Question: 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 stepparent joins the family when the kids are teenagers instead of younger children?
Answer: Your question is of great importance...Read more
Question: We are looking for a private school for our 4-year-old. Regardless of the school we ultimately choose, we want to keep him there through eighth grade at least. We live in an suburban area so we have a lot of options to choose from. Our son is intelligent, creative, and very imaginative. Do you have a recommendation?
Answer: ...Read more
Greg Fulton thinks his teenage daughter, who's already hit three solid objects with her car -- thankfully, no humans or other moving vehicles included -- would do better with a car that comes equipped with blind-spot/lane-change alert (notifies driver when another vehicle is approaching on either side), lane assist (gently guides car, if it ...Read more
Question: Our son is a rising second-grader at a private school. Last year, his behavior was often disruptive and sometimes even downright defiant—problems his first grade teacher did not have with him. At home, we have no more than typical “boyishness” — nothing approaching serious. Nonetheless, at the school’s request we ...Read more
The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Daniel Eddy, a New York City chef, on how to have a mutually-successful experience with a young child in an upscale restaurant (“How to Take Your Kids Out to Eat and Actually Enjoy the Experience,” July 14, 2016). WSJ obviously thinks the fact that being a chef qualifies one as an expert the ...Read more
One of the more powerful parenting memes to emerge from the parenting revolution of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was “Children deserve reasons.” To large degree, that was a reaction to the previous parental policy of answering “Why? and “Why not?” with “Because I said so.”
To my knowledge, no one has ever explained in non-...Read more
Question: What can we reasonably expect of our 18-year-old daughter when she comes home on weekends from her summer job? She usually heads straight to her boyfriend's family’s home and rolls in around 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night. We'd love to have a family meal with her. Do we say, "Dinner is at 6 o’clock and it would mean a ...Read more
Question: My 8-year-old daughter is having anxiety issues that seem to border on obsessive-compulsive disorder. She wants me to repeat certain things back to her and has a set routine of things I must say when I’m tucking her into bed. She’s genuinely upset by all this and tells me she thinks there’s something wrong with her. I’d ...Read more
Question: Our 12-year-old has a smart phone. I know you don’t approve, but all—and I do mean all—of his friends have them and texting is how they communicate. I don’t think, under the circumstances, that making him be the “odd man out” socially is a good idea. So our question: Do we have a right to monitor his phone ...Read more
I recently enjoyed the privilege of seeing and hearing radio talk-show host Dennis Prager speak on the topic of happiness. He only spoke for twenty minutes, but said more in that short span than most talk-show people are able to say in two hours.
He was talking to an audience about how to be a happy person and have a happy marriage....Read more
Question: 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 most teenagers an inch, they’re eventually going to push for a mile. I think it’s generally wise for parents to say yes to small ...Read more
“Puzzled Grandma in the South” recently wrote to “Dear Abby” asking “Why is there so much angst today over raising children, especially in young mothers?” Grandma has observed that moms of her generation (baby boomers) did not agonize over raising kids, and neither did her mother or grandmother. She also rightly points out that today...Read more
True story: I sent one of my more recent books to a radio talk-show host who, in turn, gave it to one of her “readers,” asking him to extract appropriate questions.
Said reader, a 30-something year-old, opened the book, read “Children are bad” and refused to go any further, making no small amount of drama over my micro-aggression.
To ...Read more
Question: I homeschool my three children, ages are 8, 6, and 5. The older two have a very poor attitude about doing school, especially math, and the younger one is starting to pick up on it. Their poor attitudes make the lessons take longer and they complain and cry about finishing their assignments. I've tried sending them to their rooms until ...Read more
Question: My daughter, who just turned three, has a surge of energy after dinner and can take hours to fall asleep. I try putting her down around 8 o’clock, but there are nights when she doesn’t fall asleep before 10. Sometimes she tells me she's tired but can't fall asleep. At other times, she will throw a tantrum before bed. When ...Read more
Question: I caught my 16-year-old smoking pot. I took everything from him and told him that the next time I catch him, he’s out! What else can I or should I do?
Answer: Where is he “out” to? You obviously didn’t think that threat through very well. In the first place, it may be illegal in your state to emancipate a 16-...Read more