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Q: Our 14-year-old son seems depressed – to us, at least. His principal sees no sign of depression but thinks he’s socially anxious. The subjects of counseling and medication have come up. We have suggested to him that he get more exercise and spend less time playing video games and watching TV, but he says he hates sports. He appears to be withdrawing more and more into his video screen world. Our plan of action is to insist that he take up a sport if he wants the freedom to have a computer and video game. We want him to have balance in his life. Your thoughts?

Q: My 14-year-old daughter says I don’t trust her because, unlike her best friend’s parents, I won’t allow her to stay home alone for several days while I go out of town. Her friend’s parents do this at least once a month while they go to their second home, and their two teenagers – 14 and 16 – have thrown at least two raucous alcohol (and most likely sex) parties in their absence. I have tried to explain to my daughter that this is not typical parenting and I am concerned about her and her brother’s welfare. But I am struggling with a way to do this without throwing other parents “under the bus,” so to speak. In addition, my daughter may not even think this is bad parenting and just think I’m making excuses for myself.

Our 4-year-old daughter loves to be goofy and do funny things but as soon as someone laughs at her she becomes upset.

I recently came across a 1951 article my late mother saved from the Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier. Titled “Agency Offers Pointers on How Parents Can Guide Their Child’s Emotional Development,” it is proof that parents and professionals of three generations ago possessed a wealth of common sense, a quality that has since become most uncommon.

Today’s parents have a “magical” belief in consequences. They believe that behavior modification (the manipulation of reward and punishment to “shape” behavior), used properly, will cure any behavior problem.

How to deal with child who wipes his snot on family members.

In my most popular presentation – “Parenting with Love and Leadership” – I reveal the secret to proper, effective discipline: to wit, acting like a superior being.

Q: My 5-year-old is the youngest of my three children. Her older boy-girl twin siblings outshine her athletically. They’re already very skilled at wakeboarding and snow skiing, for example. I think my youngest has decided to give up. All she wants to do is hang out with me. (I’m not athletic either, but everyone in the family except this child is physically active.) Furthermore, she is disrespectful to anyone who tries to interest her in trying something new. She ignores the person, acting as if they weren’t even there. When I suggest activities, she becomes whiny and makes everyone miserable. I don’t know how to help her, but something has to change before we all go crazy!

For starters, don’t treat your children as if they’re adults. They aren’t.

13-year-old was listening to “pornographic” rap music.

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John Rosemond
John Rosemond, an N.C. author, writes on traditional parenting.