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Ask Dr. Mike

Helping your children succeed without breaking the bank (or the Law)


The recent college admissions scandal has sent a shock wave throughout the country, and the topic has come up for me repeatedly with parents. The scandal has caused the parents I see to more immediately deal with the anxiety they experience regarding their children’s academic futures. College has historically been the path many take toward achieving later vocational success. How do you get your kid into college? It’s not your job to get your kid in college, it’s your kid’s job to do that. As the old adage goes, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him [...]

Helping your children succeed without breaking the bank (or the Law)2019-11-28T01:10:44+00:00

Confused about Juuling


Dr. Mike, We found a Juul and other vaping gear in our 14-year-old son’s backpack recently and confronted him. It took some pressure, but he eventually owned up to it. He also eventually accepted our zero tolerance for vaping due to its harmful side-effects, most notably nicotine addiction. Well, kids will be clever, and now he’s asked us if he could vape without nicotine. He says vaping “calms” him and that everyone is doing it every day, and what’s the big deal if there’s no nicotine in it. My husband and I see his point of view but still feel [...]

Confused about Juuling2019-11-28T01:03:50+00:00

Should your teen get a job?


At what point does getting a job make sense for you and your teen? In Virginia, teens as young as 14 years of age can work, albeit in a limited capacity, but it’s not uncommon for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 to have a part-time job – both during the summer and the school year. The benefits to working for teens are numerous, and I’ve listed the main ones here: Having a job as a teen pays off academically. Research in this area of study has repeatedly shown that teens who work actually do better in school. [...]

Should your teen get a job?2019-11-17T19:24:43+00:00

Unhappy in Loudoun


Dr. Mike, My husband and I recently dropped off our last child (our son) at college.  Initially, I shed a few tears but was more focused on my happiness for him.  Well, fast forward two weeks, and I’m miserable. Sad, anxious, empty, and even angry at times. I’m also feeling very guilty about being a working mom, and now regret that I didn’t spend more time with all of our children when they were growing up.  My husband keeps telling me that I’m a “great mom” but I don’t want to hear it, and I’m even fighting about the smallest things [...]

Unhappy in Loudoun2019-11-07T13:56:57+00:00

Upset in Loudoun (Part 2)


Dr. Mike, Our son left for college this fall, and while he’s doing great academically, my husband and I are concerned about some of the things we’ve seen on his social media.  There are lots of references to pot and alcohol.  We’ve raised our children to know better, and we are very upset to see the choices he is making at school.  As Christians, we are also concerned about a couple of his pro atheism postings, and his involvement with the Secular Student Alliance on campus.  We’ve tried to talk to him about our concerns, but he has gotten angry, [...]

Upset in Loudoun (Part 2)2019-10-31T01:38:31+00:00

Upset in Loudoun (Part I)


Dr. Mike, We recently had a meeting with our son’s preschool teacher who told my husband and I that she thinks our son is autistic.  She said that our son has social problems and anxiety, and that he becomes “out of control” when excited.  She said that he has idiosyncrasies like walking on his toes and going over his favorite movie lines with other kids in class, and that these behaviors are typical behaviors of autistic children.  She recommended that our son participate in a neuropsychological evaluation.  While my husband and I see some of the things our son’s teacher [...]

Upset in Loudoun (Part I)2019-10-31T00:44:20+00:00

Ask Dr. Mike: Teen Acne, Depression, Family Struggles


Dr. Mike, Our son has depression, which he’s being treated for with Zoloft and therapy.  He also has really bad facial acne and his dermatologist recently recommended Accutane.  Our son was very excited when he heard the dermatologist say that Accutane will “clear everything up.”  My husband and I were excited too because we know how much our son’s acne bothers him, and it probably even has a lot to do with his being depressed in the first place or it definitely doesn’t help.  But our son’s psychiatrist is completely against the Accutane and even said that “Accutane can cause suicide.”  [...]

Ask Dr. Mike: Teen Acne, Depression, Family Struggles2018-05-07T01:35:31+00:00

Ask Dr. Mike: Our Son Hates School and Doesn’t Care


Our son is 16 and he doesn’t apply himself at school at all.  He’s smart, but he doesn’t try and isn’t motivated to do anything.  He’s pretty much been a C and D student (with some F’s) all through middle school and high school and he tells us that he “hates school” and that he “doesn’t care” when we try to help him.  Suffice it to say that we have tried everything possible, and we won’t bore you with the many years of tutors and reward charts and battles and failed promises and attempts on our part and his part.  My [...]

Ask Dr. Mike: Our Son Hates School and Doesn’t Care2018-05-07T01:24:09+00:00

Dr. Mike – The National Anthem Controversy: A Teachable Moment for Young Children


The ongoing contentious debate over kneeling for the National Anthem escalated this past week in response to President Trump’s position that the act is disrespectful to our flag, our military and our nation as a whole.  Those in opposition to Trump’s position have argued that kneeling during the national anthem is their constitutional right and a symbolic statement of solidarity to call attention to serious social injustices in the US today – incidents involving police brutality, racism, inequality, etc. There’s no denying that the argument over kneeling for the National Anthem isn’t going away anytime soon, but regardless of your feelings [...]

Dr. Mike – The National Anthem Controversy: A Teachable Moment for Young Children2018-05-06T23:20:21+00:00

Ask Dr. Mike: Correlation Between Kids, Toy Guns and Potential Violence Later?


Dr. Mike, Our son is 7 years old and he and his friends love their Nerf guns and they especially love having Nerf gun battles in the neighborhood.  This past Sunday one of the mom’s in our son’s friend group emailed the entire neighborhood listserv to ask that neighborhood children no longer be allowed to play with Nerf guns at the main public area or playground because she said “it promotes violence” and it’s “insensitive in the wake of the Florida school shooting.”  I emailed her back to nicely let her know that I didn’t see a problem with Nerf gun [...]

Ask Dr. Mike: Correlation Between Kids, Toy Guns and Potential Violence Later?2018-05-06T23:07:23+00:00