Question: My 14-year-old son started public high school this year and immediately fell into his old bad habits. He’s intelligent and capable of making consistently excellent grades, but he often does less than he’s capable of. He also tends to wait until the last minute before he begins something like a book report. I’m on the ...Read more
The following statement is true: A child’s natural response to the proper presentation of authority is obedience.
The following statement is also true: Most of today’s parents -- I’d estimate over 90 percent—do not act like authority figures.
A woman tells me her 5-year-old does not do what she tells him to do. I disagree, pointing out...Read more
One of the problems I occasionally struggle with is that of giving unsatisfactory answers to people’s questions. By that, I mean answers I know are unsatisfactory in the sense that they do not promise solutions, but are nonetheless the best I can do.
A recent example: The parents of a 15-year-old boy ask me what to do about his pornography ...Read more
Question: Our first, a girl, just turned three and has suddenly started throwing tantrums. She can begin a tantrum when she’s alone in her room if something she’s playing with doesn’t do what she wants it to do. It’s as if she is right on the edge of a tantrum all day long. We’ve started walking on eggshells around her as a ...Read more
In America, the go-to guy on ADHD is Dr. Russell Barkley, whose impressive credentials include psychologist, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, and author of several books. In an online course on ADHD, Dr. Barkley compares my views on ADHD those of the Church of Scientology. Rather than address the ...Read more
A father tells me that he tries to give his son, age five and an only child, everything he wants because he wants his son to be happy. But he’s not. He’s petulant, moody, often sullen, and is having problems getting along with other children. Furthermore, he doesn’t seem to appreciate anything his parents do for him. He’s very demanding ...Read more
In a recent column, I referred to “attachment parenting babble,” which is to say, I called a spade a spade. The column in question concerned parents whose three children had been sleeping with them for eight years. In one night, these parents ended the arrangement. They did so by simply telling the kids that co-sleeping was over. They did ...Read more
Question: Our 17-year-old has completely fallen apart! In less than a year, he’s gone from being an outstanding honors student, athlete, and well-mannered young man that all of his teachers, coaches, and friends raved about to being a mediocre (B/C with the occasional D) student who has decided he’s had enough of playing sports. His ...Read more
The Case of the Halloween Heist (Magical Mystery Series) (Volume 1)Brenda Elser
When Eva, Lauren and Robert receive a mysterious note telling them that all the Halloween candy in their neighborhood has been stolen (and exchanged for dental floss?) they decide that the thief has messed with the wrong Junior Detectives!
They set off to track down and return the ...
This is a story about how quickly parents, if they are determined enough, can make significant change in parenting policy.
The family in question consists of two boys, ages 9 and 8, and a 12-year-old girl. Mom admits to having centered her existence around her kids. She describes herself as a “too big to fail mom.” She was a mom who felt ...Read more
With increasing frequency over the past ten years or so, parents have asked me various questions about homeschooling, all pretty much boiling down to “Should I homeschool my child?”
First, I am a proponent of homeschooling. (Full disclosure: I am on the board of parentalrights.org, which is an offshoot of the Home School Legal Defense Fund,...Read more
Question: Our 8-year-old is scheduled to enter third grade at a public school this coming fall. Last year, he did very well; nonetheless, his second grade teacher was convinced he had ADHD. At a meeting with the principal, school psychologist, school social worker, and the head of the special education department, lots of pressure was put...Read more
Q: Our 4-year-old daughter will not eat dinner, no matter what. At most, she takes a few bites of what I fix and then says she doesn’t like it. This has been going on for over a year. I’ve taken favorite things away from her, sent her to bed early, even spanked. Nothing has worked and to be honest I’m getting increasingly frustrated...Read more
One of the most common of complaints from today’s parents is “we’ve tried everything.” They refer, of course, to having tried numerous approaches to various long-standing behavior problems, all with no success. In many cases, the problems in question have worsened, as if they have developed resistance over time to any and all forms of ...Read more
Question: We just discovered that our 17-year-old is using nicotine. He tells us he’s been using for the past several months, smoking two to four cigarettes a day to cope with academic anxiety and relationships. He tends to be socially reserved and has been struggling with academics of late. He appears contrite and remorseful and has ...Read more
Q: My 24-month-old is constantly wanting to be in her newborn baby brother’s face, poking and touching him. How can I help her with her jealousy?
A: Unless there’s more going on here than you’re telling me, you’re not describing jealousy; you’re describing natural curiosity and rather clumsy attempts to have ...Read more
Question: Our 8-year-old daughter tries to manipulate us and her siblings (she is the youngest of three) with emotional outbursts and whining when things don’t go her way. She is mostly a delightful, cheerful child but this bothersome cycle flares up at least every other day. For the time being at least, she only behaves this way at ...Read more
Two months ago, I conducted a two-day small-group “parent retreat” during which I talked about, among other things, the legitimacy and power of “because I said so.” One of my missions is to promote the restoration of the attitude that accompanies the calm, straightforward (the operative conditions) delivery of that traditional parenting ...Read more