Friday, March 30, 2012

Helping your older child adjust to the new baby

  • "Helping your older child adjust to the new baby"
  • Workshop on May 15 at
  • Yorkville Tower, 1623 third Avenue, ste. 202. 
  • Call Meri to register, 917-359-3744.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Raising a Happy Co-operative Child

Blog one: Getting Your Child to Listen

Dear Meri:

Our two year old son looked us in the eye,climbed up on the sofa and started jumping, while we repeatedly tell him not to. When he behaves like this, what should we do?

–Signed frustrated parents

All parents are upset when their child blatantly disregards their rules. “Have we failed as parents? Is he going to be a juvenile delinquent?”, parents in my workshops and coaching sessions will ask me.

I reassure you that in situations such as these, there is nothing wrong with  your little fellow. He is simply acting out some natural developmental issues. Once you understand these issues and work with them effectively, you can gain the co-operation you are looking for.

Young children function according to the pleasure principle. Bouncing in the air on a soft cushioned couch is thrilling. It's much more fun than being a good listener at this age. Similarly children find racing down the street too much fun to easily abandon.

At this age, another issue that causes kids to misbehave, is that young children have little control over their impulses.  When they want something they want it now. That's why your child will take a bag of potato chips off the shelf in the supermarket even though you have warned her not to touch anything. Her wishes are urgent and having those chips feels like life and death to her. So she will go for it, even if it means incurring your wrath.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Dad Questions How to Build Self-Esteem

Dear Meri,

I've just become a new Dad and  I'd really like to raise my child to have a positive self-esteem. My Dad was very critical of me and I grew up questioning myself a great deal. What is the best way for me to accomplish this goal?

—A concerned Dad

Dear concerned Dad,

It is wonderful that you care about raising your child to feel good about himself. When children have a positive self-esteem they feel better in life. Every parent brings his history to the job and an issue that was hard in childhood will naturally raise some anxiety fo rthe parent (as this one does for you.) I want to reassure you that you don't have to be a perfect parent to accomplish your goal. There are many steps you can do to contribute to your child having a positive self-esteem.

Oh No. Is My Toddler a Bully?

Dear Meri,

Whenever I go to a play group with my 18 month old son either pushes the other children, or grabs their toys. My husband and I are not aggressive people and we're worried that somehow we've created a bully. How did this happen?

I certainly can understand your distress. Parents want to feel that their children can get along with other children. They quickly blame themselves and become very embarrassed when there is a problem. Let me reassure you. What you're seeing in actuality is just a developmental issue in progress. Your child is developing the skills he needs to get along with others.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When Should We Pick Up Our Crying Baby?

Dear Meri,

My husband and I are expecting our baby in three months. On Thanksgiving, we went to my best friend's house to celebrate. Throughout our visit, she and her husband were constantly arguing about whether to pick up their 5 mo. daughter when she cried. My friend thought they should always pick her up, but her husband was adamant that their daughter would become spoiled. On the ride home, my husband and I discussed this issue and we are not  sure who was right. Do you have an opinion about what to do?
—Perplexed parents-to-be

Dear perplexed parents,

As a parenting expert for over 20 years I have to say I strongly agree with your friend's  opinion to pick up their baby whenever she cries.

Young babies cry because something is bothering them. They don't have language skills to tell you, “I need to burp” or “My diaper is soggy.” They cry to let you know they need you and so you must respond.

Welcome to Our Parenting Blog

I am Meri Wallace, LCSW, and have been a child and family therapist and parenting expert for over twenty years. I am the author of, “Birth Order Blues”, (Henry Holt &Co.,1999) and “Keys to Parenting Your Four Year Old”, (Barron's Publications,1997). I have been a columnist for “Sesame Street Parents Magazine” and a TV parenting expert on shows such as “Montel Williams”, “The Early Show”, “Good Day New York” and many more.

On this blog I will answer questions from readers who may be expectant parents, new parents, or parents of children aged 0-teens. I will give you sound advice on how to transition effectively to parenthood, and offer you easy-to-use strategies for resolving issues that you are having with your children. The main goals of this blog are to help you to feel competent as parents and to raise children who feel loved and self-confident. I would love to receive your questions and look forward to answering them. Please send them to me at:

Happy Parenting! Meri Wallace