Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on keeping your kids close, getting "me" time, and discipline.

on Jun 28, 20110

 

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Brittni from Ceres, CA says: Caroline - Love the show, I watch it while feeding my one month old. I only have one baby right now, but my husband and I do want more. I love how close your kids are. What actions can we as parents take to make sure our kids are close and always there for each other? Also, how far apart do you think kids should be? My husband is ready for number two already, but I want to wait a couple of years.

Caroline says: Thanks for watching, Brittni, I appreciate it! 

Albert and I were very hands on with our kids. We still are. I think the key to our kids being so close was the fact that we did so much together as a family. For example when the kids were involved in sports growing up, we went to their games together, we made it a point to teach them to support each other rather than staying home and ask questions later. If one of them was struggling in school with a subject we would ask the other two to help with studying, etc. It created a sense of teamwork, again strengthening the bond. We spent a lot of time talking, sharing our daily experiences, and watching them go through every single emotion. They fought, laughed, and cried, but we let them go through it and watched them from the sidelines jumping in only when necessary. It taught them how to forgive and understand the value of communication.

One very important side note, Al and I never compared one child to the other. We treated them as individuals. We celebrated their strengths and worked on improving their weak points with positive reinforcement. Comparing one sibling to the other will only cause hurt and resentment between them, that's a big no-no.

I have no suggestion as to when you should expand your family. That's a decision between you and your husband and no one else. I will however say that it should be mutually agreed upon between the two of you. Having children is a lifetime commitment and you both have to be on the same page. Good luck, Brittni, and give that little baby a hug for me!

35 comments
Mollie DeFrancesco
Mollie DeFrancesco

My husband and I can't agree in a curfew time. He knows I respect you and would respect your opinion. We live in Houston, Texas and my daughter goes to a small private school. 80 in her whole school. I let her stay out till 11:00 p.m. On weekends only. I know all her friends very well, we stay in constant contact by cell phone. My husband totally disagrees. He feels 9:00 p.m. Is a good curfew! What do you think? I just love and admire you!

bets2436
bets2436

I am in my 60's now and if only I could have had someone like you for my mother. Although I had a great career, was sucessful in my career, but mothered the only way I knew. My Mother taught me to survive not to parent. Maybe in my next life.

JEANETTE FUKSA
JEANETTE FUKSA

I am the mother of two grown children. They are great kids and I like both of their spouses very much. My problem is that I was raised as an only child and was always very connected with both of my parents, personally and emotional. My daughter chose to follow her husband and live in his hometown in Mississippi. My son and his wife live in Kansas City, which is a five hour drive for both of us. It is over a 12 hour drive to my daughter's home.

My problem seems to me that I feel hurt because we aren't as close as we were at one time.....and I do know that they have to leave the nest and grow up. My husband and I would be so grateful if you could give us some advise on handling it when our hearts start to ache and hurt and we would just love to touch them. We call each other frequently, but that is just not the same as touching them and hugging them tight. And you can never replace a baby's sweet smell and playing with them as well . The best is holding them in your arms and they fall asleep and you just keep holding. I hope you have some suggestions that would help my husband and I cope with our loss and our grief when we are missing them so much.

A BIG FAN IN OKLAHOMA! BIG FAN OF YOURS IN OKLAHOMA!

JEANETTE FUKSA
JEANETTE FUKSA

I am the mother of two grown children. They are great kids and I like both of their spouses very much. My problem is that I was raised as an only child and was always very connected with both of my parents, personally and emotional. My daughter chose to follow her husband and live in his hometown in Mississippi. My son and his wife live in Kansas City, which is a five hour drive for both of us. It is over a 12 drive to my daughter's home.

My problem seems to me that I feel hurt because we aren't as close as we were at one time and I do know that they have to leave the nest and grow up at some point

Lisa T
Lisa T

You are amazing. Honestly, you are so logical and to the point. I don't think the other women appreciate just how insightful you are and what wisdom you have. It is natural for people to miss messages if they are not ready or able to receive them. I just want to share with you that your clarity, fairness, good judgement and intentions are more than obvious and admired. All the best you and your family.

momof3 18 15 11
momof3 18 15 11

Hi Caroline! I love your show and the calmness you exude even in the most difficult situations. Your children are lovely and funny but truly care for each other. I have the same sort of situation where my oldest is going to college in Midwest to study pre-law. I'll have 2 boys at home but I was something that would hold us together and remind each of them that we are bonded together and we are family no matter what. when I saw your bracelet on TV tonight I was in awe.Although the price tag is high for parents with kids in college but i was wondering where I can get a bracelet design like that. Is there an option to have it a lesser price? Thanks so much! Sara

lulu Griffin
lulu Griffin

It's alway been clear what a gem your husband is. He is the best guy....no doubt. You made the right choice those many years ago.

HamGameFan
HamGameFan

Do the kids still play the ham game? I hope so.

Purplepeopleeater
Purplepeopleeater

Wow some of the comments I really dont understand. Sometimes people seem harsh if they are strong in thier opinions. I think caroline has a great heart and it comes accross in the way her children respond to her. She has stuck up for Dina, jacqueline, Thrersa and Ashley in the whole Daneille situation and showed real hurt when this women was going after her family and friends. This season I think she is being a little more stern in her distaste for created drama, especially when she has to film with all of these ladies 6 months out of the year. If she is pushing for resolution its because she knows from the Danielle experinece how bad things can get. I find her advice to be spot on and anyone who can raise three children successfully in todays world has a lot to offer in that department.

Regina Morgan
Regina Morgan

Caroline, you and I are the same age and I live in a neighboring town. I have attended events at the Brownstone on many an occasion. You are the only "housewife" I would ever wish to meet.

Unlike some commenters, I agree with you about Teresa. She takes everything this season and makes it about her. I don't love Melissa, but I think she is often right about what is going on between her and her sister-in-law. I would like to think that Teresa is suffering from being in front of the cameras and having to figure out what Bravo wants versus what she really needs to do. I am also fairly sure that her money woes and Joe's legal problems factor into her behavior. The stress must be incredible and her brother doesn't seem to want to help.

Nonetheless, she needs to reign it in or she is going to go over the edge.

As the parent of two teenage boys, I watch with interest the way you handle your grown children. I think they are well-adjusted or on their way to becoming well-adjusted. My boys are smart, funny, cooperative kids and good students on top of that. I think luck is part of it, but setting a good example is what sets them up for life. You and your husband do that. I am not sure any of others do.

Texas Lady
Texas Lady

Caroline - Seems to me you have raised wonderful children and have sound advice for those who seem to want it. Ignore the critics.....they probably have children I wouldnt want in my house!! It's wonderful how close your children are to each other.....that says a lot for the parenting you and Albert have done together, and when you are both gone, your children will still have each other. Keep up the good work, Caro -- we love you.

Team Teresa!!
Team Teresa!!

I keep hearing you say that family is family and everything is all about family. But some people have REALLY bad families...ones filled with lies, molestation, abuse. We have to go on in life without the support of our family. It really stinks to hear you put so much emphasis on family sometimes. Sometimes, we really need love from friends. Just because someone is family, doesn't mean that we should allow ourselves to be put down or abused in any type of way. You insert your experiences into your advice...you don't empathize or consider any other view points...

Valentene Kreischer
Valentene Kreischer

Caroline, You are a wonderful mom, wife and person from what we get to see on t.v. I am origanally from Somerspoint, N.J. I miss it and all of my family!!!! I feel like i get a glimpse of my family while watching the show. I love to see that you are grounded and real!!!! I am a wife and mother of two wonderful little girls. I am trying my best to raise them with class, dignity, and not to fall victim to the life we are all exposed to. Thank you for showing us how real women act!!!!! You arre a blessing, and a very wise woman!!!!!! Thank You, Valentene Kreischer

telesia
telesia

Caroline, I think your a class act. Last year I had the opportunity of briefly meeting you and your Sister Dina at Dancing with the Stars. Not only are the two of you more beautiful in person but just as sweet and genuine. You took the time to take photos and speak to your fans. What we see on camera is what we got in person. Congratulations on your new career! You give great advice!!

ohmygosh1
ohmygosh1

It seems your fans give better advice than you.

Linda Minnesota
Linda Minnesota

Caroline, you keep being you---you have a lot of life experience to share and you do it well. Don't get bogged down the by the haters. You have a rock solid friendship and grip on family. You keep doing what you are doing---duck feather and blow off the other stuff. Please keep your sense of humor and sweet NJ charm.

hsn
hsn

I just don't get why you have this advice blog. Nothing you say is new, or novel.

Victoria M
Victoria M

Caroline, you are pure class. it is a pleasure to watch and read you each week. sending you a big virtual squishy hug for you and yours :)

rissa1
rissa1

you should quit with the advice until you get a psychology degree or something- before you give some bad advice. unless you die before, during, or immediately after birth, we all have "experience in life." you simply use a lot of cliches. your boys laugh at you and do what they want. perhaps volunteer at a homeless shelter or something.

holy cannoli
holy cannoli

Wow between the one comment on this Blog,and the several comments on the episode Blog.. Caroline= I don't think you are feelin' the love. Maybe you need to address peoples concerns?? Showing complete bias for Joey and Melissa and Kathy?.. Hmmm whats up??

Maggie's Mom
Maggie's Mom

Caroline, I love you and you're my favorite but you really were way out of line on the trip. If you didn't want to go, why did you? Teresa and Joe were more than nice to you (and everyone else) and you gave them a hard time. Also, your sons have to grown up and do their own things - loosen the reins a little. We all know how much you love them, but at their age they should be making their own decisions. Love the radio show - I think you've found your calling. Looking forward to seeing you in next week's show.

Rochelle Quigley
Rochelle Quigley

Wow, whoever that was is so off the mark in my opinion. I think we see one side of you on the show..... and then we also see this side. I think your advice so far has been dead on. I find wisdom in it all the time. It always comes somewhere into play with raising my 11 year old daughter. So thank you! We all need some help sometimes as parents and personally I don't care how it gets to me! But I do appreciate it! Thanks so much Caroline.

Suzana
Suzana

I liked you the most the previous seasons. It is so sad that you are not supporting Teresa; she was fighting your battles with Danielle but she needs your support, you want to stay "neutral". Of course, if it were a family matter, you have to stay neutral but with friends you just take the friend's side. The way you give the advice, it sounds more like scolding or repromanding rather than "giving advice". You don't do that with friends; your friends may be wrong, but you suggest them in a nicer way. Even if they do not listen to you, you are still their friends. She was worthy of your frienship when you needed her to fight your battles with Danielle but now that she needs you the most, you just drop her.

Deb Schneider
Deb Schneider

There are no manuals for parents that will ensure their children will grow up liking each other, because every child is different. As parents, our only strategy to ensure success is to raise them ALL to be kind, caring, thoughtful, helpful, considerate, respectful, fair, understanding, sympathetic, empathetic and honest with themselves. We achieve that through leading by example, and refereeing their mis-steps without showing favoritism.

Avalyn
Avalyn

Hi Caroline, I love the show! I need your advice on sibling relationships. My only brother and I were never close and when he married we had LOTS of ups and downs. His wife is always involved in this. As of now, my brother and sis in law are not talking to me and my son and his cousins are the ones who suffer. I have made 2 attempts to "make it work" and they ignore me. They actually started this and I am willing to move on for my parents' and the childrens sake. The only time the children get together is at my parents' house. My parents wont speak up because they dont want to lose their grandchildren because my sis in law has forbid them to see them before. How do I make this work? My neices' bday party is soon and the whole family was invited EXCEPT me. What should I do?

Sunflower Mommy
Sunflower Mommy

Just look at Caroline's great children and her relationships with her family and you'll know she gives solid advice. In terms of keeping children close, I had my children 18 months apart and they are best friends.

Oc fan
Oc fan

Caroline,

I'm not sure if your subtle digs at Teresa are necessary. Why do you speak to her as if she is a child? Granted, Teresa may not be making the right choices and is a little impulsive and excitable, but she is not a child. I hate the "put on your big girl panties" statement. At that moment, you must of a had your bully panties on. It may be time to ease off Teresa and learn to respect her and deal w her a little differently.

janet northam
janet northam

you were giving from your heart and didnt deserve that.some people would bitch if they were being hung with a new rope.my mother was from new jersey had 13 siblings.she married and moved to california.i never met or even knew the names of these people.Imet her brother who was so bitter i dont know why he was there.and spoke to her sister once.I dont know why,but she raised us five in a way like she were throwing christians to lions.she would buy us all the same night gown so we wouldnt fight over it .we are ten years apart...I am the youngest girl and always the smart dependable one.i influenced my parents as they influenced me.we learned a lot from each other.i took my mother to trancendal meditation,jai guru dev,i turned mu father onto organic gardening,remember oil is organic.After dad passed mom lived another 13 years.I was the trustee for my parents ,I dont know if it was jealousy or greed,but the people i was supposed to protect her from spirited her away and i didnt get to see her for the last 3 weeks of her life.It did the other s no good because i was already set as trustee.I have never since or ever will speak to or aknowledge them again in any way.The strange thing about all of this is my mother set this up to be just as dividing as her family experience was.I watch you girls and you are so familiar to me is this family battling a nj thing or is it just coincedence ..

***Jennifer***
***Jennifer***

I have watched this show since the beginning and I have always really liked you....but something has changed with you recently?? Its as if you have lost your humanity on the show because you are always telling everyone what to do and without any compassion. You come a crossed harsh, superior, and uncaring. Its not like you. So please do not take this badly - but remember to sympathize with people and soften up a bit! I think that is why you are receiving some of the posts I have read.

ViewerS12
ViewerS12

Caroline, you come across as a little brusque and harsh on the show sometimes. But I must say, your advice is spot on. Its very useful and I love it that you care to go the extra mile and give little tips that can help. You do come across as a mature, sensible, sensitive, caring and wise lady through these answers that you give to the questions. Thanks.

ms sherley
ms sherley

Caroline i love you!!! Keep up the good advice!!

Tara Herndon
Tara Herndon

Hi Caroline, I love the show you remind me of my Aunt Linda that lives in New Jersey. You tell it like it is. I do have a question for you about strenghtening the bond but not for me for my boys. I am divorced and have three boys. Zachary is 14(15 in Aug.), Nicholas is 13 and Justin just turned 8. They have been through alot with the divorce and with me going back to work and now school as well. Zachary has been diagnosed with stage 2-B Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I know that he is going through alot right now but the attitude that he has with Nicholas is upsetting to me and to his brother. I have a therapist for him to talk to but he wont say anything during the sessions. I know that he feels that he is the man of the house and with the cancer and his father not really in the picture it is alot for him. If you have ANY suggestions about how to help him cope with the cancer and on his relationship with his brother I would love to hear it. Thank You so much!!!

TNgirl44
TNgirl44

Love you Caroline and your words of wisdom !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wafflefries
Wafflefries

I love Caroline! You are so wise and practical. Love it!

Carolinesadvice
Carolinesadvice

Yea right! Like I would ever want to take advice from a person like you. I would much rather get it from Jacqueline and Teresa, atleast I know they come from a humble and loving place.