"In the eyes of a child, parents are "mean" when the child discovers that they mean what they say. "

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....

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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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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...

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Recent Questions

11 yr old Effort and Responsibility

Posted 2 weeks ago

I am the Dad of an 11 year old (6th grade). She is not giving good effort at school. My wife and I have told her it is her responsibility and she needs to get help from the teachers, study...

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Pay Your Way

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hello, I've been asking questions for a few years now about my daughter. I've read John's book "The Well Behaved Child." My question regarding my now 7 year old daughter is this: How do I...

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Stop Feeding the Beast

Posted 3 weeks ago

HI there, We are currently disciplining our 6 year old daughter for not eating her lunch most days. The problem she claims is that they turn on the TV during lunch so she doesn't eat. She also...

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16 Year Old Daughter's Continued Rebellion

Posted on 8/6/2017

I wrote a few months ago about my daughter who I caught drinking. It turns out that it wasn't a blip on the radar with her. Given her behavior of late (defensive, sneaky), I tracked her location...

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Never argue with a 5 year old.

Posted on 7/16/2017

My one and only gives the vibe she is superior to her classmates by contradicting them, telling them they are wrong or having show off behaviour. I'm afraid she will not have any friends, but am...

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Angry Outbursts from a 3-year-old

Posted on 5/21/2017

Every time I tell my 3 1/2 year old to do something (ex: put your cup up on the table more instead of on the edge, don't jump around in the kitchen, etc.) she crosses her arms and grunts. Or she...

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Argumentative 10 Year Old

Posted on 5/11/2017

We have been attempting to correct our 10 year old son's attitude. He argues with EVERYTHING, is so disrespectful, and always has to have the last word. He is also rude to his sister. We have...

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9 yo boy needs boom lowered

Posted on 4/13/2017

My youngest son is 9 years old. He has an older brother who is 11 years old. My 9 year has always had a temper/anger problem when things don't go his way. He reacts by having a tantrum. He has...

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Mouthy 3-year-old

Posted on 3/4/2017

Recently my 3 and a half -year-old has started negating various statements his dad and I make. Mostly this happens when he doesn't want to do something (It is bedtime/it is NOT bedtime), but also...

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Disobedience or Addiction?

Posted on 3/1/2017

Dear John, Our almost-15-yr-old son has been disobeying our rule of no Xbox on school nights but last week was a doozy. When we were away for the weekend, he got his 16-yr-old sister to drive...

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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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