Q. My son is married to a lovely woman who has two children ages 10 and 8. He has taken on a parenting role with them since their father is completely out of the picture. The children seem to like my son and respect him, but he refers to them as “my wife’s kids.” This bothers me because it seems that he doesn’t see the children as belonging to him or being part of a family together. How can I bring this up to him?
The first question that was raised came from panelist Mike Daniels, who asked if the son referred to “my wife’s kids” in front of the children.
Q. My six-year-old has asked to have a play date with another child in the neighborhood. I have been reluctant and make excuses when he asks because the mother is a recovering drug addict. How do I explain this to my son without giving him the details?
While the panel urged parents to be vigilant, pay attention to what their children are doing, and listen to their instincts, it also had comments about the mother’s concern about the need to explain things to her son.
Q. My children 6, 8, 10 and 12, keep asking if we are safe from the Coronavirus. What can I do as a parent to help them feel safe without causing unnecessary panic?
The panel members agreed that one way to assure the children when they are fearful is to give them things to do that help them feel in control, like washing their hands, a recommended measure to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“It is an opportunity to teach children that there are things they can control, and things they can’t control,” panelist Denise Continenza said.
Q. My family in Puerto Rico has been badly affected by the earthquakes. Their houses were destroyed. My children ages 5, 7 and 9, are upset, have trouble sleeping and are hard to get ready for school. What can we do to assure them that they are safe here?
The panel agreed that the reaction of the adults to the situation influences the children’s responses.
“How the parents react is important,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said. “In a child’s mind, mom and dad are the experts. If mom is crying, it must be really bad.”
Everything’s coming up roses in MunOpCo Music Theatre’s production of “Gypsy,” the fabled 1959 musical very loosely based on the relationship between stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her controlling backstage mom.
With book by Arthur Laurents, “Gypsy” continues to entertain with stirring music by Julie Styne and lyrics by the inimitable Stephen Sondheim. Directed for MunOpCo by Daniel Petrovich, the first-rate production continues through March 8 at Scottish Rite Cathedral, Allentown.
Q. Is it OK to bribe your children to do things? I have asked my children to make their beds or empty the dishwasher or do any number of chores, and I found them undone. Then I started offering $1 and it worked. Then my daughter asked me to double the amount for emptying the dishwasher because it takes so long. They do get a small allowance each week. What do you think? I just want the chores done.
The first comment was that it is only a bribe if you are giving the children something to get them to do what they are not supposed to do.
Q. My husband and I work full-time. After school, it is always a scramble to pick-up and drop-off for activities, and find time to feed my three children, 8, 10 and 13. Then it’s the evening routine with homework, etcetera. We all get tired and impatient when there is any glitch that throws off our schedule. How can I have more patience?
“How to be more patient isn’t the way to phrase the question,” panelist Mike Ramsey said. “The question should be ‘How do I deal better with stress?,’” Ramsey said.
The Pennsylvania Playhouse has chalked up another memorable production, this time with Neil Simon’s masterful Tony Award-winning play “Biloxi Blues,” on stage through Feb. 23.
This is the second chapter in a semi-autobiographical “Eugene Trilogy” that includes “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Broadway Bound.” All three cover the life of Eugene Morris Jerome, Neil Simon’s alter-ego.
Q. My son is having trouble adjusting to his kindergarten class. He was in pre-school for many years with the same children and did very well. He went from being a leader with lots of friends, to a classroom where he is being picked on. How can I help him adjust?
“Adjustments for some children can take months,” panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo said, adding, “The mother needs to give her child some time.”
Panelist Denise Continenza said that the son may be a child whose temperament doesn’t adjust to change very well.
The Lehigh Valley premiere of “The Humans” at Civic Theatre of Allentown through Feb. 23 hits a little too close to home as it peels away the layers of a typical family’s relationships and issues, and leaves the audience wondering what it had just experienced.
The one-act, approximately two-hour, drama written by Stephen Karam features members of a dysfunctional Scranton, Pennsylvania, family. The play opened on Broadway in 2016, and won that year’s Tony Award for Best Play. It was also a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.