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Micromanaging Weakens Child's Success in School

Posted on 8/22/2017

Q: Our son attends first grade at the local public school. At the beginning of the school year, all the parents were basically told that we are expected to go to the school’s parent website every...

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Take the Drama out of Math Homework

Posted on 8/30/2016

Q: Our sixth-grade son has always been an excellent math student. This year, however, he melts down every time he does math homework. Within minutes, he becomes highly agitated, begins crying,...

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Selecting the Right Private School

Posted on 8/16/2016

Q: We are looking for a private school for our 4-year-old. Regardless of the school we ultimately choose, we want to keep him there through eighth grade at least. We live in an suburban area so...

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Misplacing a Sense of Purpose

Posted on 12/9/2014

Q: My buddy’s wife walks their 11-year-old into the classroom each day. Then she takes out his assignments and helps him get ready. We’re talking about a very capable kid who has no...

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Pull-Ups & Adoption Age

Posted on 9/16/2014

Q: My 23-month-old son does well with potty training when we’re at home. We use a “potty bell” and he goes every 90 minutes or so. When we’re away from home, however, he seems clueless. He...

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Impulse Control: A Hallmark of Life

Posted on 8/5/2014

A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was twelve years old and wanted a Mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I’d say no. “But is it really that...

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To Help or Not To Help?

Posted on 6/3/2014

I recently asked a group of 50 teachers: “Raise your hand if you agree that when a child comes to an adult asking for help with an academic problem, the adult should help.” ...

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Good Parenting Decisions

Posted on 5/20/2014

Q: For the first five years of her life, it was just me and my now 13-year-old daughter. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. I wasn’t consistent; I didn’t hold her accountable; I was an...

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Too Old to Cuddle?

Posted on 4/15/2014

Q: My 11-year old son, an only child, continues to ask me to "snuggle" with him and scratch his back at bed time. This is a time for us to read aloud, chat about concerns or questions, and say...

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The "Hang in There Principle"

Posted on 11/26/2013

Q: My 11-year-old son cuts corners on everything. If he does a chore, he'll leave the cleaning products behind. If his bed his hard to make he hides the sheet in the closet and throws the blanket...

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Their Biology Makes Them Do It!

Posted on 10/22/2013

The "their biology makes them do it!" hypothesis concerning the oft-horrid behavior of today's teens keeps on rolling along, charming parents of said teens into the comforting belief that...

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What No Child Has Ever Said!

Posted on 10/8/2013

Q: My 5-year-old daughter has developed a bad habit of arguing with me whenever I refuse her something, anything. Believe me when I tell you she is relentless. She will continue to argue until...

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Benefit of the Doubt

Posted on 9/3/2013

The statute of limitations has expired concerning the following tale, so I can finally tell it. In October of my now 40-something year-old son Eric's seventh-grade year, he informed me...

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Mother-Son-Dance?

Posted on 1/28/2013

Q: Our two sons are in the fifth and sixth grades at a private school that just held a father-daughter dance. Now the school has announced that it's putting on a mother-son dance so as not to...

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Leave the Homework to the Child

Posted on 8/23/2011

<i>As the new school year begins, it's time for me, once again, to make my perennial case against parental involvement in homework.</i> First, it is significant to note that as...

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12-Year-Old Girl Running in Circles

Posted on 8/16/2011

Daughter is running in circles - literally Q. Our 12-year-old daughter seems driven to run in circles. For years now, often many times a day, she will suddenly start jogging in a big circle...

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11-Year-Old Girl Obsessed with Getting Dirty or Wet

Posted on 8/9/2011

Backpack full of trouble? Q. Our 11-year-old daughter is obsessed about getting dirty or being wet, to the point where she won't leave the house without carrying a backpack with a change of...

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Kids Hitting Parents

Posted on 2/22/2011

A hidden abuse problem: Kids who assault parents One of the more heartbreaking consequences of the "psychological" parenting philosophy and style that American parents began adopting in the...

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12-Year-Old Girl Using Baby Talk

Posted on 12/14/2010

Stop the baby talk Q: When she is happy or receiving a lot of my attention, my 12-year-old daughter often speaks in "baby talk." Examples: "I wub you" and "You my mommy." When she's in one of...

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Preteen Boy Melancholy Issue

Posted on 11/9/2010

Parents can't 'fix' disposition One of the defining beliefs of this technological age is that with enough ingenuity and perseverance, any problem can be solved. It's a misbelief, actually,...

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Fifth Grade Boy School Issues

Posted on 11/2/2010

Parent wishes school would act on discipline Q: Our son's fifth-grade teacher has recently sent home notes to the effect that our little darling isn't paying attention and is missing homework...

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12-Year-Old Girl Tone of Voice

Posted on 9/7/2010

Child's requests drip with coating of attitude Q: "It's how you say it." I've preached this consistently for years with no improvement. My 12-year-old will ask me a question or ask me to help...

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Sixth Grade Son Excessive Homework Load

Posted on 8/3/2010

How much homework is too much in sixth grade? Q: My son will be starting sixth grade at a new public charter school. This school uses a classical curriculum that does not draw from pop culture...

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6th Grader Required to Watch TV by School

Posted on 10/20/2009

Along the same lines: A mother relates that her daughter's sixth-grade science teacher assigned the class to watch "American Idol." The mother writes, "We told our daughter to forget it, it wasn't...

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11-Year-Old Boy Dealing with School Bully

Posted on 8/18/2009

DEALING WITH A SCHOOL BULLY Q: Here we are, not more than a week into the school year, and there's an 11-year-old boy classmate who is beginning to bully my son - pushing him in the hall,...

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12-Year-Old Boy Girlfriend Advice

Posted on 7/28/2009

DON'T HOUND PRETEEN SON OVER PUPPY LOVE Q.Our 12-year- old son likes a girl who is in the same grade. We told him it's okay to like a girl and have a pleasant conversation with her in a group...

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Consequences Do Not Compel Human Beings

Posted on 12/23/2008

CONSEQUENCES DON'T FORCE GOOD BEHAVIOR American parents believe in behavior modification. They believe that the same principles that govern the behavior of a dog also govern human...

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Parents' Hard-Line Stance Will Serve Their Sons Well

Posted on 12/9/2008

PARENTS' HARD-LINE STANCE WILL SERVE THEIR SONS WELL Every so often, and usually just as I am about to resign myself to the folly of postmodern parenting, I run across a story involving parents...

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Give Older Children Some Freedom

Posted on 10/21/2008

GIVE OLDER CHILDREN SOME FREEDOM TO ROAM From the time I was 12, my parents would let me walk from our house in Westchester, Ill., to the bus stop five blocks away, catch a bus to the...

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12-Year-Old Boy Unmotivated

Posted on 4/29/2008

PARENTS OBSESS OVER SO-CALLED FLAWS Today's parents tend to believe that behavior, any behavior, can be modified by properly manipulating reward and punishment. That was in fact the utopian...

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Boy Siblings Speak Mean to One Another

Posted on 3/18/2008

WHEN CHILDREN SQUABBLE, IT'S USUALLY BEST NOT TO INTERVENE Q. Should I punish my boys - ages 12, 9, and 8 - when they speak very meanly to one another? They say things like "You're stupid" and...

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School Uniforms Restrict Kids Choices

Posted on 8/14/2007

SCHOOL UNIFORMS RESTRICT KIDS' CHOICES (THAT'S A GOOD THING) Whenever I hear parents arguing for their children's "right of expression," I can't help but suspect that these are parents who...

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Ticket Method for Discipline

Posted on 5/1/2007

WANT A WAY TO TRAIN CHILDREN TO BEHAVE? HERE'S THE TICKET Q: John, several other parents have told me about your "ticket" method for dealing with misbehavior, but I wonder if I can get it...

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8th Grader - Defiant, School Issues, and Video Games

Posted on 2/13/2007

THROW AWAY THE XBOX, AND YOU'LL CHANGE SON'S ATTITUDE Q:Our eighth-grade son is obviously intelligent, and is in his school's gifted and talented program. Furthermore, he scored in the top 5...

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Pay 12-Year-Old to Babysit?

Posted on 8/1/2006

Pay son to baby-sit? Q: Our 12-year-old son baby-sits his two sisters, ages 8 and 3. We are not sure whether we should pay him and, if so, the amount, or if we should expect him to perform this...

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It's Never Too Late to Teach the Three R's

Posted on 3/17/2006

In order for a child to become successful at the three R's of reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, their parents must first teach them the three R's of respect, responsibility, and...

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11- and 14-Year-Old Computer Use

Posted on 9/13/2005

SUPERVISE CHILDREN'S INTERNET USE ESTABLISH FIRM GUIDELINES, AND THAT SHOULD INCLUDE LOOKING AT THEIR E-MAILS Q: My husband and I have allowed our 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son...

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Back and Forth Homeschooling 6th Grader

Posted on 2/3/2004

Q: I have home-schooled my sixth-grade daughter on and off through elementary school. This school year, I home-schooled her until October, at which time she said she wanted to go to "real" school...

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Children and Computers

Posted on 5/27/2003

LIMIT KIDS' PC USE TILL THEY'RE LITERATE Were he alive today, Samuel Taylor Coleridge might well have written, "PCs, PCs in every class, and no child is made to think." Psychologist Jane...

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10-Year-Old Bullied by 13- and 15-Year-Old

Posted on 1/1/2002

LET THE LAW STEP IN TO HANDLE BULLIES Sometimes, I hear a parenting story that just warms my heart, that just makes me want to jump up and shout "Amen!" Sometimes, having forgotten that I am no...

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9- and 12-Year-Old Don't Want to do Chores

Posted on 2/13/2001

NAGGING IS WRONG TACTIC IN CHORE WARS Q. Our 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter share animal chores on our family farm in the evenings. Every night we have to remind them, and they always...

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12-Year-Old in Danger of Failing 6th Grade

Posted on 2/15/2000

ONLY YOUR 6TH-GRADER CAN DECIDE HE SHOULD GET SERIOUS ABOUT SCHOOL Q. Our 12-year-old son is in danger of failing the sixth grade and, as usual, doesn't seem to care. Everyone agrees he's...

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11-Year-Old Disobeys Mom Concerning Movie

Posted on 9/21/1999

MORAL OF THIS STORY: STAND FIRM, PARENTS The following is "Parenting at its Best" - a true tale of parenting courage under fire. Kate and Will (not their real names) have three children,...

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12-Year-Old Athlete Not Maintaining Good Grades

Posted on 7/21/1998

GRADES SLIPPED; MUST CHILD MISS SOCCER TOURNAMENT? Q. Four years ago, we adopted an 8-year-old girl with multiple developmental and behavior problems. Prior to joining our family, she had been...

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School Shootings: Guns are not the Problem

Posted on 6/9/1998

GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM; NEW LACK OF DISCIPLINE IS For reasons obvious to all except those who've been on an extended media fast, the 1997-98 school year may well become known as the "Year of...

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Couple Wants to Know How to Tell 6- and 9-Year Old About Divorce

Posted on 4/22/1997

IF YOU'RE DIVORCING, BREAK NEWS TO KIDS GENTLY, CLEARLY, QUICKLY Q. My wife and I have decided to get a divorce. We haven't told our two children, ages 9 and 6, and want to do so in as...

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Sibling Conflict: 3 Siblings Do Not Like One Another

Posted on 11/10/1995

SIBLING RIVALRY: YOU CAN CONTROL IT Q. Our three children, ages 15, 13, and 11, constantly bicker with one another. We've tried talking to them about how important it is to have good...

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11-Year-Old is Angry and Resentful Toward Mom

Posted on 2/4/1994

DAUGHTER IS JUST PLAIN DISRESPECTFUL Q. My 11-year-old daughter has recently started expressing a lot of anger and bottled-up resentment toward me. Just this morning, for example, I remarked...

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6th Grader Having Problem with Teacher

Posted on 1/21/1994

WHO DO YOU SUPPORT IN KID-TEACHER CONFLICT? GO WITH AUTHORITY; BACK THE ADULT Q. My daughter is having what I can only call a "personality conflict'' with one of her sixth-grade teachers. I...

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