Parenting

Q. After listening to one of your presentations, I went back home and apologized to my 15-year-old son for telling him to stop fiddling and to look at me when I talk to him. He said, “Mom, when I fiddle with something I hear and really listen to every word you say. When you make me stop and look at you I shut down and don't remember a thing you say.” We both thank you! How come I didn’t know this sooner?

Q. When I ask my children “why” they did or didn’t do something, the typical response is, “I don’t know.” I tell them, “That’s no answer,” and then we usually end up arguing. Any suggestions?

Q. My son came out to me recently. Though shocked at first, I think I’ve done a credible job of accepting him. I’m not sure how to deal with some of the stuff his 17-year-old brain wants to do like getting a tattoo, dating guys who have not come out to their parents, or getting him a fake ID so he can sneak into a gay bar.

Q. Are you aware of any studies that link ADHD to genetics or even to Autism?

Q. Someone told me this week that ADHD has been linked genetically with autism? Can this be possible?

Q.  I have started volunteering in an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) Program. That is, of course, not like going to a regular classroom every day. How does this different program help the brains of children learn?

Q.  How is it that so many young people exhibit anger or disgust towards school?

Q. Overall my son is far less attentive than my daughter and it’s driving me nuts! What can I do?

Q. I think my son has ADD but when I spoke with his teacher she said there’s no such thing. What’s going on here?

Q. Both my little grandsons have been diagnosed with autism. I’m certain it was because they received immunizations as babies but someone recently told me that might not be true. What do you think?

Q. My eight-year-old child is biting other children at school. Where does this come from and what can be done to teach that little brain to stop biting?

Q. Recently a friend of mine told me about a child who died as a result of playing a game called Black-Out. What is it and how does it affect the brain?

Q. Whenever I ask my teenagers, “Why did you do that?” they just shrug and mumble, “Don’t know.” Their bodies are a foot taller than mine but what’s with their brains?

Q. What is it with kids’ brains? I’m trying to be a good father and teach them some discipline, but even though I punish them repeatedly for the same thing, nothing seems to change!

Q. If the body appears to be mature you can figure the brain is pretty well completed, right?

Q. My sister-in-law has been told that her nerve fibers are demyelinating. What does that mean in plain English?

Q. I homeschool my three children and two of them have difficulty sitting still. Can you recommend any strategies?

Q. What is it with kids’ brains? I’m trying to be a good father and teach them some discipline; but even though I punish them repeatedly for the same thing, nothing seems to change!

Q. I’m exhausted trying to do everything “perfectly” as I was taught in childhood. What can I do to get out of this perfectionism feedback loop?

Q. My 5-year-old son has not yet selected a dominant hand. Several individuals have made suggestions for strategies to force him to select one, and to develop his dominate hemisphere. My brother is ambidextrous and I wonder about the wisdom of their advice.

Q. My 10-year old son takes trumpet lessons; my 13-year old daughter plays flute. Sometimes they "blank out" at recitals and forget the notes. Why do I get so embarrassed?

Q. The last of my three children will be graduating from high school in June and going away to college in August (even though he could have attended the local junior college for a couple of years). I have been dreading that day since he was born. Whatever will I do with myself when there are no children at home for me to care for?

Q. I heard you give a brain definition of generation gap some time ago that made a lot of sense. Please repeat it.

Q. My 5-year-old son has not yet selected a dominant hand. Several individuals have made suggestions for strategies to force him to select one, and to develop his dominate hemisphere. My brother is ambidextrous and I wonder about the wisdom of their advice.

Q. I read your article on “forgiveness” in a recent Brain Bulletin. I also finished the book “The Body Never Lies” by Alice Miller. She made a comment about how honoring your parents can be misunderstood with resulting dire consequences. How could that be? 

Q. My child has a very active imagination and I don’t know what to do about it.

Q. Although we live down under, it's amazing what an incredibly strong impact the terrorism incidents have had on our family! After watching the news, our three pre-teens seem to be having difficulty sleeping. How can I help them?

Q. Is there anything I can do to improve my son’s mental ability?

Q. At family gatherings when relatives offer treats to the nieces and nephews, my child always hangs back. I’m getting concerned. Why would this be?

Q. It's funny to think I wasted years of my life going to college when it wasn't needed. Go figure!

Q. What is it with kids’ brains? I’m trying to be a good father and teach them some discipline, but I punish my kids repeatedly for the same thing and nothing helps!

Q. At parent-teacher conference today I was told that my 14-year-old twins have “left-brain deficiency.” It sounds horrible, like a disease or something! Have you heard of this before?

Q. The doctor told us that our three children are above the recommended weight range for children their age and size and suggested we help them lose weight. That was three weeks ago. Our two boys have already lost a pound each; our daughter, barely three ounces. I asked her if she was sneaking food and she got upset and told me, “Of course I’m not sneaking food!” So how come she hasn’t lost a pound?

Q. Is there anything I can do to improve my son’s mental ability?

Q. The middle child of our three children seems to be developing and exhibiting a variety of behavioral problems. I'm wondering if he is showing "the middle child syndrome" that I've heard bandied about. Do you know of any resources on this topic?

Q. Several students in my daughter's freshman class have been rude to her for no apparent reason. A few have even called her some rather mean nicknames. Although she has felt like replying in kind at times, she has refrained from doing so. Where does that obnoxious behavior come from, and what can she do?

Q.  I’m trying very hard to prevent problems for my teenagers and to fix the ones I identify. I have done this since they were babies. They tell me to stop smothering them, to stop interfering, but I just want to give them the best start possible in life. Recently a friend told me that not only am I creating dependence in my five children but also depriving them of the opportunity to learn how to deal with the ups and down of life now, in childhood. I told her she was way off base but decided to ask your opinion.

Q.  I’m trying very hard to prevent problems for my teenagers and to fix the ones I identify. I have done this since they were babies. They tell me to stop smothering them, to stop interfering, but I just want to give them the best start possible in life. Recently a friend told me that not only am I creating dependence in my five children but also depriving them of the opportunity to learn how to deal with the ups and down of life now, in childhood. I told her she was way off base but decided to ask your opinion.

Q. Three of our four children are readers. The fourth child prefers to listen to contemporary music. Strangely enough, this fourth child is the least happy of all the children and I don’t understand this.

Q: I dated my current husband in college. After we broke up, we each married, had children, and subsequently divorced. Last year my college beau and I crossed paths again after nearly thirty years. He has five children and they are very upset about our marriage. Mine just want me to be safe and happy. My husband seems obsessed with getting his children to accept me; invites them regularly to our house and keeps pushing me to go with him on visits. They typically are at least civil to me now (at least face-to-face, though I have reason to believe they say very unkind things about me when I'm out of earshot) but it’s still tense and stressful. I've never considered myself a stupid woman but I feel naive in this situation. What is going on with his brain?

Q. At family gatherings when relatives offer treats to the nieces and nephews, my child always hangs back. I’m getting concerned. Why would this be?

Q. Help! This is a second marriage for me. My husband really spoiled his only daughter (she is now age 25) and I mean really spoiled her! Her mother died when she was 11 and he was a single parent. It’s over the top! She is gorgeous and flatters him continually. If she wants money, Daddy forks it over. If she wants to talk because she is bored or lonesome or had what she terms a “frightening experience,” he spends hours on the phone and at her place. She married two years ago and if her husband so much as looks at her crosswise (her words), she is on the phone to Daddy. Every little thing that happens is a major crisis and, of course, she has no problem-solving skills because “Daddy has always rushed around solving everything for her.” She may be age 25 but is an 11-year-old emotionally and mentally. I have no idea what she will do when her daddy dies. I do know that he and I have no meaningful relationship. It doesn’t matter what we have planned or what we are doing. His little girl comes first. In a restaurant, he will leave the table to go outside and talk to her, leaving me sitting patiently alone. If I say anything about the time involved, he says I don’t understand how his daughter needs him and tells me to stop being jealous. If she finds out what we are doing or where we are going there is always a crisis. She views anyone that her daddy likes—including me, his new wife as of one year ago—as a threat. She must be first with him and is sneakily manipulative. She is sugary sweet to me on the surface when we meet, and then trashes me to him behind my back and begs him to dump me because “she’s not good enough for you.” She’s done that with every friendship he’s had since her mother’s death. I do not know what he gets out of it. Help!

Q. I don't know what to say to my children about loss. Any ideas?

Q: My twins, a boy and a girl, must be going through the “terrible twos,” so-called. Well, they really are! It’s just “no, no, no, no, no....” until I want to tear out my hair. My neighbor says that every time the twins say “no” if we put them alone in their room they will learn to say “yes.” Do you think this will work?

Q. Although we live "down under," it's amazing what an incredibly strong impact the terrorism incidents have had on our family! After seeing the TV images of the twin towers in NYC, our three pre-teens seem to be having difficulty sleeping. How can I help them?

Q. If children are operating from the second brain layer, how does that fit in with understanding right and wrong?

Q.  Both my children have unrealistic dreams of what they can do in life. My daughter, laugh out loud, wants to be an astronaut while my son wants to develop a chain of pre-schools that utilize brain-function information. Pu-leeze! How do I get them to be more realistic?

 

Q. Neither of my two boys seem to find things easily in the refrigerator. Both my girls can! Is this a gender difference?

 

Q. I am enjoying reading the book you coauthored with Dr. W. Eugene Brewer entitled: Your Brain Has a Bent (Not a Dent). It’s a catchy title but where did the word bent come from?

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