"Don't ask a child a question if you don't mean for the child to have a choice in the matter. "

Arguments with Children

John's Most Recent Articles

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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An Example in Parenting Minimalism

Posted on 11/4/2014

Q: My 6-year-old son argues with me about everything I tell him to do. He comes up with reason after reason why he shouldn’t have to or can’t, why it’s unfair, or why, at the least, I...

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Simple Solutions

Posted on 7/29/2014

I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the...

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Good Parenting Decisions

Posted on 5/20/2014

Q: For the first five years of her life, it was just me and my now 13-year-old daughter. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. I wasn’t consistent; I didn’t hold her accountable; I was an...

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"The Doctor" Makes House Calls

Posted on 4/28/2014

Shortly after I finished graduate school, a friend of mine shared with me a book called Indirect Hypnosis, written by Milton Erickson, a most unorthodox psychiatrist if ever there was one....

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Be the Parent Your Child Needs

Posted on 4/1/2014

Q: My 14-year-old daughter says I don't trust her because unlike her best friend's parents, I won't allow her to stay home alone for several days while I go out of town. Her friend's parents do...

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"Boy" Behavior

Posted on 3/11/2014

Q: My 6-year-old son is a bright and friendly kindergartner. Each day a color coded chart is sent home about his behavior. This year he's gone through several spells during which he will have a...

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Interpersonal Snot Wiping Behavior

Posted on 2/25/2014

Q: We are having a problem with our 32-month-old son. He picks his nose-most often in a public setting-and then proceeds to wipe it on other family members. It's disgusting. We have tried ignoring...

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Child Argues with EVERYTHING

Posted on 1/7/2014

Q: What suggestions do you have for disciplining a 7-year-old girl who argues with every single thing her parents say? We don't try to reason with her and we frequently say "Because I said so" but...

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Recent Questions

9 yo boy needs boom lowered

Posted 2 weeks ago

My youngest son is 9 years old. He has an older brother who is 11 years old. My 9 year has always had a temper/anger problem when things don't go his way. He reacts by having a tantrum. He has...

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Mouthy 3-year-old

Posted on 3/4/2017

Recently my 3 and a half -year-old has started negating various statements his dad and I make. Mostly this happens when he doesn't want to do something (It is bedtime/it is NOT bedtime), but also...

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Disobedience or Addiction?

Posted on 3/1/2017

Dear John, Our almost-15-yr-old son has been disobeying our rule of no Xbox on school nights but last week was a doozy. When we were away for the weekend, he got his 16-yr-old sister to drive...

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Teen Meltdown

Posted on 2/22/2017

I read on here to take a time out before engaging with a teen and making a decision. Then once giving your decision, being a 'robot' when responding. We have an intelligent, 6ft, almost 15 yr old...

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Adult children continue to be parented.

Posted on 2/22/2017

Do you have any advise on how to recconect with an estranged adult child who is in their 30's? And yes, I made all the "giving your child self-esteem" mistakes in the 1980-2000 that you speak...

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Troubled Young Teen?

Posted on 2/5/2017

This question is in reference to the October 2016 question regarding my 13 year old's act of vandalism. Fast forward 8 months later. He has completed his punishment, but not without having to...

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Don't Ask, Do Tell!

Posted on 1/29/2017

I have a 13 year old who has always been defiant. She is bright, and a fantastic kid, but when she is asked to do something she doesn't wan, the fight is on. She will not do what I ask, or will...

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What I said...

Posted on 1/27/2017

My seven year old daughter has been correcting me lately. I'll tell her something like " I need you to bring your toys to your bedroom." And she will respond with "You mean stuffed animals." She...

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Distraught dad of tweens

Posted on 12/30/2016

Please help - i am the father of a 12 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. They are both spoilt brats who only care about their enjoyment. 1)They are very rude and dont listen. 2)They dont...

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16 year old Arguments

Posted on 12/29/2016

My 16 yo daughter will not talk to me when I approach her about an observation I have, a concern re: missed homework or grades. She shuts down immediately, says she doesn't want to talk about...

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Videos

Tell

Posted on 5/16/2014

Tell: do you "Tell" your kids or do you ask, negotiate, beg, and scream.

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