John's Articles

Youth Sports Drive Adults Crazy

Posted on 6/6/2023

My family moved to Westchester, Illinois, in 1956, where I began fourth grade at High Ridge School. At the time, my athletic skills consisted of catching and throwing a baseball. The kids in my...

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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 16,000 day and...

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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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Why Kids Need Hobbies

Posted on 4/6/2017

Not long ago, speaking to a large midwestern audience, I asked, "How many of you, when you were children, had a hobby?" Nearly everyone raised a hand. I then asked them to keep their hands in the...

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If I Were the Little League Czar

Posted on 3/27/2017

It has been 78 years since the first Little League baseball game was played in Williamsport, Pa. Last year, nearly 3 million kids participated in more than 6,500 chartered Little League programs...

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'No' Is Best Answer When Mom and Dad Disagree on Parenting Issue

Posted on 3/15/2016

Q: Is three hours of one sport once a week too much for a 7-year-old? This sport meets from 6 - 9 PM. It is nearly 10 PM before child is in bed (as opposed to usual 8:30 bedtime). My husband...

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Should You Pay Your Child to Do Chores?

Posted on 5/5/2015

A major US newspaper recently ran a piece detailing all the ways children benefit from doing chores. Well, not all the ways. They failed to mention the most important benefit: chores, properly...

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Kicking Out of the Garden of Eden [Explained]

Posted on 10/6/2013

Kicking the child out of the Garden of Eden John's "Garden of Eden" statement: Other Q and A or articles about this method may be searched by using the keyword "Garden" Below is detailed...

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16-Year-Old Girl Sports Issue

Posted on 12/6/2011

Teen backs out on sports role Q: Our 16-year-old daughter has said three times over the past two years that she wants to play on the traveling soccer team. The coaches have actually asked her...

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15 Resolutions For Parents

Posted on 1/4/2011

15 resolutions for parents Given that this is the first column of a new year, I'm proposing a number of parenting New Year's Resolutions for my readers to consider. The list is by no means...

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Children Taking Music Lessons

Posted on 11/23/2010

Should kids stick with hated piano lessons? Through my website, a parent recently asked if children who don't want to continue piano lessons should be forced to stay the course regardless. I...

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Growing Up in the 1950s

Posted on 8/31/2010

What today's kids are missing What do today's children seriously lack that children in the 1950s and before enjoyed in abundance? To assist the reader in figuring out the answer before it is...

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Kids Who Are Picked Last

Posted on 7/13/2010

Kids who are picked last Q: A bunch of the parents in our community have decided to keep our kids out of organized sports and let them organize their own games. It's working out wonderfully,...

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Children's Activities Impacting Family

Posted on 6/29/2010

It's hard to be a real family when Mom is just a chauffeur Q: My husband and I have five kids ages 11, 10, 7, 5, and 22 months. I would love to keep activities to a minimum to give the kids...

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8-Year-Old Boy Humiliated by Coach

Posted on 5/11/2010

Coach humiliates kids Q: Our 8-year-old son is on an extremely competitive gymnastics team. We're concerned about the coach's disciplinary style. When a child makes a mistake, he is prone to...

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7-Year-Old Boy Bored Living in the Country

Posted on 4/13/2010

Bored country kid needs a hobby Q: We live in the country and my 7-year-old son is bored out of his mind. He desperately wants to move to the city where he can have neighbor kids to play with....

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Be Honest with Kids About Their Abilities and Future

Posted on 12/1/2009

BE HONEST WITH KIDS ABOUT THEIR ABILITIES AND FUTURE A grandmother recently told me that her son and daughter-in-law have told her only grandchild, an 8-year-old, that he can be anything he...

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7-Year-Old Girl Performance Anxiety

Posted on 3/3/2009

DON'T FIGHT YOUR CHILD'S PERFORMANCE ANXIETY Q. Our 7-year-old daughter does well in school without our help and is a generally happy kid. Her only problem is an incapacitating case of...

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Unstructured Play for Preschoolers is Beneficial

Posted on 3/27/2007

MICROMANAGING YOUR KIDS ROBS THEM OF MANY BENEFITS UNSTRUCTURED PLAY LEADS TO SOCIAL SKILLS Several months back, I answered a question from a parent who was bemoaning that in her community,...

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Toddler/Preschool Classes

Posted on 1/9/2007

ALL THOSE CLASSES FOR TOTS WON'T TEACH WHAT REALLY MATTERS Q: In my hometown, various enrichment programs for children under 3 are proliferating. A 2-year-old can take ballet, music, yoga, or...

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Rude, Disrespectful 8-Year-Old Has Bullying Behavior

Posted on 11/14/2006

STOP 8-YEAR-OLD'S BULLYING BEHAVIOR BEFORE IT GETS WORSE Q: My 8-year-old son is a poor sport. He's been asked to leave several sports programs because of rudeness to other players and...

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6-Year-Old Music Lessons

Posted on 10/31/2006

6-YEAR-OLD IS ASKING TO TAKE EVEN MORE MUSIC LESSONS Q: Our 6-year-old son has taken accordion lessons for almost nine months. He loved it at first, but his enthusiasm has waned. I now have to...

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8-Year-Old Prefers Imaginative Play Instead of Sports

Posted on 9/20/2005

DAD WORRIES ABOUT HIS SON'S LACK OF INTEREST IN SPORTS Q: My husband is concerned that our 8-year-old son prefers imaginative play over games such as "catch" or "shooting hoops." He is an...

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4- and 8-Year-Old Unruly

Posted on 11/30/2004

UNRULINESS IS REACTION TO STRESS IN THE FAMILY Q: My husband and I have a 4-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. They both whine and cry when they do not get their way and do not seem to think...

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8-Year-Old Swimming Lessons

Posted on 3/30/2004

Q: Our 8-year-old son enjoys playing in a pool or in the ocean where he can touch the bottom. Water that's over his head causes him to panic. He hated swimming lessons last year because the...

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7-Year-Old Needs to Develop Self-Discipline

Posted on 3/2/2004

HELP SON DEVELOP SELF-DISCIPLINE Q: Our 7-year-old son has been obsessed with airplanes since he was 2. I do not use the term lightly - anyone who meets him is floored by his knowledge of...

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20- and 32-Month Old Playtime

Posted on 1/21/2003

PLAYTIME DOES NOT NEED 'STRUCTURE' Q: I have two toddlers, 20 and 32 months. Beyond 30 minutes of reading and snuggling before bed, how much time each day should I spend involved in activities...

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Adult Involvement in Youth Sports

Posted on 2/5/2002

Since the inception of this column 26 years ago, I've regularly ranted about adult over-involvement in youth sports. Meddling adults, however well intentioned, have turned what was once child's...

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9-Year-Old Convinced He Is Going to Win Competition

Posted on 8/28/2001

EVEN IF HE LOSES, SON CAN LEARN HOW TO WIN Q. My 9-year-old son has been taking martial arts for several years now and has gotten good enough to participate in large competitions, one of which...

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7-Year-Old is Poor Sport

Posted on 4/11/2000

POOR SPORT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OUT OF THE GAME Q. My 7 year-old is a poor sport, gloating when he wins a game and crying when he loses. My husband's entire family shares this trait with him, so...

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After-School Activities

Posted on 1/25/2000

BEST AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES TAKE PLACE AT HOME Q. I read the recent column in which you called on parents to take their kids out of all after-school activities. I couldn't help but wonder...

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Cut Out After-School Activities to Reduce Parenting Stress

Posted on 1/11/2000

CUTTING EXTRAS AFTER SCHOOL COULD CALM THE HOUSEHOLD I asked a recent audience, some 450 strong, "I can virtually guarantee that by making one simple decision, you can reduce parenting stress...

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Too Many After-School Activities

Posted on 10/26/1999

ONE OUTSIDE ACTIVITY PER CHILD IS ENOUGH Q. We have three daughters, ages 8, 6 and 2. Our concern is whether we are scheduling too many extracurricular activities for the two older 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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Frantic Family Syndrome: After-School Activities - Part 2

Posted on 10/10/1996

QUESTIONS ABOUT FRANTIC FAMILY SYNDROME Several months ago, I wrote a column on the "Frantic Family Syndrome'' - the hectic lifestyle that results from racing children to and from various...

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Frantic Family Syndrome: After-School Activities - Part 1

Posted on 6/6/1996

3 IN 4 HAVE FRANTIC FAMILY SYNDROME Has your family succumbed to Frantic Family Syndrome? The symptoms include: A. Parents who spend a disproportionate amount of time racing children...

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Thoughts on Parenthood - Part 2

Posted on 2/18/1994

CHILDREN NEED TO LEARN THE 3 R'S: RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, RESOURCEFULNESS More musings on parenthood: * Children need a lot of supervision, but not a lot of attention. Too much attention, like...

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Adult-Oriented Community Sports Programs for Children

Posted on 10/1/1993

A PLAN FOR HEALTHIER CHILDREN'S COMMUNITY SPORTS PROGRAMS If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that adult-oriented community sports programs for children drive me right up the...

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Give the Kids Their Games Back!

Posted on 11/11/1990

<b>Q. Your opinion of after-school sports is really off-the-wall. The fact that adults are involved in these programs doesn't make them bad. You make it sound as if all the coaches and parents...

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8-Year-Old Music Lessons

Posted on 10/7/1990

PARENT AND CHILD ARE PLAYING AN OLD SONG Q: My 8-year-old son, Smitty, has been enrolled in Suzuki violin lessons since kindergarten. He likes his teacher, the opportunities for performance,...

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Adults Interfere with Childhood Games

Posted on 5/6/1990

FIELDS OF SCHEMES ADULTS TAKE THE CAMARADERIE OUT OF PLAYGROUND GAMES If, as a child, I wanted to play baseball, I called a friend who called a friend who called a friend. In this way,...

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15-Month-Old Excercise Class

Posted on 1/7/1990

EXERCISE CLASS FOR TODDLERS? FIDDLESTICKS Q. We are very health-conscious parents who want our 15-month-old daughter to grow up physically fit. There's an exercise program for toddlers that's...

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If I Were the Little League Czar

Posted on 6/4/1989

It was 50 years ago this year that the first Little League baseball game was played in Williamsport, Pa. Last year, nearly 3 million kids participated in more than 16,000 Little League programs in...

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Go Ahead and Send Kids Outside

Posted on 5/21/1989

Several months ago, I wrote that my mother's favorite after-school activity for me was "go outside and find something to do." I said it was then, and still is, the most valuable way a child can...

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After-School Activity

Posted on 12/18/1988

Kids can fill spare time themselves My mother's favorite after-school activity for me was "go outside and find something to do." with the exception of making sure I did my chores, she felt no...

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Objections to Allowing Chid Quit Music Lessons

Posted on 6/26/1988

PIANO TEACHERS OBJECT TO LETTING CHILD QUIT LESSONS My recent column on piano lessons raised the hackles of quite a few piano teachers. To recap: A mother asked whether she should let her...

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9-Year-Old Piano Lessons

Posted on 3/6/1988

A KEY DECISION ABOUT PIANO LESSONS Q. My 9-year-old daughter started piano lessons six months ago. At first, she was enthusiastic. Now, she does nothing but complain about practicing and...

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Children: Too Much of What They Want, Not Enough of What They Need

Posted on 4/27/1986

UNDERSTANDING WHAT KIDS NEED, WANT Several months ago, I was talking to an audience of several hundred people, most of whom were parents of early elementary-age children. My subject was...

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