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

Electronics (Computers/Video Games/Television/Cell Phones)

John's Most Recent Articles

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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Your Child Doesn't Need a Smart Phone

Posted on 6/21/2016

Q: Our 12-year-old has a smart phone. I know you don’t approve, but all—and I do mean all—of his friends have them and texting is how they communicate. I don’t think, under the circumstances, that...

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Electronic Devices Do Children No Favors

Posted on 2/10/2016

A 4-year-old boy informed his preschool teacher—a friend of mine—that he’d broken his iPad. “Oh!” my friend said. “What a shame. Did you drop it?” “No,” the boy said,...

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Something's Gotta Give, and That Something Is Electronics

Posted on 2/2/2016

Q: We would like to limit our 16-year-old son’s video game and cell phone time. We think homework should come first and then free time. He wants to relax with his video game and phone after...

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Kids Minds Do Matter - Reading vs Social Media

Posted on 4/22/2014

The Wall Street Journal says there’s no difference between a child whose primary interest is reading and a child who uses social media obsessively. In WSJ’s March 22-23 “Mind and Matter” column,...

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Video Games - Again!

Posted on 4/8/2014

Q: Our 14-year-old son seems depressed-to us, at least. His principal sees no sign of depression but thinks he's socially anxious. The subjects of counseling and medication have come up. We have...

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Keep a Sharp Eye on Electronics

Posted on 1/28/2014

Q: Our 13-year-old son has had an iPod for the last 3 years. We've always made use of the parental restrictions to make sure that he could only access "clean" music, movies, and websites. When I...

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Teen Son's Problems Related to Video Games

Posted on 12/17/2013

Q: Over the past year, the relationship between our 14-year-old son and his sisters has deteriorated markedly and is causing major problems in our family. He won't speak to them and says he hates...

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Thumb Sucking - Revisited

Posted on 8/27/2013

In a recent column I said thumb-sucking is not, as was once thought, a sign of insecurity or other psychological problems. Well-adjusted children suck their thumbs and grow up to be...

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Dealing with Electronics

Posted on 7/2/2013

I often hear real-life parenting stories that evoke two equally strong feelings: on the one hand, sorrow; on the other, gratefulness. I am saddened to hear these stories, always told to me...

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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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6 year old's disturbing comments

Posted 4 weeks ago

Our fairly happy 6 year (almost) 7 year old has said a few disturbing things recently. About a week ago out of the blue he told me that he has thoughts of hurting/killing someone with a knife. ...

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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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12 yo Social Life Taking Over Grades

Posted on 2/13/2017

My 12 yo daughter has gone from straight A's in elementary school to C's & D's in middle school. It's not because she can't do the work, she chooses not to. Her friends and social life seem to be...

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Appropriate Age for Cell Phone

Posted on 2/12/2017

You do not recommend teens have cell phones At what point, do you think it is ok for a person to have one? When they can work and pay for it themselves?

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Cell phone give and take

Posted on 1/14/2017

In the chapter in Teen Proofing about consequences, John does not mention electronics or cell phones. I know he does not feel that kids should have them in the first place, but for those of us...

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11 yo Sneakiness

Posted on 1/2/2017

My oldest daughter has developed some very sneaky behavior. The minute my back is turned or I'm out of the house for a few minutes she's pulling something. Mostly its been with electronics, taking...

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2-year-old whining for a playmate

Posted on 10/14/2016

I have a wonderful just turned two year old son. He loves to play, but he doesn't love to play by himself. I also have a 5 month old, and work part time from home, so it's important that he learn...

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The cell phone has to go.

Posted on 10/2/2016

How much monitoring do you recommend on a 16 year old's phone? Sometimes, she seems to go to great lengths to hide things from us. At one point, she was having contact with a drug dealer (high...

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Laptop Use in Elementary School

Posted on 9/14/2016

Good Morning. My daughter's school wants to introduce a new IT vision starting from next year with the year 4 class. It would involve the parents and the school together purchasing laptops for...

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