Parent’s Corner – Screaming Parents



Dear Sue Ellen,


“I have a 10-year-old son that plays baseball.  He loves it, but there is a Dad on our team that screams at his kid during practice and games.  Last week that kid messed up the play, and his Dad loudly made fun of him.   It upset all of the kids on the team and everyone felt bad for the little boy.  I really wanted to punch that Dad, but I know better.  What can I do?  Don’t tell me to talk to the coach because I have already done that!”

Frustrated Mom



Dear Frustrated Mom,


Wow!  He sounds like the same guy that screamed during my son’s games thirty years ago. Screaming parents definitely need help.  But how do you help someone that doesn’t see a problem?  When a parent is braying like a donkey during their child’s ball games, do they think they are being clever, or using good parenting that will magically motivate their kid to become perfect in all things?


Research shows that verbal abuse has the same negative effect as physical abuse.  In other words, when that Dad screams at his son and humiliates him in front of the team it injures his son as badly as taking his fist and slapping his face.  The more I think about this, the angrier I am getting.  Yeah….there is a part of me that would like to punch that Dad too, except for what I know about the cycle of abuse.


Parents will raise their kids like they were raised.  It is true.  Are you reading this, parents?  Chances are, the screaming Dad on your team had a parent treating him the same way as a boy.  In fact, it is possible that the sad little boy on my son’s team thirty years ago could very well be the Dad on your team today.


Here’s what you can do.   Take a stand against child abuse and family violence.  Parent education is the key that unlocks the door to healing for the broken parents that are raising broken kids.


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

Parent’s Corner- Eaters of Strange Things




Dear Sue Ellen


My 2-year-old daughter eats paper.  The other day I found her digging in the garbage and eating newspaper.  She eats toilet paper, newspaper, paper towels and anything paper she can get her hands on.  I scream at her and tell her to stop, but she won’t.




Dear Lindy,


Children are eaters of strange things.  When my daughter was two I discovered her eating dog food out of the pet bowl.  I have been told by my older brother that I ate dirt when I was a toddler (with a spoon of course).  A friend told me her little boy would eat bugs.  I think grown-ups are eaters of strange things too.  I watched a man eat a spider once.  Kids eating paper isn’t that uncommon, especially in school.  Ever hear of spit wads?  I bet a few of them have been digested over the years.  I was in my granddaughter’s second grade class to read a story one time and I watched in horror as a beautiful little girl daintily put her finger in her nose and…. you know the rest of the story.


You might want to ask a nurse or your daughter’s pediatrician about it to make sure it isn’t affecting her health.  Will she grow out of it?  Hopefully because when she is in middle school and kids see her eating her test paper with a bad grade on it, they will make fun of her

and even worse, you will never see the test.


How often do you scream at your toddler?  There are times when screaming is necessary.  If your daughter is about to chase a ball into oncoming traffic, you must get her to stop and it may include shouting at her.  Screaming at children can be traumatic and put them at risk for emotional abuse.  The words we use to communicate with our children matter.  There has been a lot of research about child abuse.  Emotional abuse is defined as using hateful, demeaning, unloving or critical words.  People usually raise their voices when they are frustrated, afraid or angry.  Are you screaming at your toddler because you are frustrated?  I am not saying that you are guilty of emotionally abusing your child.  I am just suggesting there might be a better way to guide her without screaming at her.  Toddlers are impulsive and inquisitive.  They are learning boundaries and need the loving support of parents to teach and redirect.  If you feel that you are constantly having to punish your child, you may be the one out of control, and not your child.  I am not shouting at you when I say this.  I am lovingly trying to redirect your behavior.  Shouting at a two-year-old for eating paper is probably too harsh.




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

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 “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.

Parent’s Corner – How Far Would You Go?




Dear Sue Ellen


My family don’t like my boyfriend.  We have a baby and I want my family to be around us buy my boyfriend says no.  Sometime he gets real mad and pushes me around a little bit.  That’s why my family doesn’t like him.  I know he don’t mean to hurt me.  I love him but I miss my family so much.  It makes me sad that my baby girl won’t get to know my parents and my sister.  I tried to tell my boyfriend that my family won’t get between us but he don’t listen.  I am stuck in the middle.  He would be real mad if he knew I wrote to you but I am desperate.

Sad Girl


Dear Sad Girl,


Let me review.  You have a boyfriend you say you love, but he doesn’t want you to be around your family and he gets mad and pushes you around sometimes.   I am guessing that he gets mad at you when you don’t do exactly what he tells you to do or when he is in a bad mood, and somehow it always ends up being your fault.  He throws a fit and then afterwards he sucks up to you and acts all nice.  Am I right?


What I have just described is a classic domestic violence scenario.  You say you love him, but how far are you willing to go for love?  Are you willing for him to abuse your baby girl?  Are you willing to live in fear of making him angry all the time?  Are you willing to give up your family for him?  Are you willing to go on being abused because you love him?


The way he treats you is not love.   In other words, he is not loving you back.   He is abusing you.  If this continues, he will destroy you.  Are you willing to be destroyed for love?  Over time you will be stripped of your confidence.  What are you teaching your baby girl about life?


Please take your baby and go home to your family before this situation takes a sinister turn and somebody gets really hurt.  If your boyfriend loves you he will get help and try to win you back.  If he is an abuser he will probably try to punish you for leaving.  He may lie to you and say things will be better if you just come back to him, but they won’t unless he gets help.  And, things won’t change overnight.


You must make some hard choices or you will be a sad girl all your life and you will teach your baby to grow up and become a sad girl too.  Please get help now.


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

If you need help, please call one of the following: Family Violence Unit Hotline-254-813-0968,  Families In Crisis – and National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1800-799-7233(SAFE)

Parent’s Corner- Sweet Girl



Dear Sue Ellen


I have spent the last 17 years raising my daughter and she is acting like she can’t get away from me fast enough.  I have given her everything she ever wanted and she never shows gratitude. She ignores me except when she wants something from me.  It’s all about her and what she wants.  I have dedicated my whole life to raising her and she has turned out to be a very selfish girl.  Is this a phase she will grow out of?  She was so sweet when she was a little girl.  I want my sweet girl back.



Dear A.J.


You know what birds teach us about raising kids, right?  When it is time for the baby bird to fly, the mama nudges them out of the nest.  When it is time for our babies to fly away it is usually a little more complicated.  Some parents look forward to the day their kids leave home while others struggle with it.  Either way, it is a big life change.  It is our job as parents to prepare our children for the day they will become independent.  Our children go from being totally dependent to independent in 18 short years.  That is a drastic change in a relatively short amount of time.


Have you ever seen those old people that shake their heads at the next generation coming up and repeat themselves about how things were better when they were young?

I am trying not to be one of those old people, but really….kids today don’t seem to have a clue.  Your daughter isn’t the only young person of her generation that thinks the world revolves around her.  There is a sense of entitlement among our young people today like I’ve never seen before.


I think parents are trying to protect their children from a rapidly changing world that isn’t always safe.  They have been so focused on trying to give their children everything they wanted, they forget to give them what they need.  Kids need to be toughened up so they can face life.  It is hard on a lot of parents to NOT give their kids everything they want.  The world doesn’t get handed to most of us on a silver platter.  Your daughter will learn that soon enough.  Be patient with her.  She is getting ready to fly away.  She will still be your daughter and hopefully time and life will soften her back up and you will see the sweet girl she was again.


Here is the big question for you.  What are you going to do with yourself when your daughter leaves home?  It is time for you to start planning your next life adventure.


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

Parent’s Corner – Friend Me

Dear Sue Ellen


I am a mom and I’ve heard that child molesters, hackers, and kidnappers monitor kids online.  Is this something I should talk to my kids about?



Dear Molly:


Here’s the short answer:  YES!


Socialization among youths has drastically changed over the past few years, and it is good for children to have confident social skills, but there are a host of dangers for kids online.


Since social media has become the common way for kids to communicate, there has been a drastic increase in sex trafficking.  Sex traffickers are masters at disguising themselves as teens looking for friends online.  They send out masses of “friend me” requests.  If a child accepts their offer, the plan to win over their trust and eventually schedule a place/time to meet them in person begins.  Here is an example of how kids are kidnapped through an online connection:  a teenage boy invites a girl to “friend him”.  The girl doesn’t know him but he is good looking and seems like a nice guy according to his profile.  In reality, he is a 31-year-old felon involved in sex-trafficking.  If this girl ever agrees to meet him in person she will disappear and her parent’s may never see her again.


Sexual predators also lull kids online.  Have you seen the shows on TV about this very thing?  Bad people are constantly trolling the internet looking for ways to do evil things.


Your children need to be taught ways to protect themselves from online predators.  They should only “friend” people they know and can verify it’s them.  If they get a strange request, or if something else weird or unusual appears on any of their social media accounts, they need to come to you.  Since kids can access social media on their phones, they need to tell you if they receive a call from someone they don’t know, or better yet, they need to routinely block callers they don’t recognize.  Be involved with your kids and their involvement in social media.  Empower them to be self-protective.  Don’t underestimate the compelling seduction of evil.




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

Parent’s Corner – Bad Party




Dear Sue Ellen,

Me and my boyfriend were at a party, and it got real weird.  He’d had a few beers is all. Suddenly, he got mad and started screaming and then he tried to hit me and I don’t know why.  We’ve lived together for five years and have a couple of kids together.  A friend took me home that night but my boyfriend hasn’t been home since.  He did this one time before, but he promised me he would never do it again.  I don’t know what to do.

  1. L.


Dear T. L.

You are giving me a headache.  Where do I begin?   This whole scenario sounds like some reality TV drama.  I would like to climb on a big rock and shout to the whole United States of America.   This is what I would say.  “People!  How you live as adults effects the people around you, especially your kids!”   Your life is a train wreck and you are standing on the tracks, looking at the engine headed toward you; wondering what to do.


Are you even slightly aware of the peril you and your children could be in?  Do you have a mother?  Did she ever talk to you about bad relationships?


Let’s review.  You went to a party with your boyfriend.   Where were your kids?  Do you have a sitter you can trust, or did you leave them with someone who may, or may not, take good care of them?  Let’s hope for the best, and assume that someone babysat your children and didn’t molest or abuse them.   When you and your boyfriend went out to party that night, did it ever occur to you that he might get drunk, or high or stupid in some other way?  If the answer is yes, then how could that possibly be fun for you… unless you were going to do something equally as irresponsible at the party and didn’t care what your boyfriend did?  My head is spinning, and we haven’t even gotten to the part where he starts to get violent.


Angry, irrational people are toxic.  I’m not hating on them or judging them, it’s just a fact.  Those are the kind of people you need to love from a distance.  He is the train on your track.  What do you do?  Get off the track!


I feel for your children.   You are subjecting them to an unhealthy lifestyle where there is the threat of domestic violence and abuse.  You are a victim too, but you are the adult in the situation and your children are defenseless.  You have got to make some serious changes in your life.  My best advice to you is stay away from bad boys and bad parties.  Focus on raising those two precious children and giving them a loving stable home.


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

Parent’s Corner – Me & My Stepson




Dear Sue Ellen,


I got remarried last year and my 12-year-old stepson moved in with us a month ago.  He is a total brat when he’s with me and acts angelic when he is with his dad.  I tried to talk to my husband about it but he doesn’t believe me when I explain how his son behaves when nobody else is around. What should I do?




Dear Pat,


You are in a very difficult situation.  Did you know what you were getting into when you married your new husband?  Never mind; it’s too late to undo things.  The easy answer is to get family counseling, but I know it’s not likely for you because your husband is in denial.


The best of blended families deal with daily stress in their lives.  Research shows that children growing up in blended families are at a much greater risk for abuse than children that grow up with their birth parents.  But in your case, it sounds like you could be the one at risk for abuse.  To resolve this will take time and cooperation between the three of you.  This kind of situation can destroy families.   Are you willing to commit to building a relationship with your stepson?


This 12-year-old in your home is still just a little boy and you are a new parental unit in his life.  Do you love him?  If the answer is yes, then there is hope.  Even if you don’t especially like or love him right now, there is still hope if you are willing to open your heart to a confused child, even when he is being a brat.


Would it be possible to sit down with your husband and stepson together and express your concerns?  You could come from the point of view that you want your new family to get along.  Ask them if they have any suggestions for ways to make it better between you.  I hope things work out for you.



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