"Parents cannot effectively communicate their love to a child unless they are also a source of effective authority. "

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...

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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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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...

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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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"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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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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Recent Questions

Should Parents Start Naked & $75 Before or After they Move?

Posted 1 week ago

My son, who is 20 months old has stomach issues with constipation. On average he is constipated about two times a month at least. We are starting potty training this weekend, and we are worried...

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Mom Wants to Put a Lid on Potty Talk

Posted 1 week ago

My 5 year old son has frequently been using the following words out of context: butt, fart, toot, booger etc. He gets on these trash talking rants. He’s laughing and joking most of the time....

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Keep it Simple!

Posted on 3/10/2021

We have been doing the 6 block chart system with our 4 year old. We did the ticket system prior to this. He loses privileges on blocks 3 (LEGOs), 4 (Hot Wheels), and 5 (TV). He goes to his room on...

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Put and End to Nagging Over Chores

Posted on 3/4/2021

Would love some feedback on chores for my 6 and 8 year olds. Every Saturday they are expected to each clean their own mirror and sink in the bathroom, clean either the play room or their bedroom...

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Meltdowns, Scratches, and Wrestling Matches: Dealing With the Brothers 3

Posted on 3/1/2021

Over the past year, we have spent more time together as a family at home. While some of this has been good, we have also seen conflict between our oldest boys, ages 4 and 6, increase. Sometimes...

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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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Knowing When and How to Use Time-Out With Toddler

Posted on 2/22/2021

Hello, I just asked a question the other day about toddler hitting, pushing, etc. When he does this, he is not having a tantrum. He is actually laughing. I was suggested to implement a time...

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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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2-Year-Old's Aggressive Behavior Is Unacceptable

Posted on 2/15/2021

Hello! I have two kids. Boy: Almost 3 (in May) Girl: 1 and 2 months old Boy is hitting girl, knocks her over and laughs when he does it. How can I approach this adequately?

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Agony Principle explained

Posted on 2/15/2021

My husband and I are so encouraged by the information we are reading in your book "The Well Disciplined Child". Could you elaborate on the Agony Principle in regards to confining our 7 year old...

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