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

Discipline Methods (e.g. time-out)

John's Most Recent Articles

Kids Don’t Need Curing, They Need Correcting

Posted on 5/18/2021

No small number of today’s parents view their children through psychological lenses, especially when it comes to misbehavior. Instead of regarding a given misbehavior as simply an error that needs...

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The Drama of a Child's Feelings

Posted on 4/20/2021

One of the more unfortunate consequences of relying on advice from mental health “experts” concerning parenting matters has been a one-dimensional understanding of child discipline. Because of the...

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Discipline vs. Punishment

Posted on 2/9/2021

Misusing terminology is not simply a matter of semantics. A person who confuses the meaning of words is likely to behave accordingly. That occurred to me during a conversation with...

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Parents Can Recover From Not Getting Over the 'Hump of Parenting'

Posted on 10/20/2020

Q: In a recent column, you identified toddlerhood as “the hump of parenting.” As a grandmother who managed to raise five kids who were out of the house in their early twenties and are responsible...

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Punishment Does Not Cause Mental Health Issues

Posted on 12/31/2019

This is the second in a series on “parent-babble,” as in the same-old, same-old nonsense the mental health industry has been passing off as sound parenting advice since the late 1960s. ...

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Use 'Alpha Speech' to Get Child to Obey

Posted on 5/14/2019

Q: My 7-year-old son, an only child, is giving me fits. He’s overly active and will not cooperate in any instruction I give him. In addition, if I tell him not to do something, it’s a guarantee...

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You Can't Win 'Em All

Posted on 3/5/2019

I’ve been writing this column for forty-three years and speaking publicly for nearly as long. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that when it comes to my subject matter, you can’t win ‘em...

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Make 'Em an Offer They Can't Refuse

Posted on 10/16/2018

When I was a child, my most important possession was my bicycle, followed closely by my radio. My bike was how I got around. I rode it to school, friend’s houses, pick-up...

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Let’s Revisit ‘Psychological Thinking’

Posted on 7/17/2018

I call it “psychological thinking,” referring to the tendency among parents of the last fifty years or so to attribute bad behavior on the part of a child to so-called “issues” that are thought to...

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Authoritative Attitude Is Key to Discipline

Posted on 5/2/2018

Q: We are having no success getting our 3-year-old (her third birthday is in a couple of weeks) to do what we tell her to do. She defies us at every opportunity, whether it’s just ignoring us or...

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Recent Questions

Time to Reboot

Posted yesterday

Mum burn out..I really struggle with following through because I am exhausted and will lose my temper by shouting, sometimes I want to lash out in violence because I’ve lost control but I haven’t...

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4 year old terrorist wearing out her family

Posted 3 days ago

Our 4 year old daughter has become a complete terrorist. She has always been difficult and challenging but it’s only getting worse by the day. We have always been strict parents and have...

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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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The Doctor Can Help!

Posted 3 weeks ago

Our middle child, a 5 year old boy, has intense emotions. We have (re)started the ticket system with him and his older brother, and he consistently loses tickets after school in the car. We have...

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Time for A Garden Kick

Posted on 8/27/2021

We have our 12 year old son's phone locked for certain reasons. If his grades slip below a B we lock it so he can only call family, if he is disrespectful or doesn't complete his chores, his...

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The Doctor can Help!

Posted on 8/7/2021

My son is 6. He recently has been throwing screaming fits and occasionally outright refusing to do things such as get dressed or wash himself in the bath. We feel like we cannot “make” him do...

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Do What You Can Do

Posted on 7/30/2021

My stepsons are 12 and 14. We also have a 4 and 2 year old. Their mother has been generally uncooperative and at times hostile to us, and treats the boys very differently. She doesn’t seem to like...

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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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Lock Up

Posted on 6/15/2021

I am reading through John’s terrific 2 book and he mentions using child locks on kitchen cabinet doors etc but I am in rented accommodation and not allowed to put fitted child locks on the kitchen...

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