Questions From Readers

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

Edition: May 15, 2011 | Topic: Questions from readers

My 3-year-old daughter is the reason for the constant fighting between me and my husband. We have totally different views about parenting. He thinks I am too easy on her, and I find his approach harsh and even cruel at times. Weíve worked out this deal. When I take care of her (which is most of the time), I do things my way. When he is responsible, she follows his rules. This has stopped some of arguing, but I still donít like the way he disciplines her.

Your daughter is not the problem. She is the symptom of other issues between you and your husband. This arrangement is bad for your daughter and for your marriage. This has got to be a terribly confusing home for your daughter. How can she learn what is acceptable if the expectations are constantly changing depending upon who is taking care of her? Iím also concerned by your comment that your husbandís discipline can be cruel. Is this really a good environment for your child? You need to seek professional help, not for your child but for you and your spouse. If your husband refuses, please go on your own.

I know this is a really dumb question but would you please answer it anyway? I am hearing constantly about autism and I wonder if this is something you can get by being around other kids. I am worried about my son.

Autism is a serious developmental and neurological disorder that exists from birth. You cannot get it from certain types of foods, vaccinations or other people. Please speak with your childís doctor if you have any concerns about your child.

I know that my 16 year-old son smokes, as does his dad. Iíve tried everything to get my son to stop, but he refuses. Rather than sneaking behind my back to smoke, he wants to smoke in the
house. He argues that if his dad can smoke inside, why canít he do the same thing? I kind of see his point, and donít really know what to say.

In your house, your son should be expected to follow your rules. You canít control your husband who is an adult, but you have every right to set expectations for your son, who is still a minor. Tell him that because smoking causes cancer and other serious problems, you love him too much to let him do such a dangerous behavior in front of you. Tell him you also donít want to inhale his secondhand smoke, and thereby increase your likelihood of getting lung cancer because
of his bad habit.Smoking is a very difficult habit to stop. Do whatever you can to help your son stop smoking. I suspect his dad may be very influential, so a team effort by both of them may be most apt to succeed.

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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 and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at

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


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