John's Articles

Kids Need Parents Who Are Authentic Adults

Posted on 3/22/2022

The contemporary parenting ideal consists of equal parts fixer, go-fer, and friend, which is why, when it is encountered in the flesh by someone of my ancient age, the new definition of a “good...

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Is Vaping Ok for High School Senior?

Posted on 2/15/2022

Q: Our son, a senior in high school, is vaping. He claims he does it to control his anxiety. I worry about him getting into harder drugs when when he goes to college this coming fall. What’s your...

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No New Tricks To Raising Kids

Posted on 11/30/2021

What is “gentle parenting”? It did not take much investigation for me to conclude that it is merely a rebranding of the same old, same old parenting babble America’s mental health establishment...

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Using the ‘Dry Run’ for Tantrums

Posted on 11/16/2021

Q: My almost four-year-old daughter is generally well-behaved except for screaming and running away from me when we leave a store, the library, etc. before she’s ready to go. She pulls away from...

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Choose 1 of 2 Paths With Kids’ Anxieties

Posted on 11/9/2021

Q: I recently changed my almost 4-year-old son’s preschool. My son, once fearless, has become reluctant to simply get out of the car in the morning and go into the school. There’s always a...

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Tighten Up Deadline for Adult Child To Move Out

Posted on 8/31/2021

“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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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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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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No Perfectly Reliable Form of Discipline With a Toddler

Posted on 9/2/2020

As just about everyone who has lived with a child for more than two years knows, the most potentially dangerous thing one can say to a toddler is “no.” That single syllable strikes deep into the...

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How to Prevent the Terrible Twos From Becoming the Terrifying Threes

Posted on 7/21/2020

One of my books, “Making the ‘Terrible’ Twos Terrific!”, has recently become a best-seller in China, of all places. Seriously! What sorts of problems are Chinese parents having with their...

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Public Education Myths and Facts

Posted on 2/6/2019

As regards nearly every public policy topic these days, myths abound, but few mythologies rival that of public education. A sample: <b>Myth: Smaller classrooms promote better...

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The Children-Need-Lots-Of-Attention Myth

Posted on 1/22/2019

One of the more difficult facts for today’s parents, as a rule, to wrap their heads around is the…I’ll say it again, with emphasis…FACT that children do not need (as a general rule) a lot of...

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Let Your School-Aged Kids Dress Themselves

Posted on 1/9/2019

“So, anyway, after they take showers I lay out their school clothes for the next day. And then….” “Hold on right there,” “How old are your girls again?” “Um,...

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Feelings: To Express or Not to Express?

Posted on 1/2/2019

Feelings are a wild card. On the one hand, the ability to experience deep emotion is one of the things that defines us as human. On the other, feelings can be and often are destructive to...

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Foundation to Parenting Begins With Marriage

Posted on 10/31/2018

In an opinion piece recently featured on FoxNews.com, Jonathan Pokluda explicates his Ten Habits of Extraordinary Parents. Pokluda, a teaching pastor at a mega-church in Texas, and his wife are in...

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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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The Realities of Parenting

Posted on 10/10/2018

PARENTING REALITY, PART ONE: It is all but inevitable that after rattling off a list of provocative, sociopathic stuff his or her child is doing and usually has been doing for quite some time, a...

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Happy Campers: Why Summer Camps Are Good for Children

Posted on 7/17/2018

If your child isn't attending an organized camping program this summer, he or she may be missing out on opportunities for growth in a several areas. There are now more than 14,000 day and...

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Adults, Children Must Maintain Relationship Boundaries

Posted on 6/20/2018

A column of mine that originally appeared in January of 2017 has been circulating on the Internet ever since, accumulating over a million hits to date. In a nutshell, its message is simply that...

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Children's Hearts Rule Their Heads

Posted on 5/16/2018

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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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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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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Key to Toilet Training Success: Start Early

Posted on 8/2/2017

Q: Our twin girls will be three in a few months. Our pediatrician recommended that we start toilet training at 32 months, which we did. After several months and lots of gnashing of teeth, one of...

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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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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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Do Classroom Reward Systems Undermine Parental Authority?

Posted on 5/18/2017

<b>Q. My daughter's kindergarten teacher is using a reward system to manage classroom behavior. Children earn smiley faces for good behavior and can trade them in for prizes at the end of the...

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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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Children Need Adults Who Are Worthy of Being Paid Attention

Posted on 3/21/2017

Once again, a reader proves that parenting must be added to religion and politics as verboten subjects for polite conversation. A column I published back in December of 2016 went viral...

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Home Alone: Is Your Child Ready?

Posted on 3/9/2017

For some folks, the phrase "latchkey child" rings of parental neglect. Yet, unlike in the movies, most kids who are left unattended in an empty house do just fine, emotionally and otherwise....

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Make American Parenting Great Again!

Posted on 3/8/2017

The problem in American parenting is the 1960s. Among other things that defined that very interesting decade was the replacement of rationality by emotionality. It was during the 1960s that the...

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Remove the Smart Phone, Regain the Child

Posted on 2/7/2017

As regular readers of this column already know, I am completely, one hundred percent opposed to children, including teenagers still living at home, being in possession of smart phones. No parent...

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A Guide to Kids and Chores

Posted on 1/27/2017

<b><i>Household jobs will help your kids master the mechanics of running a home, and the skills needed for responsible living. Here's how to get them started and encourage their...

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Manners More Important Than Resentful Child

Posted on 1/25/2017

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” So said 17th Century French mathematician and philosopher...

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In a Family, Parents' Relationship Comes First

Posted on 12/28/2016

I recently asked a married couple who have three kids, none of whom are yet teens, “Who are the most important people in your family?” Like all good moms and dads of this brave new...

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The Effects of 'Parenting' on Child-Rearing

Posted on 10/5/2016

In 1971, a psychologist named Fitzhugh Dodson published a book titled How to Parent. It did so well that he came out several years later with How to Father. By 1971, Dodson was one of a handful,...

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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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Unconditional Love and Leadership Can Change a 'Bad' Child

Posted on 5/24/2016

True story: I sent one of my more recent books to a radio talk-show host who, in turn, gave it to one of her “readers,” asking him to extract appropriate questions. Said reader, a...

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Don't Turn Bedtime Fears Into a Disciplinary Issue

Posted on 4/5/2016

Q: My 6-year-old daughter watched too many episodes of a certain TV show when she was sick and now she doesn't want to go to sleep at night because she is having scary thoughts related to the...

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It's Common Sense to Put Marriage First

Posted on 3/1/2016

I never cease to be amazed at the reactions people sometimes have to things I say. Most recently, a significant number of folks—women, all—were outraged over something I posted online: In a...

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