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My 7-year-old son has started obsessively worrying about everything, from getting sick (which he never is) to earthquakes, bacteria, smoke detector batteries – the list goes on and on. I would love to reassure him and get him to relax.

For parents and their young children, family mealtimes can be valued as opportunities for sharing each other’s ideas and company. Meals are times for children to experience their own autonomy while being together as a family.

Gender and age differences, along with temperament, can make for unique roles for each child and distinct relationships among siblings.


My 9-week-old son cannot get to sleep. He only sleeps for two- to three-hour spans before crying and feeding at night. During the day he hardly naps unless we go for a drive.

My 9-month-old is resisting solid foods, and mealtimes are turning into a power struggle. We introduced solids at six months, and she has been breast-fed, with an occasional bottle of breast milk.

Raising an only child brings special challenges and rewards.

When he is frustrated, our 25-month-old boy hits himself or bangs his head. His mother and I don’t know whether this behavior is normal.

Attention to a habit pattern is more likely to set it as a problem than to eradicate it. 

We are deeply honored that the National Association for the Education of Young Children is bringing “Families Today” to its website. This column, formerly syndicated by the New York Times, appeared every week in newspapers and magazines around the country and abroad for more than 20 years.