"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

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Kids Are Happiest When Obedient

Posted 3 days ago

Q: I’ve read enough of your writings to know that you believe children should be obedient, that they should do what they are told. I want my children to think for themselves and to question...

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Don't Fret About Teen Son With Average Grades

Posted 1 week ago

Q: Our 17-year-old son is an unmotivated student. A junior in high school, he is clearly capable of making straight A’s, but typically makes B’s and C’s. He plays on both the football and tennis...

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Teaching Academics to Toddlers is Worthless

Posted 2 weeks ago

There is no good evidence that the artificial gains produced by so-called "jump-start" educational programs for toddlers, whether computer-driven or human-driven, are of lasting value....

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Bring Back Vocational Education in High Schools

Posted 2 weeks ago

During my sophomore year at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois, my guidance counselor, Mr. Gusloff, refused my request to take auto shop because I was, he said, college-bound and my...

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Why Kids Need Hobbies

Posted 3 weeks ago

Not long ago, speaking to a large midwestern audience, I asked, "How many of you, when you were children, had a hobby?" Nearly everyone raised a hand. I then asked them to keep their hands in the...

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The 'Invention' of ADHD

Posted 3 weeks ago

In 2009, pediatrician and former medical school professor Bose Ravenel and I published “The Diseasing of America’s Children” (Thomas Nelson), in which we argued from facts that ADHD and other...

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Vacationing With Kids

Posted 4 weeks ago

Here's a strange practice: Two adults, married to one another, work at difficult jobs for 50 weeks, thus earning a two-week vacation. To reward themselves for their efforts, they arrange to spend...

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The Fundamental Rules of Parenting

Posted on 3/28/2017

Q: You seem to blame all of America’s parenting woes on mental health professionals and imply that if parents still raised kids as did people in the 1950s and before, they wouldn’t be having the...

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If I Were the Little League Czar

Posted on 3/27/2017

It has been 78 years since the first Little League baseball game was played in Williamsport, Pa. Last year, nearly 3 million kids participated in more than 6,500 chartered Little League programs...

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Children Need Adults Who Are Worthy of Being Paid Attention

Posted on 3/21/2017

Once again, a reader proves that parenting must be added to religion and politics as verboten subjects for polite conversation. A column I published back in December of 2016 went viral...

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Send Toddler to Designated Tantrum Spot

Posted on 3/14/2017

Q: My 30-month-old has started throwing tantrums when I do not give her or do for her what she wants. During her fits, she cries, screams, tries to hit and even bite me, and then, if I prevent her...

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Home Alone: Is Your Child Ready?

Posted on 3/9/2017

For some folks, the phrase "latchkey child" rings of parental neglect. Yet, unlike in the movies, most kids who are left unattended in an empty house do just fine, emotionally and otherwise....

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Hey, Moms: There's More to Life Than Raising Children

Posted on 3/8/2017

A couple of months ago, following a talk I gave in Georgia, a woman told me she had been offended by my many references to mothers who are enmeshed in their children's lives. These women, when...

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Make American Parenting Great Again!

Posted on 3/8/2017

The problem in American parenting is the 1960s. Among other things that defined that very interesting decade was the replacement of rationality by emotionality. It was during the 1960s that the...

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Obedience: It's All in How You Ask for It

Posted on 3/1/2017

I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating: A child’s natural response to the proper presentation of authority is obedience; as in, the first time the child is told to do something, he does...

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Adopted Son Wants to Live With Biological Mother

Posted on 2/21/2017

Q: Our 14-year-old son, who was adopted by open adoption, now wants to go live with his birth-mother. She was completely out of the picture until a couple of years ago when she suddenly showed...

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Teaching Children Manners

Posted on 2/20/2017

Teachers with 30 years or more experience say that today's child is, in general, much less respectful and much less mannerly than the typical child of a generation ago. Unfortunately, unless...

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Success Is a Matter of Character, Not Grades

Posted on 2/15/2017

There must be some relationship between aging and the “You’ve got to be kidding me!” response, if I am any indication, that is. What was once occasional has become almost daily. ...

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When Good Kids Go Bad

Posted on 2/7/2017

I'll never forget the morning of July 5 several years ago. A police car was parked outside my neighbor's house, and the crackling radio sounds pierced the quiet air. Someone, my neighbor said, had...

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Remove the Smart Phone, Regain the Child

Posted on 2/7/2017

As regular readers of this column already know, I am completely, one hundred percent opposed to children, including teenagers still living at home, being in possession of smart phones. No parent...

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How to Calm a Screaming...Teen?

Posted on 1/31/2017

Q: Our 15-year-old daughter has become, over the past year or so, quite a disruptive influence in our normally peaceful home. She was a gem until she entered high school when she almost overnight...

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Kids and Chores

Posted on 1/27/2017

<b><i>Household jobs will help your kids master the mechanics of running a home, and the skills needed for responsible living. Here's how to get them started and encourage their...

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How Much Homework Is Enough?

Posted on 1/26/2017

One of the most unfortunate things that the never-ending rollout of "education reform" has spawned is an overemphasis on <i>quantity</i> where homework is concerned. The following letter, sent to...

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Manners More Important Than Resentful Child

Posted on 1/25/2017

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” So said 17th Century French mathematician and philosopher...

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What to Do About a Poor Report Card

Posted on 1/24/2017

<i><b>How to transform bad grades into a learning experience -- and into better results.</b></i> When your child brings home disappointing grades, don't panic, and don't lose your cool. Studies...

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Stay Dispassionate yet Approachable During Teen's Experimentation With Vaping

Posted on 1/18/2017

Q: I found a vaping pen hidden in my 13-year-old son's room and am at a loss as to how to deal with it. He is very susceptible to peer pressure and wants very badly to fit in with the "cool"...

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How to Deal With Teen's Marijuana Use

Posted on 1/11/2017

Q: We recently discovered that our 16-year-old son has been smoking marijuana on a regular basis. At first, we intended to begin using an over-the-counter drug test but then learned that teens...

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Parenting 101

Posted on 1/9/2017

<i><b>Welcome to Parenting 101. Upon passing this course, you will have acquired what it takes to raise children who are mannerly, self-disciplined and do their best in school. As you will see,...

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Use Practical, Not Psychological, Approach to Childrearing

Posted on 1/3/2017

One of the biggest problems among today’s parents—especially mothers—concerns their tendency to think in psychological terms about their children’s behavior problems. Mothers are more prone to...

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In a Family, Parents' Relationship Comes First

Posted on 12/28/2016

I recently asked a married couple who have three kids, none of whom are yet teens, “Who are the most important people in your family?” Like all good moms and dads of this brave new...

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Comfort, Not Counseling, Is the Treatment for Nightmares

Posted on 12/21/2016

Q: Our 5-year-old has suddenly started waking up with nightmares. He's not able to describe them with any clarity, however, so we don't know what the content of them is. The most he's able to...

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Accommodate Dietary Choices During the Holidays?

Posted on 12/14/2016

Q: My husband and I are looking forward to hosting our children and grandchildren over the Holidays—or were. We were recently informed that our 30-something daughter and two of her children...

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When Enough Is Not Enough

Posted on 12/6/2016

The following true story was recently related to me by a credible individual who for obvious reasons will remain forever anonymous. I pass it on because it is a quintessential example of the...

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Do You Suffer From Egalitarian Parenting Syndrome?

Posted on 11/30/2016

Some of the sources that inform today’s parenting do not come to immediately to mind when one thinks of raising children. Take Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), for example. Along with his buddy Friedrich...

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Take a Time-Out Before Engaging With Argumentative Child

Posted on 11/22/2016

Q: In last week’s column, you advised parents not to argue with teenagers. That’s fine and dandy advice, John, but you failed to tell your readers how to stay out of or end these arguments. For...

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A Non-Argumentative Teen Is a Happy One

Posted on 11/15/2016

My advice to The Wall Street Journal, the only news source to which I subscribe: Stop trying to be all things to all people. Specifically, stop giving parenting advice. The latest attempt by...

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Be Consistent in Attitude and Unpredictable With Consequences

Posted on 11/8/2016

One of the disadvantages of this job is that I rarely have enough space in which to say all that I’d like to say. Take last week’s column in which I said “Consequences should be employed whether...

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Help for the Unmotivated Teen

Posted on 11/1/2016

Q: Our 17-year-old daughter is bright but puts very little effort into her schoolwork. For example, she currently has very low grades in several classes simply because of not turning in...

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New School Year, New Babble on What's Wrong With Your Kids

Posted on 10/25/2016

The new school year is still fresh and “it” has already begun, “it” being the ongoing effort on the part of schools to persuade parents that there is something wrong with their kids’...

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Society Has Dumbed-Down the Definition of Bullying

Posted on 10/18/2016

Noting that October is Bullying Prevention Month, several editors have asked if I am willing to write an apropos column. I am and for two reasons feel eminently qualified to do so. ...

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When You Disapprove of Your Teenager's Friends: When to Wait, When to Act

Posted on 10/17/2016

<b><i>Lately, your son has deserted his old friends for a new, fast crowd. Their bizarre clothes are bad enough, but their parties really worry you. Still, you know that well-intentioned warnings...

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Restoring Peace to the Family Dinner Table

Posted on 10/11/2016

Q: Dinner with our three kids always, and I mean ALWAYS, turns into a disaster. Typically, the oldest, 11, begins to needle the youngest, 6, and then, when the middle one, 9, figures out which of...

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The Effects of 'Parenting' on Child-Rearing

Posted on 10/5/2016

In 1971, a psychologist named Fitzhugh Dodson published a book titled How to Parent. It did so well that he came out several years later with How to Father. By 1971, Dodson was one of a handful,...

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Postmodern Psychological Parenting Is Causing More Harm Than Good

Posted on 9/27/2016

In the late 1960s, America came to a fork in the parenting road and took the road never traveled. My generation did what no generation in any culture at any time in history had ever done: we broke...

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Successful Child Rearing Does Not Require Constant Joy

Posted on 9/22/2016

During a stint as a guest on a nationally syndicated radio talk show, the host remarked that he didn't hear me talking much about the "joy" of parenthood. He asked if I had, indeed, enjoyed being...

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Use Godfather Principle to Nip Fear of Doctor in the Bud

Posted on 9/20/2016

Q: Over the past year or so, our 5-year-old has developed an extreme fear of going to the doctor or dentist. This came on suddenly, without a precipitating incident. The crying begins when we...

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Parent Help With Homework Is a Generally Bad Thing

Posted on 9/13/2016

Amanda Johnson, a second-grade teacher in Laramie, Wyoming, has caused quite a stir both among her colleagues and constituents and—because her educational incorrectness was covered by national...

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Kudos to Catholic School's 'Problem Solving' Sign to Parents

Posted on 9/7/2016

Just when I am teetering on the edge of despair concerning the state of child rearing in America, dwelling much, much too obsessively on the damage being done to children and the nation by parents...

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Take the Drama out of Math Homework

Posted on 8/30/2016

Q: Our sixth-grade son has always been an excellent math student. This year, however, he melts down every time he does math homework. Within minutes, he becomes highly agitated, begins crying,...

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Stepparents Should Have Authority over Teens, Too

Posted on 8/24/2016

Q: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the...

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