Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on spoiled children, gift giving, and handling learning disabilities.

on Jun 13, 20110

Got a question for Caroline? Send it.

Angie from Ramsey, NJ says: Caroline, how do you keep your kids so grounded and generous when you give them all they need? Like you, we live in a more affluent area in New Jersey. My kids do not want for anything, and I'm struggling with it and worried they won't appreciate what they have. Even things like dance lessons, singing lessons, camps, etc. They just seem to take all these luxuries for granted.

Caroline says: I think that today's parents are losing sight of the simplicity of childhood. What I mean by that is we put our children in every extra curricular program we can think of. You run from dance to gymnastics to hockey to singing lessons, etc, etc, etc. 

It's overload! Children need down time, and they also need to keep themselves busy and motivated by doing simple things; reading a book, playing jump rope on the sidewalk, going outside and playing with the dog. No need for constant entertainment.  

My kids had a great childhood, but they weren't involved in every activity under the sun. They were home a lot and were expected to do chores around the house. They came with us when we dropped clothes and toys off at shelters and we explained to them that others were grateful for receiving things that we had outlived our use for and were prepared to throw away.

As they grew older they each had to go work with their dad so they understood how hard he worked to provide us with the lifestyle we lived. They cleaned garbage pails, swept floors, washed dishes, and even cleaned vomit when necessary. No job was too small. We raised them to respect what they had by showing them the value of hard work and sacrifice.  

Giving your child too much without teaching them how to give of themselves is a mistake. They need to understand and appreciate their blessings.

78 comments
Bubbi
Bubbi

Yo, that's what's up trutfhully.

Andre Diaz
Andre Diaz

Good afternoon, Caroline. I agree with you in keeping Teresa out of your life. Enough is enough. Teresa should of spoken with everyone and explained what she was going to post in her cook book. Attacking someone with out there knowlegde is a cowardly act. I admire you for keeping those unwanted from lashing at your family. I am the same way with my family. Its time for Teresa to join Danielle elsewhere and let the NJ housewives move on to bigger and better things.:)

Flowerbomb
Flowerbomb

Caroline, you offer your advice on so many topics. What exactly makes you think you are qualified to offer anyone advice? You are freinds with Teresa and Joe. That fact alone, in my opinion, proves that you are a horrible judge of character and if you really were the moral, upstanding, family woman you claim to be those toxic people would not be in your life, nor would you be seeking attention on tv.

Brandi8142000
Brandi8142000

Caroline, my 11 year old daughter has started rolling her eyes at me, talking over me, and will argue with me until I get fed up and send her to her room. Your children are so respectful, please tell me what you did and how you did it. Thanks! Brandi

amy lee
amy lee

Hi Caroline, This is my issue my children 27yr and 20yr are not doing anything with there life. there is no jobs were i live and that was hard enough me and my husband pay for everything, we cant even make ends meet sometimes now my son is gonna be a dad my daughter is just hanging out ,and to make matters worse my husband might have a tumor in his stomache . im under so much stress i really dont know what to do .i guess im writting cause i need help i feel like im gonna crack but i have to be strong for everyone . my parents are 2 hours away from me i cant help them there in there 80's , im just a little lost, my job is very unsuported so tell me what should i do . if you cant help with advice thanks for listening.

Brandy Lamaster
Brandy Lamaster

Hey Caroline, I have to say this to you Caroline, You are the far best Mother, Friend, and Wife. You have raised your children to be Respectful, Kind to others, and Taught them well. For people that have Learning errors and had a tough time in school because of that. This includes you Albie. Please dont let others (Teachers, or professors) tell you,you wont ammount to anything, You better look into something eles because you cant do it, or what ever Negative thought they heave of you. They dont know you or what you are about. The only person that knows you is yourself. You and only you can tell what you can handle and what you cant handle. Not others. Heres another thing I want to stress upon you Albie and Others. If you feel stupid, and worthless is a bunch of Bull shit. You are arent stupid or worthless by any means. You just need an extra help with certain things in school. It may be a little longer than others but Eventaully you will get their. So again Albie and others dont feel stupid or worthless. Everything will work out in the end. If you want to know something about me you guys well I too have learning errors. Infact I have what you have Albie but its not ADD or ADHD. Its Reading Comprehension (Meanning, You can read the words in the bood but have a tough time understanding it.) I also Have a Audio Processing Problem ( Meanning, You can have something in your head but it doesnt come out right.) I wasnt place into RSP until I was in the 7th grade. They Tested me but the Test score would end up being not enough for me to enrole in RSP. You can say I fell through the cracks. But I Graduated High School. It helped some what but after awhile I got Sick Of Learning shit that was Geared to Elementry. I am glad that part of my life is over. I have my heart set on going back to school to become a Crimnal Infestigator but If that doesnt work out then I am Heading to the Forensic Line. Their are too many people that are Innocent that need to be sent free and putting the Guilty back in our prison System. It wont be for awhile though. But It will happend. Have a Great Week Caroline and Albie keep working hard and never give up .

Susyq1966
Susyq1966

First of all Caroline...I have alot respect for you and your quiet calm. My 2nd son was born at 25 weeks and while he escaped so many of the things that could have gone wrong with being that premature, he has a severe learning disability. He is 9 and going into 2nd grade instead of 4th. He still is not even close to reading. Very bright, smart, there is just some kind of disconnect when it comes to remembering letters and numbers. I don't even think his teachers quite know what to do with him. It is painful and frustrating. Your sons give hope...thank you.

Kathryn, H from TN
Kathryn, H from TN

This is A long story so I will try to make it as short as possible , I had worked for the same company for 8yrs I was pregnant for the second time in two yrs So I have 2 children under 2 I was told with my second child that he was going to have downs syndrome . So I was like OK I'm going to make the best of this and pre pair , pre pair, pre pair , so my husband and I downsized in our home, life style everything, I quit my job after my pregnancy became more complicated too. we moved I have worked opposite schedules of my husband since my first son was born to make sure he did not have to go to day care because my husband did not want our kids to go, OK i don't know why he does not like any type of child care he wont tell me why. so my second son was born healthy ..Thank God!!! so I have stayed at home now since Sept and my second son is know 7 months old , I have a opportunity to go back to work and place our kids in a preschool. PS the only reason I'm looking at working is because he is not making enough money to support the responsibilities that we have . He is being stubborn and wont even go look at the preschool. I m just trying to help my family , how can I help him seek to understand or open up the communication , I have also try to position the benefits to him and also write him a letter .. please HELP me come up with some Ideas.

@mrsbetbae52
@mrsbetbae52

my question is should i make the first step to start a conversation to start talking , we have not spoken to each other in two weeks this is a marriage of 30 years, why i am getting is because we will be bring our 18 teen year son to cto college for his first freshman year help the sport is about finaicial spending , help i am at my ends with this

Annie S.
Annie S.

Caroline... YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! My mother, brother, brother-in-law, best friends, and myself admire you like no one else. The relationship you have with your family is wonderful. My mother and I always admire the relationship you have with your husband, you two are truly made for each other. You do everything with such poise while saying what you need to say and your advice is spectacular. Keep it up, we LOVE LOVE LOVE watching you! You add class to the whole "Housewives" series. My mother told me to marry into a family with a mother-in-law like you so she could hang out with her all the time haha! I could only hope for it! p.s.- you look amazing, congratulations! You're such an inspiration for so many viewers. All the girls (and even guys!) of PA are huge fans, we love you and support ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you put out there :)

Kat45
Kat45

You are so great to watch.

Trista Blank
Trista Blank

Caroline, Your a great woman and the way you stand by your family wow. I also have learning disability but I dont let it stop me. Your childern should be lucky to have a great woman like you in their corner.

skippy ad
skippy ad

I have always heard that the wisest person is the one who seats and listens while the fool can not keep his mouth closed or take advise. This is so true on your show. More housewives should listen to your good sound advice.

Jamar M
Jamar M

Caroline I wished I lived in the portion of reality you do. You sit back and you are completely judgmental and pious. You think you know better than anyone else, these girls you pal around are half your each and you abuse that and try to act motherly and it is a complete and utter fail. I do not know how you sleep at night. Your truly a horrible, over protective, classless individual. It boggles my mind how millions of viewers find your boring, useless rants interesting.

Rebecca P
Rebecca P

Hi Caroline, I am such a fan of yours. I am writing to commend you. I noticed that you give advice about learning disabilities. I work with the severely disabled and am currently getting my masters in special education. I was very emotional during the episode where Albie ended law school. His teacher told him that he wouldnt be able to cut it and that he should consider another profession. He was out of line. a teacher shoudl never tell a student that. He was out of line and is a disgrace to all educators. Also the main goal of special education is to promote success no matter how mild or severe the learning disability. Shame on him. As a teacher I believe that success in school goes hand in hand with support from the teachers as well as the parents. If every child had a parent like you our children would truly achieve their dreams. Luckily I have a parent like that. thank you Caroline :)

st. davis sharp
st. davis sharp

You are my girl! I love everything about you! I wish you all the best. Exactly what class is suppose to be-YOU!!!

LOLMOM
LOLMOM

Didn't you coin the phrase about the head and the neck? I swear in a previous season it was you that said the neck supports the family. Did Kathy rip you off?

Diann from Texas
Diann from Texas

LOVE, LOVE , LOVE YOUR SHOW...NJ HOUSEWIVES ARE THE BEST...LOVE YOUR FAMILY...YOUR CHILDREN ARE PRECIOUS...THEY CRACK ME UP...I LOVED THE SHOW WHERE YOU AND YOUR SON STARTED SPEAKING "CAJUN" OR HE STARTED IT AND THEN YOU JUST TOOK RIGHT UP AND STARTED TELLING WHAT HE WAS SAYING....IT WAS A GREAT EPISODE....YOU HAVE THREE CHILDREN, EACH DIFFERENT AS NIGHT AND DAY..BUT YOU CAN TELL THEY ALL LOVE AND RESPECT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND...

Diann from Texas
Diann from Texas

I love NJ Housewives...and your family is precious...your children just crack me up..they have such great personalities...I know you and your huband must be so proud of them...

StellaDos
StellaDos

Hi Caroline, I watch this show with my husband and we were cracking up at the golf footage of you and Al... I agree with you 100% and my husband agrees with Al's sentiments 100%!! :-) It will be interesting to see how you address your empty nest syndrome- so far, I am very impressed by how thoughtful and charming you are!

ksukitty1979
ksukitty1979

Caroline,

My oldest son is learning disabled. My youngest son is severely autistic and mentally challenged. He rarely speaks and has several medical/behavioral issues. Hearing about your son and your support of him makes cry and smile at the same time. Regardless the level of the challenge, it's hard watching you child suffer. All we can do is be their advocate and support system. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Mindy C.
Mindy C.

I felt the same way about my son Jesse. As you feel about your son's. I guess you can say he was my Albie. My son passed away 8 months ago. A total shock to my family and I. We do not know the cause of death, and we may never know. He was wrestling for his college when it happened and his heart just gave out. I feel for you as a mother. The pain of having empty nest syndrome is real. I have a 17 year old daughter at home still,but not for long. I think it is important to keep busy to keep healthy. If we let our emotional pain overcome us it could affect our health. Keep healthy for your family. They still need you.

Jane Robere
Jane Robere

Caroline, I love to watch you on the show!! You are totaly my favorite housewife! I love how you lead your family. I don't have a very good relationship with most of my family members. My mom was never really a mom to me. Of all the times that I can think of, she was never there for me! Thats all I really ever wanted! Now I have four beautiful boys of my own and I cherish them! I am always there for them no matter what! I have tried with all my heart to mend things with my own mother but she just doesn't get "it". I have tried many different approches and it's always about her feelings! We live two states apart and somehow there is no "bond" between us! So I must go on and take care of my own family. I have taken your advice many times by just applying thing you tell others. I think you are a great role model for many woman including myself! This world need more woman like you! This is truely your calling in life! I wonder if you know how much you help woman everywhere? I know your show won't last for ever but you need to keep going! Keeping helping us...we need you! We love you! Thank You Caroline!!

Tammy S
Tammy S

will you adopt me...? haha

On a serious note, love your attitude on life. Youre inspiring and straight forward- always the sound of reason.

hope there are more people like you in the world...

stay grounded ;)

Iluvmyjer-zboy
Iluvmyjer-zboy

You are such an amazing woman! I love and appreciate your advice. I think God has blessed you with wisdom and you need to share your gift with the world! You give excellent advice and you are a witty and classy lady. I love watching you on the show and seeing what an amazing family oriented person you are! Your kids and your husband are very blessed to have you =0) Caroline Manzo Rocks!!!!

Deigon
Deigon

I don't think Caroline backs away from anything. Or when she gives advise it's not in a rude manner. She's very direct. I think she's tired of the drama Teresa creates. As far as Caroline's children being spoiled, NO WAY! All her children work hard. It's so clear how much she loves them. She also expects the best they can be and nothing less. She's a wonderful mother, wife and friend. Caroline, keep being Caroline... You're wonderful...

Sphetsarath
Sphetsarath

Caroline, Your such an awesome person inside & out. You have so much class in you. You always have the right things to say. Hopefully one day you'll have your own show.

Amanda Solovitz
Amanda Solovitz

Caroline,

I recently graduated from high school. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 4. My question is how did you go about the college application process with Albie with his ADHD? I'm having trouble finding out where to start! The issue is my parents are expecting me to figure this out by myself and I don't know how.

Thank you for reading,

Amanda

Longlady from Texas
Longlady from Texas

Caroline- I love you on the show and respect your opinions on parenting. My question is; I have a mentally handi-capped daughter & I'm not sure how to differentiate disciple between my disabled daughter & my other two toddler boys. They love their "sissy" VERY much & take great care of her but it's hard explaining why she can act a certain way and they can not. I don't want them to resent her later. Please help!!!

Momaria
Momaria

Caroline---I love that you adore your kids and support them no matter what their choice professions are. Most of the parents I meet want their kids to be sports pros, hence the juggling act between basketball, football, soccer, etc....Another bunch want their kids to be doctors or lawyers, hence the juggling act between advance classes or Kumon, or student apprenticeships. You are so right, keep it simple.

just a southern italian viewer
just a southern italian viewer

I never had empty nest syndrom. Mine are 22 & 25. They are both gone at this minute but they always come back. I went back at 30 with 2 kids. I was living out of state & hubby was relocated to my parent's town. That lasted 2 yrs. My kids moved out when they went to college. They always come back. My youngest is coming back & she has been gone 4yrs. In this economy they will come back.

chellemybelle
chellemybelle

I noticed that you didn't have one thing to say about Teresa. Are you still friends? It doesn't seem like it because I noticed that you go as far as to compliment Melissa and Joe Gorga and you held his hand during the premier episode at the Brownstone and was seen kissing him on the cheek, etc. Teresa was not there, but she said she had a book signing. I hope that you don't let years of friendship with Teresa become ruined over actions between her and her brother. Like you mentioned before, leave you out of it. Therefore, continue to stay out of it and be a good friend and lend Teresa the moral support she needs during this time. S

Texas Gal
Texas Gal

As a mother of a child with a learning disability, I can tell you that the road is not easy. We have struggled, and now that my son is in middle school, he is finally at a point where he is in the regular classroom. The road is long and hard, and nothing will happen overnight. The key with boys is to be patient. They are not going to sit like girls for long extended periods of time. Give them a 5 minute break after about 20 minutes of work. Finally, ADD is NOT a learning disability. It has to do with behavior. Children with ADD are not put into special education classes just for ADD. A learning disability must be accompanied with it as well.

Elayna
Elayna

Thank you for your insight. One thing truly stands out in watching the episodes where Albert is included....you two are a sophisticated and wise couple. God Bless Caroline and her family.

tjsmith444
tjsmith444

Caroline, You are my favorite! I love you on this show and wouldn't watch it if you weren't on it. Thank you for being so awesome.

gcj
gcj

The only class act on the show! I can certainly identify with your empty nest syndrome Caroline. I raised four boys, all born in Florence Italy and they are nowall career Military in various branches of our military. They have done 9 tours of duty in Iraq so far and are almost never home. So be glad as I am sure you are that the boys are only in New York. The empty nest feeling doesn't go away over night--don't let them tell you that--get a hobby--hmmp! We will always miss our kids, no matter how much time passes. Enjoy your summer off! Thanks for your mature, educated contribution to this show that I have no idea why I watch it. but I do!

Ms.Diva2U
Ms.Diva2U

Caroline, you are always the voice of Reason.

susanmaria
susanmaria

Wow, your a skinny-minnie! Saw the episode with you & your husband golfing & I was surprised at how tiny you are! God bless & share the diet secrets please!

Brenna75
Brenna75

Carolyn, I love your family. You and your husband did a fantastic job raising them. You are my favorite housewive. I think it is great how you keep everyone in check:) All the best.

Angela Conklin
Angela Conklin

Miss Caroline, Have you ever thought of doing your own show on Bravo? not a typical talk show, but an advice show? I think you'd be wonderful. Or even possibly a tour? Similiar to what Bethany Frankel did, where you go to different venues and give other people advice? or answer questions as well? I think it would be amazing, you seem to have such a way of making things simple when we tend to as moms...wives...adults etc make them complicated. You make things make sense to me, and for that I'm truly grateful. Keep rockin' momma! :)

tmakea
tmakea

Caroline, I like you alot and sometimes I wonder why your on the show not in a bad way, but your just so much mature than all the ladies and you have the most insight and it seems to make you sick with all the Drama! I wouldn't mind hearing you on the radio and I hope your daughter gets married you ahve an awesome family!!!

Eliza Sarah Graham
Eliza Sarah Graham

Carolyn, I have to tell you that the comment you made about the empty nest meaning that there was no more laughter, is exactly what I said when my kids left home. It's true that if you have a positive relationship with your kids, and can laugh with them, a terrible void is created when they leave. I was accused of taking the empty nest syndrome to new heights after two year's of mourning. I can say that once I realized it was a time for me to restart my life by becoming a therapist and a writer, new worlds opened up, but even now when my youngest is forty, I miss the laughter and that special brand of fun.

sjd
sjd

I totally agree with you about not overscheduling your children, doing chores and charitable acts. I am a widow with a 5 and 7-year-old and they even know when we go to the grocery store to only choose from the brand of fruit snacks that are on sale. In lieu of birthday gifts we always ask for non-perishable food for the local food bank (my kids get plenty of gifts from family, they don't need more from friends, and they are expected to make their beds every morning (even if they don't do it well--LOL).

carl self
carl self

Mrs.Caroline I am so fond of your daughter lauren . I think she is absolutely gorgeous . Would you ever consider letting Lauren date outside of her race ? sincerely yours, C.Self

beth c
beth c

I wish i had a friend or neighbor like caroline manzo to give such good advice. You should write a self help book . i bet it would sell.

pat the hernano housewife
pat the hernano housewife

I have a daughter with adhd. At elementary school she spent a lot of time in time out, until I went to see her teacher. He told me she had a great smile and that would get her through life! Patience is the key. Make sure that your children know that you love them, and if you are disappointed it is at the action not the child. Always tell them what you want them to do, not what you don't want them to do. Example instead of saying "don't stand on the table" say "keep your feet on the floor" Often the last few words are all they can process. I avoided all food coloring and pop, and made sure she had plenty of supervised exercise. Trips to the ER can also be a part or adhd, accident prone! Empathy not sympathy is also needed. My daughter does not get by on her smile, and despite other learning disabilities managed to get two degrees and a fulfulling life. She also taught me patience and understanding can help most children. In the past I took care of autustic children and also abused children. I don't have much of a career myself, but consider my children my main achievement. I was a foster parent and would recommend this to anyone who loves children and can make a difference in their lives. Now I am at a stage in my life where I feel kind of lost. Family all far away,too old (and not healthy enough) to start a new career, but unable to continue my previous employment. All of us have problems it seems, sometimes our families drive us crazy, but we couldn't live without them.

you are so cute
you are so cute

Such a huge fan Caroline!! You are such a cool cookie and a sweet and beautiful person inside and out!

CA fan
CA fan

Congratulations, Caroline. Your wonderful hubby had a great idea in having you start an advice column/radio show. You're going to be wonderful at it. Hope your radio programs reaches CA & best of luck in ALL that you do.

Sandra J
Sandra J

You are such an amazing woman! I watch you with your children, husband, and friends and hope to do as good of a job as you have done.

Hanna .B . Chicago
Hanna .B . Chicago

hi caroline, my name is Hanna and i live in chicago i'm sorry if i make some mistakes but english is not my first language! i wanna just say cople of things! you awsome woman and i love to watch you on bravo but i hate when i see how you guys live and you trying to teach others. It's verry very izzy to live life when you have everything and most of the kids even doesn't know what is realy world look like behaind walls , i work every day with kids and i see a lot of parents how they spoild there child and they do that bc they grow up the same way...when i was child i fight for liveing bc i comeing from country were was war and that teach me what life is! A lot of kids here doesn't even know how is to live with 5$ a day ....you guys are lucky and i wish you the best in life just you sould think abt other ppl