Tag Archives: children

“Jaw With John” – 9-Year-Old Cannot Be Reasoned With When It Comes To Good Habits

My 9-year-old daughter has several friends whom we love and who are good buddies for her. However, the rules in their homes are different from those at ours. One friend in particular, “Sarah,” eats a lot of junk food and watches more TV than we allow. When my daughter asks why she can’t have chips and ice cream after school, or why we watch movies only on weekends, I remind her that good food and exercise make her healthy, and with less TV she does better in school.

I’m not interested in critiquing Sarah or her family, who are lovely people we really like. However, I do want to make the connection between unhealthy lifestyle choices and possible consequences because this is a subject we’ll keep revisiting as my daughter grows up.

I have been trying to say things like, “Everyone makes their own decisions. This is why we do it this way,” but at 9, my daughter sees things as pretty black or white. If our way is right, then their way must be wrong. I’m totally failing at subtlety. Is there a better approach that I could take to talking about this without invoking comparisons? — LIFESTYLE CHOICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA

Dear Lifestyle Choices,

There is no reasoning with a 9-year-old! Doi!

Because some [children] aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some [children] just want to watch the world burn.” OK, not really, but I just like that quote from¬†The Dark Knight¬†and felt like playing around with it for this response.

I remember growing up I had to go across the street to my friend Thomas’ house to play PlayStation or Virtual Boy (I’m dating myself here, whatever). I had asked for a gaming system for years and years but was repeatedly denied because my parents wanted me to focus on school and playing with friends and being outside and blah blah blah. (I did have a Game Boy, by the way, so that kept me occupied)

The lesson here is that every parent parents their child’s behavior and actions differently. You need to be firm with your daughter and tell her why you are making the choices you are. Because, let’s face it, you are looking out for her best interests so that, in the long run, she can be healthy and develop good habits. You are her parent, not her friend, tell her what’s what and stick to your guns!

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“Jaw With John” – Anti-Vaxxer’s Aren’t Welcome To This Party

I have four young children. The oldest (twins) just started school.

We know some people who cannot vaccinate their children for health reasons. But we also know of others who choose not to vaccinate their children.

We are all about being inclusive and we love to entertain other children, but I don’t want parents to bring their kids to our house if they have chosen not to vaccinate. Children who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons are welcome.

As a registered nurse who works with young babies I feel very strongly about this. I have seen the tragic results of children contracting preventable diseases.

To be honest, I don’t know if I want my kids to associate with the children of parents who “think they know better.”

I thought about putting a note to parents on invitations asking children who have not been vaccinated by choice to please not attend, but I don’t know if that is appropriate and can’t figure out the wording.

Is it OK to post this warning on invitations? — Pro-Vax RN

Dear Pro-Vax:

I’ll get this out of the way now: I’m a pro-vax guy like yourself. I don’t see why these anti-vaxxers think that they know any better than doctors or modern medicine. They are LITERALLY putting their child at more risk by not getting them vaccinated. But hey, that’s their decision – a dumb one.

You can’t send out an invitation saying “Come to my party! ……… Unless you’re not vaccinated because of personal reasons.” You can’t do it. It’s not only rude, but an invasion of privacy. You’re not a school requiring a medical history for admission. You’re a birthday party.

In all honesty, it doesn’t sound like this party will happen. You want to be all inclusive, but you set up these barriers to keep some out. I don’t think you know what “all inclusive” means.

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“Jaw With John” – Eating Off The Table? Next Stop Floor!

Recently I met a group of retired women for breakfast at a casual restaurant. One of the women brought her toddler granddaughter. During the meal she let the girl sit on her lap and eat her scrambled egg and pancake off the table. The waitress offered her a dish or clean paper place mat but she refused, saying the girl gets enough germs on her own.

I was disgusted thinking of all the “ugly” germs on the table, but I didn’t say a word. Would I have been overreacting if I had said something? — Lost Appetite

Dear Lost:

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“Jaw With John” – Noisy Kids Lead to Problems in Bed, Literally

My husband and I have been living in our apartment for the past three years and generally enjoy it. However, the couple that lives in the apartment directly above us have custody of the husband’s two children (elementary age) every other weekend.

I know this not because they have told me, but because without fail on these mornings we wake up to the shrill screams of the daughter while the son antagonizes her. This quickly leads to the father bellowing and general chaos for several minutes.

If we do manage to fall back asleep we will be awakened again when the children come barreling down the staircase, yelling and pushing one another.

I am a teacher; I truly and honestly understand that children are not and should not be placid all the time. But am I wrong to think that the adults should have more control over the situation?

The children scream and carry on at other times of the day as well, but I can choose not to care about that because it’s during my waking hours.

Is there any way that I can leave a self-help book about parenting while sharing custody at their front door without looking passive-aggressive?

Kids in a classroom benefit from structure and classroom management, so how do I gently suggest these parents try the same? — Sleepless in Baltimore

Dear Sleepless:

You can’t try and tell someone how to raise their kids. It’s just bad form.

How early are these kids waking up and screaming? 5am? 6am? Because that would be early. Being an early riser, I am of the opinion that getting up at 7:30 counts as sleeping in. But that’s just me. Stop being lazy, go to bed and get up at a decent hour! Because if I were to find out that these kids were getting up at 9am and being loud and you were mad about that…I would lose it. I mean, gardeners are allowed to operate their machinery after 7:30am and I think a lawnmower is much louder than two kids. Suck it up.

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“Jaw With John” – Sisters In Law Can’t Hang

My husband is the youngest of three brothers, and we were married last of the bunch.

My older sisters-in-law have become close friends over the years. They have a lot in common — both are teachers (I work in finance), both are of Swedish decent (I’m Greek), and both have two sons (I have three daughters).

We all live in different parts of the country, but spend Christmas in our husbands’ hometown.

I have tried very hard over the years not to feel like the third wheel, but it’s hard when they have so much in common and I can’t relate to many of their conversations.

I have tried to connect with them individually between Christmases, but I’m always the initiator — they never reach out to me. I know they maintain close contact with one another, but I rarely hear from them.

I hesitate to bring up that I’m feeling left out because I want them to be in a relationship with me by choice, not make the effort out of obligation. Also, once when I indicated that I felt a bit left out, one of them got very offended and I felt I had to apologize for feeling that way.

How can I be fair to them (not force them to read my mind), not come off as whiny or needy, and still form a genuine connection with them when there doesn’t seem to be room for me? — Third Wheel Sister

Dear Sister:

Are they first generation Swedish-American or something? And do they speak Swedish to each other? This is just a coincidence and their relationship has been built over time. It sounds like you’re making an excuse as to why they are better friends with each other than you.

You have every right to feel like you’re being left out, because you are. Suggest that you get together every now and then and see what happens. Don’t feel bad that you have to instigate it, if you want to connect with them badly enough then go for it! In the end if they start to spurn your requests you know you have tried and they just don’t want to let new people in so screw them and enjoy your life!

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