"How do you get a child to do what he's told the first time he's told? Don't ever repeat yourself. "

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School Start and Birthdays

Posted on 5/21/2013

Q: Our son's fifth birthday is in August. He did just fine, socially and academically, in preschool, but the counselor at the school he's slated to attend has recommended that we hold him back a...

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What is Bullying, Exactly?

Posted on 2/12/2013

The principal of a middle school recently confided in me that "this bullying thing has gotten completely out of hand." He wasn't referring to bullying itself, although that's certainly out of...

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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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Nine year old: Homeschooling problem

Posted on 1/28/2013

Q: Our 9-year-old (only child) is home-schooled. He starts out well for about one hour, but then the wheels start falling off. He has to constantly be told what to do, but if you don't stand over...

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Posted on 1/28/2013

Q: Our two sons are in the fifth and sixth grades at a private school that just held a father-daughter dance. Now the school has announced that it's putting on a mother-son dance so as not to...

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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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Leave the Homework to the Child

Posted on 8/23/2011

<i>As the new school year begins, it's time for me, once again, to make my perennial case against parental involvement in homework.</i> First, it is significant to note that as...

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8-Year-Old Boy - Grade Retention Issue

Posted on 5/24/2011

Q: My 8-year-old son is the youngest in his third-grade class. Some students are more than a year older because parents are holding back boys these days. I am concerned because he is struggling...

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15-Year-Old Boy's Grades Dropping

Posted on 3/8/2011

Hold fast to restrictions on slacker son Q. Our son, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, was an honor student until he got to high school and took up with kids who think good grades are...

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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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Fifth Grade Boy School Issues

Posted on 11/2/2010

Parent wishes school would act on discipline Q: Our son's fifth-grade teacher has recently sent home notes to the effect that our little darling isn't paying attention and is missing homework...

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Grades and Today's Parents

Posted on 10/5/2010

One of the differences between parents of the 1950s and today's is that the former did not care what grades their children made in school. Mind you, they insisted that their children do their...

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4-Year-Old Boy Preschool Education

Posted on 8/17/2010

Many preschools go about it all wrong Q. Our 4-year-old grandson is enrolled in a pre-kindergarten class where all the kids are beginning to learn to read and write. The problem is that he...

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5-Year-Old Son - Phonics is the Best Way to Teach Reading

Posted on 7/6/2010

Phonics is best way to begin teaching reading Q: Our son was already registered for junior kindergarten before we became aware that you believe in phonic-based reading instruction. He will be 5...

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17-Year-Old Boy Underachiever

Posted on 2/9/2010

Getting back on track Q. Our 17-year-old is a perennial underachiever. He's had up and down grades all through school. Other than this one problem, he's a great kid - respectful, sensitive,...

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15-Year-Old Boy to Drop Out of School and Join Military

Posted on 11/24/2009

Corrections: The following correction appeared after this story was published: A recent column in which I advised the parents of a teen to let him drop out of high school, get his GED, and join...

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6th Grader Required to Watch TV by School

Posted on 10/20/2009

Along the same lines: A mother relates that her daughter's sixth-grade science teacher assigned the class to watch "American Idol." The mother writes, "We told our daughter to forget it, it wasn't...

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Kindergartener Questionnaire

Posted on 10/20/2009

KINDERGARTEN QUESTIONNAIRE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY Q. My kindergartener brought home a questionnaire that asks: Do you like your class? Do you have friends in your class? Does your teacher...

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Back-To-School Tips for Parents

Posted on 9/8/2009

BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIPS FOR PARENTS Several teachers asked if I would reprint a column that first appeared about 10 years ago. The subject is my five top back-to-school tips for parents. Before...

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Parents Should Not Ask Principal for Teacher Reassignments

Posted on 8/25/2009

ADVICE MADE ME A FRIEND TO PRINCIPALS, FOE TO PARENTS Several weeks ago in this column, I encouraged parents to not ask principals for teacher reassignments, as in "I think my child, who has a...

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Parents Concerned About 10-Year-Old Daughter's Teacher Assignment

Posted on 7/28/2009

PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT CHILD'S TEACHER ASSIGNMENT Q. Our 10-year-old daughter has been assigned to a third-grade teacher whom we feel is not a good "fit" for her. This teacher has a reputation...

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Problems in American Education Will Be Solved Through Home Reform, Not School Reform

Posted on 5/19/2009

LEARNING STARTS AT HOME Public school reformers are like a fellow who scoops a bucket of water from one end of a swimming pool, carries it to the other end, dumps it back in, and then repeats...

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Parents' Firm Stance Brings Fast Results

Posted on 2/17/2009

PARENTS' FIRM STANCE BRINGS FAST RESULTS This column is about a school-age boy who recently learned a valuable lesson in the hardest of ways. At their most recent conference, the boy's...

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Consequences Do Not Compel Human Beings

Posted on 12/23/2008

CONSEQUENCES DON'T FORCE GOOD BEHAVIOR American parents believe in behavior modification. They believe that the same principles that govern the behavior of a dog also govern human...

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12-Year-Old Boy Unmotivated

Posted on 4/29/2008

PARENTS OBSESS OVER SO-CALLED FLAWS Today's parents tend to believe that behavior, any behavior, can be modified by properly manipulating reward and punishment. That was in fact the utopian...

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First Grade Boy Zoning Out in Class

Posted on 3/25/2008

'ZONING OUT' COULD BE SEIZURE In a recent column, I answered a question from the mother of a first-grade boy who frequently "zoned out" in class and rarely finished classwork. I recommended...

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First Grade Boy Zones Out in Class

Posted on 3/11/2008

FOR WAKE-UP CALL, TRY EARLY BEDTIME My first-grade son's teacher says he frequently "zones out" and doesn't finish assignments in class, even simple things like coloring each number on the page...

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High School Girl's Dropping Grades and Attitude

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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Second Grade Girl's Teacher Does Not Correct Homework

Posted on 2/5/2008

REVIEW CHILD'S HOMEWORK IF TEACHER ISN'T CORRECTING IT Q. My daughter's second-grade teacher does not correct homework but only checks whether or not it was done. I find that my daughter often...

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17-Year-Old Boy Wants to Skip College

Posted on 1/29/2008

17-YEAR-OLD WANTS TO SKIP COLLEGE Q. Our 17-year-old son doesn't want to go to college because he hates school, says nothing interests him, and that going would be a waste of our money. He...

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5-Year-Old Girl Being Mean to Others

Posted on 1/8/2008

TAKE HARD LINE ON CHILD'S CRUELTY Q. My 5-year-old attends pre-kindergarten. Her teacher has called and sent home notes because my daughter and two other girls (who all got along at the...

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Young Girl Being Picked On At School

Posted on 10/9/2007

YOUNG DAUGHTER'S SOB STORIES NEED THE FINAL CONVERSATION Q. My daughter has several friends in her fourth-grade class that seem to love drama. They pick on one another a good deal, and my...

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5-Year-Old Anxious About Going To Kindergarten

Posted on 10/2/2007

Anxious kindergartner Q. Despite the fact that our 5-year-old daughter has an end-of-July birthday, my husband and I decided she was ready for kindergarten. The first week went great. She...

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School Uniforms Restrict Kids Choices

Posted on 8/14/2007

SCHOOL UNIFORMS RESTRICT KIDS' CHOICES (THAT'S A GOOD THING) Whenever I hear parents arguing for their children's "right of expression," I can't help but suspect that these are parents who...

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17-Year-Old Does Not Want To Go To College

Posted on 6/26/2007

HELP! OUR 17-YEAR-OLD SAYS HE DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE Q: Our 17-year-old son just graduated from high school and doesn't want to go to college. I think he should get a job and take...

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Parents Who Expect Too Much of Teachers and Too Little of Their Children

Posted on 4/3/2007

BOOK OFFERS TEACHERS GREAT TIPS A teacher recently suggested I write a book. "What sort of book?" I asked "A book on how to deal with parents who expect too much of teachers and too...

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8th Grader - Defiant, School Issues, and Video Games

Posted on 2/13/2007

THROW AWAY THE XBOX, AND YOU'LL CHANGE SON'S ATTITUDE Q:Our eighth-grade son is obviously intelligent, and is in his school's gifted and talented program. Furthermore, he scored in the top 5...

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4-Year-Old in Power Struggle with Teacher

Posted on 1/16/2007

4-YEAR-OLD MAY BE TANGLED IN POWER STRUGGLE WITH TEACHER Q: Is it appropriate for a preschool teacher to punish a somewhat shy 4-year-old child for not singing during the music lesson? My...

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3-Year-Old Going to Preschool

Posted on 1/2/2007

TODDLERS WHO DON'T GO TO PRESCHOOL UNLIKELY TO FALL BEHIND THEIR PEERS Q: At what age do you think children should start going to preschool? My son is going on 3, and he is home with me. I...

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Twins in Separate Classes

Posted on 12/19/2006

PUT TWINS IN SEPARATE CLASSES? CAN'T HURT, MAY HELP, NOT VITAL Q: What are your feelings about separating twins in school? With my girls, one appears to be the leader and one the follower, but...

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9-Year-Old Wants to Walk to School

Posted on 11/28/2006

IS IT TOO DANGEROUS TO ALLOW 9-YEAR-OLD TO WALK TO SCHOOL? Q: Our 9-year-old daughter wants to walk the 15 minutes to school and back by herself. She is very trustworthy, but we are worried...

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5-Year-Old Enforced Naptime at School

Posted on 10/10/2006

Enforced naptime Q: My 5-year-old son started kindergarten this year. He is an active, inquisitive boy who has not taken a nap in three years. However, the school enforces a 45-minute naptime....

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6-Year-Old Properly Challenged at School

Posted on 9/5/2006

Relax, it's kindergarten Q: Several other moms have given me unsolicited advice that I will need to make sure my son, who is turning 6 in a few weeks and entering public kindergarten this fall,...

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6-Year-Old Clothing Issue

Posted on 8/29/2006

LET 6-YEAR-OLD DECIDE WHAT SHE WANTS TO WEAR TO SCHOOL Q: My 6-year-old daughter has had issues with clothes for a couple of years now. We lay her clothes out before bed, but in the morning she...

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7-Year-Old with Writing Difficulty

Posted on 4/11/2006

TRY THE PALMER METHOD TO IMPROVE CHILD'S HANDWRITING Q: Our 7-year-old second-grade son has difficulty completing written assignments. He is left-handed and has some difficulty with fine motor...

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Discipline in Schools

Posted on 3/28/2006

SORRY STATE OF DISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS From the Truth is Stranger than Fiction Department: A teacher in the Northeast was reprimanded for telling a youngster that he shouldn't do to others what...

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Strict Teacher Irks Parents

Posted on 3/21/2006

PRINCIPAL, PARENTS SHORT-CIRCUIT THIS TEACHER'S HIGH STANDARDS Q: As an elementary teacher, I require that my students complete assignments and behave appropriately in order to earn the...

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5-Year-Old Fear of School

Posted on 2/7/2006

SON'S FEAR OF BUS IS GENUINE, BUT HE CAN CONQUER HIS TERROR Q: My 5-year-old son was so nervous on the first day of kindergarten that he threw up shortly after getting there. Since then, he...

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Child Forced to Write Letter of Apology to Teacher

Posted on 8/30/2005

CHILD FORCED TO A WRITE LETTER OF APOLOGY - HORRORS! A friend of mine in Virginia happened to be looking in on her fourth-grade son's class one day when he talked back to his teacher. My...

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5-Year-Old Friendship Drama

Posted on 6/7/2005

WHEN PRESCHOOL IMITATES REALITY TV Q: At my 5-year-old daughter's preschool, several girls, including my daughter, have been competing with one another for one specific girl's friendship. It...

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