"A child who can't take "no" for an answer always has parents who can't say it and mean it. "

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One Reason Why Marriages Go Bad: Postnatal Marital Amnesia

Posted 5 days ago

Just about every marriage has its share of bad times; then again, some marriages simply go bad. The reasons for the latter include abuse, adultery, alcoholism (and other forms of chemical...

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Simple Solutions for Teens, Tantrums and Smartphones

Posted 1 week ago

Q: Our 15-year-old daughter is very demanding and, to be honest, self-centered. One of the things she does is ask one of us for something and demand an instant decision, as in, “Can I go to the...

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9-Year-Old Daughter Says She Doesn't Like School

Posted 2 weeks ago

Q: Our 9-year-old daughter recently announced to us that she doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t want to do the work. We’ve been unable to get a coherent reason out of her and...

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The AAP on Discipline

Posted 3 weeks ago

The prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics has just released (November 2018) a policy statement claiming that "Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and...

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Public Schools in Decline Thanks to Discipline Fads

Posted on 11/13/2018

For the record, I believe in the concept of public (aka, taxpayer-funded, government, “free”) schools. I attended public schools and obtained an excellent education that challenged my intellect...

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Go Ahead and Send Kids Outside

Posted on 11/11/2018

Several years ago, I wrote that my mother's favorite after-school activity for me was "go outside and find something to do." I said it was then, and still is, the most valuable way a child can...

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There’s Something Happening Here …

Posted on 11/7/2018

One of my favorite rock songs of all time (“Hello, I’m John, and I’m a rock ‘n’ roll addict”) is “For What It’s Worth,” written by Stephen Stills and originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield. It...

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Foundation to Parenting Begins With Marriage

Posted on 10/31/2018

In an opinion piece recently featured on FoxNews.com, Jonathan Pokluda explicates his Ten Habits of Extraordinary Parents. Pokluda, a teaching pastor at a mega-church in Texas, and his wife are in...

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Determinism Muddies Parental Judgement

Posted on 10/24/2018

As the current school year kicked off, I began hearing the same-old, same-old report from teachers and principals: children who have never lied. At least, that is what the parents of said children...

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Make 'Em an Offer They Can't Refuse

Posted on 10/16/2018

When I was a child, my most important possession was my bicycle, followed closely by my radio. My bike was how I got around. I rode it to school, friend’s houses, pick-up...

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The Realities of Parenting

Posted on 10/10/2018

PARENTING REALITY, PART ONE: It is all but inevitable that after rattling off a list of provocative, sociopathic stuff his or her child is doing and usually has been doing for quite some time, a...

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More Musings Over Morning Coffee

Posted on 10/2/2018

More musings over morning coffee: FROM THE TRUTH VS. “YOUR TRUTH” DEPARTMENT: The former is grounded in verifiable facts; the latter is the deceptive product of emotion. The...

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Toilet Training Is Not Rocket Science

Posted on 9/26/2018

Talking today’s mother through her first experience with toilet training is akin to talking someone off a ledge. Both situations involve massive anxiety, high drama and lots of yelling and...

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A Few Thoughts Over Morning Coffee

Posted on 9/18/2018

A few thoughts over morning coffee… From the Feedback Department: Certain recent columns of mine have drawn a spike in reader responses, both pro and con. My comments on the...

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Exchange Arrangements Stressful to Pre-Teen Daughter

Posted on 9/12/2018

Q: I am reading your book “The Well-Behaved Child” and have a question that it doesn’t address. I am a single mom with children from two different fathers. One of my ex-husbands (my son’s father)...

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What's a Young Teacher to Do About Discipline?

Posted on 9/4/2018

As another school year begins, one of many pertinent questions is “Has the per child or per-teacher (it doesn’t matter) rate of verbal and emotional abuse by teachers on students increased...

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The Pre-K Debate

Posted on 8/28/2018

It has long been known, but only spoken of in hushed tones by university professors sitting in darkened rooms wearing Fat Elvis masks, that pre-Kindergarten “jump-start” (aka, “push-down”)...

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The Problem of Parent-Child Codependency

Posted on 8/22/2018

An early childhood educator of thirty-eight years standing left a message asking if I had advice for encouraging cooperation from parents. She reports what every veteran teacher (defined as having...

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Debunking Hot Potty Training Myths

Posted on 8/14/2018

“Potty training is a nightmare.” So begins advice from Meghan Leahy, advice columnist for The Washington Post. More accurately, potty training has, of late, BECOME a nightmare, thanks to advice of...

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Putting Child First Can Ruin Marriage

Posted on 8/8/2018

Q: I am stepfather to my wife’s only child, age 8, from her first marriage. My wife always and in every way puts her son before our marriage. We went through counseling several years ago and...

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Friendship Isn't a Vital Aspect of Parenthood

Posted on 8/1/2018

When Baby Boomers get together we often talk about our observations of parenting in these postmodern times, one of which is that today’s parents seem, as a rule, to want to be liked by their...

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Kids Acting Up? Relax, It's Normal

Posted on 7/24/2018

Most of the stuff today's parents worry about - and let's face facts...the worrier in question, the worrier supreme, is almost always the mother (not because of some weakness, but simply because...

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Happy Campers: Why Summer Camps Are Good for Children

Posted on 7/17/2018

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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Let’s Revisit ‘Psychological Thinking’

Posted on 7/17/2018

I call it “psychological thinking,” referring to the tendency among parents of the last fifty years or so to attribute bad behavior on the part of a child to so-called “issues” that are thought to...

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I Spy Toilet-Training Atrocities

Posted on 7/10/2018

Strolling through my go-to grocery store the other day, I happened down the Baby Products aisle where I spied packages of toilet-training pants featuring pictures of happy children who looked at...

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Parents, Stop Trying to Referee Kids' Fights

Posted on 6/27/2018

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 on 6/20/2018

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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