Need Advice?

In her column for UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, coach Christine Carter responds to your questions about marriage, parenting, happiness, work, family, and, well, life.

Want to submit a question? Email [email protected].


How Divorced Parents Can Get on the Same Page

April 1, 2020

Dear Christine, I’m a divorced dad who remarried, with a son and a stepdaughter. When shelter-in-place hit and school was canceled, everything changed. We all started working at home—or not working at all. Though we have successfully established a new custody schedule so that there is less back-and-forth between houses, we still have a lot of conflicts. We don’t agree about whether it’s okay to go outside, who can enter the other parents’ homes, or… Read more

Dear Christine: How Do I Motivate My Teen?

January 29, 2020

Bossing them around won’t work forever; we need to help teens manage their own lives. Dear Christine, I have two teenagers, a boy who is in high school and a girl who is in college. My daughter has always been self-motivated and a great student. I’ve never needed to nag her to do her homework, and she has always gotten good grades and great teacher comments. My son is another story. His study skills are… Read more

Dear Christine: My Friend Has Cancer. What Should I Say?

October 16, 2019

Dear Christine, One of my best friends was just diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. She has two little kids, a loving husband, and a full-time job. I’m not sure what to do or say or how I can help—my instinct is to jump in and start problem-solving. Does she have the best doctor? Can she really afford to take time off of work? I know she knows that this could be terminal. She is… Read more

Dear Christine: My Son Went Off to College and I Want to Cry

August 29, 2019

Dear Christine, My oldest child is off to college. In the last few weeks, relatives have been offering him their sage “how to succeed in college” advice. Friends keep sending me an article from the New York Times offering advice to college freshmen: “Don’t take other people’s Adderall. Granola bars have a lot of sugar. The stamp goes in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope.” Really? All of this is entertaining, but isn’t it all too… Read more

Dear Christine: How Can I Get My Teenager to Listen to Me?

July 25, 2019

Dear Christine, My daughter has a chronic health problem that we’ve been dealing with since she was almost three years old. Until very recently, I managed everything about her illness for her: appointments, medications, decision making around treatment, etc. She’s always been interested in learning more about her disease, and she’s been a compliant patient. But now that she is a teenager, she needs to be more in charge of herself, and more involved in… Read more

Dear Christine: How Can I Get More Sleep?

June 17, 2019

Hi Christine, I have a habit of going to bed later than I want and then being rushed in the morning and getting to work late. For several years now, I’ve been wanting to get to bed earlier, but I can’t seem to do it. I have a tendency to feel pretty driven and busy during the day, and the evening feels like my only time to relax. I binge-watch Netflix, scroll through my social… Read more