Q My son has just started junior infants last September. I am very unhappy with several things related to the location and the large and impersonal nature of the school since he started. I want to move school but my husband doesn't agree. My husband works full-time, while I am at home with him and his younger brother. My son appears happy where he is. I would like a smaller school in a rural setting for him. My husband and I researched four schools at great length before starting him and ruled out this rural school concluding it was too dated, but now I am having regrets. Please help.
Q My 12-year-old daughter has been invited to go away with a friend's family on their holiday to Orlando for two weeks this summer. She has never been away from us for that length of time before and it feels like it is too far away. I know she'll be gutted if we say no, though. What do you think we should do?
Don't think of mid-term breaks as mere respite from the school run. With everyone freed up from the daily grind, use the week that's in it to create some lasting family memories. We are now officially into the first tentative weeks of spring, so there's no better time than now to keep busy with the kids and plan a week for them to remember, whatever they're into.
Like pretty much everyone else of my generation, I have never written a love letter. Even the thought of it mortifies me. I'm 21 and a true digital native - so for me, the letterbox is a relic of a bygone era. Frankly, the only thing I'm likely to get in the post is a bill.
Q Our four-year-old wakes after about two hours and only goes back to sleep if I or his dad get into bed beside him. He gets very upset and won't settle unless we do this. I want to wean him off us sleeping in with him gradually. Any advice on how best to do this?
You may have seen the news that men have been advised not to talk about sport in the office, as it excludes women. Well, similar but different news from our house - as of last weekend, I have been banned from talking during the rugby.
Picture the scene. A posh supermarket where a middle-class hipster is interacting with his small child at top volume, asking if little Byron would prefer a mango or a papaya as a treat. Words like 'fair-trade' and 'choose' reverberate through the produce aisle. Nearby, at the till, a woman is having a loud conversation with her two children about a forthcoming skiing trip, under the guise of not forgetting to buy sunscreen.
Q My 12-year-old son is wetting his bed at least once a week now. He's a happy, popular boy who plays loads of sport and is generally healthy. I've never experienced bed-wetting with older boys. I am desperate to help him. What can I do to help?
As I was watching Greta Gerwig's glorious adaptation of Little Women, which is nominated for six Oscars, I kept thinking, was that part in the book? The story of the March sisters and their mother, Marmee, was familiar to me, but the film felt like a revelation.
Q I have a daughter who will be 13 in June. She has a smart phone, and like many of her age she is borderline addicted. I'm looking for advice on an app for monitoring her phone. We want something that will limit time, have an automatic shutdown time, and which we can use to see what apps she's using. Also, in your opinion, what is an appropriate daily screen time allowance for a nearly teenager?
After discovering she had a depleted egg reserve, and would not be able to conceive naturally, Orla Galvin (40) and her husband embarked on fertility treatment, eventually welcoming their son Rory, now two. Right from the outset, Orla knew she needed to find others who had been through the same thing.
Q I just brought my 11-year-old son to the GP because he can't pull his foreskin back. The GP has recommended that he have a circumcision and now I am worried that it will badly affect my son. What if he freaks out or if it causes some kind of sexual hang-ups later?
There is an old saying that daughters wreck your head and sons wreck your house. It's obviously borne out of sexist ideologies - that men are dense brutes and women are scheming vixens - and once you have both in your life, you realise that actually both wreck your house and your head in equal measure.
For every reaction, the laws of physics say, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And so it is with feminism; the further women get in their pursuit of equality, the more we yearn to return to the past.
I regret to inform you that the marital bed is no more. No, not the institution, that is still hanging in there in all its rickety glory, but the actual bed itself has come undone. To be fair, it's time had come - we bought it some 15 years ago, and it was one of the first big investments we made together (other than the child we'd had a year previous).
Known as Clo to most of my friends, I've just turned 43 and am a kind, caring, social creature who believes that smiling, a positive attitude and a little bit of charm will get you through most things in life. When it came to having babies, I was never somebody who dreamt of having kids, and counted down the days until it happened. Rather, I always knew I didn't not want to have kids.
Q I have an 18-year-old daughter who grew up mostly with my mom. We only started living together while she was in her teens. She has very low self-esteem and is always trying to hide herself. She seems afraid of going out and having meaningful relationships. When she's at home she's mostly in her room and I don't know how to talk to her. I feel like every time I try, she just gets irritated and I stop. I want to build a relationship with her, but I don't know how to help her. I feel I have failed her as a parent.
Q My daughter who is 15 is just so ungrateful. We bent over backwards for her during the Christmas holidays, with lovely gifts, facilitating her meeting her friends and so on. She just doesn't appreciate it. We never get anything back, not help around the house, not even a 'thank you' unless we insist on it. Even then it is grudging. I'm ready to hand her back if someone would take her!
If your children had one wish for you this coming year, it would be your acceptance that being a 'good enough' parent to them is just that... enough. But what does 'good enough' parenting mean in reality and how is it better than striving to be the best?
Video games are a menace. I know this because we took the kids to Santa shortly before Christmas and the big man told us himself. During the usual pre-gift preamble, he asked my 11-year-old if he played sport, or had any interest in the GAA. My son said no, he didn't and he hadn't. Santa shook his head solemnly, issuing a stern warning to my kids about a child he knew who ran sleepwalking into the street because he dreamed he was playing Fortnite.
Q My in-laws very much favour one set of grandchildren. It is starting to impact on my children as they have started to notice. My oldest is nine and she often asks why they go to the other house all the time now and never visit us. What is the correct approach when my daughter asks me questions like this?
Q How do I stop my seven-year-old picking up bad habits from her friends? She has a couple of friends that never say please and thank you, and I must say I find them a bit rude sometimes. It drives me crazy when she copies their bad behaviour.
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