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

John's Discipline Methods

John's Most Recent Articles

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

What to Do About an Aggressive 3-Year-Old

Posted on 4/21/2020

Q: My three-year-old son tends to react physically when he's mad at a preschool classmate instead of talking it out and letting the teachers intervene. We have encouraged him to use words when...

Read More

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,...

Read More

"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...

Read More

Replace Psychological With Old Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 9/24/2019

As my regular readers know, I am a certified heretic in my field: child and family psychology. To the point, I am convinced that psychological parenting theory, which began to inform American...

Read More

Emancipation of Adult Children Can Be Messy

Posted on 6/4/2019

When children were raised, reared, or simply brought up, they emancipated “on time.” Upon high school graduation, children went to college, into the military, or became employed. Some, like my...

Read More

We're Living in a Child's World

Posted on 5/21/2019

Concerning major behavior problems, parents often tell me they’ve “tried everything.” In more than forty years of doing this “parenting expert” gig, I’ve never run across a parent who was telling...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More
View All Articles

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...

Read More

Task avoider

Posted 6 days ago

Hi, John and Team! My husband and I cannot get our 17 yo old son to complete the most basic of tasks regarding his room! On a daily basis, we expect him to make his bed, keep dirty clothes in...

Read More

Discipline Now, Get Along Later

Posted 1 week ago

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Fostering responsible decision making in your teen

Posted 3 weeks ago

Dear Mr. John. My almost fourteen years old is a very musical talented boy. He can play piano and guitar by ear. However, he barely play the instruments, or practice enough to learn a complete...

Read More

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)...

Read More

Attention Addict at 3

Posted 4 weeks ago

Our 3.5 year old daughter’s behavior is very out of control when we visit relatives. She thinks it’s her opportunity to get as much attention from the adults as she possibly can (especially...

Read More

Don't Ask, Do Tell

Posted on 12/16/2020

My 4 year old daughter refuses to listen to instructions given to her. Not always, but usually when it comes to dinner, cleaning up her room, and doing things that she needs to do. When she does...

Read More

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...

Read More
View All Questions