I want our suffering to end…Now What?

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Dear Coach RICHIE: ,I’m sorry. I consider myself a “lapsed Christian” if that makes any sense, and I just truthfully need to vent. My kid doesn’t deserve to go without because I’m a failure at parenting. My child deserves to go to bed with a full belly and wake up in a warm house. My electric is in danger of being shut off. Food bank isn’t open until Tuesday, and I don’t get my renewal of food stamps until the 11th. I can’t even afford to get my child winter clothes, much less pay off a past due electric bill. I wish I had chosen a better father for my child, because then maybe I would get some type of child support but you can’t get child support from someone who’s in jail for sexually assaulting a minor. I wish people understood how hard it is to be a single mother sometimes. I’ve been let go from jobs because I didn’t have reliable child care, I’ve been told “You’re not a good fit” because I’m a young single mom with only a high school diploma. I’ve been turned away from a church because I wasn’t a member of the congregation. Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep and not wake up the next morning because days like today are so bleak. I want our suffering to end. I haven’t been to a church in years but I still pray every night for something better to come along for us. I don’t know if this will accomplish anything but thanks for reading and listening to me.

COACH RICHIE: It sounds like you are in a difficult situation and have a lot of challenges going on in your life. You can’t go back in time and chose a better father for your child and living with that thought is only going to make you feel worse. You appear to be emotionally stacking problems which is putting you in the place you are. Sad, hopeless and depressed. Your child is not an item that can be returned. People will always be judging us. That is just a fact of society. Are you suffering with a ton of limiting beliefs. Single mom with only a high school diploma. Do you think you are the only mom on this planet that is single and only has a high school diploma? Why are your days so bleak? When we think like this we are either suffering in the past or fearful of the future? Which one is it for you? Sounds like maybe a little bit of both. First you said that you wish you could go to sleep and not wake up. Then you say you want your suffering to end. Do you think you were blessed with a child so you could both die? Some people can’t have children. Is your child really suffering or is it you that is suffering from the thoughts in your mind and the what if scenarios that you are running 24×7 of what is wrong with your life. What is going right? Do you have air in your lungs? Is your child safe? Could you start your morning with something to be grateful for? Something you can appreciate? Having a roof over your head, air in your lungs, 2 legs, 2 hands, eyes, ears a heart? As human beings we sometimes only see what we don’t have and fail to see what we do have. There are plenty of people on this planet that wake up with no eyes, no ears, no legs, no hands and some don’t wake up at all. You have mentioned a couple of times that you are a christian. It sounds like you have lost faith and without no faith there is no hope. What can you do today to start changing your circumstances. Can you not complain one day about what is wrong with your life and use that energy and put it into something that can make a difference and give you hope? The stories we tell ourselves is how we live our lives. Do you think it’s time for you to create a new story. Change the narrative of this one so you can find more hope, love and happiness in this world. Not only for you but for your precious child that didn’t ask for any of this negativity and self loathing. What can you do to find faith today? What about if you decided to go to church and see what could happen. You need to start doing some different things to make things happen for the better. Sitting at home and complaining about life will never get you to that step #1. So what is that step #1 that you need to take today to create some magic in your life. I hope this helps. You are a strong person and a mom who gave birth to a child. You have the power to do anything you want to in life. Don’t let your mind and thoughts keep you from finding your potential. BE RESOURCEFUL. All my love and support on your journey. Coach Richie

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com . Always anonymous.


My 14 year old daughter is obsessed with her weight I am worried…Now What?

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Dear Coach Richie: I’m so worried about my daughter 14. A few months ago we suspected she may have been making herself sick after meals. I had a serious heart to heart with her and she insisted she wasn’t. She did loose weight but not a drastic amount. She never looked “skinny”. Anyway this last month or so she seems obsessed with her weight..insisting she is fat. She is a UK size 12/14 bottoms and 12 top. She is refusing to eat what we have for dinner and will only have salad. Again she isn’t skinny, she has large hips but that genetic and she is never going to help that. She walks a few miles everyday, and has started staying behind after school to use the gym. I think she has a beautiful natural figure. It’s causing logger heads at home as her dad just looses his temper and shouts at her forcing her to eat. I try and provide a healthy option for dinner but even then she will only pick at it. I’m worried about going to the doctor as I’m frightened they will tell her she is over weight. She’s tall about 5ft6. She definitely doesn’t not look the weight she is on the scales. I have always been on the larger side. Her brother is quite large and actively trying to loose weight. We constantly have to remind him what he shouldn’t be eating. But how do we balance the 2 extremes in the house.

Coach Richie: First of all I would try to help your husband understand that losing his temper and forcing her to eat is only going to make her more self consciousness about herself. My dad picked on me and it made me angrier at myself because I felt as though I was doing something wrong but also I resented him for constantly picking on me. She is at the age where her self-image is more important than anything and fitting in with her peers is at the top of her list. She also has a tremendous amount of pressure going on in her life. I had challenges with my son for many years with his weight when he was a teen. It seemed as though the more we talked about it the more anxious and depressed he became. We eventually stepped back and allowed him to figure it out and kept a close eye on him. We didn’t want to constantly question him about what he is doing (ie eating, etc) because we felt we were pushing him away from us. It is so difficult to help them understand that they are beautiful when all they seem around them is these stick figures that believe they look good. What about giving her some space. If she is eating salad that is a start as long as she is getting some protein and health fats. What about trying to find out if there are any support groups in your area that specialize in teens that has this type of challenge. What about seeing if you can find her a nutritionist to help her plan meals and discover some foods that she may be interested in. What about speaking to her doctor and asking them what their thoughts are if you think she is throwing up after meals. I agree taking her to the doctor may be a bad idea. But if you pre-frame the conversation with them and give them the heads up it may be worth a shot. What if the healthy options you are making her for dinner are making her more self consciousness? What if you decided to let it be for a couple of weeks or so and not mention it at all. Let her do some exploring on her own and work through the challenge she believes she has. Because in the end it doesn’t matter what we say. Our children believe what they believe and it is our job to keep them safe, guide and mentor them on their journey in life. Sound like you have a wonderful family and you are an amazing mom.You will figure it out. You got this. 🤘

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com . Always anonymous.


My 9 year old daughter has no social skills…Now What?

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Dear Coach Richie: My 9 year old daughter has always been a little different than the other kids. She doesn’t make friends as easily and she has a hard time keeping the ones she does make. In her own words, she feels like an outcast. For the past few years I’ve been trying to help her build her social skills and confidence by keeping her in after school activities, arranging play dates, etc. I kept thinking that if she just had enough practice and support, she’d eventually “get it”, and be able to integrate more into her group of peers and form the friendships that she craves.

She became close with a very caring and kind-hearted girl in her class (let’s call her B) which I was thrilled about. B’s mom is the leader of her Girl Scout troop, and is also very nice and fair and always did what she could to build my daughter up and encourage her. B has a large group of friends at school, and I thought that her becoming close with my daughter was just the opportunity she needed to come out of her shell and blossom. Things could not have backfired worse.

B has a sleepover birthday party and my daughter was invited. I was thrilled. There were about 10 girls there, all in her class and I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to become closer to some of them. I was out of town for work this weekend so my mom took her to the party and picked her up. I got a FaceTime call Saturday morning from my daughter in tears telling me what a terrible time she had and how everyone had ignored and excluded her. I was heartbroken and I let her vent and tried to build her up and let her know I was in her corner. I texted B’s mom to find out more, and it soon became apparent that my daughter was a big part of the problem. B’s mom emphasized how she and some of the other girls at the party tried to make my daughter feel included, but she perceived that she was being ignored and was not welcome, and she spent a good bit of the party crying and complaining. Now I’m not going to pretend that there are no mean girls in her class, because there are, and cliquishness is definitely rearing it’s ugly head already. But I trust B’s mom and I know that the way she described the situation sounds exactly like something my daughter would do.

I am still trying to be supportive of her and make her feel like I am on her side so that I can guide her to make better choices and handle herself better in the future. But last night I talked to her and asked how school went Monday and if she talked to B. She said yes and that she also talked to B’s mom when she came to pick her up at aftercare. I asked her to tell me how to conversation went and she said that B and her mom were upset that a few of the girls did not have a good time at the party, and my daughter REITERATED that she DID NOT have a good time.

My jaw dropped. Her lack of tact or social graces or just EMPATHY to know that you don’t further knock a friend down when they’re already upset… it makes me feel sick. I texted B’s mom and asked her to apologize to B on my behalf, and I got back a very graceful and very gentle reply which basically confirmed my fear that B is not going to want to continue the friendship. And my daughter still doesn’t seem to “get it”, that she did anything wrong.

I feel like I’m in so over my head. I thought she just needed more practice to find her way but I’m coming to realize that’s not the case, and I think there is something really wrong with her and she needs help. I’ve got an appointment to talk to her school counselor and I’m trying to figure out how to get her into professional counseling so we can get to the bottom of this, whether the problem is emotional, behavioral, neurological… I just don’t know. She has Medicaid so that’s an added layer of difficulty in getting prompt attention, but I can’t afford private health insurance or to pay out of pocket right now as I’m in school. Her dad and I are also not together and he is showing an astonishing lack of concern about her problems. We split time with her 50/50 right now but I think that that is causing her emotional problems and I’m looking into petitioning for primary custody so that I can give her more stability and support, but that is a whole other can of worms.

A concrete question to end this rant though: should I sit her down and make it clear to her that B does not wish to continue the friendship and her behavior is to blame? Part of me really wants to, because I want it to sink into her head that her behavior towards other people, towards FRIENDS is unacceptable. But if her behavior is stemming from emotional or psychological problems that are outside of her control, i don’t want to pile onto her and make her feel even worse about herself. Besides I’m not even convinced that she is able to get it because I’ve always pointed out how her behaviors might push people away but it doesn’t seem to sink in.

Coach Richie: Parenting should be easy and what I am saying may hit a nerve that bothers you. However, It is what we need to hear as parents when we feel overwhelmed and think our children are broken. Our ego’s tell us that we are bad parents.

There is a lot of things going on here. Your daughter is living with a label that she is an outcast. Helping her build social skills…What does that mean to you? sports, play dates, etc. Is this what she wants? I know that is what we want as parents. To make sure our children our socially acceptable. But how we go about helping them sometimes hurts them because by us thinking we are helping them by sometimes forcing them into doing more things to make friends. We ultimately are reinforcing the label that they are believing about themselves (outcast, social misfit).

Listen to the language you are using. Sink into her head, unacceptable, pile onto her. You tell her that her behaviors push people away. You are validating how crappy she feels about herself. Does your daughter actually make you feel sick. Turn that question back to yourself. The way we view others is usually a reflection of how we see ourselves. Do you think she can feel this negative energy coming from you?

What does coming out of her shell and blossoming mean to you? What are you really afraid of if she doesn’t do this? What are the consequences you see? How does that reflect upon you? What does she need to withhold her truth? Is that a form of social acceptance? What is wrong with telling her friend that she didn’t have a good time? It is honest. She was just going along with the crowd because other’s didn’t have a good time. So you don’t want to her to express her feelings? Do you think suppressing her feelings is good? How do you think that will benefit her in the future?

What does she need to eventually GET?

Are you out of town for work a lot? Does she maybe feel abandoned? Her parents are no longer together? She is being left with her grandmother? What do you need to do in order to understand her world even more? She is only 9 years old. She is not you. She is her own person trying to find herself in this crazy world.

She is also most likely having difficulty with a 50/50 arrangement. Her world is chaos, she has two sets of rules and getting different advice from both of you. Her entire world is falling down around her and nobody is listening to her. Everyone is trying to fix her. I see this in so many parents. They think their child is broke. But what is broke is the relationship we have with our children and the environment they are in. We need to fix us before we can even be there to support our children.

Do you want to help yourself and your daughter? Do you want to save her from turning to her the outside world for advice (she will eventually find friends) but not the friends that you think she should have. The will be outcasts that will poison her mind against you and your ex. You have a small window of opportunity now before you lose her forever to the world. These children end up in prisons and coping with drugs and alcohol. I work with parents and teens every day that end up in this space because nobody heard them and they certainly didn’t see them.

What are you not seeing? What are you not hearing?

She needs some more love not more lecturing and how to act conversations.

This is another window of opportunity to change course. Don’t let it pass by. You can love them or control them. But you can’t do both. All my love and support on your journey.

I would be happy to give you an hour of my time and help you brainstorm some options. However, it is going to be very uncomfortable for you because the focus needs to be on you and not your daughter.

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com . Always anonymous.


Teenager who refuses to talk…Now What?

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Dear Coach Richie: How do you handle a teenager who refuses to talk to you at times? Sometimes she will chat for 15 minutes if I catch her at the right moment, that’s a good day. One time after school, she sat at the table with me for an hour and a half! That never happens. Just the one time. Today she came home from school (after I know she was stressed about something because of text I received) and may need someone to ask advice or talk but she’ll run upstairs and lock her door. I will then knock with no response. Does anyone here get so frustrated from reaching out and trying their best to help but getting no respect or appreciation? I’m her best ally but she doesn’t act like it. If I decided to back off and not talk to her at all, I wonder if she would finally come to me to discuss things. I definitely know to give her space. She’s generally a good kid aside from that. Never gets in trouble. Just doesn’t communicate much. Any advice?

Coach Richie: She is trying to find herself. When my kids were her age I gave them space to do so. I had to be ok with them doing what they needed to do. If they didn’t want to talk. That is cool. Sometimes as parents we let our egos get in the way of our relationship with our children. What do you think she needs? Have you asked her in one is those quiet moments. As parents we are always on a mission to offer advice, our wisdom and try and fix them. When sometimes all they want is someone to see them, hear them and just listen. As a friend and not as a parent. Maybe they don’t need help. Maybe they just need more love. When they don’t say anything it is an opportunity to say I love you and give them a big hug. Is that what you want, respect and appreciation? Do you respect her and appreciate her? Are you offering the same to her? Understand her world. What she is going through. What was your world like at her age? Listen, hear and see that beautiful child you have and love her for who she is and who she will become. That is the best thing we can do for our kids. You can love them or control them. But you can’t do both. 🤘you got this

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com . Always anonymous.


My daughter has escalated the lying to stealing…Now What?

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Dear Coach Richie: My daughter has escalated the lying to stealing. Please help. My son and I share a birthday. Of course he gets all the attention- as it should be. So from my parents and in laws I got cash for new dress shoes as I was an afterthought.
A day or two ago I noticed some of it missing – $150 if the $300. We looked around and couldn’t find it. It was fairly open – I’m trusting – and I realized one of the kids from the bday party could have taken it. I was chalking it up as a learning experience.
My wife to “be certain” asked both kids point blank today. Both denied it.
….then we get a call from the school asking if we really have my daughter $150 in $50’s for the school book fair. So she both stole it and lied to us. She’ll be 8 in Nov.
And honestly, she lies pretty often as it is.
Any advice how to handle this? This behavior needs to stop, but I’m worried that if we come down super hard on her she’ll grow up with a “they don’t trust me anyways, I may as well” attitude.

Coach Richie: My kids denied everything as well. Our children’s first instincts are to lie. Who left the empty milk container in the fridge? The dog?. The lying comes with parenting. Part of the game. First thing I would try to figure out is what is going on in the house that would cause her to act out and draw attention to herself. Sometimes children do things because they are not being heard or because there is some trouble in the house that they don’t understand and one way they believe they can remedy it is to have the focus be drawn onto them (I see this typically when parents are constantly arguing). Since she shares a birthday with her brother, could he possibly be getting more attention than her? Have you had a check in with him to see what was going on. If it was me. I would do a family meeting (but never in the house as the children don’t see this is a safe place, peer influences they get from their friends) what do they like to do or eat and take them there. Then casually bring up the missing cash and you and your wife could blame each other and see if that goes anywhere. What was the money for? Maybe play a guilt card in front of them. You could also be sincere and ask them what they need and listen to what they say. One thing I wouldn’t do is use harsh language that will push them away. That will create a very bad environment when they reach their teens. This point in their young lives you need to be resourceful and find ways to become their friends. Because right now they are being influenced by their friends and outside factors. You have small window of opportunity to reconnect with them before it is too late. (they turn 13 years old) that is when real trouble starts. In the end it is not really about the money or the lying. it is about finding a way to become their friend and connect with them so they don’t create chaos in order to be heard or get attention. We can love them or control them but we can’t do both. Hope you find something useful here. All my love and support on your parenting journey. Richie

Response: The lack of attention is a concern for most now as it rings the most true. She has very few things she enjoys doing and we’ve cut out the destructive negative ones.

Coach Richie Follow Up: You are heading in the right direction. Attention is usually one of the top ones especially at her age. Some more questions. What did she like to do before? I had some similar issues with my boy’s at that age. We started do family’s dinners (technology free) and spend some time listening to what they have to say. I also found it helpful to share some of the challenges I had when I was there age. It helps build rapport with them and identify with us. Our children usually view us as the God’s of perfection and if they see us in a different light it could possibly help you get the shift you to address her needs. Have you sat down with her and asked her if she could do anything in the world, what would that be? Or you guys could start by saying if i could do anything I wanted to in life i would do x. Then throw it out for discussion. hope this helps. have an amazing day. 

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com As always everything here is anonymous.


My daughter is faking sick…Now What?

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THE CHALLENGE: How do you deal with children faking sick? When my daughter stays home with a cold, she has a really hard time going back and she was getting ready, but then she came out of the bathroom looking sad and said she just threw-up water. I didn’t hear any puking noises. I think she just doesn’t want to go back.

So I’m cooking bacon now to see if she asks for any. 😂

COACH RICHIE: My wife used to tell our son.”Let me call Dad and see what he thinks about you being sick”. FINE. I can go to school. Is it your first instinct is that she is lying? Does she lie about other things? Have you ever taken her temperature, have you ever offered to call 911 or take her to the emergency room to get looked at. If they are faking than this is the easiest way to call their bluff. However, we need to make sure we are acknowledging their emotions because if they are truly sick we do not want them going through life hiding their feelings and emotions from others. They will end up wanting to escape into a world where they are not being judged, they can express their emotions without having the feeling that they are not trusted or they are lying about how they feel. When it goes to this level they find others to trust instead of us as parents and that typically ends up being their peers..who most often will offer them bad advice and they will begin to start plotting against the parents and make them an enemy of the state. We can love them or control them, but we can’t do both. Go with your heart and you will always make the right choice. 🤘

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com


My 15 year old daughter is dating a maniac…Now What?

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THE CHALLENGE: I can’t even begin to understand what this little punk thinks he is going to accomplish with his texts to my husband. Swearing and calling my husband terrible name. So disrespectful and hurtful. These came after my husband text our daughter because she was over an hour past her curfew tonight. She text my phone and said I’m sorry I’m late about forty minutes past. She is 15. We have rules, boundaries, limits…whatever you want to call them…and they dont like them. They have been “dating” since May. She has changed over the course of these last 4 months and not for the better. I guess we found out why tonight.

COACH RICHIE: Unfortunately, she has become disconnected from you and your husband and has discovered a connection with this boy. She most likely confuses in him with the rules she is subjected to and he comforts her agrees with her and is on her side. Which makes her feel good. Trusted, and heard. Which she doesn’t feel like she is getting from you guys. The boy is really disrespectful and is probably being raised by very poor role
Models that don’t respect him either. They have created a bond which is them against the world ie their parents. This pattern will only get worse and she will begin to act out even more that holds even more severe consequences. Coming up with a plan. First if you try to bad mouth the boy you will push her further into his arms. She will see this as just more control that you are trying to gain over her. I had a similar challenge with my son and when we blessed the relationship he finally figured out she was not good for him. Most likely won’t work in this situation. So what do you do. Unfortunately. You have limited options and need to start trying different things.
I would minimize text
Communications. Teens have the advantage over us. Conversations need to be done in person. I would also regroup with your husband and take a hard look
At the house rules
Have you told her the reasons behind the rules? Do you even know the reason? These rules need to be laid out and the why is the most important because teens can’t understand them. I agree they need some boundaries however they see everything as controlling and all they are trying to discover is their identity and independence is a big component of that. Lastly make a commitment to make her your friend. What does she like? Then do it with her. Any serious conversations should be done outside of the house because she doesn’t feel safe there because of the rules. You need to be resourceful in your actions and never give up with trying to reconnect with her. Hugs always help. We can love them or control them, but we can’t do both. You got this. Come from the heart instead of your minds and you will win her back.✌️

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com