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How can we discourage our stepson’s mom from giving him caffeine?
Q: My husband and I have parental custody of my 7-year-old stepson. His mother exposed him to tons of horrible habits before the age of 2, including coffee and diet sodas. We try to maintain a healthier lifestyle and don’t allow caffeine. How can we convince his mother to follow the same example? We have e-mailed her information about the developmental risks associated with sucralose, aspartame and caffeine. I don’t know what else to do. He sees her once or twice a year, but she loads him up on it while he’s with her.
A: You should keep up the good work and remind yourself that you and your husband have the greatest influence on this little boy. After all, his mum sees him at most twice a year, so your training will win out in the long run. By the time your stepson is 8 you can expect him to use his common sense when he’s with his mum and not go overboard on foods that aren’t healthy for him.

One more thought: It probably hurts your stepson to have so little contact with his mum. This could make it difficult for him to stand up to her and refuse the foods and drinks she offers him.