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Are Parents Responsible for the How Their Kids Turn Out?

Posted 3 days ago

Are parents responsible for the sort of people their children become? That’s this week’s question, and the answer is no, albeit equivocally. Several parents have recently written me...

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Is There a Child and Teen Mental Health Crisis?

Posted 1 week ago

I have long maintained that the significant per-capita increase in child and adolescent mental health problems since the 1960s – a ten-fold increase in suicide, for example – is due to the...

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The Greatest and Most Painful of Gifts

Posted on 6/2/2020

In 1972, a Stanford University psychologist conducted a study in which young children, individually, were offered either a small but immediate reward (a marshmallow or a pretzel) or a doubled...

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Appreciate the Odd Among Us

Posted on 5/26/2020

I have come up with a new psychological diagnosis, one that I won’t, however, be submitting for approval to the powers that be: simply, odd. My “odd” is to be distinguished from ODD, the acronym...

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The Value of a Reward

Posted on 5/19/2020

Psychologist B. F. Skinner, the formulator of behavior modification theory, was attempting to prove that the same principles that govern the behavior of amoeba, planaria, rats, dogs, and monkeys...

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‘Good Mommy Club’ Does No Favors for Kids

Posted on 5/12/2020

The biggest problem in the life of today’s all-too typical mother is herself. She is her own worst enemy. Them’s fightin’ words, I know, but please, hold the tomatoes and other vegetables and bear...

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Keep It Simple With Your Kids During Quarantine

Posted on 4/14/2020

One website is titled “How to Cope with Kids During Coronavirus.” Another, featuring a staged photo of an obviously frazzled mom with a toddler on her lap, tells the reader that “Parents are...

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The Problem With 'Parenting'

Posted on 4/7/2020

I am convinced that “parenting” causes otherwise rational people – people whose thought processes are not typically driven by emotion – to lose their minds. If that is not the case, then why, ever...

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More on Picky Eaters

Posted on 3/31/2020

Per the old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” it may be that the most interesting of times are those when people do not want to hear the truth – as in the present, or so it...

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Keep Calm and Carry On

Posted on 3/24/2020

Vital to a child’s sense of well-being are parents who act competent to provide adequate provision and protection under any and all circumstances. I often refer to that obligation...

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The Cure for Picky Eating Is Not Therapy

Posted on 3/17/2020

Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662) said there is no idea so bizarre that a philosopher has not advanced it. These days, the philosophers in question are psychologists and the bizarre ideas are their...

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Proper Discipline of a Child Is an Act of Love for One’s Neighbor

Posted on 3/10/2020

I’ve learned a new word! My daughter informs me that according to some mothers I am guilty of “mom-shaming” and should be ashamed of myself. I am an unashamed mom-shamer because I happen to...

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School Anti-Bullying Policies Are a Farce

Posted on 3/3/2020

Q: We homeschooled our son through the sixth grade. This past fall, per his wishes, we sent him to a public school for the seventh grade. Last week, he was attacked by the class bully. This...

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The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!) - Part 2

Posted on 2/11/2020

This is the second in a series of three columns on the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!). Last week, I identified giving children explanations for parental instructions,...

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The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!) - Part 1

Posted on 2/4/2020

One of the “secrets” to a happy, healthy emotional life is to identify one’s bad, nonproductive habits and replace them with habits – slowly built – that are functional. That same principle is of...

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Common Sense Comes From Heart, Not Head

Posted on 1/28/2020

Q: I’m new to reading you, but it appears that you don’t have much in common with other psychologists. You don’t agree much with their approach to children and parenting. Correct? A: ...

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Punishment Driven by Emotion Accomplishes Nothing

Posted on 1/21/2020

Q: Your recent series on punishment was thought-provoking. I agree children should have consequences when they misbehave. Nonetheless, would you please clarify when punishment becomes excessive?...

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Punishing Children for Bad Behavior Is Not Bad Parenting

Posted on 1/7/2020

This is the last (for a while, anyway) of three columns in which I take on the absurd notion that punishing children for bad behavior is bad parenting. There is commonsense and there is nonsense...

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Punishment Does Not Cause Mental Health Issues

Posted on 12/31/2019

This is the second in a series on “parent-babble,” as in the same-old, same-old nonsense the mental health industry has been passing off as sound parenting advice since the late 1960s. ...

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Mindful Parenting Is Nothing More Than Postmodern Psychobabble

Posted on 12/24/2019

I am often asked how long I intend to keep this up, as in writing this column, writing books, and speaking on childrearing and family matters. My answer: As long as they keep it up; “it” being the...

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Mr. Rogers Epitomized Adult Who Wants to Be Friend to Children

Posted on 12/17/2019

With the release of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” inquiring minds want to know: What did I think of Mr. Rogers? I never met the man, but in the early days of my...

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Maternabling is Destructive to Parent-Child Relationship

Posted on 12/10/2019

“You’ve accused mothers of being in co-dependent relationships with their children,” she (a journalist) said, then asked, “What is co-dependency, exactly, and how does it apply to today’s...

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"The Doctor" Is the Tool Every Parent Needs

Posted on 10/15/2019

I have good news for parents: You do not need more than a few tools in your disciplinary tool-bag. One especially valuable tool, one that belongs in every modern home, is the “Doctor.” The Doctor...

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Replace Psychological With Old Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 9/24/2019

As my regular readers know, I am a certified heretic in my field: child and family psychology. To the point, I am convinced that psychological parenting theory, which began to inform American...

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What's in a Name?

Posted on 9/17/2019

Q: I want to legally change our daughter’s name. No one pronounces it correctly and I think it’s going to cause her more problems as she gets older. My husband doesn’t want to, however. He says...

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Co-Sleeping Is Detrimental to Marriage

Posted on 9/11/2019

A New York writer named Jonathan Daniel Stern, writing in the August 7, 2019, issue of the e-zine “Fatherly,” laments that co-sleeping has destroyed his marriage. As best as I can figure, Stern...

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Methylphenidates for ADHD Affect Brain Function

Posted on 8/27/2019

I’ve always promised myself that this column would never get “academic,” but I see no choice with respect to the issue at hand, so here goes…as simple as I can make it. ...

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Loving Parents Who Set Boundaries Best for Adopted Kids

Posted on 8/21/2019

Q: A Christian (but very liberal) adoption agency recently turned down our application because they disapprove of our parenting approach, which is your parenting approach. We told them we...

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Today's Parents Afraid Kids Won't Like Them

Posted on 8/13/2019

Short questions I’ve been asked of late (mostly by journalists) and proportionately short answers: Q: Is there a single most important thing parents should be teaching during their children’s...

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Alpha Speech: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Posted on 8/6/2019

Q: Some friends of ours who’ve read a couple of your books and attended one of your talks told us that they solved some major discipline problems with their 4-year-old just by using what they...

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Teach Child to Gain Control of Feelings

Posted on 7/30/2019

As I crisscross the country in public speaker mode, I poll people in various demographic categories. I ask how they were raised, what their parents were like, how their parents disciplined, how...

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Autism in Its Classical Form Is Very Real

Posted on 7/9/2019

I am perennially asked whether I do or do not “believe” in autism. I suspect that on most occasions, it’s a test. Nonetheless, it’s a fair question that usually takes this form: “I know you don’t...

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The Most Powerful Love Is Tough Love

Posted on 7/2/2019

Q: On several occasions over the last six months or so, our 12-year-old son has told us he’s been thinking about suicide. Apparently, he’s been the target of a couple of school bullies and...

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Family Is Family, No Matter the Prefix

Posted on 6/25/2019

Q: We have two married daughters, one of whom is adopted. The biological daughter has two children who, we recently discovered, have been told that it is wrong to call our adopted daughter “aunt...

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The Definition of Bullying Has Been 'Dumbed Down'

Posted on 6/18/2019

Q: Our son is 13 years old and in the 7th grade. Last week he came home from school complaining about how a few of his friends have been bullying him. These same boys were at his birthday party...

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Fathers as Important to Parenting as Mothers

Posted on 6/9/2019

I am the father to two grown children, so I know a few things about fatherhood. I know, for instance, that fathers are just as important as mothers to the raising of children. I also know fathers...

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Science Doesn't Have All the Answers When It Comes to Raising Children

Posted on 5/28/2019

Q: I appreciate your traditional, call it old-fashioned approach to child rearing, but I’m a tad confused and hope you can help straighten out my thinking. I’ve been reading your column for maybe...

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We're Living in a Child's World

Posted on 5/21/2019

Concerning major behavior problems, parents often tell me they’ve “tried everything.” In more than forty years of doing this “parenting expert” gig, I’ve never run across a parent who was telling...

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Use 'Alpha Speech' to Get Child to Obey

Posted on 5/14/2019

Q: My 7-year-old son, an only child, is giving me fits. He’s overly active and will not cooperate in any instruction I give him. In addition, if I tell him not to do something, it’s a guarantee...

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Grandparents Are the Glue That Bonds the Family

Posted on 5/7/2019

“When are you going to write a book on grandparenting?” is a question asked of me by lots of folks, most of whom – no surprise here – are grandparents. My stock answer: “I...

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Freedom Lost on the Children of Today

Posted on 4/30/2019

My wife and I spent two days in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, recently. As we always do, we walked around my boyhood neighborhood – the South-of-Broad historic district (back then,...

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Child Raising vs Parenting

Posted on 4/23/2019

There is child raising and there is “parenting.” America replaced the former with the latter in the 1970s and it’s been downhill ever since. My mother – a single parent during...

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Parenting in an Age of Technology: Video Game Addiction

Posted on 4/16/2019

Julie Jargon is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Heretofore, she has written about food companies like Starbucks and McDonalds. As of April 2, however, Ms. Jargon is writing a WSJ column...

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Key to Effective Discipline Is Right Attitude

Posted on 4/9/2019

“We’ve tried everything!” is one of the more common testimonials I hear from parents who’ve just described persistent and highly vexing discipline problems with a child or children. ...

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Confronting 'Biochemical Imbalance' in Children

Posted on 4/2/2019

The Wall Street Journal recently (3/16/2019) printed a letter-to-the-editor in which Upland, California psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Charlene Moskovitz promotes the alleged benefits of medication...

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On Attachment Parenting

Posted on 3/19/2019

“So, what do you think of attachment parenting? My inquisitor was a 30-something mom. I sensed she was testing me, trying to determine whether I was worth her time. “Not...

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You Can't Win 'Em All

Posted on 3/5/2019

I’ve been writing this column for forty-three years and speaking publicly for nearly as long. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that when it comes to my subject matter, you can’t win ‘em...

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Parenting Should Not Be About Instant Gratification

Posted on 2/24/2019

A friend of mine named Scott shared an absolutely brilliant thought with me when I dropped in on him unannounced at his workplace, a bank, the other day. Everyone thinks all I...

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A Look at the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Posted on 2/18/2019

A journalist recently asked me for the single biggest mistake being made by today’s parents. I was tempted to say, “Having children,” but stopped myself because even if I’d followed up with “Just...

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Out With 'Parenting,' in With Child-Rearing

Posted on 1/29/2019

There is “parenting” and then there is bringing up, rearing, or raising children. The difference is night and day; so are the outcomes, short- and long-term, to all concerned, meaning every single...

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