Q. I am 26 and a single parent to a 3-year-old girl. I love my daughter more than anything. However, in the past few months, she has become a brat, doing everything she can to test me.
Due to recent financial problems, we had to move in with my mother until I can finish my degree and get a job. No matter what discipline I use, nothing works because my mother undermines me. There is no consistency in what is right or wrong. My mother always gives in to her every request.
Once in a while, I will spank my daughter. My mother, however, cornered me and gave me a lecture on how awful I am for spanking my child. Yet I can clearly recall being spanked by my mother when I was little.
Mom questions my parenting in front of my daughter. I am grateful that she opened her home to us, but I can’t be an effective parent when she constantly undercuts my authority. How can I get her to keep her child-rearing opinions to herself?
A. While we agree with your mother that discipline does not require spanking, we also understand how difficult it is to raise a child when an indulgent grandparent rules the roost. First, have a sit-down discussion with Mom when your daughter is asleep. Get her to acknowledge that a lack of discipline is not healthy for her grandchild. Compromise by agreeing to use different forms of discipline other than spanking. Create rules you can both abide by. If that doesn’t work, bring Mom to your next pediatrician appointment, and ask the doctor to speak to her. And find other living arrangements as soon as possible.
Q. About five years ago, on the way back from a family vacation, my brother got carsick. Since then, he constantly complains about stomach aches, gets nervous about everything, and never travels. He’s been to various doctors, but all of them say nothing is wrong.
He doesn’t have friends anymore. He works once a week and says he’s “too sick’’ for a second job. He sits in his room playing computer games all day.
My parents are trying everything they can, and honestly, none of us knows what to do anymore. Can you help?
A. Your brother has anxiety issues that have not been addressed. In addition, he may be suffering from depression. This is not to say he isn’t also using his anxiety as an excuse to avoid responsibility. Your parents should get a referral to a psychiatrist and then insist that your brother make an appointment and be evaluated. There is medication for anxiety disorders, and the sooner he can be helped, the better.
Q. “Scared Sister’’ said she was afraid whenever her sister, “Louise,’’ had to drive at night, because her vision was impaired.
My 22-year-old son’s night driving was scary. It took two separate visits to the ophthalmologist to discover that he had congenital cataracts. It affected his depth perception. He was very clumsy as a little kid and had a lot of bruises. It was unnerving to be questioned by the school principal about child abuse. Despite multiple eye exams, the cataracts were not diagnosed until recently. Maybe Louise has the same condition.
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