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Happy Campers: Why Summer Camps Are Good for Children

Posted today

If your child isn't attending an organized camping program this summer, he or she may be missing out on opportunities for growth in a several areas. There are now more than 14,000 day and...

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Parents, Stop Trying to Referee Kids' Fights

Posted 2 weeks ago

Q: We have a boy, 6, and a girl, 9, who fight constantly about everything under the sun. My husband and I have a good marriage. We hardly ever have a serious disagreement about anything, so it’s...

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Adults, Children Must Maintain Relationship Boundaries

Posted 3 weeks ago

A column of mine that originally appeared in January of 2017 has been circulating on the Internet ever since, accumulating over a million hits to date. In a nutshell, its message is simply that...

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15-Year-Old Daughter Should Not Get Private Time With 20-Year-Old Boyfriend

Posted on 6/13/2018

Q: Our 15-year-old daughter has told us she’s in love with a 20-year-old guy who is in the Army and intending to make the Army his career. We’ve met him, and he is extremely respectful and...

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Respect for Adults Is Good for Kids' Mental Health

Posted on 6/6/2018

Rates of child and teen depression and suicide continue to rise, as they have for fifty years. As regular readers of this column know, I do not agree in the least with current explanations, much...

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The Three Seasons of Raising Children

Posted on 6/1/2018

In the early 1960s, songwriter/folk singer Pete Seeger wrote "Turn, Turn, Turn," which was later rocked up and made popular by The Byrds. The refrain was taken from The Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1,...

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Disciplining Children With ASD

Posted on 5/30/2018

Q: I am a grandmother with custody of my two grandsons, six-year-old twins. Because of behavior problems at home and school and difficulties relating to other children (they play and communicate...

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Should You Ask Your Baby's Permission Before Changing Their Diaper?

Posted on 5/23/2018

Competition amongst the membership of the International Association of the Weird and Even Weirder for the Most Bizarre Idea of All Time has finally, after more than five decades of...

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The Strikes System for Corrective Discipline

Posted on 5/21/2018

"Strikes" is a variation on Tickets for children six and older. You still need a short list of target misbehaviors, posted on the refrigerator or bulletin board (see the description and example of...

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Children's Hearts Rule Their Heads

Posted on 5/16/2018

When I was in college and grad school, other students – mostly the “jock” and fraternity crowds – called me all sorts of names because, being the lead singer in a popular campus rock band, I...

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Don't Take Daughter's Dramatic Outbursts Seriously

Posted on 5/9/2018

Q: My 4-year-old daughter, when I do something that upsets her, like reprimand her for something, begins to cry and tell me that I don’t love her anymore. (She’s actually very obedient and...

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Authoritative Attitude Is Key to Discipline

Posted on 5/2/2018

Q: We are having no success getting our 3-year-old (her third birthday is in a couple of weeks) to do what we tell her to do. She defies us at every opportunity, whether it’s just ignoring us or...

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The Peer Group: When to Do Something, What to Do, and When to Do Nothing

Posted on 5/1/2018

No question about it, the peer group exerts great influence on teenagers. From the way they dress to the way they carry their books, the stamp of peer pressure is upon them. If the influence is...

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Car Gives Eric a Chance to Grow Up

Posted on 4/27/2018

"Dad! I've decided what kind of car I want to get when I'm 16! Look at this!" "Eric," I said, brushing away the copy of Car Trader he'd stuck in my face, "I've told you a hundred times, I'm not...

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Parents of Unmotivated Teen Should Stop Stressing

Posted on 4/25/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old son is flunking his junior year in high school. Flunking is not a possibility; it is a definite, a done deal. He has passed the point where he could turn this around. He’s very...

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Don’t Go Down the Road of ADHD Testing

Posted on 4/17/2018

Q: Our son, age 8, did fine in school in first grade, but has struggled in second. We’ve taken your advice and not helped much with his homework other than occasional and brief “consultations.”...

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We Have a Child, Teen Mental Health Crisis in U.S.

Posted on 4/11/2018

Do we – here in the USA, that is – or do we not have a child and teen mental health crisis and if the answer is yes, we do, then what should be done about it? Without doubt, the...

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'Gentle Parenting' Just a Rebrand of 'Parenting'

Posted on 4/4/2018

Upon arrival on-site for a recent speaking engagement, I am told that several rather vocal parents refused to attend because I am not an advocate of “gentle parenting.” That implies that I...

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Weighing the Options of Repeating Kindergarten

Posted on 3/28/2018

Q: Even though he had an early-August birthday, we started our son in Kindergarten this past Fall at a private Christian school. They did some testing prior to the start of the school year and...

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The Power of Words

Posted on 3/21/2018

When I began reading “The 9 Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids” (January 5, 2018, www.fatherly.com), I was skeptical that essayist Patrick Coleman’s point of view would line up with my...

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Are You A Mean Parent?

Posted on 3/19/2018

"I feel so mean," she said. She's the mother of a boisterous and very strong-willed 5-year-old girl. "I yell all the time," she said. "Yelling isn't mean," I said. Her expression...

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Choose One: High Achievement or Good Morals

Posted on 3/14/2018

Parents of children who habitually lie can breathe a huge sigh of relief – The New York Times says that budding Pinocchios are more intelligent than kids who tell the truth (“Is Your Child Lying...

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Yes, I Am "Old-Fashioned"

Posted on 3/6/2018

An individual who occupies a fairly high-level position in the mainstream media recently told one of my associates that I’m “old-fashioned.” She meant it as a slight, but I hardly took it that...

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Let Kids Run Their Own Sports Programs

Posted on 2/28/2018

Thirty-something years ago in this column, I offered a free (expenses-only) speaking engagement to any community that would abolish all adult-organized-and-run children’s sports programs...

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Take Smartphone Away from Sassy Teen

Posted on 2/21/2018

Q: When our daughter, an only child, turned thirteen and entered the 8th grade, it was like a switch was flipped. Almost overnight, she went from being a sweet, respectful and obedient child who...

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Child Talk Therapy Is Largely Unproductive

Posted on 2/13/2018

Q: You seem to be opposed to putting children into any sort of psychological therapy. That’s curious, especially given that you’re a child psychologist. What is your explanation for this and are...

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What Doesn't Seem Good at the Moment Is Sometimes Good in the Long Run

Posted on 2/8/2018

When my daughter Amy entered middle school, she looked two to three years younger than most of her female peers. That was a blessing to me, of course, but from Amy's perspective, it was a curse....

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Try the 'No-Talking Cure' for Childhood Fears

Posted on 2/7/2018

A true story: When my daughter, Amy, was a pre-teen, she became anxious about going to sleep because of fears of dying in the middle of the night. When I tucked her in (I was her preferred...

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In Gun Debate, Therapy Is No Substitute for Firm Discipline

Posted on 1/31/2018

We’re a month, more or less, into the new year and America has already suffered two school shootings. As usual, the usual voices are calling for increased restrictions on the buying and selling of...

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Love Is Necessary to the Proper Discipline of a Child

Posted on 1/24/2018

In Raleigh, North Carolina, on the backside of the Department of Education building is a structure known as the Education Wall. Completed in 1992, the EW was conceived and created by artist Vernon...

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Today's Parents Don't Know How to Properly Convey Authority

Posted on 1/17/2018

Four sentences into her Wall Street Journal article on recent research into spanking (“Spanking for Misbehavior? It Causes More!” December 17, 2017), the author, Susan Pinker, makes two grievous...

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Connecting Dots Unsettling to Some

Posted on 1/10/2018

My critics are providing me much material of late for this column and my weekly radio show (Saturdays, 6:00 ET, AFR). Most recently, a family therapist in Kentucky pleads with the Lexington...

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Are College Visits Necessary?

Posted on 1/3/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old daughter wants to begin visiting colleges. She’s a high-school junior this year and this is when the college visitations begin. We’re feeling like the Grinches Who Stole...

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Respect Is Claimed, Not Owed by a Father

Posted on 12/26/2017

Is a father owed respect from his children? Actually, the question, from a father, was rhetorical: Isn’t a father owed his children’s respect? The dad in question maintains that because he loves...

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Nip Toddler Misbehavior in the Bud

Posted on 12/19/2017

Q: My parents recently told me that my husband and I are letting our toddler run our family and that it’s becoming increasingly uncomfortable for them to visit or have us visit with them – they...

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Celebrate Son's Chosen Education, Career Path

Posted on 12/13/2017

Q: Our 18-year-old son made only slightly better than average grades in high school and finished in the top half of his graduating class. He could have done better, but has a history of...

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Every Child Has a Mind of His Own

Posted on 12/6/2017

In a letter to the editor of the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune, psychologist Afton Koball and two colleagues raise objections to a recent column in which I asserted that one can be parented badly...

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My Views on ADHD Reflect the Facts

Posted on 11/29/2017

An interesting, and telling, tale: As part of a recent speaking engagement sponsored by a regional medical center in the west, I was scheduled to address a gathering of local pediatricians. Two...

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Parental Concern the Cause of Many Anxiety Issues in Kids

Posted on 11/28/2017

In recent years, many elementary teachers have asked me why so many of today’s kids come to school with anxiety issues. That’s a good question, one that I think goes to the heart of contemporary...

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Children Need Unconditional Love and Unequivocal Authority, Not Respect

Posted on 11/20/2017

I was fresh out of grad school when psychologists and other mental health types began recommending that when speaking to a child, an adult should squat down to eye level with said child....

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Strike While the Iron Is Cold

Posted on 11/17/2017

Recently, a mother asked how she and her husband could make their 16-year-old son stop talking disrespectfully to them. So far, she said, they'd complained, threatened and occasionally taken his...

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Don't Tolerate Sassy Behavior

Posted on 11/15/2017

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked this up from a new neighborhood friend who speaks to her mother in a very disrespectful tone, like she’s the girl’s...

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Are Many Cases of Autism Wrongly Diagnosed?

Posted on 11/8/2017

Q: In the school district where I used to teach, I attended many meetings concerning children with special needs. Many of the kids in question were said to be "on the [autism] spectrum." In...

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Stepfamily or Just "Family"?

Posted on 11/7/2017

A journalist called me the other day wanting me to make some pithy, erudite comments on the subject of the so-called "stepfamily." I am eminently qualified, I propose, to remark on the subject...

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Overcoming Bad Parenting

Posted on 10/31/2017

I was standing in the lobby of an auditorium in which I’d just spoken, talking with a small group of attendees, when a 30-something woman took me aside and told me that her parents were bad role...

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Keep Facts About 'Donor Dad' Mum Until Child Is 15

Posted on 10/25/2017

Q: My son just turned 5 and is starting to ask various questions about parents including why some people have two parents and he only has one. About two months before he turned two, his "donor"...

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Shift in Paradigm Derailed Child-Rearing

Posted on 10/18/2017

I am sometimes asked if I think the “parenting pendulum” is swinging back, however slowly, toward where it was sixty-plus years ago or at least toward a tolerable middle point. ...

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Parents, Not Teachers, Are the Reason for Decline in Education

Posted on 10/12/2017

Richard Louv, author and former columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune, began a column in the mid-90s as follows: "At the beginning of the school year, it's good to remember the key to...

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Is Chemotherapy-Induced ADD a Thing?

Posted on 10/11/2017

Q: After two years of chemotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia, our 6-year-old daughter is now in remission. We’ve recently noticed she has difficulty focusing and staying on task. Otherwise,...

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Four Things Parents Should Tell Their Kids

Posted on 10/5/2017

In my latest book, Grandma Was Right After All!, I take the top 25 parenting sayings of my youth and explain what they really meant. I do so because they’ve been distorted and demonized by the...

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