"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

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Children's Hearts Rule Their Heads

Posted 1 week ago

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Parents Should Keep Kid With Irrational Fears Grounded

Posted on 9/27/2017

Q: Over the past year, our 4-year-old has developed several fears that have become quite disruptive. It started with a fear of dogs, which is inconvenient given that there are lots of dogs in our...

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Treat Kids Like They're No Big Deal

Posted on 9/20/2017

I am a member of the last generation of American children who were no big deal. No one made a big deal over me, ever. Not my mother, my father, or anyone else. For my parents, raising me properly...

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To Stop Yelling, Change Yourself Not Your Kid

Posted on 9/13/2017

Q: I get very frustrated with my children when they don’t obey me, even down to the simplest of instructions, and end up yelling. How does a parent stop yelling at her kids? A: Thank you,...

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Video Game Addiction Worsening Problem for Teens

Posted on 9/6/2017

Responding to my recent columns on video games and smart phones, a reader asks what the problem is, thus proving that these devices can and do cause serious harm to one’s cognitive hardware. He,...

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Authority Is Conveyed With a Proper Presentation

Posted on 8/29/2017

Q: I have taught my 4-year-old son that he is the boss. I have given him too many choices and too many explanations. I’ve allowed him to manipulate, disobey, and disrespect me. Ever since I began...

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Parents Should Not Allow Smartphones

Posted on 8/9/2017

When I was a child, a popular comic strip was "There Oughta Be a Law." It ran in the paper that came to our doorstep every morning and was one of the first things I went to when it was my turn to...

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Control the Controller, Defeat the (Video Game) Addiction

Posted on 7/26/2017

Have you ever heard of an addict who was cured of his or her addiction because someone limited, but did not eliminate, their access to the substance or behavior in question? No, you have not. Is...

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Putting Focus on Marriage is not Always Easy

Posted on 7/21/2017

Several years ago, during a break in a workshop I was conducting in Baton Rouge, La., a fellow approached me and said, "After reading you, we took your advice and put our marriage first. We are...

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It Takes Two

Posted on 7/14/2017

The storm gathered upstairs while I sat reading the paper. It began as a rumbling confusion of voices, suddenly punctuated by a gruff, insistent, “GET OUTTA HERE!” Then came a piercing screech....

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A Little 'Vitamin N' Can Go a Long Way

Posted on 7/12/2017

I call it “Vitamin N.” It is the word children need to hear most, but it is currently the word children hear least. It is arguably the most character-building word in the English language, but...

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Truly Strict Parents Do Their Children a Great Service

Posted on 7/10/2017

<i>Rules Insure a Child's Physical and Emotional Well-Being</i> Few words in the parlance of "parenting" have been so generally misused and misunderstood as "strict." Many people, for example,...

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Are You a Parenting Wreck? This Quiz Will Tell You

Posted on 7/4/2017

Do you need a parent-nanny? Not a nanny for your child, mind you, but one for YOU! I recently introduced my readers to what I call “upside-down, inside-out and turned around...

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Parenting Magazine's Time-Out Technique 'Even Worse Than Before'

Posted on 6/27/2017

For several reasons, I am not a fan of parenting magazines. First, they reinforce the impression that child-rearing is a very complicated affair, requiring consulting with “experts” on a regular...

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America Needs a Parenting Retro-Revolution

Posted on 6/21/2017

I was honored to be a guest on my good friend Dennis Prager’s syndicated radio program the other day and as anyone who is familiar with my point-of-view on parenting matters will appreciate, much...

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"It's Not Fair!"

Posted on 6/16/2017

<i> From <b>Parent Power!</b>, copyright 1981 by John Rosemond. (out of print) </i> "It's not fair!" I hear that a lot these days. In fact, I've been listening to variations on the same...

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Upside-Down, Inside-Out and Backwards Parent-View Disorder

Posted on 6/13/2017

Many of today’s parents suffer (and suffer they do, albeit a good number seem to feel their suffering is a sign of conscientious parenting) from what I call “upside-down, inside-out and backwards...

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What Constitutes a Good Mother?

Posted on 5/16/2017

By the time this column appears in most papers to which it is distributed, Mother’s Day 2017 will have come and gone. Nonetheless, I’m going to talk about mothers—one in particular. ...

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More Thoughts on ADHD

Posted on 5/9/2017

I fully expected my recent column on ADHD—in which I expanded upon noted Harvard psychologist (emeritus) Jerome Kagan’s contention that it is an “invention”—to stir the pot. Kagan said what I’ve...

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An Open Letter to American Parents

Posted on 5/2/2017

Dear American Parent (hopefully, you will recognize yourself), It’s high time someone reminded you of the adage “The road to ‘Hades’ is paved with good intentions.” I...

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Kids Are Happiest When Obedient

Posted on 4/25/2017

Q: I’ve read enough of your writings to know that you believe children should be obedient, that they should do what they are told. I want my children to think for themselves and to question...

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Why Kids Need Hobbies

Posted on 4/6/2017

Not long ago, speaking to a large midwestern audience, I asked, "How many of you, when you were children, had a hobby?" Nearly everyone raised a hand. I then asked them to keep their hands in the...

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The 'Invention' of ADHD

Posted on 4/4/2017

In 2009, pediatrician and former medical school professor Bose Ravenel and I published “The Diseasing of America’s Children” (Thomas Nelson), in which we argued from facts that ADHD and other...

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Vacationing With Kids

Posted on 3/30/2017

Here's a strange practice: Two adults, married to one another, work at difficult jobs for 50 weeks, thus earning a two-week vacation. To reward themselves for their efforts, they arrange to spend...

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The Fundamental Rules of Parenting

Posted on 3/28/2017

Q: You seem to blame all of America’s parenting woes on mental health professionals and imply that if parents still raised kids as did people in the 1950s and before, they wouldn’t be having the...

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