""No" is one of the most character-building words in the English language. Say it often, and mean it. "

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‘Parenting’ vs Childrearing

Posted 3 days ago

I often go looking for parenting ideas that illustrate the difference between so-called “parenting” and mere childrearing. They abound. My latest find came in the form of a 2018 article on...

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Avoid Telling Young Kids About Existential Threats

Posted 1 week ago

Q: My 3-year-old is fearful of trying anything new, including things that other kids his age love to do such as swinging on a swing, sliding down a slide, and splashing in a pool. I feel like I...

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The Keys to Relatively Quick, Painless Toilet Training

Posted 2 weeks ago

Q: I recently tried toilet training my 32-month-old, but after a few days of no success, I decided to stop. A friend tells me to hang in there, but my pediatrician says my son isn’t ready. She...

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When To Use Time-outs

Posted 3 weeks ago

I was once an orthodox believer in the power of time-out—the practice of having a child sit in a somewhat isolated chair for five minutes or so immediately after said child has misbehaved. I...

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Is This Battle Worth It?

Posted 4 weeks ago

Q: I have six-month- and thirty-two-month-old boys. The older one—well-mannered, easy going, very affectionate—attends a preschool program three mornings a week. This is his second year there. ...

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Time Out for Disrespectful 6-Year-old

Posted on 12/21/2021

Q: Whenever—and I most definitely mean every single time—I ask my six-year-old daughter to do something, she becomes very disrespectful. She stomps her foot, yells at me that I make her do...

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Cleaning up the Messes Therapists Enable

Posted on 12/14/2021

I can count on one hand—okay, maybe two—the number of parents who’ve told me that letting a child speak with a therapist has produced a positive outcome. One might dismiss a few such reports, but...

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Moving From ‘Gentle Parenting’ to ‘Insistent Parenting’

Posted on 12/7/2021

My previous column concerned so-called “gentle parenting,” which is naught but a retreading of the parenting propaganda that has gushed relentlessly from the mental health professional community...

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No New Tricks To Raising Kids

Posted on 11/30/2021

What is “gentle parenting”? It did not take much investigation for me to conclude that it is merely a rebranding of the same old, same old parenting babble America’s mental health establishment...

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The Problem With ‘I Feel Your Pain'

Posted on 11/23/2021

“I feel your pain” passes as a virtue, but it is anything but. However well-intentioned, it is the gist of codependency. When someone else is in a state of emotional pain, it is one...

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Using the ‘Dry Run’ for Tantrums

Posted on 11/16/2021

Q: My almost four-year-old daughter is generally well-behaved except for screaming and running away from me when we leave a store, the library, etc. before she’s ready to go. She pulls away from...

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Choose 1 of 2 Paths With Kids’ Anxieties

Posted on 11/9/2021

Q: I recently changed my almost 4-year-old son’s preschool. My son, once fearless, has become reluctant to simply get out of the car in the morning and go into the school. There’s always a...

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Straight Talk About Respect

Posted on 11/2/2021

“I can only expect my son to respect me as much as I respect him,” said the mother to the “parenting expert.” In a sense, that’s true, albeit this mom’s definition of respect hardly...

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Cure for Kid Who Hits

Posted on 10/26/2021

A 4-year-old – I’ll call him Popeye – had a habit of hitting other children in his preschool program. His teachers tried various approaches, including rewarding him with a treat on days when he...

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How To Stop Nitpicking

Posted on 10/19/2021

Q: A friend recently pointed out that I constantly nitpick my nine-year-old son’s behavior. Her words were, “You’re on his case all the time.” Why do I nitpick and how can I stop? A: ...

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Just 'Stop It!'

Posted on 10/12/2021

I often find myself telling parents that they need to stop doing something that is counterproductive and, in most cases, contributing significantly to whatever parenting problem is bedeviling...

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Should Son Switch Schools?

Posted on 10/5/2021

Q: Our 13-year-old eighth-grader says he doesn’t like the small private school he attends and wants us to put him in public high school next year. His grades are fine, he’s got several close...

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Fixing Our 'Parent-View'

Posted on 9/28/2021

Most of the problems today’s parents are experiencing in the course of raising children are due to a faulty “parent-view.” Just as one’s worldview consists of attitudes, values, and expectations...

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Why? Because I Said So

Posted on 9/22/2021

When I was a graduate student, one of the parenting memes then emerging from within the mental health professional community had it that “children deserved explanations.” The flip side of that...

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Teaching Financial Responsibility to Teens

Posted on 9/14/2021

Q: My two young teens are constantly begging me to buy them clothes. It’s become highly annoying. After reading your book on teenagers, I’ve decided to stop buying them any clothing and give them...

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How To Help Your Child Get More Grit

Posted on 9/7/2021

It’s all over the web, that “grit” thing. Seems like every day, I get some promo for a webinar on how to get more grit, project more grit, or get in touch with your inner grit. So, allow me to...

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Tighten Up Deadline for Adult Child To Move Out

Posted on 8/31/2021

“We should, like, what? Give him a year to figure out his life and move out?” I’m talking to the parents of a twenty-one-year-old male who instead of going to college or into the...

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Psychological Parenting Is a Prescription for Enabling

Posted on 8/24/2021

Q: In your column, you have often spoken of “psychological parenting.” What, exactly, do you mean by that? A: Answering your question requires that we first unpack the word “parenting,” the...

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Talking About Children’s Fears Can Intensify Them

Posted on 8/17/2021

A stalwart friend recently called my attention to an online article titled “Two Things to Say to a Child Returning to In-Person School (& Two You Should Avoid).” I am choosing to provide...

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What To Do About Head-Banging Toddler?

Posted on 8/12/2021

Q: Our 19-month-old is a very active little boy who flips out when things do not go his way. When he has a tantrum, we walk away or simply ignore him. Nonetheless, he will scream and flail about...

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With Parenting Young Adult Children, Less Is More

Posted on 8/3/2021

It seems to be generally true that as one gets older, the habit of reminiscing develops. Looking back seems to be a function of getting closer to the final curtain. The closer the latter, the more...

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Taking Back Control From Child’s Tantrums

Posted on 7/27/2021

Q: Our four-year-old, an only child, is giving us fits. As a toddler, he began ignoring us. That evolved into downright refusing to do what we ask, as in, “I’m not going to” and just plain “No.”...

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With Sippy Cups, Stick to the Short Term

Posted on 7/20/2021

Research finds that so-called “sippy cups” – spill-free cups used by most American preschoolers – are linked to speech problems as well as early dental issues. A sippy cup’s spout depresses a...

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The Biggest Problem Teachers Face Is Parents

Posted on 7/13/2021

When I ask a teacher, “What is the biggest problem you face?” the answer – there has never been an exception – is “parents.” That is certainly a recent phenomenon. My parents were...

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How To Stop Kids From Living Out Soap Operas

Posted on 7/6/2021

Will my profession, psychology, ever get it? Beginning in the 1960s, the psychological mainstream asserted that nearly all child mental health problems were caused by parents who...

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Parenting Quiz: True or False?

Posted on 6/29/2021

We interrupt this weekly column with a three-question quiz, following which you will find the correct answers. 1. True or False? Telling a child that her feelings concerning a decision you...

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Should Children Be Seen but Not Heard?

Posted on 6/21/2021

I wrote a book several years ago, "Grandma Was Right After All," in which I deconstructed the twenty-five most popular parenting adages of a bygone era. They included “You made this bed, so you...

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The Better the Husband, the Better the Dad

Posted on 6/15/2021

Several columns past, I took to my bully pulpit and excoriated men who are married with children for being fathers first and husbands a distant second (maybe even third behind sports fans). My...

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Four Steps To Give Argumentative Teenager the Last Word (and Restore Sanity)

Posted on 6/8/2021

Q: My fifteen-year-old daughter is slowly driving me insane! She argues with me about everything and always wants the last word. No matter how well I explain the “why?” of a decision to her, she...

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Children Need To Learn That Good Behavior Is Its Own Reward

Posted on 6/1/2021

Q: My husband sometimes gives our very stubborn seven-year-old daughter "prizes" for doing what she is told. The other night, for example, Juliette didn’t like what I chose for her to wear the...

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Dress-up for 3-Year-Olds Is Just Fun

Posted on 5/25/2021

Q: Although we’ve given our three-year-old twins a range of toys to play with, our son prefers playing with vehicles of various kinds while our daughter usually plays with dolls. Over the last...

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Kids Don’t Need Curing, They Need Correcting

Posted on 5/18/2021

No small number of today’s parents view their children through psychological lenses, especially when it comes to misbehavior. Instead of regarding a given misbehavior as simply an error that needs...

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How To Ensure Your Children Sleep on Their Own

Posted on 5/12/2021

Q: I’m a working single mom with a 4-year-old daughter who won’t go to sleep unless I lie down with her. Plus, if she wakes up in the middle of the night to find I’m no longer in her bed, she...

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The Futility of Reasoning With Children

Posted on 5/4/2021

Many if not most if not almost all of today’s parents believe in magic words. They do so because the mental health professional community has for fifty years or so told them that children can be...

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Be the Best Father by Being the Best Husband You Can Be

Posted on 4/27/2021

Guys! Guys! Look, your wives, bless their hearts, are having enough trouble putting their children and priorities into proper perspective without you adding to the muddle. Keep it straight,...

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The Drama of a Child's Feelings

Posted on 4/20/2021

One of the more unfortunate consequences of relying on advice from mental health “experts” concerning parenting matters has been a one-dimensional understanding of child discipline. Because of the...

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Parents of Bullies Can (and Should) Stop the Cycle

Posted on 4/13/2021

A sixth-grade teacher recently shared the following story with me: Two girls in her class were making fun of a classmate whose family was struggling financially. The girl was socially awkward and...

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Mom, Stop Checking Kid’s Homework

Posted on 4/6/2021

Many times have I warned parents of the pitfalls of micromanaging their children’s academic responsibilities lest said children deduce that the responsibilities in question are not theirs at all...

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Micromanagers Are Their Own Worst Enemies

Posted on 3/30/2021

To most folks, micromanagement has to do with tasks or performance. The micromanaging parent, for example, is generally thought of as one who hovers over a child’s homework or academics in...

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Ear Infections and Misbehavior; Boundaries for Boys

Posted on 3/23/2021

Q: My three-year-old is prone to ear infections. When he has one, his behavior deteriorates considerably. He becomes disobedient and given to angry outbursts. When his ears are clear, he’s...

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What's up With Tantrums at Age 5?

Posted on 3/16/2021

Q: My 5-year-old continues to throw tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. His father and I are divorced. I have primary custody. He is with his dad every other weekend, basically. My ex- has very...

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Smartphone Addiction Is Real

Posted on 3/10/2021

Concerning my prior use of the word “addiction” in association with smart phones and children (including teens), some people think I am speaking figuratively. To set the record straight: No, I am...

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What Is COVID Parenting?

Posted on 3/2/2021

What, pray tell, is COVID parenting? I need to know because over the past few months, several journalists have asked if I have any COVID-parenting suggestions. I went online and, sure enough, a...

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Micromanaging Child Always Produces Conflicts

Posted on 2/23/2021

A therapist takes a 10-year-old boy into what she calls “therapy.” The young fellow is belligerently defiant toward his parents and throws titanic tantrums when things don’t go his way. At school...

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Shy Child? Don’t Fret About It

Posted on 2/16/2021

Researchers have found what many personal testimonies will confirm: most shy children, even the most painfully shy of them, are not shy adults. The progression from introversion to extroversion...

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