"Parents cannot effectively communicate their love to a child unless they are also a source of effective authority. "

Arguments with Children

John's Most Recent Articles

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....

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

"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....

Read More

Be the Parent Your Child Needs

Posted on 4/1/2014

Q: My 14-year-old daughter says I don't trust her because unlike her best friend's parents, I won't allow her to stay home alone for several days while I go out of town. Her friend's parents do...

Read More

"Boy" Behavior

Posted on 3/11/2014

Q: My 6-year-old son is a bright and friendly kindergartner. Each day a color coded chart is sent home about his behavior. This year he's gone through several spells during which he will have a...

Read More

Interpersonal Snot Wiping Behavior

Posted on 2/25/2014

Q: We are having a problem with our 32-month-old son. He picks his nose-most often in a public setting-and then proceeds to wipe it on other family members. It's disgusting. We have tried ignoring...

Read More
View All Articles

Recent Questions

End Micromanagement of Grades by Lowering the Boom

Posted on 10/15/2019

I have two sons (13 and 14 years old) and one step son (12 years old). They've gone to a Christian school their whole lives and are all saved. My issue is with my 13 year old. He is very smart as...

Read More

Teach Tweenager How to Manage Anger

Posted on 10/8/2019

Hi There, My daughter will be 11 yo on February, she is such a sweet/sensetive girl who likes to please others, but when she becomes angry she can not control it , she melts down for a while then...

Read More

Dinner Time Battle of the Wills

Posted on 9/16/2019

My 3 year old daughter has developed a bad habit at dinner time. Although she’s usually pretty good to try new foods, every now and then she will - for some unknown reason - hold a bite of food in...

Read More

When Food Issues Become Power Struggles

Posted on 9/5/2019

I asked a question about my 8 year old sneaking sweets - we have since carried out your suggestions - but it is not working. She looks for other ways to get sweets. We allowed her to buy some cup...

Read More

8 yro needs to learn to give some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Posted on 7/11/2019

I have 3 sons: 4,6,8. My oldest has been a challenge for us. He does well academically. There are some requests at school to have him listen or think through questions before asking. But these...

Read More

Hop off the Argument Merry Go Round

Posted on 5/5/2019

Hi there, My almost 5-year-old has come a long way from his 3-year-old self. I suppose maturity helps. He's no longer throwing tantrums (a.k.a crying loudly) or hitting when he doesn't get his...

Read More

5 year old loves/hates martial arts class

Posted on 3/23/2019

My 5.5 year old son gets really angry before going to his martial arts class, which he loves. In the past 2 weeks he has thrown huge fits, soaked his uniform in the sink (he had to go to class...

Read More

Battle Weary

Posted on 3/21/2019

I have 18 month old twins, a boy and a girl. They haven't yet developed verbal skills; they don't recognize "no", or even their own names. I've been told that this is common among twins at this...

Read More

Picky picky picky!

Posted on 2/22/2019

My two year old grandson will only eat yogurt and cheese at my house and is picky at his grandad's as well. He does drink milk and juice. If I put out fruit or other foods, he won't even try...

Read More

The Terrible 12's

Posted on 2/7/2019

A few months have passed. This school year seems to have been a big step for my now 12 year old. We have been struggling most of the school year and just got his grades for the second quarter. The...

Read More
View All Questions

Videos

Tell

Posted on 5/16/2014

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

Read More
View All Videos