DEAR ABBY: My son is almost 3. He is the light of my life. I love him more than I can describe, but sometimes I can't handle his energy. We carefully monitor how much sugar he eats and we are sure his diet is not what's causing the problem. Mostly I think he is just a rowdy little boy.
The problem is, we can't take him out without dreading that he will act up. His refusal to listen to our requests -- or listen to us when we speak to him at all -- has put a strain on our marriage and we both feel like "failure" parents.
What are some things we can do to help our son channel his energy in a positive way, while getting some relief from his nonstop go-go attitude? -- NEEDS RELIEF IN KANSAS
DEAR NEEDS RELIEF: This may be a phase your son is going through; however, it would be a good idea to discuss this with his pediatrician to make sure. While little children can be human "Energizer bunnies," I am concerned that you say the boy doesn't listen when you talk to him. Tell the doctor and ask if a hearing check is in order.
As to your son's acting up when you take him out -- he should be told the rules and the penalties for not following them before you leave the house. If he doesn't obey the rules, it is important that you follow through, whether that means he will be taken outside for a talk or taken home. Remember, consistency is the key. That's the way children learn.
If you are older parents and not active, consider enrolling the boy in sports activities, such as swimming or kiddie gym. I am told there are even karate classes for children your son's age.
I read a book recently that could be helpful to you and your spouse. The title is "Raising Children That Other People Like to Be Around" by Richard Greenberg. It was written last year (2013) and published by New Generation Publishing. The price is $14, and the advice the author offers is worth every penny.
DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago I fell in love, but never told the man how I felt. We spent a lot of time together back then, but I was always afraid to confess my feelings because we were both married to other people. Time went by and we went our separate ways, but I have thought about him many times. A month ago I looked him up on Facebook, and we have reconnected.
Should I tell him how I feel about him? I'm afraid he may not feel the same way. My question is, should you always tell people how you feel, even if it may hurt someone else -- like his wife and my husband? -- IN A QUANDARY IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR IN A QUANDARY: My answer is no. If this man is attracted to you or might like a fling, it could spark an affair in which two innocent people would be devastated. And if the feelings aren't mutual, you will look like a home-wrecking fool, so keep it to yourself and back off.
DEAR ABBY: My husband thinks it is fine to use his cellphone while he is in the bathroom, no matter who is on the other end. The noises must be obvious to anyone he's talking to because he makes no effort to be quiet about his "business," including flushing the toilet.
He won't listen to me about how unacceptable this is. When I mention anything about it, he accuses me of being "sensitive" and "uptight." Maybe he'll listen to you and any of your readers who care to respond. Any comments? -- CRINGING IN DALLAS
DEAR CRINGING: Clearly your husband enjoys what he's doing. If the people he's talking to don't mind -- and apparently they don't or they'd say, "I'll talk to ya later!" -- you should butt out.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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- Family & Relationships
- DEAR ABBY