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

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

Stay the Course.

Posted 6 days ago

I used N75 with my first child and it was a snap. At 22 months she was without accidents within a few days. My second child was 22 months before the holidays. With traveling etc. etc. we...

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4 Year Old Biting Must Stop

Posted 1 week ago

Our 4 year old son's teacher called home today after school to tell us that he got into an argument with a peer over a toy. While pulling back and forth for the toy, our son bit the other child....

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Time for a Reset

Posted 1 week ago

Clarification to my follow up question: When you say impose consequences... often my consequences are extra chores. I do not know what else to offer as a consequence. They're too young to take...

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6 and 9 Year Olds Won’t Do Chores

Posted 1 week ago

Follow up question: After reviewing chapter 3, i do believe I was using the ticket system properly... my targets were 1. Not doing as told 2. Lying 3. Talking back. The targets were the same...

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Alpha Speech is Key for Getting Kids to Obey

Posted 1 week ago

I have 2 girls, 9 & 6. They will not obey. They’ll lie that they did something and I have to verify completion or it’s never done. I used the ticket system and I had to take away every privilege...

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Is Child's Threat of Suicide a Cry for Help or for Attention?

Posted 1 week ago

My oldest is eleven and started middle school this year. Overall it has been a smooth transition. She has a great group of friends and likes school. She does not have a phone and has very limited...

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Relationship Reboot

Posted on 12/9/2019

This is a Part II to an early question submitted about a very strong-willed and increasingly mouthy 16-year old daughter. Please bear with someone who has subscribed for YEARS without submitting...

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Argumentative 10-Year-Old Needs a Reality Check

Posted on 11/26/2019

Argumentative 10 year old- May daughter is pushing back on everything. When told to do something (anything) she grumbles, sighs, complains, etc. My husband and I have been working on "yes mom,...

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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...

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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...

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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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