My son is never happy with anything and has a constant bad attitude. How can I fix the situation?

Your youngster needs to learn to live in a two-way relationship with you. He will also need to understand who is in charge, why you are in charge and the importance of him becoming mindful of the needs of others. Speak to him calmly and quietly about how things are going to change and improve. Be clear about what your expectations are, and also be clear that you are insisting that his attitude must change. In essence you’ll require something in return from him now; more consideration of you (and others), an improvement in his attitude and an understanding that he’s not going to receive everything without question any longer. Naturally, there will always be room for compromise. However, never compromise on your expectations of him and what you desire in return. If he promises to do something later to get it now, do not agree to this offer. Promises from a spoiled adolescent are notoriously false currency. Actions and results are all that counts. Your new rule is to insist on getting want you want before automatically providing what he wants – always insist upon a fair exchange!

My seven-year-old son seems to lie about stuff and boasting to his friends and it gets very embarrassing. How do I deal with him?

Blurring lines between fantasy and reality is very common between the ages of about three and seven. This is in fact a very healthy thing. They live in their own creative worlds and are often trying to make sense of the real world through this lens. Things only become problematic when lying becomes the norm rather than the exception. If this is a one-off and out of character for your son, then putting it down to an uncomfortable experience at the school gates and a quick chat with him to point out that it’s not a good idea to lie is probably all the follow-up this needs. However, if it starts to become a pattern, then we think you need to take it more seriously.