The NO Word




Dear Sue Ellen


I was at the park with my grandson a few days ago, and a little boy walked over to my grandson and pushed him down for no apparent reason. The boy’s mother saw the whole thing and I was shocked by her reaction.  She didn’t scold or correct her son, but looked at my grandson who was still on the ground as if he did something wrong.  She offered her son an ice cream cone as they walked off together.  Maybe I am out of touch, but it seems to me that his mother should have punished him for being bad instead of rewarding him with ice cream.  Am I missing something here?



Dear Nana,


I have a word for parents that let their kids get away with bad behavior.  The word is NO.  Here are some helpful suggestions for when to use that word:


No, you can’t be mean to other children.

No, you can’t always have your way.

No, you will not say hateful things to your parents, or other adults, or other children.

No, you’re not going to stay up past your bed time.

No, you can’t skip your bath.

No, you don’t get to color on the walls.

No, you won’t get away with accidently-on-purpose forgetting to brush your teeth.

No, you can’t run wild through the aisles of Wal-Mart


No isn’t a bad word.  It is a healthy word that teaches children boundaries.  We all need boundaries.  It helps us to understand there are limits in life, and to feel safe.  Did you know that not teaching your children good boundaries is a form of child neglect?  A lot of times it is easier to give in and let our kids have their way, but is it the best thing for the kids?  No.


It’s our job as parents and grandparents to teach our children to become responsible, productive and healthy adults.  It is one the hardest jobs we will ever have, and the most important.

Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parents Corner – Whining!

Dear Sue Ellen


When my daughter turned 13 she became a world class whiner.  She whines about dinner, her hair, doing homework, spending time with her family.  You name it, she whines about it.  Is there any cure for this ailment?

Wit’s End Mom



Dear Wit’s End Mom,


It is not my intention to be offensive, but to discuss this problem, I should first ask:  Are you a whiner?  I’ve heard so-called experts in the field of child development say that children’s environments are a contributing factor to their growth and development.  A child growing up in a home of whiners is more likely to become a whiner too.


Did you ever hear parent’s say “do as I say and not as I do”?  I think it was meant to be a joke. Children learn how to behave through the behaviors of people around them.  Parents are kidding themselves if they think children don’t see what is going on in their home. They may not understand what they are seeing, but it will impact how they perceive relationships and the world around them.


If you are still reading this column (after I hurt your feelings and gave you something else to whine about), thank you for staying with me.  There is another likely situation going on here.  It’s the “P” word that most parents dread and fear.  Puberty.  Those same so-called experts have a lot of opinions about puberty, but here is a short version.  When kid’s bodies start the transition from child to adult, a lot of amazing and terrifying things happen.  For example, hormones can put a child all over the emotional map (parents too).  If you are interested, there are plenty of books in the library about puberty.  I don’t know if there is a parent’s guide on how to survive puberty, but there should be.


As parents, we don’t get to dictate our children’s personalities, the way they look or how they will turn out as adults.  But we do get to nurture them, teach them and watch them grow.  It’s possible that your daughter’s whining phase will end. If nobody in your family is a whiner except your daughter, you may be asking yourself “Where did that behavior come from?”

I don’t know any parent that hasn’t asked that question about their child at some point in time.

I think some children are aliens from another galaxy.  I hope your daughter isn’t from the Whiner planet.


In conclusion, the best remedy is love and patience…for both of you.



Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – Grannies Gone Wild


Dear Sue Ellen


I love my 72-year-old Grannie, but I am thinking about grounding her.  Grannie and her (equally-as-old) best friend, Mama Millie, took my daughter for the day.  They told me they were going to the flea market.  When they brought my daughter back her clothes were dirty, she had fake tattoos on her arms, and chocolate smeared on her face.  They totally ignored the instructions I gave them.  My daughter is only four years old.  I never should have let her go.  I don’t want to hurt my Grannie’s feelings but enough is enough.  Any suggestions on how to handle this?



Dear Michelle,


I really want to tell you and your generation to loosen up, but I won’t.  I hope that someday when your Grannie and Mama Millie are up in heaven, you and your daughter can laugh about this.  It’s a charming family story that you could share for the next 2 or 3 generations and, like all family stories, it will change with each telling.  By the time your daughter is a grandmother she may tell the story something like this.  “When I was a toddler, Grannie and Mama Millie took me to Nassau for the day and we swam with Dolphins, sang karaoke and went parasailing.  It was amazing!”


Your Grannie sounds like a reflection of her generation.  She was probably a teenager in the 1960’s.  That was a unique time in our history.  Girls wore embroidered sundresses and flowers in their long braids.  They were also on the wild side…okay, that is an understatement.


Maybe you can take a moment to reflect on why you love your Grannie.  Do you have any fond memories of being with her when you were a little girl?  Did your parents approve of you spending time with her?   Do you think your daughter’s safety or welfare was compromised, or are you just aggravated because they didn’t follow your instructions?  Here is a little tidbit for you.  Grandparents and even great-grandparents know how to roll their eyes.


So here is my suggestion.  Let your daughter be around her Grannie, but maybe the next time she wants to take your daughter and Mama Millie somewhere for the day, you should go too.   Who knows… you may end up with fake tattoos this time.



Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Prevention Education Coordinator needed!

POSITION:             Prevention Education Coordinator

Location:                  Belton, Texas



Duties:       The Prevention Education Coordinator will be responsible for, but not limited to the following tasks and responsibilities:


  1. Conduct anti-victimization education and other related programs that promote child abuse/family violence prevention
  2. Provide instruction in classrooms, grades pre-K to 12 as well as provide adult education
  3. Participate in community outreach, including networking with schools and community
  4. Public Speaking
  5. Seek new referral sources for at-risk families and children
  6. Attend various meetings, presentations, events, activities as related to program.
  7. Maintain appropriate documentation including, but not limited to, assessments, weekly and monthly reports, budget report, volunteer files; etc.
  8. Assist in fund raising activities
  9. Ability to work some evenings and weekends
  10. Demonstrate an attitude of willingness to communicate, strategize and work well with others in a team based setting.
  11. Seek professionally qualified consultant services for occurrences/needs outside of the family service plan
  12. Prevention Education Coordinator reports to the Executive Director


Minimum Requirements: Applicant must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work or other human services field and one year of experience working with at-risk youth and families.  The Prevention Education Coordinator must perform duties in a responsible and ethical manner.  The Prevention Education Coordinator must be able to effectively communicate with individuals from diverse backgrounds.


Consideration: If you would like to be considered as a candidate for this position please e-mail an application, resume, and brief letter of interest to Position will remain open until filled.


Parent’s Corner “Excuse Me…Is That Your Child or a Wild Donkey?”


Dear Sue Ellen


I was at my nail salon the other day and a young woman came in with four small children.  While she was getting her manicure, the children were unsupervised and disruptive to everyone there.  I really wish parents would be respectful of others instead of letting their children run loose in public places.  It’s potentially dangerous, and quite annoying.






Dear Beverly,


I may have a solution for this problem.  Let’s pass a law that requires all parents to sign an agreement at the hospital before they take their newborns home.  The agreement will include the following terms under penalty of law.  Failure to comply will result in mandatory parenting classes.


  1. No dirty diapers discarded in parking lots.
  2. No screaming babies, children or parents in public places.
  3. Children will not be allowed to climb on shelves in stores or steal candy at the check-out line.
  4. No shaking, spinning or climbing on bubble gum machines or any other public equipment.
  5. It will be unlawful for parents, or children, to throw tantrums in public places.
  6. Punishing a child for coming unglued because they are tired, hungry or thirsty will not be permitted. Parents are responsible for attending to their children’s needs.
  7. Parents and their children are not allowed to run unattended and bray like donkeys in public places.


Maybe I should run for office.  What do you think?





Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.