Questions From Readers: Arguing, Grades and Staying Home Alone

Print this page Bookmark and Share

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

Edition: June 20, 2011 | Topic: Questions from readers

Questions From Readers: Arguing, Grades and Staying Home Alone

Question:

When should I step in when my seven-year-old son gets in arguments with other kids? I think itís important for him to learn to resolve these things on his own, but he and most of his friends seem incapable of dealing with any type of disagreement. Should I walk away and let them figure this out by themselves?

Answer
Learning to resolve problems with others is a critical skill that kids donít learn on their own. Try the following.

First, establish a couple of simple family rules regarding problem solving. Most parents focus on a rule about no hurting or hitting anyone else, and not using bad words or yelling.

Once you have established those guidelines, then teach your child some skills about resolving conflicts. For example, role play how compromise might be used to deal with some difficulty. Have him explain how he might have used this technique in a disagreement he recently had with his friend. As your son is able to apply that skill, teach him other techniques such as good listening skills, identifying alternatives, anticipating consequences, and self-control.



Question
My fourth grader is above average in intelligence, but finished the school year with Bs and several Cs. I donít want to punish her by sending her to summer school or tutoring. I want her to enjoy her school and feel that learning is interesting and fun. However, her grades are unacceptable and Iím not sure what to do.

Answer
Assuming your daughter has no special learning or emotional problems, her decision to do poorly in school should have some logical consequences. The most reasonable consequence would be for her to study and master the material over the summer that she chose not to learn during the school year. Stop being so focused on making sure that learning is fun and communicate to your daughter that it is her responsibility to get good grades consistent with her ability.

Question
Can a 12-year-old be left alone for several hours at a time during the summer? My son is too old for daycare, but Iím also uneasy about leaving him by himself.

This is a tough question faced by many parents this time of the year, but youíve already answered your own question. If you are uneasy about leaving your child alone, then itís best to make other arrangements. Most 12-year-olds can be left alone for short periods of time, but that depends upon their level of maturity and responsibility. Certainly technology does help, with different ways you can connect to your son throughout the day. Even so, that same technology places your child at risk for getting into all kinds of difficulties.

Based upon your concerns, I would not leave him alone during the summer months for an extended period of time, but rather for a few hours and monitor how he does.

(6-26-2011)

PDF Version


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.


 

Visit our blog!

Visit the Dr. Mom Squad blog to join in the conversation with our experts! You will hear from four local women who have two big things in common; they are all doctors and they are all moms!

Kohl's Cares® Merchandise

Every season, Kohl's offers special items for sale with all profits donated to children's hospitals – including Dayton Children’s. You can view the entire collection of stuffed animals, books and much more at Kohl's Cares® Merchandise.

Free parenting enewsletter

Finding trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. eGrowing Together offers the latest health, safety and parenting information from our experts delivered to your inbox every month.

Sign up now!

Stay Connected

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Visit Our Blog Youtube Caring Bridge

 

Upcoming Events

Feel free to bring a covered dish to share

Car Seat Safety Check

For a fun night of playing games and having a good time, families are encouraged to bring any board games, card games or other fun games to play. Pizza and beverages provided. Feel free to bring a snack or dessert to share.

Car Seat Safety Check

View full event calendarView full event calendar

Health and Safety

Your child's health and safety is our top priority

Accreditations

The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815
937-641-3000
www.childrensdayton.org