""No" is one of the most character-building words in the English language. Say it often, and mean it. "

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The Realities of Parenting

Posted 1 week ago

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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More Musings Over Morning Coffee

Posted 3 weeks ago

More musings over morning coffee: FROM THE TRUTH VS. “YOUR TRUTH” DEPARTMENT: The former is grounded in verifiable facts; the latter is the deceptive product of emotion. The...

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A Few Thoughts Over Morning Coffee

Posted on 9/18/2018

A few thoughts over morning coffee… From the Feedback Department: Certain recent columns of mine have drawn a spike in reader responses, both pro and con. My comments on the...

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The Problem of Parent-Child Codependency

Posted on 8/22/2018

An early childhood educator of thirty-eight years standing left a message asking if I had advice for encouraging cooperation from parents. She reports what every veteran teacher (defined as having...

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Friendship Isn't a Vital Aspect of Parenthood

Posted on 8/1/2018

When Baby Boomers get together we often talk about our observations of parenting in these postmodern times, one of which is that today’s parents seem, as a rule, to want to be liked by their...

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Kids Acting Up? Relax, It's Normal

Posted on 7/24/2018

Most of the stuff today's parents worry about - and let's face facts...the worrier in question, the worrier supreme, is almost always the mother (not because of some weakness, but simply because...

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Let’s Revisit ‘Psychological Thinking’

Posted on 7/17/2018

I call it “psychological thinking,” referring to the tendency among parents of the last fifty years or so to attribute bad behavior on the part of a child to so-called “issues” that are thought to...

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I Spy Toilet-Training Atrocities

Posted on 7/10/2018

Strolling through my go-to grocery store the other day, I happened down the Baby Products aisle where I spied packages of toilet-training pants featuring pictures of happy children who looked at...

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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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Should You Ask Your Baby's Permission Before Changing Their Diaper?

Posted on 5/23/2018

Competition amongst the membership of the International Association of the Weird and Even Weirder for the Most Bizarre Idea of All Time has finally, after more than five decades of...

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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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We Have a Child, Teen Mental Health Crisis in U.S.

Posted on 4/11/2018

Do we – here in the USA, that is – or do we not have a child and teen mental health crisis and if the answer is yes, we do, then what should be done about it? Without doubt, the...

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'Gentle Parenting' Just a Rebrand of 'Parenting'

Posted on 4/4/2018

Upon arrival on-site for a recent speaking engagement, I am told that several rather vocal parents refused to attend because I am not an advocate of “gentle parenting.” That implies that I...

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The Power of Words

Posted on 3/21/2018

When I began reading “The 9 Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids” (January 5, 2018, www.fatherly.com), I was skeptical that essayist Patrick Coleman’s point of view would line up with my...

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Yes, I Am "Old-Fashioned"

Posted on 3/6/2018

An individual who occupies a fairly high-level position in the mainstream media recently told one of my associates that I’m “old-fashioned.” She meant it as a slight, but I hardly took it that...

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Child Talk Therapy Is Largely Unproductive

Posted on 2/13/2018

Q: You seem to be opposed to putting children into any sort of psychological therapy. That’s curious, especially given that you’re a child psychologist. What is your explanation for this and are...

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In Gun Debate, Therapy Is No Substitute for Firm Discipline

Posted on 1/31/2018

We’re a month, more or less, into the new year and America has already suffered two school shootings. As usual, the usual voices are calling for increased restrictions on the buying and selling of...

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Love Is Necessary to the Proper Discipline of a Child

Posted on 1/24/2018

In Raleigh, North Carolina, on the backside of the Department of Education building is a structure known as the Education Wall. Completed in 1992, the EW was conceived and created by artist Vernon...

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Are College Visits Necessary?

Posted on 1/3/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old daughter wants to begin visiting colleges. She’s a high-school junior this year and this is when the college visitations begin. We’re feeling like the Grinches Who Stole...

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Respect Is Claimed, Not Owed by a Father

Posted on 12/26/2017

Is a father owed respect from his children? Actually, the question, from a father, was rhetorical: Isn’t a father owed his children’s respect? The dad in question maintains that because he loves...

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Every Child Has a Mind of His Own

Posted on 12/6/2017

In a letter to the editor of the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune, psychologist Afton Koball and two colleagues raise objections to a recent column in which I asserted that one can be parented badly...

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Overcoming Bad Parenting

Posted on 10/31/2017

I was standing in the lobby of an auditorium in which I’d just spoken, talking with a small group of attendees, when a 30-something woman took me aside and told me that her parents were bad role...

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Shift in Paradigm Derailed Child-Rearing

Posted on 10/18/2017

I am sometimes asked if I think the “parenting pendulum” is swinging back, however slowly, toward where it was sixty-plus years ago or at least toward a tolerable middle point. ...

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Treat Kids Like They're No Big Deal

Posted on 9/20/2017

I am a member of the last generation of American children who were no big deal. No one made a big deal over me, ever. Not my mother, my father, or anyone else. For my parents, raising me properly...

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A Little 'Vitamin N' Can Go a Long Way

Posted on 7/12/2017

I call it “Vitamin N.” It is the word children need to hear most, but it is currently the word children hear least. It is arguably the most character-building word in the English language, but...

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America Needs a Parenting Retro-Revolution

Posted on 6/21/2017

I was honored to be a guest on my good friend Dennis Prager’s syndicated radio program the other day and as anyone who is familiar with my point-of-view on parenting matters will appreciate, much...

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Upside-Down, Inside-Out and Backwards Parent-View Disorder

Posted on 6/13/2017

Many of today’s parents suffer (and suffer they do, albeit a good number seem to feel their suffering is a sign of conscientious parenting) from what I call “upside-down, inside-out and backwards...

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An Open Letter to American Parents

Posted on 5/2/2017

Dear American Parent (hopefully, you will recognize yourself), It’s high time someone reminded you of the adage “The road to ‘Hades’ is paved with good intentions.” I...

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Kids Are Happiest When Obedient

Posted on 4/25/2017

Q: I’ve read enough of your writings to know that you believe children should be obedient, that they should do what they are told. I want my children to think for themselves and to question...

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Bring Back Vocational Education in High Schools

Posted on 4/11/2017

During my sophomore year at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois, my guidance counselor, Mr. Gusloff, refused my request to take auto shop because I was, he said, college-bound and my...

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Vacationing With Kids

Posted on 3/30/2017

Here's a strange practice: Two adults, married to one another, work at difficult jobs for 50 weeks, thus earning a two-week vacation. To reward themselves for their efforts, they arrange to spend...

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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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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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Accommodate Dietary Choices During the Holidays?

Posted on 12/14/2016

Q: My husband and I are looking forward to hosting our children and grandchildren over the Holidays—or were. We were recently informed that our 30-something daughter and two of her children...

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When Enough Is Not Enough

Posted on 12/6/2016

The following true story was recently related to me by a credible individual who for obvious reasons will remain forever anonymous. I pass it on because it is a quintessential example of the...

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Society Has Dumbed-Down the Definition of Bullying

Posted on 10/18/2016

Noting that October is Bullying Prevention Month, several editors have asked if I am willing to write an apropos column. I am and for two reasons feel eminently qualified to do so. ...

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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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Postmodern Psychological Parenting Is Causing More Harm Than Good

Posted on 9/27/2016

In the late 1960s, America came to a fork in the parenting road and took the road never traveled. My generation did what no generation in any culture at any time in history had ever done: we broke...

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Although the World Is More Complex, There Is No Need for Parental Anxiety

Posted on 5/31/2016

“Puzzled Grandma in the South” recently wrote to “Dear Abby” asking “Why is there so much angst today over raising children, especially in young mothers?” Grandma has observed that moms of her...

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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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It Is Not a Parent's Job to Solve All of a Child's Problems

Posted on 3/29/2016

Q: We have a 7-year-old son and two girls ages 9 and 6. The girls are gifted academically and athletically. He simply can’t keep up with them. They’re even better at bike-riding. As a result, he...

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Parents Opposed to Sleepovers Should Reconsider

Posted on 3/22/2016

Q: My husband and I have decided that we do not want our children to participate in sleep-overs. We recently moved to a new community and are just making new friends and meeting new families. All...

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Today's Grandparent's Deserve Well-Behaved Grandchildren

Posted on 2/23/2016

A recent article on grandparenting.com says that many baby boomers are experiencing difficulties in their relationships with adult children, including “not enough time together, not enough regular...

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Parenting Disagreements Fracture More than Just Marriages

Posted on 1/19/2016

A journalist asks, “Why do today’s parents seem to be having so many more parenting difficulties than did parents of previous generations?” There is more than one answer to the question; or,...

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Boys Bathing Together

Posted on 12/22/2015

Q: My 7-year-old recently had his 9-year-old friend over to spend the night. At their request, I let them take a bubble bath together. I supervised, of course. They had fun squirting one another...

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Parenting Memes

Posted on 12/15/2015

According to Wikipedia, a meme is "an idea…that spreads from person to person within a culture". A meme is analogous to a mental virus—although not necessarily bad—that “catches on” relatively...

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