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The Futility of Reasoning With Children

Posted 1 week ago

Many if not most if not almost all of today’s parents believe in magic words. They do so because the mental health professional community has for fifty years or so told them that children can be...

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Be the Best Father by Being the Best Husband You Can Be

Posted 2 weeks ago

Guys! Guys! Look, your wives, bless their hearts, are having enough trouble putting their children and priorities into proper perspective without you adding to the muddle. Keep it straight,...

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The Drama of a Child's Feelings

Posted 3 weeks ago

One of the more unfortunate consequences of relying on advice from mental health “experts” concerning parenting matters has been a one-dimensional understanding of child discipline. Because of the...

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Mom, Stop Checking Kid’s Homework

Posted on 4/6/2021

Many times have I warned parents of the pitfalls of micromanaging their children’s academic responsibilities lest said children deduce that the responsibilities in question are not theirs at all...

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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 Is COVID Parenting?

Posted on 3/2/2021

What, pray tell, is COVID parenting? I need to know because over the past few months, several journalists have asked if I have any COVID-parenting suggestions. I went online and, sure enough, a...

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The More You Try To Make Child Happy, the More Unhappy They Will Be

Posted on 1/19/2021

Making children happy became a parenting goal in the early 1970s. The paradox, as everyone with a modicum of commonsense knows, is that the more effort parents put into making a child happy, the...

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After 45 Years, Still Advocating for Old-Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 1/12/2021

2021 marks the forty-fifth year I’ve been writing this column. I’ve been told it is the longest-running syndicated column written continuously by one author. That takes “Dear Abby” out of...

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Today’s Kids Suffer a Lack of Common Sense in Their Lives

Posted on 12/22/2020

A journalist asks, “What is the biggest challenge facing today’s children?” “The real world,” I said. For the last fifty years or so, good parenting has been defined...

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'Hand in Hand' Parenting is Pure Psychobabble

Posted on 12/8/2020

“Hand in Hand” parenting is the latest iteration of progressive (nouveau, unverified) childrearing. I became aware of HIH several weeks ago, courtesy of a grandmother whose daughter and son-in-law...

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Don't Be Afraid of Your Children

Posted on 12/1/2020

“Are you afraid of your child/children?” I query folks who testify to children who frequently engage in flagrant antisocial behavior – tantrums, brazen disrespect, and belligerent disobedience...

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Parents Can Recover From Not Getting Over the 'Hump of Parenting'

Posted on 10/20/2020

Q: In a recent column, you identified toddlerhood as “the hump of parenting.” As a grandmother who managed to raise five kids who were out of the house in their early twenties and are responsible...

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Don't Ask Them, Tell Them

Posted on 9/8/2020

A grandmother in Arkansas says her adult children have great difficulty telling their children what to do. They turn instructions – more accurately, what they think are instructions – into...

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Where We All Went Wrong

Posted on 8/25/2020

My profession, psychology, began demonizing traditional childrearing in the late 1960s. I was in graduate school at the time and on fire for the promise that the proper use of psychological...

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Forgive Today's Parents, for They Know Not What They Do

Posted on 7/28/2020

I recently received a paean to my generation – the so-called “boomers” – that has been circulating on the Internet for some time now. It recalls and celebrates the freedom we enjoyed as children...

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Are Parents Responsible for the How Their Kids Turn Out?

Posted on 7/7/2020

Are parents responsible for the sort of people their children become? That’s this week’s question, and the answer is no, albeit equivocally. Several parents have recently written me...

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Is There a Child and Teen Mental Health Crisis?

Posted on 6/30/2020

I have long maintained that the significant per-capita increase in child and adolescent mental health problems since the 1960s – a ten-fold increase in suicide, for example – is due to the...

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Appreciate the Odd Among Us

Posted on 5/26/2020

I have come up with a new psychological diagnosis, one that I won’t, however, be submitting for approval to the powers that be: simply, odd. My “odd” is to be distinguished from ODD, the acronym...

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Keep It Simple With Your Kids During Quarantine

Posted on 4/14/2020

One website is titled “How to Cope with Kids During Coronavirus.” Another, featuring a staged photo of an obviously frazzled mom with a toddler on her lap, tells the reader that “Parents are...

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The Problem With 'Parenting'

Posted on 4/7/2020

I am convinced that “parenting” causes otherwise rational people – people whose thought processes are not typically driven by emotion – to lose their minds. If that is not the case, then why, ever...

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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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Proper Discipline of a Child Is an Act of Love for One’s Neighbor

Posted on 3/10/2020

I’ve learned a new word! My daughter informs me that according to some mothers I am guilty of “mom-shaming” and should be ashamed of myself. I am an unashamed mom-shamer because I happen to...

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When It Comes to Phases, Don't Make Mountains out of Molehills

Posted on 2/25/2020

Q: Our daughter, our first and only, is just short of three-and-one-half. She has recently started coming into our room in the middle of the night and making a request of one sort or another. She...

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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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The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!) - Part 1

Posted on 2/4/2020

One of the “secrets” to a happy, healthy emotional life is to identify one’s bad, nonproductive habits and replace them with habits – slowly built – that are functional. That same principle is of...

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Common Sense Comes From Heart, Not Head

Posted on 1/28/2020

Q: I’m new to reading you, but it appears that you don’t have much in common with other psychologists. You don’t agree much with their approach to children and parenting. Correct? A: ...

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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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Punishment Does Not Cause Mental Health Issues

Posted on 12/31/2019

This is the second in a series on “parent-babble,” as in the same-old, same-old nonsense the mental health industry has been passing off as sound parenting advice since the late 1960s. ...

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Mindful Parenting Is Nothing More Than Postmodern Psychobabble

Posted on 12/24/2019

I am often asked how long I intend to keep this up, as in writing this column, writing books, and speaking on childrearing and family matters. My answer: As long as they keep it up; “it” being the...

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Mr. Rogers Epitomized Adult Who Wants to Be Friend to Children

Posted on 12/17/2019

With the release of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” inquiring minds want to know: What did I think of Mr. Rogers? I never met the man, but in the early days of my...

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"The Doctor" Is the Tool Every Parent Needs

Posted on 10/15/2019

I have good news for parents: You do not need more than a few tools in your disciplinary tool-bag. One especially valuable tool, one that belongs in every modern home, is the “Doctor.” The Doctor...

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Replace Psychological With Old Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 9/24/2019

As my regular readers know, I am a certified heretic in my field: child and family psychology. To the point, I am convinced that psychological parenting theory, which began to inform American...

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What's in a Name?

Posted on 9/17/2019

Q: I want to legally change our daughter’s name. No one pronounces it correctly and I think it’s going to cause her more problems as she gets older. My husband doesn’t want to, however. He says...

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Alpha Speech: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Posted on 8/6/2019

Q: Some friends of ours who’ve read a couple of your books and attended one of your talks told us that they solved some major discipline problems with their 4-year-old just by using what they...

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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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Fathers as Important to Parenting as Mothers

Posted on 6/9/2019

I am the father to two grown children, so I know a few things about fatherhood. I know, for instance, that fathers are just as important as mothers to the raising of children. I also know fathers...

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Emancipation of Adult Children Can Be Messy

Posted on 6/4/2019

When children were raised, reared, or simply brought up, they emancipated “on time.” Upon high school graduation, children went to college, into the military, or became employed. Some, like my...

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Science Doesn't Have All the Answers When It Comes to Raising Children

Posted on 5/28/2019

Q: I appreciate your traditional, call it old-fashioned approach to child rearing, but I’m a tad confused and hope you can help straighten out my thinking. I’ve been reading your column for maybe...

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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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Key to Effective Discipline Is Right Attitude

Posted on 4/9/2019

“We’ve tried everything!” is one of the more common testimonials I hear from parents who’ve just described persistent and highly vexing discipline problems with a child or children. ...

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On Attachment Parenting

Posted on 3/19/2019

“So, what do you think of attachment parenting? My inquisitor was a 30-something mom. I sensed she was testing me, trying to determine whether I was worth her time. “Not...

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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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Parenting Should Not Be About Instant Gratification

Posted on 2/24/2019

A friend of mine named Scott shared an absolutely brilliant thought with me when I dropped in on him unannounced at his workplace, a bank, the other day. Everyone thinks all I...

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A Look at the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Posted on 2/18/2019

A journalist recently asked me for the single biggest mistake being made by today’s parents. I was tempted to say, “Having children,” but stopped myself because even if I’d followed up with “Just...

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School Discipline in Steady Decline

Posted on 2/12/2019

I receive a steady stream of missives from teachers, ex-teachers, and other folks who have insider knowledge of America’s schools. They all say the same thing – classroom discipline is falling...

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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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Out With 'Parenting,' in With Child-Rearing

Posted on 1/29/2019

There is “parenting” and then there is bringing up, rearing, or raising children. The difference is night and day; so are the outcomes, short- and long-term, to all concerned, meaning every single...

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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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