Q. My 15-year-old stepson told his dad that he doesn’t want me to tell him what to do. He would rather his dad (my husband) tell him. I try to make sure homework and chores are done before his dad gets home so they can spend time together. I understand that being a stepparent can be thankless, but I am a maid, chauffeur, chef, scheduler, and more, and now don’t have enough authority to ask my stepson to take out the garbage. What can I do?
“The stepmother needs to take a step back and think about what her goals are,” panelist Mike Ramsey said.
Christmas has arrived at The Pines Dinner Theatre, wrapped in original and traditional holiday music and lyrics, and tied up with a spirited cast of five singers, dancers and musicians.
“Pines Country Christmas,” through Dec. 29, is doing its best to prove that this is the most wonderful time of the year.
Q. I can’t seem to take my children, ages 7, 5 and 3, anywhere. In the grocery store they run all over the place, and in restaurants they can’t stay in their seats and eat. I am exhausted from trying to control them. Please help.
“I read in the question that the young kids run all over the place, and can’t keep in their seats,” panelist Mike Ramsey said.
“That is very normal for kids their age,” Ramsey said. “The things I’d be more concerned about are their trying to stab each other with forks, or the throwing of food in the restaurant.”
Q. I have a beautiful, awesome 16-year-old daughter. She does well in school and she doesn’t get into trouble. This morning I dropped her off for swim team practice and saw that she left her cell phone in the car. A text caught my eye, and I snooped. She has been sending naked pictures of herself over her phone to a couple of boys. What do I do?
Q. My 4-year-old loves scary Halloween displays in stores, so I took him to a haunted house that I thought was kid-friendly. It wasn’t. I covered his eyes and we ran out as soon as we could. He told me he saw horrible things. I tried to tell him it was all fake. Did I scar him for life?
“No, you have not scarred you child for life,” panelist Mike Ramsey said. He said the mother may be experiencing guilt feelings for having made a decision that resulted in an emotional reaction from her child. “Was it scary for the four-year-old?” Ramsey asked. “Yes, but not traumatic.”
Q. At what age is it appropriate to give your child a cell phone? My daughter is in second grade and is asking for one because her friends have one. What do you think?
The panel agreed that age seven is too young for a child to have a cell phone.
Panelist Pam Wallace said that, in addition to the cost, a cell phone involves a lot of responsibility: “Is she going to be able to hold onto the phone and not leave it on the bus or drop it somewhere?”
Q. Our five-year old son is a picky-eater. I am thinking about making him the food that he wants. My husband is against this and wants him to eat what I make for us. What is the best way to handle this?
Panelists Chad Stefanyak and Mike Ramsey agreed that this is a very common problem.
“Everyone thinks their five-year-olds are picky-eaters,” Stefanyak said, “and this argument between parents probably occurs in many households.”
Several hundred well-wishers crowded into the Hotel Bethlehem Oct. 6 to help the landmark celebrate its 97th birthday and its recent selection as the third best historic hotel in the country by readers of USA Today.
The birthday bash included free food and hors d’oeuvres, cupcakes, tours, musical entertainment and presentations on the history of the hotel. Guests were greeted by hospitality girls in white knee-high boots, a flashback to 1968.
Q. My children, ages 5 and 12, are planning their costumes for Halloween. Our neighborhood has always been safe, but I still worry. Do you think they are old enough to go alone? I need to be at my house to hand out candy. Also, is there an age when children are too old to trick or treat?
“I don’t think you need to be concerned about how old to trick or treat,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said in answer to one of the questions.
Q. My 15-year daughter wants to date. Is she old enough? Should we insist on meeting the boy first? Should we talk to them?
As to whether or not your daughter is old enough to date, panelist Pam Wallace said that depends on the girl’s maturity and ability to be responsible.
“The parents know their child best. Is she mature enough to go on a date? Also, does she have ground rules on what to do if something unexpected happens? Will she reach out to her parents if she is in an uncomfortable situation?” asked Wallace.