Q. I am a single mom with two young children. Nearly all my income goes to rent, keeping my car on the road and bills. “Good” food is expensive. I can already see my six-year-old getting fat on what I can afford. What can I do? I’m not sure they will eat vegetables and salad, but they sure love macaroni and cheese.
“The idea that good food is necessarily expensive isn’t exacting accurate,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said. “Grandmother showed us that if you have chicken tonight, you have chicken salad for lunch tomorrow and chicken soup the next day. You can stretch things.”
Q. My 16-year-old daughter does not have a driver’s license, but some of her friends do. She asks repeatedly for permission to get into cars with her friends who have drivers’ licenses, but are inexperienced drivers. How many ways can I say, “No?” When, or under what circumstances, should I say, “Yes?”
The panel first talked about how to deal with the daughter’s repeated requests to go driving in vehicles with friends, then switched to ways to make the experience safer when the mother eventually has to say, “Yes.”
Q. My in-laws have an active social life that often includes heavy drinking. My children, ages 11 and 13, have overheard them talk about their escapades, as well as their hangovers. One Sunday, my mother-in-law blatantly said that she was not getting out of bed because she had had too much to drink the night before. My kids have begun asking questions. My husband thinks it is funny, but I am worried about the effects this could have on our kids as they come of age. Am I overreacting?
The consensus of the panel is that the mother was not overreacting.
If you thought vaudeville was dead, then you obviously haven’t seen “Christmas City Follies XIX,” continuing through Dec. 23, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.
An annual vaudevillian holiday tradition for the past two decades, “Follies” has a talented seven-member ensemble that sings, dances, jokes and satirizes its way through its original music and scripts.
Dressed as Christmas trees, part of the ensemble opens the show singing a tribute to “O Tannenbaum,” and playing green kazoos. Throughout the night, could also be heard the sound of iconic ukuleles.
Q. My pre-school daughter is always chosen last as a playmate. I think that she has good social skills for her age, but she is a bit overweight. Could this be a problem already at age four?
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” comes wrapped in many theatrical packages from traditional to musical, to casts of 100 or more down to a single actor playing all the roles as Dickens did when he performed his work on stage.
The Pennsylvania Playhouse is showcasing yet another variation on the old classic with a “A Broadway Christmas Carol,” through Dec. 16.
Not your run-of-the mill version of the classic, “A Broadway Christmas Carol” features a cast of four, shameless pirating of melodies and outrageously-funny parodying of lyrics from popular Broadway musicals.
It’s “bah humbug” season again, and for the 29h year, Ebenezer Scrooge and his cohorts are on stage at Civic Theatre of Allentown’s 19th Street Theatre, once again bringing to life Charles Dickens’ inspiring story of humanity and redemption, “A Christmas Carol.”
The adaptation of the beloved tale is the collaboration of Civic Theatre’s Sharon Lee Glassman and Artistic Director William Sanders, who has directed each year’s production for the past quarter-century.
Q. On Sunday, my 13-year-od son told me that he no longer wanted to attend church services. He said that he does not believe in God, and that going to church is a waste of time. Our family has always been very involved with our church, and I am horribly upset by this. I have two younger children and I don’t want them to be influenced by their brother. What can I do?
Q. I am divorced and my eight-year-old son has bonded very closely with his grandfather, my dad, who has been taking care of him while I work. We have just found out that my dad has cancer, and is not expected to live more than a few months. I have not told my son yet. How do I tell him, and then how do I help him get through the next couple of months?
Everyone on the panel agreed that the son should be told sooner rather than later.
“A good place to start,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said, “is to find out how much the son knows about death.“
Q. I have become one of those parents I never thought I would be. On those rare occasions when my husband and I go out for dinner, we have started to bring along our iPhones and tablets to keep our children, three- and five-years-old, occupied so that we can have adult talk, and so they don’t get bored. How can I stop this without them having a meltdown in the restaurant?
“We have to start by saying, ‘It’s OK,’” panelist Kristy Bernard said. “Times are changing, and technology is changing how parents raise children today.”