Toddler is waking several times a night wanting a bottle

Q. My 22-month-old daughter has started to become unsettled at night. She has never been a good sleeper but we thought we were getting out of the woods until a few months ago when she developed a chest infection. As expected, she would wake a lot during those nights and the only thing that would comfort her was to give her a bottle and take her into our bed. Now she is fully recovered but she continues to wake several times a night and demands a bottle.

My toddler won’t eat for me. What can i do?

Q. I have an 18-month-old child who refuses to eat any dinners for me. In the beginning I put it down to teething and several ear infections, but after five months of this I am getting very frustrated. I am trying every approach and nothing is working. I have tried to leave the food in front of her and not take any notice of whether she eats it or not.

How to help baby sleep through the night

Q. My seven-month-old son has started to wake a few times a night and I am exhausted. He used to be a relatively good sleeper and for about a month he slept through the night. Then he got sick and we were comforting him at night; now he continues to wake.

My child hates the bath

Q. A few weeks ago, we put our little girl of 18 months in a bath that was probably a bit hot for her. Ever since she seems to be afraid of getting in the bath and cries uncontrollably. Do you have any suggestions on how to get around this?

My daughter has been sexting

Q. The other night when my daughter, who is 16, went out, she left her phone behind. I know I shouldn’t have, but curiosity got the better of me and I looked through her texts. I just wanted to check she was okay because she hasn’t been communicating a lot with me lately. However, I was shocked at what I discovered. On the phone were a number of explicit sexual texts between her and a boy in the local area.

What rules should I have around technology for my teenagers?

Q. I have three children aged 16, 14 and 11. What rules should I set around using technology in the home? They seem to always be either watching TV, on the tablet, using the Wii or texting friends. They’re technology obsessed. They would spend the whole day on their devices if I let them. Sometimes I come in from work and all three of them are on a screen of some sort and it is hard to get a word out of them.

My son blames me for the separation

Q. I separated from my husband just under two years ago, mainly due to his drinking and gambling. It has been a hard couple of years though things are a lot better now. My ex has got his act together. He lives with his mother, has stopped drinking and gambling and sees the children regularly. The problem is my oldest son who turned 13 last month. He has become really cheeky and disrespectful to me at home. He has been really critical of me and everything I do.

Competitive Parenting

“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” Henri Matisse

I’m jealous of my daughter’s relationship with her minder

Q. I have a 17-month-old daughter who is looked after by a childminder Monday to Friday as I work full- time. I would have preferred not to have to work full-time, but have no choice really due to a big mortgage and trying to pay the bills. The minder has two children of her own who are in primary school, so my daughter has the minder to herself in the mornings. My daughter is well cared for and seems to be very happy when she is there.

Keeping a Happy Relationship After Children

AS WELL as bringing lots of joy, the arrival of children actually increases the stress on the parents’ relationship.

Our baby wakes every night

Q. I have a query in relation to the dreaded sleep problem for our one-year-old son. He keeps waking up around 2am and finds it impossible to go back to sleep. He is not wide awake but seems to be unable to settle himself back to sleep. We have tried to stay in the room and pat his back or even bring him into our bed. Although he might stop crying after a while, he still finds it very difficult to settle and keeps tossing and turning.

Tips for healthy eating in young children

Have you ever worried as to whether your preschooler is eating enough vegetables? Or have you ever battled with your toddler to eat his dinner? If so, you are definitely not alone as worries about children’s eating habits are one of the most frequently reported problems in the early years.

My 16 year old has been cyberbullied

Q. My 16-year-old daughter had become quite withdrawn and irritable the past few weeks. She eventually told me that she was picked on and bullied by another girl online. This girl is from around the area but goes to another school. She had met a boy at a disco a few months go and dated him a few times. He was an ex-boyfriend of this girl and she posted some nasty stuff about my daughter online.

Should I let my 13 year old on Facebook?

Q. Our oldest daughter just turned 13 and is pushing to have a Facebook account. Myself and her father feel reluctant to let her do this, as you hear about all the horror stories of cyber-bullying and inappropriate usage and so on. I’d prefer her to wait until she is older but she argues that all her friends in school are on it and accuses us of being “old-fashioned” and out of touch.

My teenager is missing out due to anxiety

Q. My 14-year-old daughter has always been an anxious child . For a lot of her childhood she was afraid of the dark, going places alone and we would have to reassure her a lot (and often let her sleep in the bed with us). For a few years she was acutely afraid of dogs and then this lessened. I had hoped she was growing out of her fears but she continues to be a big “worrier” and I notice that she often avoids doing things she might like because of her fears.

How can I get our daughter back on track after a mental health crisis?

Q. My daughter (who is 15) has been unhappy since last September which seems to have started when her two friends betrayed her by siding with another girl and excluding her. Earlier this year she told me that she was feeling very low and that she had been cutting herself.

We argue over the best way to parent

‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’
Henry Ford

Should I allow my 16 year old son to drink alcohol?

Q. My son has just turned 16 and has been telling me that his friends have started drinking and he’s been joking that he should be allowed to drink too. He’s also been asking to go to house parties where I’m sure there will be drinking going on. Some of my friends have advised me that I should let him have a drink at home rather than having him do it behind my back. I’m not sure about doing this, and would greatly value your opinion.

Sleep: Finding a way that works for baby and you

IN MY WORK with new parents the number-one stress they report is sleep or rather the lack of it. Dealing with a baby who is not sleeping at night is by far the most common challenge for new parents, which is all the more difficult for sleep-deprived parents who are coping with the pressures of getting to work or minding other children.

My teenager can’t seem to make friends

Q. We have three children, a girl aged 14, a boy aged 11 and a girl aged four. The eldest seems to have great difficulty in making friends.

Parent Mental Health: Looking after yourself for the kids sake

Though becoming a parent brings many joys and satisfactions, it is inherently stressful and demanding and can take its toll on parents mental health. Parents can easily put all their energies into caring for and attending to their children, and sacrifice their own personal needs and self-care. Juggling the many demands placed on them, it is easy for parents to cut off from their natural supports or sources of rest or recreation, and over time become depleted stressed and burnt out.

My daughter is mean to her little brother

Q. Our five-year-old daughter has recently started trying to get our two-year-old son in trouble, or even injured. The most recent incident involved her telling him to jump off the top bunk in her room. When I asked her what she thought would happen if he had jumped, she said that she thought he would break an arm or a leg. Telling him to run around the garden in his socks is one thing, but consciously trying to get him to injure himself is very worrying.

Building children’s self esteem and confidence

‘Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.’  -Sigmund Freud                                           

Will an OCD diagnosis for my teenager lead to stigma?

Q. Thank you for answering our question about how to help our son, who displays symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). My husband and I have a further question about the labelling aspect of having him assessed. Would carrying the OCD label be a burden for him?

If you suspect your child is being bullied or is a bully

Unfortunately, bullying isn’t uncommon, and in some surveys up to 40 per cent of children report experiencing or being involved in bullying at school. Many children who are targeted are already marginalised or struggling. Up to half of those who are bullied suffer in silence and don’t tell their parents or teachers what is going on.

OCD: Does my child have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Q. I have a 13-year-old son who is showing signs of anxiety and this is causing upset for him and for us. At mealtimes, he won’t use cutlery, bowls, plates or glasses that he deems “dirty”, and will go through the cutlery drawer, often laying the contents on the kitchen countertop, going through each one until he finds a knife, fork or spoon that is sufficiently “clean” for his use. He then repeats this routine for bowls, and so on.

My 13 year old is refusing to go to school

Q. My daughter, who is 13, is having terrible trouble getting to school. She is in first year of secondary school and wakes up each morning full of anxiety, and making as many excuses as she can about going. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that is causing her to be worried, other than that she never really settled after the move from primary school. There are tears every day about going, and some days she point-blank refuses to go.

Trichotillomania: How can I stop my daughter pulling her hair out?

Q. I’m a mother of two girls, who are 10 and eight. As with all kids, they are very different in many ways. Our elder girl will talk about her worries, but our eight-year- old daughter isn’t as good. She likes to keep the peace more than her sister does, and doesn’t like any confrontation.I know she is getting better at opening up, but I still sometimes wonder what exactly is going on in her head.

Teenagers and exam stress

Q. My 14-year-old son suffers from very bad exam stress and anxiety. He is now in second year and he finds it really hard to cope with the anxiety that exams cause him. Even though he is a straight-A student, he can get into a state about anxiety and will say he can’t do it, and that he is stupid, even though none of this is true. It causes great stress at home and I would love some advice on how best we can help him.

My 7 year is too anxious to go anywhere on her own

Q. My daughter will be seven in the summer, and has always been an anxious child. In recent months, she has started to get distressed at the thought of being on her own anywhere. She gets distraught, for example, going into another room to fetch something; going to the bathroom; going to change out of her school uniform.

My 13 year old refuses to go to school

Q. My 13-year-old son has always been a little reluctant to go to school, but it has got much worse since he started secondary. He constantly refuses to go. The night before school he begins to get stressed and then the mornings are dominated by his anxiety. We manage to get him there most days, but it is daily stress for the whole family.

How can I support my shy child to make friends?

Q. My five-year-old is in junior infants. She is very shy and seems to be finding it hard to make friends. When I drop her off at school, the other children are chatting and playing with each other, while she seems very reserved and doesn’t join in. At home she is a happy girl and plays well with her cousins, but I have a sense she is not as happy in school.

My eight year old is too anxious to go to sleep alone.

Q. Our eight-year-old son does not want to go to sleep without one of us staying upstairs – he seems afraid of being upstairs on his own. We have talked about this to him and while he understands there is nothing to be afraid of, he seems stuck in the same response and doesn’t want to be left alone. If we do go downstairs, he remains very anxious in his bed and waits until we come back up or until we are going to bed before he will go asleep.