"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

Miscellaneous Discipline Problems

John's Most Recent Articles

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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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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The More You Say “No," the Less Effective It Becomes

Posted on 10/13/2020

Q: Our first child, a boy, just turned two. Per your advice, he is toilet trained and eating whatever I serve. Before he was born, we determined that we were not going to raise a picky eater. Our...

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Where We All Went Wrong

Posted on 8/25/2020

My profession, psychology, began demonizing traditional childrearing in the late 1960s. I was in graduate school at the time and on fire for the promise that the proper use of psychological...

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Appreciate the Odd Among Us

Posted on 5/26/2020

I have come up with a new psychological diagnosis, one that I won’t, however, be submitting for approval to the powers that be: simply, odd. My “odd” is to be distinguished from ODD, the acronym...

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The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!) - Part 2

Posted on 2/11/2020

This is the second in a series of three columns on the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Stop Making Them!). Last week, I identified giving children explanations for parental instructions,...

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Father's Visitation With Child Should Be Allowed

Posted on 1/15/2020

Q: Our ten-year-old granddaughter lives with us. We have custody of her but her father, our son, is now asking us for visitation privileges. I probably don’t need to tell you that both he and his...

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Playing War Games Not Unusual for Young Boys

Posted on 10/22/2019

Q: My normally happy 6-year-old son has recently started incorporating death and war-like games into his imaginative play. He isn't and has never been a mean-spirited child, but his dad and I just...

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"The Doctor" Is the Tool Every Parent Needs

Posted on 10/15/2019

I have good news for parents: You do not need more than a few tools in your disciplinary tool-bag. One especially valuable tool, one that belongs in every modern home, is the “Doctor.” The Doctor...

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Today's Parents Afraid Kids Won't Like Them

Posted on 8/13/2019

Short questions I’ve been asked of late (mostly by journalists) and proportionately short answers: Q: Is there a single most important thing parents should be teaching during their children’s...

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Recent Questions

Grandson Needs to be Held More Accountable

Posted 4 days ago

I just pulled an old John article out of my drawer that I have had for years. It was about how therapy can be detrimental to a child and rarely works. Also talked about kids emotions and feelings...

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Intense anger and giving up

Posted 1 week ago

My 3 year old had open heart surgery last May - and we've been amazed at how quickly his development has skyrocketed since. I have previously just chalked this up to developmental delays resulting...

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Alpha Speech is Needed - 3 Year Old Never Satisfied

Posted 1 week ago

Hello, We have 3yo twins, boy and girl. So let’s say there are good days and bad days: good days means he is in good mood, smiling, playing, and behaving - this is 20-30% of the time. The bad...

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Being Disrespectful is Worse than Rap Music

Posted 2 weeks ago

My 16 year old son listens to rap & when we realized it was explicit, we put controls on his phone. He still listens to some very negative stuff. He has always been very strong willed & is...

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Respect isn't Optional

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hello- I am so glad I subscribed to Parent Guru! I love reading all the questions/answers!! So I have a 9 year old son and unfortunately his father and I have divorced. I moved (with my son)...

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Avoid Micromanaging Tweens Peer Group

Posted on 12/15/2020

What should I do if my daughters only friends are bad influences on her and not people I want her being friends with? One is a lesbian, one has anxiety issues and they both are obsessed with Tik...

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Eight-year old Eccentricities

Posted on 12/10/2020

My 8 year old daughter periodically does strange and destructive things (for example she has chewed on her dresser, etched her initials into her bathroom faucet, drew on the wall). I’ve always...

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Normal? Problem? Normal Problem?

Posted on 10/31/2020

Hello! I'm worried about my almost-14-YO daughter. Her grades remain good and she is still on her soccer team. She does not have a smartphone or tablet. Our wifi is off every night starting at 10...

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Potty Training Isn’t the Same for Each Child

Posted on 10/25/2020

I began potty training my second son 6 days ago. He is so different than my first! Help! He doesn't seem too concerned about messes. He simply says "Uh-oh" and keeps on playing. When I say "Go sit...

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Sassy 2 year old

Posted on 10/25/2020

28 month year-old son uses nasty tone and says “don’t say that to me!“ Or “don’t talk to me like that!“ ‘No!!’. I know this is part of being a toddler but if I engage back and let him know it is...

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