"If your child accuses you of being "mean," you must have done something right. "

Arguments with Children

John's Most Recent Articles

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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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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Recent Questions

Define "Disciplined"

Posted 3 days ago

Whenever we have friends or family over or we’re at an event with other kids our 4 year old daughter very rarely engages in playing with the children and constantly wants to be where the adults...

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Tickets, Strikes and Keeping the Peace

Posted on 6/22/2021

I’ve attempted using the ticket system, but I’m getting confused. I have a 4 yr old and 7yr old. They fight, and argue about EVERYTHING. I put 3 tickets on the fridge- no tattling, no disturbing...

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Taming 5 year Old Stubbornness

Posted on 6/21/2021

My 5 year old daughters stubbornness cannot be tamed and I’m not sure what to do. I completely emptied her room 10 days ago. She had 2 blankets and a pillow and that’s it. She had shown great...

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Teaching the Difference Between Inside and Outside Voice

Posted on 5/17/2021

Both my children are blessed with loud voices. My efforts to stop them screaming inside our house and car have failed. Do you have any ideas on how to stop it or a good consequence every time they...

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Be the Mean Mum!

Posted on 4/11/2021

My 8 year old son has came back from spending the weekend with his dad and dad's family. He said I’m a strict mean mum because his 8 year old cousin has an iPhone, TikTok and YouTube channel...

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How To Deal With Constant Complaining

Posted on 2/26/2021

I have seen a rise in grumbling, complaining, arguing (with each other and with us) from our older boys, ages 4 and 6. I submitted a separate question about the conflict between the boys, but...

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When Getting Dressed Becomes Game of Chase

Posted on 2/16/2021

Hi, my daughter, will turn 3 in 2 months recently started defying us when it comes to changing her clothes. Whenever she is told it’s time to do it, she thinks its some sort of game, runs away or...

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Why Do My Kids Hate Getting Dressed So Much?

Posted on 2/7/2021

Why do my kids hate getting dressed so much?! They are 2 and 5. It inevitably causes a battle, and when we finally depart someone is crying. I can’t get the diaper changed or clothes on, and the 5...

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She's (M)Asking for Trouble--the 9-yr old and the 3 D's

Posted on 1/21/2021

My 9 year old daughter called me dumb this morning because we had a disagreement about the way you put on a mask. I was very upset and blew up and lost it on her. She was right about the mask and...

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Discipline Now, Get Along Later

Posted on 1/10/2021

My husband and our 4 year old daughter do not "get along" very well and today we found out we are having our 3rd child that is another girl! (We have one boy, and now two girls). Does John have...

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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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