Stop here every day for a new question and answer, practical help for busy parents.
I’m baby-sitting my 4-year-old nephew, and he keeps saying the “F” word. I asked him where he learned to say it, and he replied “Sissy,” his name for his 19-year-old sister. I’ve tried everything I can short of spanking him to get him to stop. Any advice?
As the baby-sitter, your options are somewhat limited. Unless the parents told you to administer corporal punishment, you cannot do so. Assuming you’ll only have the child for a short period of time, you might want to try time-outs or an isolation punishment. Tell him that you don’t allow people to say that word, and that he’ll spend a lot of time sitting by himself in an empty room if he says it.
Then, if he continues cussing, sit him alone in the empty room.
Understand that this problem is yours only for as long as you are sitting for the boy. When you see the parents, talk to them about the child’s conduct. Their response will provide you with a template for dealing with your nephew in the future.
If the parents tolerate the language, then your choices are to tolerate the language or to avoid baby-sitting for the boy.
If the parents do not tolerate the language, and the boy simply used it because he didn’t respect your authority, get the parents to back you and enforce their rules next time you baby-sit. If the boy knows you are acting under the authority of his parents, he is less likely to push the envelope.
If the parents do not know about the cussing – or who taught him the word – observe how they respond when you break the news, then take your cues from them.
It is possible, though not likely, that this issue could engender some hard words between you and your relatives. Try not to argue, as parents tend to circle the wagons when they perceive a threat – real or imagined – against their child. The parents need to know what their son said. Try to present the facts in a nonconfrontational manner. The rest is up to them.
My husband and I have decided to start trying to conceive in July. I want to plan in advance, but when I try to discuss it, he starts getting nervous. I know we both want a child and have a good, solid plan. How can I help him feel more secure about this? If he changes his mind I would understand. I just want to be sure that we are completely prepared.
You will never be completely prepared. It cannot be done, so don’t waste too much of your energy trying to cover all the bases. You said you have a “good, solid plan.” That puts you ahead of a lot of couples.
Given your openness to not having children and the lack of a time constraint, you have little to gain by pushing your husband to talk about this issue. Perhaps he’s afraid he won’t be a good father. Perhaps he’s concerned about the pending lifestyle change. And perhaps he is indeed having second thoughts. Regardless of his reasons for reticence, don’t make an issue of it.
Go on with your life. Don’t change anything right now. You didn’t say what plans you hoped to make. Think about the future if you like, but understand that nine months of pregnancy is more than enough time to prepare a home for a baby.
If your husband truly has second thoughts, you’ll find out soon enough, after he’s had a chance to think more about it.
You said you plan to start trying in July. Continue with that schedule, and when it’s time, make sure you tell him you’re about the stop the birth control. By then, he may be more comfortable with the idea of having children. And if he’s still uneasy, then you can have “the talk,” and you’ve lost nothing.
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