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

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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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Take a Time-Out Before Engaging With Argumentative Child

Posted on 11/22/2016

Q: In last week’s column, you advised parents not to argue with teenagers. That’s fine and dandy advice, John, but you failed to tell your readers how to stay out of or end these arguments. For...

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A Non-Argumentative Teen Is a Happy One

Posted on 11/15/2016

My advice to The Wall Street Journal, the only news source to which I subscribe: Stop trying to be all things to all people. Specifically, stop giving parenting advice. The latest attempt by...

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An Example in Parenting Minimalism

Posted on 11/4/2014

Q: My 6-year-old son argues with me about everything I tell him to do. He comes up with reason after reason why he shouldn’t have to or can’t, why it’s unfair, or why, at the least, I...

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Simple Solutions

Posted on 7/29/2014

I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the...

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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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"The Doctor" Makes House Calls

Posted on 4/28/2014

Shortly after I finished graduate school, a friend of mine shared with me a book called Indirect Hypnosis, written by Milton Erickson, a most unorthodox psychiatrist if ever there was one....

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Be the Parent Your Child Needs

Posted on 4/1/2014

Q: My 14-year-old daughter says I don't trust her because unlike her best friend's parents, I won't allow her to stay home alone for several days while I go out of town. Her friend's parents do...

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"Boy" Behavior

Posted on 3/11/2014

Q: My 6-year-old son is a bright and friendly kindergartner. Each day a color coded chart is sent home about his behavior. This year he's gone through several spells during which he will have a...

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Interpersonal Snot Wiping Behavior

Posted on 2/25/2014

Q: We are having a problem with our 32-month-old son. He picks his nose-most often in a public setting-and then proceeds to wipe it on other family members. It's disgusting. We have tried ignoring...

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Child Argues with EVERYTHING

Posted on 1/7/2014

Q: What suggestions do you have for disciplining a 7-year-old girl who argues with every single thing her parents say? We don't try to reason with her and we frequently say "Because I said so" but...

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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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Last Chance for Major Change

Posted on 2/5/2013

Q: Our 17-year-old is a highly spoiled underachiever. As a junior in high school, he's failing two classes and borderline in the rest. We know that his problems are largely due to our parenting...

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7 year old twins fighting

Posted on 1/8/2013

Q: How can we help our 7-year-old twin girls stop fighting? They constantly provoke and antagonize each other. We thought this was just normal sibling conflict, but it seems to be developing into...

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Boys goofing around

Posted on 1/1/2013

Q: Our son is in Kindergarten at a small private school. Most of the children in his class are boys. From the beginning, he's been somewhat of a behavior problem. Each time we get a notice from...

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Use Chair of Wisdom for 8-Year-Old and 10-Year-Old Girls

Posted on 1/27/2009

IF 'NO' DOESN'T WORK, GET THE CHAIR OF WISDOM Q. Our 8- and 10-year-old daughters came to me and asked if they could go to the movies with two friends from school that they wanted to "get to...

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6-Year-Old Boys - Moaning, Eye Rolling, Door Slamming, Stomping

Posted on 7/22/2008

TRY '3 STRIKES' WITH REBELLIOUS 6-YEAR-OLDS Q: How should we handle the noises (moaning), the gestures (eye rolling) and the posturing (door slamming, stomping) that ensue so often around here...

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7-Year-Old Boy Talking Back, Arguing, and Lying

Posted on 3/4/2008

PARENTS SHARE THEIR 3 STORIES OF 'TOUGH LOVE' TURNAROUNDS It's one thing to give advice on the rearing of children, which is what I do through this column. It's quite another to share...

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Kindergartener with Attitude and Sassy Talk

Posted on 2/6/2007

Little Jekyll and Hyde Q: Every morning, I send my sweet, well-behaved son to kindergarten and every evening I face a teenager. When I tell him to do or stop doing something, he gives me an...

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Emotional Outbursts of Hate

Posted on 1/18/2005

The love-hate thing Q: Is it disrespectful for a child to yell "I hate you!" at a parent? A: Most people, it seems, think so. I don't. The difference between a disrespectful statement...

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8-Year-Old Tells Mom "I Hate You!"

Posted on 1/13/2004

Q: Occasionally, when I discipline my 8-year-old daughter by, say, taking away a privilege because she's disobeyed me, she screams that she hates me. It seems to me that this is disrespectful....

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14-Year-Old Argues and Wants Last Word with Parent

Posted on 9/26/2000

A WILY STRATEGY TO NIP ARGUMENTS IN THE BUD Q. My 14-year-old daughter is driving me nuts! Every single time I refuse to let her do something or give her something she wants, she starts an...

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7-Year-Old Is Very Argumentative and Demands an Explanation for Everything

Posted on 7/11/1996

YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF WHETHER CHILD ARGUES OVER DECISIONS Q. My 7-year-old daughter is very argumentative. She wants an explanation for every decision of mine she doesn't like, but no...

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6-Year-Old Tells Mom "I Hate You!"

Posted on 5/13/1994

WHEN KIDS SAY, I HATE YOU!' THEY DON'T REALLY MEAN IT Q. When my 6-year-old gets angry with me, he often says he hates me. This usually happens when I speak to him in a firm tone of voice or...

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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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6-Year-Old Does Not Respond to Ineffective Time-Out Discipline

Posted on 3/26/1993

I'LL SAY IT AGAIN: IT'S TIME TO CALL TIME-OUT ON INEFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE Q. After reading an article on discipline in a parenting magazine, I began using time-out with my 6-year-old son, who...

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8-Year-Old is Disruptive, Demanding, and Center of Attention

Posted on 8/14/1992

IF ONE OF YOUR KIDS ACTS LIKE A TYRANT, EXAMINE YOUR FAMILY'S PRIORITIES Q. We are two working parents with three children, one of whom, the 8-year- old, is constantly disruptive. He demands...

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7-Year-Old Ignores, Complains, and Argues with Parents

Posted on 10/1/1989

PARENTS, PLAN YOUR DISCIPLINE STRATEGY Q. We read with interest your column of last week on the differences between managerial and punitive discipline. We want to know how we can use a...

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