What do you do when my eight year old daughter already has friendship problems? How do you deal with a 16 year old who argues with everything you decide? Listen to today’s episode to find out with the wit and wisdom of Dr. Leman.


Question #1 Lyndsay:

My husband and I have 2 girls, aged 10 and a half and 8. This question is also about my 8 year old. She is in 2nd right now and she has plenty of friendship problems, including hitting other kids at school, and having difficulty getting along with others. She usually gets a consequence at school, usually its detention at lunchtime which they call focus room.

I get a note stuck in her diary that the teacher has made her fill in with what she has done wrong. My job is then to read the note and sign it and send it back to school. I’m unsure about what I should be doing about this behaviour? Should there be a home consequence? Or should I just leave it with the focus room consequence at school. It’s about once per month another incident happens at school. The teacher has been sending her to the school counsellor who talks to her and sometimes calls me to let me know what they have been talking about. She usually tries to give her strategies to deal with her frustrations in a different way other than being mean and hitting.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

It sounds like the underlying question you need to ask is, “Why does this child feel hurt by life?” Her perception is the key. Be sure you don’t treat your kids the same. They are not the same. They have different tastes, needs, interests, expectations. They don’t want to be compared to one another.

You could have a conversation with her that goes something like this:
“Honey if you continue with this behavior, you will have no friends. If that is what you want, continue with the hitting and arguing. But, if you want, I can help you to be kind.”

Also, you could ask, “Could it be that there is bullying or that kids are saying mean things to you?” Carefully watch her face as you use this psychological guessing to see how she might respond.

Question #2 Linnette:

My husband and I have a 16 year old and 12 year old twin boys who are all in adolescence moment. We are christians and trying to raise them using christian values.
I think My husband is severe with them.

I think my husband is to severe with them in taking away their play station for a month. Is that a reasonable consequence for a 12 year old boy who told a lie? The twins took the PS4 in a school trip without permission and said they didn’t do it, which led us to believe someone else had stolen it.

The older son argues about everything we decide. If he wants to go to the beach with another family and friends for 9 days, we say yes but for 6 days, he complains. If he has a party, we say yes until 1:30 am, he complains he wants more time. He argues everything, it is exhausting.
We are always negotiating with him, what is your best advice?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

The main issue here with your kids is that you and your husband need to be on the same page. That would be the first thing I would work on.

I agree with the playstation decision. Not a problem! Take it away! Sell it! A month is not too long.

As for the son who is the arguer, He has learned to use his power to negotiate with you. He is in charge. He is working you.

You’ve trained him, pleased him. You need to stop trying to make him happy.

I would recommend reading my book, Parenting Your Powerful Child and checking out the product I’ve made called Great Parenting From the Get-Go.