Parenting Q & A- pre-school, obesity, arguments

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By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist

Edition: April 11, 2010 | Topic: Questions from readers

Question:
I’m a stay-at-home mom whose daughter will be starting kindergarten in about a year. Will she be behind the other kids either academically or socially if I do not enroll her in preschool?

Answer:
Most kindergarten teachers report that they can identify the kids who have had some type of preschool experience. Such youngsters tend to have generally somewhat more developed social skills and are more used to many of the school routines. However, children who have not been to preschool easily catch up with their peers during the first year of school. If you want to stay home with your daughter and enjoy these special years, then do so!

Question:
I am the parent of a 16-year-old who is about 40 pounds overweight. We have tried everything to get her to lose weight, but nothing works. Should we simply accept her the way she is?

Answer:
If you are the driving force trying to get your daughter to lose weight, give up. Nothing that you do at her age without her active involvement is apt to be successful. However, if she wants to lose weight, but has been unsuccessful, here’s what I would tell her: “Stop reading diet books, nutritional articles, and exercise manuals. For the next several weeks do not weigh yourself. Instead, try the following. Every day, write down one “micro-goal.” A micro-goal is one small thing that you are 95 percent certain you can change that day. An example of a micro-goal might be the following: walk down your block one time, throw away your bag of chips with one chip uneaten, or watch five minutes less television today, etc. The advantage of micro-goals is that they are so modest that you will be successful. With that accomplishment of small goals, you will begin to feel some sense of success. These small goals will allow you to gradually set and attain larger goals! Never give up on yourself.”

Obesity is the number one health problem facing America’s youth, and I would encourage your teen to continue to work on this problem.

Question:
After an argument, my daughter remarked that I shouldn’t expect to hear from her very often when she’s away in college. I know this was said in a fit of anger, but should I speak with her about this comment?

Answer:
Tell your daughter that even though there may be disagreements between both of you, you will always love her and be there for her. Don’t get into an elaborate discussion about what provoked the argument. Send a simple message of unconditional love. Senior year can be tough on many kids, as they are both looking forward to independence, but simultaneously afraid of their impending freedoms and responsibilities. Your loving presence can help ease that transition.

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Dr. Ramey Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit www.childrensdayton.org/ramey and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drgregramey

©2010 The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. Columns may be reproduced with the permission of Dayton Children's.


 

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