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

Young Teen/Junior High (13-15 years)

John's Most Recent Articles

Take Smartphone Away from Sassy Teen

Posted 1 month ago

Q: When our daughter, an only child, turned thirteen and entered the 8th grade, it was like a switch was flipped. Almost overnight, she went from being a sweet, respectful and obedient child who...

Read More

Micromanaging Weakens Child's Success in School

Posted on 8/22/2017

Q: Our son attends first grade at the local public school. At the beginning of the school year, all the parents were basically told that we are expected to go to the school’s parent website every...

Read More

Bring Back Vocational Education in High Schools

Posted on 4/11/2017

During my sophomore year at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois, my guidance counselor, Mr. Gusloff, refused my request to take auto shop because I was, he said, college-bound and my...

Read More

How to Calm a Screaming...Teen?

Posted on 1/31/2017

Q: Our 15-year-old daughter has become, over the past year or so, quite a disruptive influence in our normally peaceful home. She was a gem until she entered high school when she almost overnight...

Read More

Stay Dispassionate yet Approachable During Teen's Experimentation With Vaping

Posted on 1/18/2017

Q: I found a vaping pen hidden in my 13-year-old son's room and am at a loss as to how to deal with it. He is very susceptible to peer pressure and wants very badly to fit in with the "cool"...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Stepparents Should Have Authority over Teens, Too

Posted on 8/24/2016

Q: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the...

Read More

We Shouldn't Always Shield Our Children From Pain

Posted on 6/9/2016

The depraved excepted, parents do not enjoy making children unhappy. Nevertheless, sometimes it is in a child's best interest that parents - while not deliberately trying to induce unhappiness -...

Read More

Parents Should Sweat the Small Stuff

Posted on 6/7/2016

Q: While exploring your website, I ran across a column you wrote a while back about a 13-year-old who wanted a Mohawk haircut. You told the parents not to allow it, pointing out that if you give...

Read More
View All Articles

Recent Questions

Sass in the Second Stage

Posted 1 week ago

Hello, I'm confused about why in the second stage of parenting, ages 10 to 13, it appears that if a child yells at their parents or is disrespectful, there is an immediate consequence. For...

Read More

Reconciling Lost Relationship with Teen

Posted 2 weeks ago

My husbands 15 yo daughter has cut off all communication with him. She was living with us but moved to her moms full time for the past year and a half, he has been blocked from texting, messaging,...

Read More

Help With Teenage Bedtime/Curfew

Posted 1 month, 1 day ago

I have a 15-year-old son who thinks he should be able to stay up until midnight during the weekday during school and have NO bedtime (curfew) on weekends! I totally disagree. His hours now are...

Read More

13 yo Not Responding to Effective Discipline

Posted on 2/12/2018

13 year old daughter seems to not care about anything at all. we have grounded her according to John's book, we have done "tickets", she is extremely moody, mean and nasty to family and calls her...

Read More

Three Angry Teens, One Frazzled Mom

Posted on 2/6/2018

I have a 17 year old, a 15 year old and a 13 year old all whom believe life completely and utterly revolves around them. the 17 year old boy refuses to look for work, he has let his learners...

Read More

Sibling conflict

Posted on 1/20/2018

I've reviewed my questions, and see that I have asked this already. I really believe our son is more to blame for the situation. He ALWAYS starts it. This is not a matter of them fighting, with...

Read More

Siblings are Both to Blame for Fighting

Posted on 1/20/2018

Our 13-year-old, soon to be 14-year-old, son teases his 9-year-old sister to no end. It causes our family a lot of strife. He teases her, she yells, lashes out, and then cries. I usually punish...

Read More

Identifying the real problem.

Posted on 1/19/2018

I have a 15 year old son who makes really good grades in school. But he also is getting in trouble at school for various things with his "friends", one of which I do not like. My son has been...

Read More

Persistent Lying

Posted on 1/14/2018

I am having a continuous issue with my daughter lying about going to boys' houses. She always tells me she is going to a girl friend's but is really going to a boys. Our rules are 1. Be honest...

Read More

Moving Towards Leadership Parenting

Posted on 1/10/2018

I'm a single mom of three. 14 yr boy, 11 yr boy/girl twins. My daughter seems to do everything to NOT do what I ask her to do. She eventually does it, but not before struggling to stand up or...

Read More
View All Questions


Parenting the Strong Willed Teen Audio File

Posted on 1/8/2015

This is an entertaining and informative talk on understanding and managing even the most petulant of today’s teenagers. The talk was recorded live before an audience in San Diego, CA and is based...

Read More
View All Audio