Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD
Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a psychologist and best-selling author with a national following. She is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a clinical professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Q: Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have been the residential custodian of my 15-year-old son since he was born. During that time, his father has maintained a responsible and regular presence in his life with weekly visits, weekend sleepovers, and vacations. During the past four years, however, the day-to-day responsibilities of raising my son became more difficult. He was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability in fifth grade, and trying to find the right combination of medication and behavior modification combined with pre-adolescent hormonal changes took its toll on both of us.
Q Dear Dr. Sylvia: I am a mother in the middle of a divorce and a vicious custody battle over my 12-year-old son. My son's father is brainwashing him against me, but my son's therapist has been telling him not to say anything negative against his father. How can I get these awful ideas about me out of my son's head? -- Victimized Mom
Q: Dear Dr. Sylvia, My brother is raising his four-and-a-half year old son on his own. The boy sees his mother and sister every other weekend. My brother loves his son and is struggling with patience to deal with a child of this age. My parents do what they can to help. My nephew is in Head Start every day, and then, stays with my parents until his dad gets home from work. My brother's job is very frustrating, and many times when he gets home, he is not in the best frame of mind.
Exclusive to WholeFamily.... QDear Dr. Sylvia I'm having a hard time with my twelve-year-old son. School has been in session for about two months, and he has five F's right now. He will not do school work or homework. He has already been suspended from school for three days because he took a bullet to school. He lies all the time. He hits his sisters a lot. I am a single parent, and I don't know what to do with him. A It sounds as if you're having a serious problem, and you could use more help than I can give you here. If you weren't firm enough with your son many years ago, it could be that he won't accept limits when you try to set them now.
Dear Dr. Sylvia, My ten-year-old son hates doing his homework and drags it out. If I don't push him, he won't do it, and when he does, it looks sloppy. His teacher estimates that each assignment should not be more than an hour. He takes forever, and it looks messy. Should I make him sit there before dinner and after dinner until it's done? I work full-time, so I'm not at home with him and his dad to make sure it's getting done. Any tip would be helpful.
A parent writes, “Our nine-year-old son has begun to express an intense dislike for school. In the morning, he will say he is not attending school. He may refuse to dress and will do so after our most determined insistence only. He cries at times. He has repeatedly expressed feeling tired. He may willingly agree to do homework, but does it poorly, or does not complete it without some kind of unpleasant episode.” Read what Dr. Sylvia Rimm advises this distraught parent, about helping the child to overcome hurdles now and in the future.
Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have a five-year-old daughter who just started kindergarten this year. Her behavior lately has been way out of line. She had a problem in preschool with respecting authority, and it has now carried over into kindergarten. We have had a problem with it at home as well. She talks back to adults, and she yells. When we tell her that she will have privileges taken away if she doesn't do what she's been asked to do, she says she wants her privileges taken away. Whenever she does something for her dad or me, or if I've asked her to do something for her baby sister (one year old,) she always asks what she will get in return.
QWe have three boys, ages 10, eight, and six, who were attending school in a small town private school. Our oldest child has always been extremely bright. He enjoyed being popular and head of his class (and the class ahead of him.) This past summer, my husband asked the school to move him up a grade to keep him challenged. The school denied his request. So we moved all three boys to a Catholic school in a larger town 25 miles away. It has only been two weeks and no one is happy.
Q: Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have a few questions about language processing disorder. My son, who is six and in first grade, had problems learning his ABC's and 123's in kindergarten. By the end of the year though, he was progressing very well. There was still concern with giving him simple directions and having him follow through. He gives me a blank look when I tell him to do something. He just doesn't seem to comprehend completely. He's very healthy and very active.
Parents may be baffled when their capable children have a great deal of difficulty learning particular skills in school. Sometimes they may suspect the difficulty is related to their children not working hard enough, and of course, sometimes they are correct in those observations. Children who are not learning well because of lack of effort are underachieving.
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