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The Realities of Smartphones and Teenagers

Posted today

A mother in California seeks her pastor’s opinion on allowing her fifteen-year-old son to have a smartphone. The boy claims that if he can’t use social media, he will have no friends. Mom is...

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Why Small Classrooms Are Overrated

Posted on 5/5/2020

No rational person would argue that the smaller the class size, the better, right?” asked the radio talk show host. “I think I’m a rational person,” I said, “and I can offer proof...

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In Defense of Homeschooling

Posted on 4/28/2020

In his November 1863 address at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the men who lost their lives on that battlefield had done so in order that “government of the people, by the people and...

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Father's Visitation With Child Should Be Allowed

Posted on 1/15/2020

Q: Our ten-year-old granddaughter lives with us. We have custody of her but her father, our son, is now asking us for visitation privileges. I probably don’t need to tell you that both he and his...

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It Is Not Necessary to Help Your Child With Homework

Posted on 11/26/2019

After a recent talk in South Florida, women came up to me in droves asking, “How much should I help my children with their schoolwork?” That not one man asked the question...

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In Today's Parenting, Feelings Trump the Truth

Posted on 11/19/2019

Okay, it’s time to set the record straight, confront the gorilla in the proverbial room, call a spade a spade, and so on and so forth. I recently published a column on “The...

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Children Do Best in School When Parents Do Not Monitor Progress

Posted on 10/29/2019

The Portal. It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, the gateway to an alternative universe that lures, then traps the unwary in its nefarious web of illusion, where things are...

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Teenage Girls and Boys Respond to Technology Differently

Posted on 10/2/2019

Q: We held off giving our oldest daughter a smartphone until she was fifteen, the age at which we allowed her older brother to have one. We read your column weekly in our hometown newspaper and...

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Teen Not a Suicide Risk

Posted on 7/23/2019

My recent column pertaining to a 12-year-old who told his parents he’d thought about suicide several times over the past six months stirred a fair number of folks to respond. Feelings toward the...

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How to Talk to Teens About Internet Pornography

Posted on 7/16/2019

Q: We recently discovered that our 12-year-old has been visiting pornography sites of all sorts on the Internet. When we caught him red-handed, he began crying and said he is addicted. Apparently,...

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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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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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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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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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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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