"If your child accuses you of being "mean," you must have done something right. "

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Why? Because I Said So

Posted 4 days ago

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 1 week ago

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 2 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

“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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Discipline vs. Punishment

Posted on 2/9/2021

Misusing terminology is not simply a matter of semantics. A person who confuses the meaning of words is likely to behave accordingly. That occurred to me during a conversation with...

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Why Isn't Your Child Sleeping in Her Own Bed?

Posted on 2/2/2021

Q: In a recent column, you described our five-year-old daughter. She is in bed at 6:30 in the evening but usually wakes up during the night and wants to talk to us about whatever is on her mind....

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The Correlation Between Food and Behavior

Posted on 1/26/2021

A headache does not mean one has a brain tumor, but some brain tumors do cause headaches. Likewise, ADHD behaviors do not mean one has a food allergy, albeit some food allergies...

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The More You Try To Make Child Happy, the More Unhappy They Will Be

Posted on 1/19/2021

Making children happy became a parenting goal in the early 1970s. The paradox, as everyone with a modicum of commonsense knows, is that the more effort parents put into making a child happy, the...

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After 45 Years, Still Advocating for Old-Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 1/12/2021

2021 marks the forty-fifth year I’ve been writing this column. I’ve been told it is the longest-running syndicated column written continuously by one author. That takes “Dear Abby” out of...

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Advice for Preschool Teachers

Posted on 1/5/2021

Q: I teach 3- and 4-year-olds in a childcare center in Australia. I always have a few difficult children in any group and the book in which you describe Alpha Speech [The Well-Behaved Child] has...

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Beware of 'The Protocol'

Posted on 12/29/2020

Q: Our son is seven years old and in the second grade. His school went virtual this past Spring and we see no end to it, not in the near term at least. When he was going to a brick-and-mortar...

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Today’s Kids Suffer a Lack of Common Sense in Their Lives

Posted on 12/22/2020

A journalist asks, “What is the biggest challenge facing today’s children?” “The real world,” I said. For the last fifty years or so, good parenting has been defined...

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Leverage an End To Daughter's Defiance

Posted on 12/14/2020

Q: Our 14-year-old daughter desperately wants to begin wearing makeup, which all, and I mean all, of her classmates are allowed to do. We have held off not only because of our beliefs but also...

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'Hand in Hand' Parenting is Pure Psychobabble

Posted on 12/8/2020

“Hand in Hand” parenting is the latest iteration of progressive (nouveau, unverified) childrearing. I became aware of HIH several weeks ago, courtesy of a grandmother whose daughter and son-in-law...

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Don't Be Afraid of Your Children

Posted on 12/1/2020

“Are you afraid of your child/children?” I query folks who testify to children who frequently engage in flagrant antisocial behavior – tantrums, brazen disrespect, and belligerent disobedience...

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Adoption Is About Compassion

Posted on 11/18/2020

Nearly every time I talk to an adoptive parent, I become saddened, disgusted, angry or each in turn. It recently happened again. The parent in question is the mother of a pre-teen...

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Grandparents, Parents and Discipline Discord

Posted on 11/10/2020

Q: We sent our daughter a recent article of yours hoping it might cause her to rethink her approach to raising our grandson. It was not well-received and she is no longer speaking to us. The...

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On Picky Eaters

Posted on 11/4/2020

It’s funny, sort of, the things some parents want to believe. An example concerns children who’ve developed full-blown “eating disorders” by age three. “My child was exhibiting food...

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Moodiness Is Merely a Bad Emotional Habit

Posted on 10/27/2020

Living with an emotionally dramatic child is no fun. They throw wet blankets over nearly every family gathering or outing. Little is right in their lives and attempts to cheer them up generally...

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Parents Can Recover From Not Getting Over the 'Hump of Parenting'

Posted on 10/20/2020

Q: In a recent column, you identified toddlerhood as “the hump of parenting.” As a grandmother who managed to raise five kids who were out of the house in their early twenties and are responsible...

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The More You Say “No," the Less Effective It Becomes

Posted on 10/13/2020

Q: Our first child, a boy, just turned two. Per your advice, he is toilet trained and eating whatever I serve. Before he was born, we determined that we were not going to raise a picky eater. Our...

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Trump the Hump of Toddlerhood

Posted on 10/6/2020

Q: In your column of last week, you referred to the “hump of toddlerhood.” Can you please explain further? A: In using the word “hump,” I’m equating chronological toddlerhood – roughly,...

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