"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Arguments with Children

John's Most Recent Articles

Moodiness Is Merely a Bad Emotional Habit

1 day

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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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...

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"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...

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Recent Questions

Parenting a Disrespectful Teen with Divorced Parents

Posted 2 weeks ago

Almost two years ago my husband left (affair) and we are in a very difficult divorce. We are not friendly and don’t communicate other than texting. We have four children together and have 50/50...

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Disrespectful 8-Year-Old

Posted on 9/19/2020

We have noticed more ungrateful and entitled behavior in my 8 year old son recently. During a trip to the zoo, he became upset and was rude and disrespectful when I would not buy him food and ice...

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Tween Not Playing By the Rules

Posted on 8/10/2020

I have sent in a request for a coach, as you can see I have been having a difficult time with my 13 year old. I just experienced a tantrum again, it’s nightly for about a week now, how he is still...

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Backtalking 8-Year-Old

Posted on 8/10/2020

I have a question about the ticket system. We are using tickets to focus on talking back from our 8 year old. Often when he loses a ticket for talking back, he continues as he makes his way to...

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Cutting the Mealtime Cord

Posted on 7/18/2020

Hello! Our second and youngest daughter is going on three in a month. I am wondering about realistic expectations at the dinner table for her; especially if she is able to eat herself and can...

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Big Sister 11 wants some space from 8 year old brother

Posted on 6/24/2020

Thank you so much for the thoughtful and helpful ways you've equipped me as a parent since signing up to this site. I've come to understand that I should let my kids resolve issues they have with...

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Parenting Material is for Parents, Not Kids.

Posted on 6/1/2020

Is it ok to go through your material with our 12 year old son listening? It seems like he would understand better this way?

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Misbehavior list increases

Posted on 4/14/2020

Please help! Our almost 5-year old daughter behaves terribly and we do not know where to start. We read the book Well-behaved Child but we also need individual consultation with you. A little...

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Helping Kids Develop Good Habits Without Nagging

Posted on 4/14/2020

My 7 year old has a habit of leaving lights on when he leaves the room, leaving the toilet seat up, not flushing the toilet chain, leaving rubbish out, not putting his laundry in basket etc. How...

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Children, Vitamins and The Doctor

Posted on 3/11/2020

Any tips on getting 12 and 8 year olds to take supplements? We’ve tried everything to mask the taste but it seems more of a power struggle. Thanks!

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Videos

Tell

Posted on 5/16/2014

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

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