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Ask the Parent Coach

'How Can I Get My Kids to Listen?'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.21.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

I can't get my children to listen. No matter how many times I repeat something, they tune me out. Is there some secret to getting my kids to do what I ask without nagging?

'I Have Nothing to Wear!'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.14.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Every morning, my 12-year old daughter has a fit when it comes to getting dressed. By the time I drop her off at school, we're either yelling at each other or not speaking. I'm not willing to buy her a new outfit every week. What should I do?

Easing Lunchtime Loneliness

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.07.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Someone once coined the term "Imaginary Audience Syndrome" to aptly sum up the experience of a typical middle-schooler as he moves through his day, certain of being constantly evaluated by his peers about everything from the way he laughs to the color of his shoelaces.

Can I Rely Less on Electronic Babysitters?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.01.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Left to their own devices -- and not those electronic ones -- your children will find ways to occupy themselves while you catch your breath at the end of a long day.

Using Lance Armstrong's Story to Teach Your Kids the Vocabulary of Remorse

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 03.24.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

All the medals in the world can't offer relief to a heart burdened by deceit. Use Lance Armstrong's story to initiate age-appropriate discussions with your children about what winning really means: trying your best, staying true to your values and honoring those who believe in you.

Kids Are Messy, Impatient and Loud

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 03.18.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Children are not miniature adults. The more we align our expectations with who they are, the less we will add our frustration to the mix.

What to Do if Your Child Is a Loner

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 03.09.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Mostly sweet and sensitive, socially awkward kids quietly inhabit the fringes of our world. If they're lucky, they have one similarly-afflicted friend; someone to take the edge off the loneliness.

Starting the New Year Right With a Family Mission Statement

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 03.02.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

What better way to start anew than creating a Family Mission Statement that defines what your family stands for and describes your collective intentions for the coming year?

Sibling Rivalry: How Can I Make the Fighting Stop?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 02.27.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

It's natural that the mother lion in you roars when someone hurts one of your children, even if the offender is another one of your kids. But unless you address the underlying cause of your son's torments, things aren't likely to improve.

14 Tips for Managing Anxiety After the Shootings

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 02.16.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Heartbroken parents across the country are reeling in the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, making it seem impossible to establish a sense of calm in this storm. Still, children need parents who feel solid and sure. Here are some tips for managing your anxiety.

Talking to Children About the School Shooting

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 10.02.2015 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

We are all reeling today in the aftermath of the school shootings in Connecticut. It is impossible to imagine the impact on the families who lost children, those whose children were spared but so profoundly traumatized and the rest of us who bear witness from afar to the unthinkable.

The Importance of Aunties and Uncles

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 02.10.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

As my nieces and nephews become teenagers, they seem busy with their own lives. I don't know what to do to get closer, other than friending them on Facebook. Do you think having relationships with their aunts and uncles matters to kids?

Half-hearted Homework Isn't Making the Grade

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 01.27.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

My fiancé and I are having trouble getting his seventh grade son to care about the quality of his homework. What can we do to get him to do a better job?

9 Tips for Holiday Travel with Kids

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 01.19.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Ah, the holidays. While many families look forward to reuniting with loved ones, those who have to travel with little ones to get there may approach the season with nothing but dread. Here are some tips that may help you arrive at your destination safe, sound and sane.

Parents Are Not the Best Role Models for Teen Drivers

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 01.13.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

The next time you hear that Bing! when you're behind the wheel, think about the behavior you're modeling for your kids before you reach for your phone. Live like your kids are watching. Because they are.

'We Still Don't Have Power and I've Officially Lost It!'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 01.06.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

It's easy for the rest of us to forget that for many of our friends, the fallout from the storm isn't over.

8 Ways To Get Your Kid To Clean Up

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 12.25.2012 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Keep in mind one of my favorite ideas: We're not raising children; we're raising adults. While it may be easier in the short term to just clean up after your daughter, it's very important that she develop the sense of responsibility that comes from knowing she can sort out her own messes.

My Daughter Is a Perfectionist!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 12.17.2012 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Many children struggle with perfectionism, whether they are adopted or raised by their biological parents.

I Found Condoms in My Son's Room!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 12.09.2012 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

I found condoms in my 15-year-old son's room. Should I say something? I don't think I can pretend I didn't find them and I also think he's too young to be having sex!

6 Ways To Stop Kids From Fighting

The Huffington Post | Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.28.2012 | Parents

Dear Susan, My neighbor and I have preschool-aged sons who have a lot of fun together. But lately, the other boy has been pushing my child when he ...

5 Ways To Deal With Kids' Anxiety

The Huffington Post | Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.08.2012 | Parents

Dear Susan, My fourth grader is experiencing anxiety now that school has started. Not necessarily about school, but about everything else: What if ...

4 Ways To Keep Your Cool When Kids Misbehave

The Huffington Post | Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.03.2012 | Parents

Dear Susan, I love my kids, but I yell at them much more often than I'd like. What can I do to keep my cool when they act badly? Signed, Always...

5 Easy Ways To Help Your Kids Be Happy

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 10.29.2012 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

If you weave gratitude and appreciation into your family's day-to-day life, happiness will occur naturally.

7 Ways To Help Your Child Adjust To A New Baby

The Huffington Post | Susan Stiffelman | Posted 08.28.2012 | Parents

Dear Susan, My husband and I just had a baby boy, and our 4-year-old daughter is not adjusting well. She was happy that she was finally going to ha...

8 Ways To Stop Your Preschooler From Name-Calling

The Huffington Post | Susan Stiffelman | Posted 08.25.2012 | Parents

Dear Susan, When my 3-year-old is angry or frustrated with me, which is pretty often these days, she calls me names like "stupid poo-poo head." I h...