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Q: My mother is a chronic shopper and has spoiled my sister’s child. Now it’s my turn at motherhood. How do I curb her buying habits before our small house is overrun?

Lezlie says...
You take everything she gives you. You smile and say thank you. And you put it in a garbage bag and give it to charity. But that’s solving only half the problem (your junked-up house). Better to give her positive examples of things she could buy if she feels the need to show her love by buying things. Think museum passes, drugstore gift certificates and swimming lessons.

Lezlie Lowe has two jobs: 1) freelance writer/broadcaster/researcher, and 2) mother of two young girls. Guess which is more difficult. Send her your parenting questions here.