with his mother.


Also, because of his treatment while with his mother he probably feels like you will abandon him (as his mother did) if he is not perfect.  By drawing attention to his 'imperfections' you are playing on his insecurities; this is the most IMPORTANT reason to reword how you confront him.

May 10, 2009, 8:48 pm CDT

16yr old with a tatoo?!?!?!?!?


My sister will be 16 this month and she lives with her mom. My sister is a straight a student and want to be a pediatritian. I am very worried about her because 1st of all she has her tounge, eyebrow, nose and lip peirces along with multiple in her ears and I just found out today that she has a tatoo that she got on spring break! And this tatoo is no small one on the shoulder or what ever--it is on the side of her leg (calf) and it says her name under a playboy bunny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But to make matters worse her "friend" is the one that is doing it!! My dad is 65 and has been battling alot of health problems so he is in no postition to take care of her the way that she needs. I am scared if she stays where she is then things will get even worse. I have been asking her for a year to come live with me and she will not do it. She keeps coming up with excuses like she needs a to find a job, I have enough to deal with cause i have two boys-- yada yada yada. She also had her mom take her out of regular school and put her in a charter school so she "could graduate early" I asked her if she was doing any extra curricular activities and she said no and from what Ive heard these "charter schools" are basically all computer classes and they just push you thru them and they (along with the no extra curriclar) do not look good on college aps. Her and I got into our first fight this evening over the tatoo thing and I told her she was going to end up like her sister and boy that made her mad and she told me that I wasnt her mother and she was hanging up cause i didnt need to tell her what to do. Well someone NEEDS TO!!!! I was devastated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is still a baby....and how could her own mother let her do these things?? (although her other children all turned out to be crack heads so I dont know why I am so supprised) My sister is also going to 2 therapist and is on nerve pills cause of her situation at home and all the crap that goes on there.
I dont know what to do. I thought about calling CPS but I dont want my dad to get into any trouble but I dont want her to stay with her mom anymore. Help sister is heading down a horrible path. She thinks that just becasue she isnt doing drugs or having sex the these things are ok.

I am sooo devestated.

May 20, 2009, 1:12 pm CDT

Potty Training

I have a five year old boy that needs help with this potty training issue. He will pee good in the potty but he uses his underwear for the other part and I can't seem to get that stopped. I have taken toys, privalleges away from him and it don't seem to work. I need help with this because I am too the point I have no clue to what to do? Please help me any advice?

May 21, 2009, 4:05 pm CDT

please help me figure my son lost

I have an 8 month old who is always fussy. I am a new mom..and have NO family or friends around to help me. I feel like I am a bad mom. So please help me with these questions.

1. He gets bored easily..I think? He gets fussy when I put him in his bouncy chair or playpen. He is only happy crawling on the floor..which I cant let him do all the time. So do I just ignore his "cries" and let him fuss it out..till he gets used to being in there? He has TONS of toys..and doesnt play with any of them. He is only interested in the remote..which I bought a toy one..didnt work.

2. He fights everything. Whether it is changing his diaper..bathing him..or changing his clothes. He lifts his butt..and tries to roll over. Kicks and fusses the whole time. It just gets old and aggrevating.

3. He has never slept through the night. Up every 3 hours or so. I usually just go in and put his pacy back in his mouth and he goes right back to sleep.  Should I just let him cry it out?

Any other advice is GREATLY appreciated. I feel so alone...and depressed. Please help... :(
July 1, 2009, 12:47 am CDT

My 6years girl touch her self

Hi, my 6 years old touch her self alot. She alwayes get things closer to her body. I told her that she should not do that , still she do. even in the bathroom I saw her doing the same thing.I saw her getting so close to her sister's body too.I'm so worried about her becouse I saw a docter in the Tv.tollking about the same broublem and he said that most of these children will have sexuall broublems when they grow up. please help me...... I need a soulotion....a worried mother.   
July 1, 2009, 11:05 pm CDT

Fallowing your mother

I'm not really a parent... yet. I am taking care of my teenage sister inlaw.
Growing up my dad was always yelling and being verbally mean, so my mother would always shetler me from him. I'd never see him or talk to him. My mom would never leave me alone with him or let him take me anywhere. When my sister was born he had lighten up a little and my mom let him do all the things with her that he could never do with me, and they have a good relationship.
My husband isn't quite the same as my father but he does yell and get mad easily. I have been sheltering his sister they way my mother did me. I love my mom and I'm glad I didn't have much contact with my over bearing father.
But is this the right thing to do, shelter her from her brother, and all the anger? I'm not asking for relationship advice, I'm asking is this some how emotionally damaging to a child? If so, why, what would exposing her to the anger do different?
July 10, 2009, 5:16 pm CDT

need help

I have a 17 year old son who yells and punches holes in his wall. I try to tell him to move out but he wont he tells me that i can't kick him out because he is only 17 but if i ask him not to yell or throw a fit he tells me to shut the ___ up that he can do what he wants because he is almost 18. He comes home when he wants there is always at least 2 kids here every nite. He threatens to kill him self if i say anything. I think he is using drugs but he wont go to rehab. I really need help i'm losing my mind. I have told him that i'm going to call the police and he says that he hates me wishes i was dead. Then he leaves. I work about 60 hours a week so he is home alot by his self. Last week he treatened to take one of my dogs and give it way because i got on him about letting the dogs out.
July 20, 2009, 4:19 am CDT

Helping your Child Cope with the Loss of a Pet

It is common for many families to have pets in their home, whether they are cats, dogs, birds, snakes, and so on. They are treated as a member of the family. In a survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in 2007 it is estimated that 71.1 million American households own at least one pet. The most popular pets for families are cats and dogs.

However, since some animals have a very short life span than humans, it is common for a family’s beloved pets to pass away early on in life. This can be very difficult for adults, especially for children. If a child was raised with a family pet it is common for their affection to grow deeply for them. So if a pet dies, either from old age or by an accident, parents can help their children cope with the loss, since some children, depending on their age, would have difficulty understanding why they won’t be seeing them anymore.

For parents this can be difficult, because they don’t want their children to experience painful memories. So to avoid this they lie by telling their child that the animal “ran away” or “was put to sleep.” Doing this can actually cause more damage and confusion to the child.

For example, if they are told that their pet ran away they will assume that the pet will come back one day. Or if they are told that the animal “was put to sleep”, they might end up suffering from sleep anxiety. So the best advice is to be honest with them.

According to an article titled, “Explaining Pet Loss to Children: Six Do’s and Don’ts”, suggests to “help your children understand what dying means. Tells them it’s ok to grieve and share with them your feelings too. Let your child’s teachers be aware of the loss, so that they understand why your child is acting different. Don’t blame God or anyone else for the reason why the animal died, because this might cause the child to become bitter at heart. Also, do not rush into buying another animal as a quick replacement. Wait until after the grieving process or until the child expresses interest in another pet.”

From personal experience, the best advice is to focus more on the joyful memories the family had with their beloved pet, rather than focusing on the animal’s death.


Written by: Bridget Campos


July 20, 2009, 4:23 am CDT

Aggression = A Born Behavior or is it Learned?

“My child can be so sweet and loveable. Then all of a sudden, they will lash out for no reason at all. I just don’t understand why?” For some households, situations like this happen. Some parents have to deal with aggressive behavior from their little ones and/or teens almost on a daily basis. Is there any way to cope with the problem?

In order to find out the solution we need to know what causes aggression. Many psychologists have several viewpoints as to the cause of aggression. Some feel that aggression is intentional injury or causing harm towards another person. While others believe that the behavior in born within us, like that of animals, that has a cause and effect as to why a person reacts in an aggressive manner.

Some may ask, is there any way to stop being angry? No, since as humans, we are born with emotions that make us happy, sad, and angry; it would be difficult to stop being angry all together. In an article in Health magazine by Dr. Georgia Witkin-Lanoil explains: “As the brain reacts to an infuriating event, the autonomic nervous system is aroused. Adrenaline, released from the adrenal glands, begins to pour into the bloodstream, increasing heart rate and respiration, and stimulating the release of stored sugars for energy. Actions we take under the influence of our own adrenaline are often overreactions. We scream, hurl hateful semi-truths, hit, and damage, destroy, or leave the scene in a huff.” Therefore, it is an inward inclination to be angry over an event or something we have no control over.

But we have to keep in mind that peoples level of temperaments vary, and some of us appear to be more prone to anger than others. Ones that display high levels of anger are teenagers. Some of them turn to violence in order to cope with family problems, or, are involved in gangs, drug abuse, and/or suffering from mental illnesses.

In addition, younger children can display high levels of violence. Most of the factors that contribute to such violence in children are from either being exposed to actual violence, like for example, between family members, or violence on television, which has increased dramatically within the past decade.

It can really test a parent’s patience to remain calm when their kid is acting out towards them. Nevertheless, the worse thing for a parent to do is antagonize their kid, as way for them to answer you immediately, if you are sensing something happened with them. Just walk away and let them (or you) cool off a bit, then afterwards try to communicate with your child to see what the problem is, and maybe find a way to fix it.

However, if the child is still acting aggressive, sometimes professional help is needed, but the last thing a parent should do is retaliate in violence as well.

We have to keep in mind that whether aggression is part of our nature, or is a learned behavior; we can have control over our anger. The thing that separates us from the animals is that we have the gift of free will. There is a line between calmness and anger; it is our choice, which one we want to choose when faced with a stressful situation.


Written by: Bridget Campos


July 22, 2009, 5:20 pm CDT

Kids don't say goodbye when they leave the house

My kids are both older teenagers but still live at home. For the last few weeks, they've stopped saying goodbye to me when they leave the house, even when I'm sitting within 10 feet of the front door. They just leave. Yesterday, they said goodbye to a friend (right in front of me) who was staying over, but still left without a word to me. I take that back - they did say something to me, my son popped back in to ask me for a new chair! I told him that it greatly offended me that they would ask me to buy something but not bother to show the common courtesy of a goodbye, but today - not a word again and I was sitting right there.


Do I tell them it makes me sad? That I feel like they think I'm not important enough to bother with? When I think about it objectively, I realize it shouldn't make me feel so bad, but it really does. What should I do?

First | Prev | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | Next | Last