My child is not eating the lunch I packed.

Okay, let's get this eating thing all squared away. Here's a nice little formula for you to use:

Your business: 1) What you purchase, serve, or otherwise make available. 2) Maintaining and modeling a healthy relationship with food.

Not your business: What your child chooses to eat.

What do I say if my teen asks me whether I smoked pot when I was younger?

This question comes up a lot here in Boulder, since it is, after all, the Pot-smoking Capital of the World (or something like that.) And whether we smoked pot or not, there are parents all over the country who did things as teenagers that we hope our children will not do.

So how should you answer questions about high risk behaviors you indulged in as a teenager? Ultimately, that's your call. Some parents decide to simply lie. And unfortunately, I think they may be missing out on an opportunity to impart some valuable information when they shut down the conversation that way.

Fostering Independence in Older Teens

How do you help your almost-adult teenager learn to stand on his own 2 feet and be responsible for his actions and responsibilties without feeling somewhat guilty?

Let's presume that what we all want for our kids when they become adults is happiness, success, confidence, love, and competence. Ideally, I think we want to see all those qualities in balance, yes?

If we step in too often to rescue, we may insure success, but at the price of confidence and competence.

What should I do if my child refuses to eat what I cooked for dinner?

This is bound to happen sooner or later. We each have individual tastes, and it's a good idea to make easy and nutritious alternatives available to everyone in the family in case they don't like what is being served. There's no need for you to COOK more than one dish -- kids can prepare a simple Plan B themselves.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Don't confuse respect with fear. It wasn't respect that kept so many of us in line when we were kids, although many of our parents called it that. It was fear. Fear that if we didn't do exactly as we were told, we'd pay an uncomfortable price.