Arguments with Children

John's Most Recent Articles

‘Parenting’ vs Childrearing

Posted on 1/25/2022

I often go looking for parenting ideas that illustrate the difference between so-called “parenting” and mere childrearing. They abound. My latest find came in the form of a 2018 article on...

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Four Steps To Give Argumentative Teenager the Last Word (and Restore Sanity)

Posted on 6/8/2021

Q: My fifteen-year-old daughter is slowly driving me insane! She argues with me about everything and always wants the last word. No matter how well I explain the “why?” of a decision to her, she...

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Moodiness Is Merely a Bad Emotional Habit

Posted on 10/27/2020

Living with an emotionally dramatic child is no fun. They throw wet blankets over nearly every family gathering or outing. Little is right in their lives and attempts to cheer them up generally...

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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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Recent Questions

Anger Mismanagement

Posted on 1/4/2023

My 11.5 year old, quite academic son, is very respectful outside home and loved by his teachers. In past few years he is lacking anger management and becomes disrespectful (especially with mom)...

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Who's in Charge?

Posted on 12/29/2022

I have a 4 year old and a 15 month old. About 6 months ago he was misbehaving and we did the card system. It worked well. He is very good at school (just preschool 3 mornings a week) and with our...

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When It Comes to Clothes, 4-Year-Old Has a Mind of Her Own

Posted on 11/9/2022

HI! My daughter turns 4 in a month. She has a closet full of beautiful dresses but chooses the same 3 outfits of hand me down play clothes. Am I asking too much to choose her outfits? This was...

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Call me they.

Posted on 9/3/2022

Two of my daughters, one jr. high the other a freshman declared they want to be addressed as they. This has taken me by surprise as I am close to my children. We monitor what they watch or read...

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The Compass Points South: A 15-Year-Old’s Craving for Independence

Posted on 8/29/2022

I have a 15 year old daughter that I used to call my "compass" as she was such an easy child to raise. But, the last 2 years have been difficult. Now, I haven't spoken to her for 3 days because I...

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It's Not About the Makeup: Time for a Garden Kick

Posted on 3/20/2022

15-year old daughter very obsessed with make-up. Used our Amazon account to buy makeup Products without our knowing till I looked up order history. Took away all her makeup products, went...

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Smartphones and "Smart-mouthed" Teen

Posted on 2/18/2022

Mr. John: We need your advice. My son just turned 15 and never had video games or a smartphone. He had a flip phone, and watches Tv on weekends. This school year we gave him a Smartphone for him...

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You're in Charge Now

Posted on 1/21/2022

Okay so I’m ready to administer a discipline plan for my daughter. My questions are; 1. How much is too much? I’m ready to take a lot of her favorite things away. But, what about life...

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Parent Apologies: Choosing Relationship Over Being Right with Adult Child

Posted on 1/19/2022

This question builds off of a prior one answered by Gretchen Slover. Last summer, my 18-year-old daughter lost about 15-20 pounds. She was at about 130 at her peak and in good shape. My ex-wife...

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Perfect time for a reset

Posted on 1/18/2022

Our 9yo girls currently rule the roost. They speak to us flippantly, complain constantly, whine and pester after receiving a "no" answer, expect others to fetch/carry for them, ignore directives...

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Video

Tell

Posted on 5/16/2014

Tell: do you "Tell" your kids or do you ask, negotiate, beg, and scream.

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